La bambina di neve ha dato il titolo alla seconda raccolta di "storie narrate due volte" di Hawthorne: The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales del 1La bambina di neve ha dato il titolo alla seconda raccolta di "storie narrate due volte" di Hawthorne: The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales del 1852, segno che l'autore stesso lo teneva in grande considerazione.
Il racconto è del 1850, come La lettera scarlatta: gli anni migliori e più intensi della produzione di Hawthorne, nel pieno dell'American Renaissance. Che il maestro del gotico e del dark romanticism fosse anche un fine e delicato scrittore di storie per l'infanzia non dovrebbe stupire. I due bambini protagonisti di questo racconto sono fin troppo chiaramente ispirati ai figli dell'autore, Una e Julian. E su Una è modellata anche Pearl, la bambina protagonista di uno dei capitoli forse più belli del capolavoro di Hawthorne. Senza dimenticare che, dopo la raccolta di cui sopra, Hawthorne ne pubblicò due di racconti per l'infanzia, in cui riscrisse alcuni miti della Grecia classica: A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys e Tanglewood Tales for Boys and Girls (1852 e 1853 rispettivamente).
La bambina di neve è una storia gotica ma anche squisitamente borghese nella sua dimensione domestica e casalinga, e la morale (come sottolinea la nota finale di questa bella edizione della Topipittori) è che l'infanzia necessita non solo di cibo, casa e calore ma anche di attenzioni, di ascolto e della libertà di sognare.
Molto belle e riuscite le illustrazioni di Kiyoko Sakata, impalpabilmente in bilico tra levità orientale e austerità puritana. ...more
Bellissima edizione, molto curata. Ottima traduzione, ecco come si lavora. Belli i disegni, e molto interessante il disco allegato di Zeno de Rossi (alBellissima edizione, molto curata. Ottima traduzione, ecco come si lavora. Belli i disegni, e molto interessante il disco allegato di Zeno de Rossi (altresì vicino a Capossela) con Jamie Saft & un paio d'altri.
Ok, conosco i due editori (la Bäckerei è una faccenda del tutto casalinga), ma i complimenti se li meritano.
Inoltre questo racconto di Washington Irving invecchia egregiamente, e non ci si stanca mai di rileggerlo ad ogni inverno. Ed è un'ottima occasione per scoprire cosa Tim Burton ha cambiato rispetto all'originale!
'A most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale'. - Oscar Wilde.
(being not a proper comment, just notes to be read after the stThe Jamesian Re-read #3
'A most wonderful, lurid, poisonous little tale'. - Oscar Wilde.
(being not a proper comment, just notes to be read after the story).
I’ve always enjoyed the anecdote that inspired James to write this novella. On January the 10th, 1895, he was hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Edward White Benson, at Addington Park (the archbishopric country house since 1807). In front of the hearth, after tea, conversation turned to the ghost stories: the good ones, the two men agreed, all seemed to have been told; while the new type, the ‘psychical’, apparently offered little precisely on the grounds of its trustworthiness. The Archbishop then proceeded to tell a story, which had in turn been told to him as a child, by a lady who couldn’t, anyhow, neither remember nor relate it well enough. James recorded the story two days later in his notebook: http://bit.ly/zDqzOQ
I love the way James, nearly three years later, managed to turn the missing details and the faulty memories into the very strength of the text: reshaping a story badly told into superb storytelling. I also appreciate the fact that, even before being written, the story already counted multiple retelling. The Turn of the Screw is, first of all, a series of Chinese boxes. James consistently used the framing device as a method to undermine the reliability of his narrator(s), especially in his ghost stories. But here the suspension of disbelief becomes suspension tout court. Even as we accept the reality of one narrative voice, we can’t take for granted what the voice says. Are the ghosts real? Is everything the governess says true? Her manuscript, after all, was written (so we are told) years after the events. Perhaps the manuscript is a fake, and the whole story is invented; and so on. The only fact we can be sure of is James’ own voice, as he dictated the story to his young Scottish typist, William McAlpine (incidentally, legend has it that McAlpine showed no emotion as he transcribed this most scary of tales; that’s one for Scotland). Pointedly, neither the governess nor the 1st person narrator of the prelude have a name: all the voices that say “I” in the text are anonymous.
The unreliability, the gaps and contradictions account for the various interpretations: some more convincing than others, all equally preposterous*. Because, as T.J. Lustig has pointed out, “to read The Turn of the Screw is to establish the reading, and if necessary to defeat other readings” (Introduction to the OUP edition of 1992). It is exactly what the governess tries to do: she tries to assert her own interpretation, with the same “fury of intention” she imputes to Miss Jessel. Easily, and with good reason, her version can be doubted; the governess seen as a psychological, even psychiatric case; especially from the point of view of the last chapters. The very first words of her manuscript are in fact a testimony to her instability: “I remember the whole beginning as a succession of flights and drops” (ch. I). Her self-awareness is indeed quite puzzling: "I go on, I know, as if I were crazy; and it's a wonder I'm not" (ch. XII).
She describes her arrival at Bly in terms that are clearly, almost ostentatiously literary. The governess is a literate person: her manuscript, we are told, is written in a beautiful hand; she makes explicit references to novels. And whereas the governess sees Bly and what happens there through the lens of her readings, we discover that Mrs Grose cannot read: the "stout simple plain clean wholesome woman" (ch. I) is also illiterate. Flora, on the other hand, is learning to write. All this in a scene crucially involving the letter from the school’s headmaster (a letter whose content is never disclosed to the reader).
Mentions of Fielding’s Amelia, of Jane Eyre and of The Mysteries of Udolpho, however, only mark what the novella fails to be. “Marooned in a novel which refuses to satisfy her narrative desires, the governess seems to use Miles in the obscure ritual she is enacting”, in Lustig’s words. Her desires are quite explicit, and from the very start, as regards the master of Bly. She readily admits to having been “carried away” when she met him, twice, in Harley St. Other desires, though, are only uncovered through a close reading of the text; particularly of the governess’s final dialogue with Miles. She confesses to being “infatuated”—namely with her sense of victory over the evil presences; yet the choice of terminology is an interesting spy. Towards the beginning of the scene, she compares the silence between her and Miles to that of “some young couple [...] at their wedding journey”. A little later she says Miles has been for her “a revelation of the possibilities of beautiful intercourse”. The governess seeks possession of the children. When she fears they are secretly being visited by the ghosts, she explodes into: “They’re not mine—they’re not ours. They’re his and they’re hers!” The ghosts are, first and foremost, a threat to her exclusive ownership. At the crucial moment of the final confrontation with Miles, cited above, she gleams with supremacy: “I have you” (ch. XXIII-XXIV).
The Turn of the Screw is one of several texts, such as Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), Dracula (1897), and Heart of Darkness (1899), which “examine the crumbling edges of the Victorian edifice” (quoting Lustig again). The accepted sexual and social values are not so much questioned as ignored, rendered pointless. The gentleman in Harley St. and his wards act as though social distinctions simply did not exist. Miles spends more time than would fit his status with the lowly Quint, who also has a less than commendable relationship with Miss Jessel. The master, meanwhile, does not care. The only ones who do seem to care, in fact, are Mrs Grose and the governess. On interviewing the governess, the master says there are at Bly “a cook, a housemaid, a dairywoman, an old pony, an old groom and an old gardener, all likewise thoroughly respectable”. The inclusion of the pony in the list undercuts the gentleman’s methods for ascertaining the ‘respectability’ of his employees; which would indeed explain Quint’s and Miss Jessel’s presence at Bly.
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Miles & Douglas There are those who take Douglas to be none other than the grown-up Miles himself. In which case, Douglas’ version of how he first met the governess would be so much rubbish, as well as his profession that the experience in question had not been his own. This hypothesis, though, seems to me to be far-fetched and unsatisfactory. Besides, as Leon Edel has pointed out, the death of the little boy and the survival of the little girl is a recurrent Jamesian trope; the archetype for this being, Edel argues, James’ own suppressed male exuberance as a child. Miles is not Douglas. The fact that both of them are ten years younger than the governess only proves that, even as a mature woman, she is still attracted to, and trying to attract, younger males.
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Time Interestingly, the governess often looses track of time passing―always during, or immediately after, a visit from the ghosts. There are many other references of this kind: she is late when Miles arrives from school, it takes her a long time to break the seal of the letter... she even speaks of "the small clock of my courage" (ch. VI). And I suppose it is by no chance that the novella has 24 chapters.
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The End The metaphor of the Chinese boxes I used earlier is only partly accurate, since the narrative frame appears at the beginning but not at the end. Actually the novella doesn’t even end, it just stops (cf. the last word of the text). Yet the reader knows more than he believes about what is going to happen. In the preface, Douglas says the governess never saw her employer again, after the two initial interviews. This means, amongst other things, that she did not attend the funeral.
Mi trovo a ripetere, forse banalmente, le cose che spesso si leggono a proposito di questo libro: tutto sommato Meyrink non è un autore di primaria grMi trovo a ripetere, forse banalmente, le cose che spesso si leggono a proposito di questo libro: tutto sommato Meyrink non è un autore di primaria grandezza, e forse proprio per questo (ci sono teorie al riguardo) il romanzo rispecchia molto l'atmosfera culturale mitteleuropea di quel periodo. Ma si tratta in effetti di una piccola perla che meriterebbe di essere più conosciuta, nonostante i difetti. Le parti migliori sono quelle su Praga, e in particolare sul ghetto ebraico. (e io ho comprato il libro al museo del ghetto ebraico di Venezia!)
Naturalmente il golem è un topos letterario, di conseguenza ogni testo in cui compare (per quanto nebulosamente, come in questo caso) diventa parte di un canone....more
Nell'era di gutenberg.org la ragione per cui ho preso in prestito quest'edizione è duplice: il piacere di rileggere l'originale e la curiosità di consNell'era di gutenberg.org la ragione per cui ho preso in prestito quest'edizione è duplice: il piacere di rileggere l'originale e la curiosità di consultare la traduzione.
E sono rimasto deluso: sebbene Ceni sia poeta in proprio, e dovrebbe quindi essere lecito supporre una sua familiarità profonda quantomeno con la ligua d'arrivo, il risultato secondo me lascia a desiderare. Perde (inevitabilmente) la musicalità e il ritmo dell'originale senza conseguirne una propria, scadendo anzi a tratti nel 'traduttorese'. Forse sono io a non saperla abbastanza lunga & a non rendermi conto che il buon Ceni non poteva fare di meglio con gli strumenti a sua disposizione; forse il confronto con Coleridge è davvero troppo impari.
Quanto all'originale, mi ha entusiasmato ancora una volta; non tanto per la pur decantata prosodia, un po' scontata per quanto sorprendentemente efficace, ma piuttosto per la straordinaria vividezza con cui la vicenda viene narrata. Il testo trasmette suoni, voci, colori, ma anche sensazioni tattili e perfino olfattive. Molto interessanti anche gli inserti in prosa, che non conoscevo: è vero che interrompono il ritmo incalzante dei versi, ma per chi ha già letto il poema sono un piacevole commento inter-testuale. E citando Borges, non posso non notare che la prosa non è meno poetica dei versi......more
The publishing of Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems in 1798 is usually regarded as the birth certificate of the RomantThe Ancyent Marinere Rulez
The publishing of Lyrical Ballads, with a Few Other Poems in 1798 is usually regarded as the birth certificate of the Romantic movement in English litterae. William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, deliberately breaking away from the common taste of the age, had underlined in the opening Advertisement the "experimental" and innovative character of their compositions. It had been their program to write poetry in the lower and middle registers, with a particular focus on "painting manners and passions" and an explicit link "with our elder writers". All of which applies to the poem in question. The Rime takes place of honour as the opening poem of the collection, and by far also the longest. It was actually one of the very few contributions on Coleridge's part, and an ill-fitting one at that. Wordsworth came to think that "the old words and the strangeness" of it turned readers away from the rest of the collection (made up largely of his own poems). His final comment on the poem, though, is a perfect statement of pros and cons:
The Poem of my Friend has indeed great defects; first, that the principal person has no distinct character, either in his profession of Mariner, or as a human being who having been long under the control of supernatural impressions might be supposed himself to partake of something supernatural; secondly, that he does not act, but is continually acted upon; thirdly, that the events having no necessary connection do not produce each other; and lastly, that the imagery is somewhat too laboriously accumulated. Yet the Poem contains many delicate touches of passion, and indeed the passion is every where true to nature, a great number of the stanzas present beautiful images, and are expressed with unusual felicity of language; and the versification, though the metre is itself unfit for long poems, is harmonious and artfully varied, exhibiting the utmost powers of that metre, and every variety of which it is capable. It therefore appeared to me that these several merits (the first of which, namely that of the passion, is of the highest kind) gave to the Poem a value which is not often possessed by better Poems.
Note in passing the stress on feeling and imagery over reason and equilibrium. How Romantic. As for the 'old words', Coleridge programmatically used archaic spellings and constructions in order to achieve what we would now call a vintage look. This is what the Advertisement has to say on the point:
The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere was professedly written in imitation of the style, as well as of the spirit of the elder poets; but with a few exceptions, the Author believes that the language adopted in it has been equally intelligible for these three last centuries.
In point of fact Coleridge revised the poem in 1817, modernising some forms (title included), adding a few stanzas, and including an explanatory gloss that is now justly famous in its own right. This edition follows the later version—but sadly omitting the gloss.
This is my third or more probably fourth reading of The Rime. And for all its shortcomings, it is always a pleasure. However unnatural and contrived, both the language and the imagery are extremely powerful. And it's funny how the most artificial passages are often the most effective. The description of Cape Horn frosted with ice is just one among my personal favourites: otherwise there's no shortage of sea birds, sea monsters, sea gods, ghost ships, oceanic scenery and a whole boatload of mariners' talk. A must for all lovers of sea naratives! Pointedly, the poem has been interpreted as symbolizing a great many things. Christianity, paganism, the Wandering Jew... Personally I'm more interested in the sheer number of these readings than in each or any of them: such wealth of interpretations is perhaps the best testimony to its aesthetic value. Oh and obviously it has been in time quoted by Melville, Stoker, Mary Shelley, The Pogues... among countless others. The Ancient Mariner is still in perfect good health. Finally, I've always loved the fact that the closing message is one of animalism ante-litteram, albeit on religious grouds:
He prayeth best, who loveth best All things both great and small; For the dear God who loveth us He made and loveth all.
(I may write more in the next days; but for now I'm spent. That's all, folks)...more