section

opere.loescher.it

section

Language

in Literature

section

7

Mediating

between

English

and Italian p. 2

Theme:

Fear and Horror


Language

in Literature

Knowledge

base

2 Section 7 Language in Literature

Mediating between English

and Italian

In Section 7 you will learn some basics about translating literary texts from

English into Italian. You will become more sensitive to the language in the texts

and to the kind of language choices an author makes when writing. You will

also become aware of the similarities and differences between two languages

and the difficulties you can face mediating between the two.

The general theme of the texts you will study concerns fear and horror.

Finding the Right Word

In the first part of this Section you will focus on finding the right word.

1. Look at the following general comments about translation and decide which ones

you agree with.

Are there any that you disagree with? Discuss your answers with a partner.

Poetry is what

gets lost in

translation.

Translation is a

subjective art — there

are no correct answers.

If a translation is

beautiful it is not faithful,

if it is faithful it is

certainly not beautiful.

It is the author’s message

that is important in a work

of literature and so the

translator should feel free to

convey that message

however he or she chooses.


A translation should

be considered as an

independent work in

its own right.

2. One of the most important things for a translator is to identify a text’s subject

matter, its purpose and the relationship between the writer/speaker and reader/listener.

These will influence the translator’s choices regarding register, style and vocabulary.

a. Look at the following pieces of text and with a partner discuss what the purpose of

the text is and what its subject matter is.

1. Place the packet in boiling water and leave to stand for five minutes until the

contents have completely melted. Remove and spread over the cake

immediately.

2. A beguiling page-turner... a brilliant creation. To read this book is to be excited

from first to last.

3. Government to invest in new housing project.

4. Had we but World enough, and Time,

This coyness Lady were no crime.

5. Highfly — it’s the only way to fly.

6. And the princess invited all the children in the kingdom to the palace for a huge

party and together with her prince they all lived happily ever after.

b. Now complete the tables below. There may be more than one answer.

The purpose of the text is Text

a. to inform the reader.

Since different languages

reflect different values and

cultures, a translation will

never be equivalent to the

original text.

b. to amuse and entertain the reader.

c. to help the reader form an opinion.

d. to persuade the reader to buy a product.

e. to cause an emotional response in the reader.

f. to give instructions and explanations to the reader.

The subject matter of the text is Text

a. a book review.

b. instructions for using a product.

c. a love poem.

d. a newspaper headline on government policy.

e. an advertisement for an airline.

f. a children’s fairy tale.

Mediating between English and Italian 3

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Language in Literature

4 Section 7 Language in Literature

3. In literary translation, other factors will also influence the translator’s decisions,

including genre, narrative mode and historical setting.

Look at the extracts below, taken from well-known works of English Literature and

match them with their description.

1. To be, or not to be — that is the question.

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles

3. Monday morning, Rebus headed

for the city mortuary. Normally,

when an autopsy was being

carried out, he would enter by

the side door, which led directly

to the viewing area. But the

building’s air filtering wasn’t

up to scratch, so all

autopsies were now

carried out at a hospital,

and the mortuary was for

storage only.

Description Extract

a. Elizabethan drama: ______________

b. Contemporary detective novel: ______________

c. Romantic poem: ______________

d. 19th century adventure novel: ______________

4. O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn’s being,

Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead

Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

2. “There she blows!

— there she blows! A

hump like a snow-hill!

It is Moby Dick!”


One of the most important tools for the translator is the dictionary, both

monolingual and bilingual.

4. What is the difference between a bilingual and a monolingual dictionary?

Why are they both useful to a translator?

5. Look at this entry in a monolingual dictionary for the word ‘fear’ and

match the phrases below to the different parts of the dictionary entry.

fe-ar /fiə/ n an unpleasant

emotion or thought that you have

when you are frightened or

worried by something dangerous

or bad that is happening or that

might happen: Trembling with fear,

she handed over the money to the

gunman [U] I can’t go up the

tower because I have a fear of

heights. They wouldn’t let their cat

run around outside for fear that

(= because they were worried

that) it would get run over by a

car.

fe-ar (obj) /fiə/ v What do you

fear most? [T] He wouldn’t say

anything to the press because he

feared being misreported [+ v-ing]

a. entry with syllabification: _______________

b. pronunciation: _______________

c. part of speech (verb, noun, adjective, preposition):

_____________________________________________

d. word definition: _______________________________________________________

e. examples of word use in context: _________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

f. this shows that the verb can be used with an object: __________

__________________________________________________________________________

g. this shows that the noun is uncountable: _______________

h. this shows that the verb is transitive (it takes an object):

_______________

i. this shows that a verb which follows must be a gerund:

_____________________________________________

j. a word in bold means it is often found together with the

main word: _____________________________________________

6. Words are generally classified into eight parts of speech: verb, noun, pronoun,

adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, exclamation.

a. Using a monolingual English dictionary, look up the following words and identify

their part of speech.

glimmer

care

spark

contrast

b. What did you notice about all of these words? Write the Italian for their meanings.

c. Look at the following pairs of sentences and identify the part of speech for the

word in bold. Then translate them into Italian.

Can I get you a glass of water?

Don’t forget to water the plants while we’re away.

He sat on an old armchair intently reading a book.

It might be a good idea to book a seat on the train before we leave.

Mediating between English and Italian 5

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Language in Literature

6 Section 7 Language in Literature

7. Many words in English have more than one meaning.

a. Look up the following words in a mono-lingual dictionary and write the meanings

next to the word.

b. Decide which meaning is used in the sentences that follow. The first has been done

for you as an example.

dull: i) ___________ boring ii) __________________ not bright iii) ______________________________________________________________________________________

not sharp (especially of sound or pain)

The speaker droned on in his dull, monotonous voice. _________________________________________________________________________

dull = boring

I had been awake all night with a dull pain in the pit of my stomach. _________________________________________________________

dull = not sharp

socket: i) ___________________________________________________________ ii) ____________________________________________________________

We looked everywhere but there was no socket to plug in the stereo. _________________________________________________________

socket =

scarcely: i) _________________________________________________________ ii) ____________________________________________________________

She spoke so quietly we could scarcely hear her. ______________________________________________________________________________

scarcely =

features: i) _________________________________________________________ ii) ____________________________________________________________

The film features Marlon Brando as an ex-serviceman. ________________________________________________________________________

features =

c. Now translate the sentences into Italian.

8. Some words can be ‘false friends’. As the name suggests, this term refers to words

which look familiar in a foreign language but which have a slightly (or sometimes

completely) different meaning.

a. Here are some examples of the most common English-Italian false friends. With a

partner, discuss what you think they mean in your language.

actually

collect

eventually

morbid

annoyed

pretend

sensible

novel

b. Now consider the words used in context and see if you were right.

I didn’t actually see her — I only heard her voice.

A large crowd of reporters collected outside the Prime Minister’s House.

Although she had been ill for a long time, it still came as a shock when she eventually died.

The poet demonstrates his morbid devotion to his dead wife by sleeping next to her grave.

I was so annoyed with him for turning up late that I couldn’t speak to him for an hour.

The children were playing, pretending to be dinosaurs.

I think the sensible thing to do is phone before you go and ask for directions.

Have you read any of Jane Austen’s novels?

c. Translate the full sentences into Italian.


First steps

9. Look at the picture.

a. Describe what you can see and what is happening.

b. Where do you think these pictures comes from? Which book are the films

based on? Who was its author?

10. You are going to read and translate extracts from the novel.

a. First, read a summary of the first part of the story. Find out who Victor Frankenstein

is and what he is trying to do.

Summary On an expedition to the North Pole, Captain Robert Walton’s ship is

trapped in the ice. In the distance he sees a huge creature travelling across the ice

on a sled and some hours later he finds a man close to death near his ship. He

rescues the man, whose name turns out to be Victor Frankenstein, and, as his

health improves, Frankenstein begins to tell the Captain his story.

He was brought up in a comfortable, loving family and from an early age showed

an interest in the natural world around him, in particular the origins of life. Later, as

a student, a professor encourages him in his studies and Frankenstein decides that

he will create a being of his own. He collects the discarded parts of corpses to build

his creature, working day and night until he is on the brink of exhaustion.

Mediating between English and Italian 7

Language in Literature


Language in Literature

T 60

Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

or the Modern

Prometheus

(1818)

8 Section 7 Language in Literature

b. Read through the first extract from the novel Frankenstein or the Modern

Prometheus (from Chapter V) and decide which image of the two creatures most

resembles Mary Shelley’s description.

⊳ Theodor M. von Holst (1810-44),

frontispiece for the 1831 edition

of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Boris Karloff (as the classic 1931 film

version and Hollywood’s interpretation of

Frankenstein’s monster) from Frankenstein,

directed by James Whales (USA, 1931).


It was on a dreary night of November, that I beheld the accomplishment of my toils.

With an anxiety that almost amounted to agony, I collected the instruments of life

around me, that I might infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my

feet. It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally against the

panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the halfextinguished

light, I saw the dull yellow eye of the creature open; it breathed hard,

and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs.

How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the

wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to form? His

10 limbs were in proportion, and I had selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful! —

Great God! His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries

beneath; his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness;

but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that

seemed almost of the same colour as the dun white sockets in which they were set,

his shrivelled complexion and straight black lips.


In more detail

11. Look at the passage again and focus on problem words.

a. Find in the extract the words listed below and answer the questions which follow.

dreary: What feelings does this word suggest, happiness or gloom?

toils: Is it used here as a verb or a noun?

collected: Can you find a synonym ‘for collect’? What kind of things do people

usually collect?

spark: Is it used as a noun or a verb? What kind of energy is normally

related to this word?

dismally: What feelings does the sound of rain arouse in you?

glimmer: Is it here used as a verb or a noun? What kind of light do we get

from a candle?

dull: What meaning is being used here?

hard: Is it used as an adverb or an adjective?

features: Which meaning is intended here? Is it a verb or a noun?

scarcely: Does it here mean ‘only just’ or ‘not at all’?

luxuriances: Does it have a positive or negative connotation here?

contrast: Is it used here as a verb or a noun?

sockets: Which part of the body does it refer to here?

b. Check any other unknown words in a monolingual dictionary first and, if necessary,

a bilingual dictionary.

12. Now translate the text. When you have finished, compare your version with a

translation in the key on page 27.

a. What differences do you notice?

Do these differences alter the meaning? If so, in what way?

b. Are there any parts of your translation that you prefer? Justify your choices.

⊳ Mary Shelley’s notebook

in which she started writing

Frankenstein in Geneva in

1816. Note the corrections

in the margin, by her

husband Percy Bysshe

Shelley, one of the major

English Romantic poets

(University of Oxford,

Bodleian Library, Abinger

Collection).

Mediating between English and Italian 9

Language in Literature


Language in Literature

Knowledge

base

10 Section 7 Language in Literature

Finding the Right Phrase

In the second part of this Section you will focus on finding the right phrase.

1. Check your knowledge of language terminology. Match the terms on the left with

their definitions on the right.

Term Definition

a. word 1. A group of words that expresses a statement, command, question

or exclamation; it usually has at least one subject and a finite verb,

e.g.‘there will be heavy rain in the east’.

b. phrase 2. A noun or a pronoun that comes before a verb in an ordinary

affirmative sentence, usually what or who does the action

of the verb, e.g. ‘rain (fell heavily all day)’.

c. sentence 3. A noun or pronoun that usually follows a verb in a normal active

sentence, usually the person or thing affected by the action of the

verb, e.g. ‘(I hate) the rain’.

d. collocation 4. A single lexical item, e.g. ‘rain’.

e. -ing form 5. A word or phrase which is frequently used with another word

or phrase and sounds right to native speakers, e.g. ‘heavy rain’.

f. base form 6. The form of a verb which is either a gerund or present participle,

or bare infinitive e.g. ‘(it is) raining’.

g. subject 7. The simplest form of a verb without ‘to’, e.g. ‘(let it) rain’.

h. object 8. Two or more words that function together as a group,

e.g. ‘rain in the east’.

2. Focus on these collocations. Some word combinations are more frequent than

others in English and sound more natural to a native speaker. For example you can

make a mess but not do a mess; or you can miss an opportunity but not lose

an opportunity; some people eat fast food not quick food.

a. With a partner, translate the following pairs of sentences into Italian. What do you

notice about the words in italics?

I love his dry sense of humour. I’d prefer a dry white wine, thank you.

Come and take a look at this! I’m exhausted, let’s take a break.

That’s terribly kind of you. He’s terribly rich.

He’s living with his parents for I like being on my own from time

the time being. to time.

b. Now look at these words and phrases taken from the text you are going

to translate (T 61). Make phrases by matching items from the left column

and the right column.

for some truth

state of soon as

fortunate time

the whole chance

so mind

c. It is not always possible to translate these expressions word for word.

Look at the phrases in context and translate them into Italian. Use a dictionary

to help if necessary.

Did you translate word for word or did you have to find alternatives?

a. […] so soon as night obscured the shapes of objects, a thousand fears arose

in my mind.

b. Elizabeth observed my agitation for some time in timid and fearful silence;

c. I passed an hour in this state of mind, […] and I earnestly entreated her

to retire

d. As I heard it [the scream], the whole truth rushed into my mind

e. But I discovered no trace of him, and was beginning to conjecture that some

fortunate chance had intervened to prevent the execution of his menaces;


3. Now consider word order. Word order is more flexible in Italian and can be used to

focus the reader’s attention and create certain effects.

a. Look at the sentences below and their Italian translations. What differences do you

notice? What effect does this have on the Italian version?

Suddenly two armed Ad un tratto irruppero nella stanza due uomini armati.

men burst into the room. Ad un tratto, due uomini armati irruppero nella stanza.

Ad un tratto, nella stanza irruppero due uomini armati.

A hospital has been hit È stato colpito un ospedale nella zona di guerra.

in the war zone. Un ospedale è stato colpito nella zona di guerra.

Nella zona di guerra è stato colpito un ospedale.

It had been a long, Era stata una giornata lunga e faticosa.

hard day. Era stata una lunga giornata faticosa.

b. Here is an example from the text you are going to translate. Comment on the

differences between the English and Italian.

but so soon as night obscured the shapes of objects, a thousand fears arose

in my mind.

ma appena la notte nascose la forma delle cose, mi nacquero mille paure.

c. Look at the sentences below taken from the Text 61 and translate them in as many

ways as possible. Discuss how changes in word order alter the meaning of the

sentence.

a. Elizabeth observed my agitation for some time

b. I earnestly entreated her to retire

c. But I discovered no trace of him

d. when suddenly I heard a shrill and dreadful scream

e. As I heard it [the scream], the whole truth rushed into my mind

f. the motion of every muscle and fibre was suspended

4. Think about differences in grammatical structures.

a. Look at the examples and comment on grammatical differences between the

English and Italian. The first one has been done for you as an example.

She wanted me to wait for her. Voleva che l’aspettassi.

____________________________________________________ ‘to want’ + object + infintive ___________________________________________________

‘volere che’ + congiuntivo

How long have you known each other? Da quanto tempo vi conoscete?

____________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________

I’ll be staying with the Smiths when Starò/Abiterò dagli Smith quando

I get to New York. arriverò a New York.

____________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________

b. Now translate the phrases below taken from the Text 61 and comment on the

changes you have made to grammatical structures.

a. I continued some time walking up and down

b. I could feel the blood trickling in my veins, and tingling in the extremities

of my limbs.

c. I resolved that I would […] not shrink from the conflict until my own life

[…] was extinguished.

d. [I resolved] not to join her until I had obtained some knowledge as to the

situation of my enemy.

e. my right hand grasped a pistol which was hidden in my bosom

Mediating between English and Italian 11

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Language in Literature

First steps

12 Section 7 Language in Literature

5. You are now going to read and translate a second passage from Frankenstein or

the Modern Prometheus.

a. Before you read the text, look at a summary of the story up to this point. Find out

who Elizabeth is and why Frankenstein is so terrified.

Summary Victor Frankenstein rejects his creature when he realises how ugly

and hideous he is. The creature tries to form relationships with humans but faces

repeated rejection, eventually killing Frankenstein’s younger brother. In despair, the

creature asks Frankenstein to create a female companion for him. Frankenstein

initially agrees but then abandons his work when he reflects on the consequences

of what he is doing. The creature swears revenge, vowing to kill all those who are

dear to Frankenstein so that he too may feel the desperation of loneliness. He kills

Henry Clerval, a close friend of Frankenstein who is accused of his murder and

imprisoned. After his father obtains his release, Frankenstein returns to Switzerland

to marry his cousin Elizabeth, but he fears that the monster will try to kill her too.

A second scene from 1931 film version of Mary

Shelley’s Frankenstein.

In this classic Hollywood’s interpretation, when

Frankenstein’s monster escapes, he meets a little

girl playing near the water. The monster and the

girl throw flowers in the water. Enjoying the

playing, the clumsy monster proceeds to pick up

the girl and throw her in the water, too. Later we

learn that the little girl drowned in the incident.

The creature portrayed in Shelley’s novel starts out

as an innocent, loving being. It is only when he is

treated badly by those he comes into contact with

that he develops his aggression and sense of

hatred. After the book was published, however,

stage directors and, later, film directors changed

the creature into a more dehumanised being,

preferring to show him in a more sensational light

which focuses on his violent nature.

b. Read the text which is taken from Chapter XXIII. Why does Victor send Elizabeth to

bed alone?


T 61

Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

or the Modern

Prometheus

(1818)

In more detail

10

20

I had been calm during the day; but so soon as night obscured the shapes of objects,

a thousand fears arose in my mind. I was anxious and watchful, while my right hand

grasped a pistol which was hidden in my bosom; every sound terrified me; but I

resolved that I would sell my life dearly, and not shrink from the conflict until my

own life, or that of my adversary, was extinguished.

Elizabeth observed my agitation for some time in timid and fearful silence; but

there was something in my glance which communicated terror to her, and trembling

she asked “What is it that agitates you, my dear Victor? What is it you fear?”

“Oh! peace, peace, my love,” replied I; “this night, and all will be safe: but this

night is dreadful, very dreadful.”

I passed an hour in this state of mind, when suddenly I reflected how fearful

the combat which I momentarily expected would be to my wife, and I earnestly

entreated her to retire, resolving not to join her until I had obtained some

knowledge as to the situation of my enemy.

She left me, and I continued some time walking up and down the passages of

the house, and inspecting every corner that might afford a retreat to my adversary.

But I discovered no trace of him, and was beginning to conjecture that some

fortunate chance had intervened to prevent the execution of his menaces; when

suddenly I heard a shrill and dreadful scream. It came from the room into which

Elizabeth had retired. As I heard it, the whole truth rushed into my mind, my arms

dropped, the motion of every muscle and fibre was suspended; I could feel the

blood trickling in my veins, and tingling in the extremities of my limbs. This state

lasted but for an instant; the scream was repeated, and I rushed into the room.

Helena Bonham Carter (as Elizabeth, Victor Frankenstein’s wife)

in a scene from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein,

directed by Kenneth Branagh in 1994.

6. Translate the text. Pay special attention to the points you have covered in the

previous exercises.

7. Now compare your version with a translation in the key on page 27.

What differences do you notice?

Do these differences alter the meaning? If so, in what way?

Are there any parts of your translation that you prefer? Justify your choices.

Mediating between English and Italian 13

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Language in Literature

Knowledge

base

14 Section 7 Language in Literature

Putting the Phrases Together

In the third part of this Section, you will think about how phrases can be put together

to form more complex sentences.

1. Look at the sentence below and match the words in bold with their definitions

below.

Although he had lived in many parts of the world, it took Stephen a while

to understand some of the local customs, which he found unusual.

a. Relative pronoun introducing a relative clause.

b. Conjunction expressing contrast.

c. Pronoun used to refer to a person who has not yet been introduced.

The complex sentence above can be broken down into its constituent parts, like this:

Stephen had lived in many parts of the world.

It took Stephen a while to understand some of the local customs.

Stephen found the local customs unusual.

2. Focus on relative clauses.

a. Relative clauses are one of the linguistic devices we can use to hold sentences together.

Use one of the relative pronouns to join the short sentences below to make a longer

sentence.

who where which

a. In front of you is a house. Shakespeare was born in this house.

b. I’m looking for a copy of a book. This book was reviewed on the radio yesterday.

c. A man has just moved in next door. This man plays in an orchestra.

b. Now translate these sentences into Italian, paying particular attention to the use

of relative pronouns.

a. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

3. Focus on conjunctions.

a. Conjunctions are another linguistic device which help to make a text cohesive. Join

the two parts of the sentences and then decide whether the conjunction is used

to express time, reason, contrast, result or purpose.

a. We saw an accident 1. although I have a PC.

b. I prefer to write letters by hand 2. and yet I still don’t fully trust him.

c. He sent me his mobile number 3. as we were walking along the high

street.

d. We’ve known each other 4. because he had so much work

a long time to catch up on.

e. John stayed late at the office 5. since you have refused to take

my advice.

f. It is forbidden to leave the room 6. until you have answered all the

questions.

g. You will have to pay 7. so that I could contact him at any

the consequences time.

b. Now translate these sentences into Italian, making sure your choice of conjunction

expresses the same concept as the original.

a. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________


First steps

d. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

e. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

f. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

g. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. Focus on anaphoric and cataphoric reference.

a. Look at these examples. Who does ‘his’ refer to?

In addition to his best-selling works of fiction and short stories, R. L. Smith has

published a collection of historical essays.

R. L. Smith has published a collection of historical essays, in addition to his

best-selling works of fiction and short stories.

b. In the first sentence, do we have to look forward (cataphoric reference) or backward

(anaphoric reference) in the sentence to find this out?

In the second sentence do we have to look forward or backward?

c. In the following sentences decide what the word in bold type refers to and say

whether it is an example of cataphoric (C) [] or anaphoric (A) [] reference.

a. After they had taken everybody’s fingerprints, the police began questioning

the witnesses.

‘They’ _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

refers to

b. It wasn’t until he had turned the corner that Jack realised he was being followed.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

c. Scientists have discovered a simple way of testing for the virus. This will enable

doctors to screen patients in their surgery.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

d. I have so much free time now that I’m retired, but I don’t know what to do with it.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

d. Now translate these sentences into Italian paying particular attention to the words

in bold type and what they refer to.

5. Now you are ready to read and translate a final extract from Frankenstein or the

Modern Prometheus.

a. Before you read the text, look at a summary

of the story up to this point and find out

what happens to Frankenstein after his

father’s death.

Summary Soon after his wife’s murder, his

father also dies and, consumed with revenge,

Frankenstein vows to follow the creature to the

ends of the earth in order to destroy him. His

journey takes him as far as the North Pole,

where he is overcome with fatigue and rescued

by Captain Walton and his crew. Frankenstein

just manages to tell the captain his story when

he dies, but not before asking Walton to

complete the task of destroying the creature.

Shortly after this, Walton is disturbed by the

sound of a commotion on board his ship.

Cover of one of the first editions of the novel

Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus.

Mediating between English and Italian 15

Language in Literature


Language in Literature

T 62

Mary Shelley

Frankenstein

or the Modern

Prometheus

(1818)

In more detail

10

16 Section 7 Language in Literature

20

b. Read the text which is taken from Chapter XXIV. What is Walton’s reaction when he

sees the creature?

I entered the cabin, where lay the remains of

my ill-fated and admirable friend. Over him

hung a form which I cannot find words to

describe; gigantic in stature, yet uncouth and

distorted in its proportions. As he hung over

the coffin, his face was concealed by long

locks of ragged hair; but one vast hand was

extended, in colour and apparent texture like

that of a mummy. When he heard the sound

of my approach, he ceased to utter

exclamations of grief and horror, and sprung

towards the window. Never did I behold a

vision so horrible as his face, of such

loathsome yet appalling hideousness. I shut

my eyes involuntarily, and endeavoured to

recollect what were my duties with regard to

this destroyer. I called on him to stay.

He paused, looking on me with wonder;

and, again turning towards the lifeless form

of his creator, he seemed to forget my presence, and every feature and gesture

seemed instigated by the wildest rage of some uncontrollable passion.

“That is also my victim!” he exclaimed: “in his murder my crimes are

consummated; the miserable series of my being is wound to its close! Oh,

Frankenstein! generous and self-devoted being! what does it avail that I now ask

thee to pardon me? I, who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou

lovedst. Alas! he is cold, he cannot answer me.”

6. Translate the text. Pay special attention to the points you have covered

in the previous exercises.

⊳ Captain Walton (Aidan

Quinn) and the crew in a

scene from Mary Shelley’s

Frankenstein, directed by

Kenneth Branagh in 1994.

Poster for a French version

of the film Mary Shelley’s

Frankenstein (French title:

Frankenstein d’après Mary

Shelley), directed by

Kenneth Branagh, 1994.


7. Now compare your version with a translation in the key on page 27.

What differences do you notice?

Do these differences alter the meaning? If so, in what way?

Are there any parts of your translation that you prefer? Justify your choices.


Knowledge

base

Mediating Cultural Differences

and Translating Dialogue

In the fourth part of this Section you will focus on mediating cultural differences

and translating dialogue.

Cultural Differences

1. What do you know about the High School system in the United States? Answer

these questions with a partner.

What subjects are studied? Are all subjects compulsory?

Do students stay in the same classroom or do they move from class to class?

How do students show they have attended classes?

How long is the school day? Do students go home for lunch or do they eat at school?

In the translation of a literary text from English into Italian you may find words and

expressions which refer to something specific in English or American culture which is

not the same or does not even exist in Italian culture.

2. Look at this sample school timetable from an American high school.

a. Do you recognise all the subjects? Are there any subjects which you do not study?

Are there any subjects that you study which are not on the timetable?

Day of Week Period 1 Period 2 Period 3 Period 4 Lunch Period 5 Period 6

Monday Homeroom Biology World History English – English Chemistry

Tuesday Trigonometry Spanish Math Government – Journalism Life Skills

b. Focus on the subjects which are unfamiliar to you. How could you translate them?

3. American high schools also offer optional courses, which are known as electives,

and students are encouraged to take part in after school clubs and groups.

Look at these electives and school clubs, and discuss possible translations with a partner.

a. Child Development ________________________________________________________________________________

b. Nutrition ________________________________________________________________________________

c. Dance ________________________________________________________________________________

d.Choreography ________________________________________________________________________________

e. Leadership ________________________________________________________________________________

f. Chess Club ________________________________________________________________________________

g. Home Economics ________________________________________________________________________________

h. Interior Design ________________________________________________________________________________

i. Graphic Design ________________________________________________________________________________

Mediating between English and Italian 17

Language in Literature


Language in Literature

First Steps

18 Section 7 Language in Literature

4. Look at these pictures of American high school classrooms.

a. Use the words in the list below to label the items shown.

a. seat ______________________________________________.

b. desk _______________________________________________

c. row _______________________________________________

d. OHP _______________________________________________

e. whiteboard _______________________________________________

f. aisle _______________________________________________

g. teacher’s desk _______________________________________________

h. nameplate _______________________________________________

b. Now translate these words into Italian. Did you find any words more difficult

to translate than others? Why?

You are now going to read and translate passages from a recent novel which is set

in an American high school.

5. Read the introductory summary and try to identify the novel.

Summary A young girl goes to live with her father in a remote, rainy town in the

north-west of the United States. She is rather introverted and has never really been

able to fit in with people of her own age so she is not looking forward to her first

day in her new high school.

6. Now read a first extract from the novel. It is taken from Chapter 1.

Who does the girl meet on her first day?


T 63

Stephenie

Meyer

Twilight (2005)

In these pages (19-23),

stills from Twilight

(USA, 2008), directed

by Catherine Hardwicke,

based on the 2005 novel

by Stephenie Meyer.

10

20

30

Right: Bella (Kristen Stewart)

and Eric (Justin Chon).

In more detail

I took the slip up to the teacher, a tall, balding

man whose desk had a nameplate identifying him

as Mr. Mason. He gawked at me when he saw my

name — not an encouraging response — and of

course I flushed tomato red. But at least he sent

me to an empty desk at the back without

introducing me to the class. It was harder for my

new classmates to stare at me in the back, but

somehow, they managed. I kept my eyes down on

the reading list the teacher had given me. It was

fairly basic: Bronte, Shakespeare, Chaucer,

Faulkner. I’d already read everything. That was

comforting… and boring. I wondered if my mom

would send me my folder of old essays, or if she

would think that was cheating. I went through

different arguments with her in my head while

the teacher droned on.

When the bell rang, a nasal buzzing sound, a

gangly boy with skin problems and hair black as

an oil slick leaned across the aisle to talk to me.

“You’re Isabella Swan, aren’t you?” He looked

like the overly helpful, chess club type.

“Bella,” I corrected. Everyone within a

three-seat radius turned to look at me.

“Where’s your next class?” he asked.

I had to check in my bag. “Um, Government,

with Jefferson, in building six.”

There was nowhere to look without meeting

curious eyes.

“I’m headed toward building four, I could show

you the way…” Definitely over-helpful. “I’m

Eric,” he added.

7. Translate the text using the guidelines to help you.

What is this slip? Why does she

have it?

What is this desk called in Italian?

Why is there a “nameplate” on it?

What is this desk called

in Italian?

In the back of what?

What is a reading list and why

does she have it?

What insect do we normally

associate with the verb “droned”?

How is the teacher speaking in this

case?

Try to reformulate using the word

fila or banco.

What is the stereotyped image of

someone who joins a chess club?

What is this seat called in Italian?

What subject is this and who is

Jefferson?

Why is he going to another

building?

8. Now compare your version with a translation in the key on page 28.

What differences do you notice?

Do these differences alter the meaning? If so, in what way?

Are there any parts of your translation that you prefer? Justify your choices.

Mediating between English and Italian 19

Language in Literature


Language in Literature

Knowledge

base

20 Section 7 Language in Literature

Translating Dialogue

When you translate dialogue in a literary text there are several things to keep in mind:

the actual words spoken in the dialogue;

the way these words are reported;

the description of the speakers’ reactions.

1. Read the dialogue below which is taken from the extract you have just translated.

“You’re Isabella Swan, aren’t you?”

“Bella,”

“Where’s your next class?”

“Um, Government, with Jefferson, in building six.”

“I’m headed toward building four, I could show you the way…”

“I’m Eric,”

a. Some parts of the text have been removed. Which are they?

b. Without looking back at the original text, add the missing parts of the text listed below.

He looked like the overly helpful, chess club type.

I corrected. Everyone within a three-seat radius turned to look at me.

he asked.

I had to check in my bag.

There was nowhere to look without meeting curious eyes.

Definitely over-helpful.

he added.

c. What do these missing parts bring to the dialogue? What extra information do we

learn from them?

2. Think about the differences between spoken language and written language.

a. Look at these phrases and identify the features which the author has used to make

them sound like they have been spoken rather than written.

a. “Then there are the stories about

the cold ones”

b. “He was the one who made the

treaty…”

c. “You see, the cold ones are the

natural enemies of the wolf — well,

not the wolf, really…”

d. “but the wolves that turn into men,

like our ancestors”

e. “Werewolves have enemies?”

1. Use of phrasal verbs.

2. Use of interjections such as well,

I mean or you see.

3. Questions do not contain

an auxiliary and are shown by

a question mark.

4. Emphasis is shown through

sentence structure.

5. Use of common adverbs at

the beginning of a sentence.

3. Consider the verbs used to introduce dialogue.

The way direct speech is introduced can reveal much about the mood of the character

and help the reader to understand the development of the dialogue.

a. Look at the statements below and replace the word said with one of the verbs in

the pool below.

explain admit warn boast whisper exclaim

a. “Goodness me, how you’ve grown!”, his grandfather said. _____________________________

b. “What time is it?”, James said. _____________________________

c. “All your answers must be written clearly”, the teacher said. _____________________________

d. “Don’t ever go near that derelict house”, his mother said. _____________________________

e. “I’ll always love you”, he said. _____________________________

f. “Yes, it was me. I threw the stone”, he said. _____________________________

g. “That’s the third race I’ve won this month”, she said. _____________________________


First Steps

T 64

Stephenie

Meyer

Twilight

(2005)

10

b. Now translate the sentences into Italian, using your chosen verbs.

a. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

b. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

c. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

d. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

e. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

f. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

g. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________

4. You are now going to read a second passage from Twilight.

Before you go on, read a summary of the story and find out who Jacob is.

Summary On her first day at school, Bella meets a strikingly attractive student

called Edward Cullen who appears to be totally repulsed by her. She learns from

some other students that Edward lives with his foster parents and family just

outside the town but that they do not mix much with the local community. When

Edward returns to school after a few days’ absence, he seems much friendlier

towards her. After saving her life in the school car park, Bella is convinced that he

possesses superhuman powers. Since Edward himself avoids her questions, Bella

tricks a family friend, Jacob,

into telling her about local

legends.

Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Jacob

(Taylor Lautner) in a scene from Twilight.

5. Now read the passage from Chapter 6.

According to Jacob, who are the werewolves’ natural enemies?

“[…] Then there are the stories about the cold ones.” His voice dropped a little

lower.

“The cold ones?” I asked, not faking my intrigue now.

“Yes. There are stories of the cold ones as old as the wolf legends, and some

much more recent. According to legend, my own great-grandfather knew some of

them. He was the one who made the treaty that kept them off our land.” He rolled

his eyes.

“Your great-grandfather?” I

encouraged.

“He was a tribal elder, like

my father. You see, the cold

ones are the natural enemies of

the wolf — well, not the wolf,

really, but the wolves that turn

into men, like our ancestors. You

would call them werewolves.”

“Werewolves have enemies?”

“Only one.”

Mediating between English and Italian 21

Language in Literature


Language in Literature

In more detail

Knowledge

base

6. Translate the text.

22 Section 7 Language in Literature

7. Now compare your version with a translation in the key on page 28.

What differences do you notice?

Do these differences alter the meaning? If so, in what way?

Are there any parts of your translation that you prefer? Justify your choices.

Emotion in Dialogue

1. Focus on conveying emotion in dialogue.

a. With a partner look at these text messages and discuss the message conveyed by

the emoticon.

WHY DIDN’T YOU TURN UP?

I HEARD YOUR GOOD NEWS

CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS?

I’VE LOST MY EXAM NOTES!

I DIDN’T MEAN TO HURT YOU

When we speak we convey our emotions through our facial and body expression and

through the tone of our voice. In a written dialogue, these emotions will need to be

stated more explicitly.

b. Look at these sentences taken from the text you are going to translate (T 65) and

focus on the description of the speaker’s voice. Consider how you could translate

them into Italian.

a. “Never,” he said, his voice nearly inaudible.

b. His voice was hard now, and when he looked at me again his eyes were

cold.

c. “He said we weren’t dangerous?” His voice was deeply skeptical.

d. His voice was bleak. “Don’t you want to know if I drink blood?”

In English, the most frequent way to describe a speaker’s attitude is to use

a verb + an adverb.

Ex: “You’re not going out dressed like that, are you?”, her father said angrily.

In Italian an adverbial or noun phrase may be more suitable than an adverb.

Ex: “Certo che sì!” rispose la ragazza con strafottenza.

c. Look at these sentences and consider the most suitable way to translate them

into Italian.

a. “How old are you?” “Seventeen,” he answered promptly.

b. “You aren’t concerned about my diet?” he asked sarcastically.

c. “What did Jacob say?” he asked flatly.

d. “We try,” he explained slowly.

d. Were any sentences more difficult to translate than others? Discuss why.


First Steps

T 65

Stephenie

Meyer

Twilight

(2005)

2. Think about how characters’ reactions and physical expressions are described.

a. Look at the phrases which show reactions. Check the meaning of any unknown words.

His lips twitched

I smiled

he frowned

I flinched

he stared at me

he hesitated

I blinked

b. Now match one of the reactions above to the statements below.

a. “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever met”__________________________________________________

b. “No, Tom. I will not let you borrow the car again tonight.”__________________________________

c. “So, will you be coming to the party on Saturday, or not?” ________________________________

d. “I never want to see you again! Ever!” _________________________________________________________

3. Now you are going to look at a final extract from Twilight.

First read the summary and find out what Bella has discovered about Edward Cullen.

Summary After speaking to Jacob, Bella goes home and does some research of

her own on Internet. She begins to suspect that Edward and his family are vampires

but, as yet, she has no confirmation of this. When Edward rescues her a second

time from a bunch of potential aggressors, Bella decides it is time to confront him

with what she knows.

4. Read the text, taken from Chapter 9.

Find out if Edward admits he is a vampire.

⊳ Edward

(Robert

Pattinson)

and Bella

(Kristen

Stewart)

in a scene

from Twilight.

He was suddenly resigned. “What are you curious about?”

“How old are you?”

“Seventeen,” he answered promptly.

“And how long have you been seventeen?”

His lips twitched as he stared at the road. “A while,” he admitted at last.

Mediating between English and Italian 23

Language in Literature


Language in Literature

In more detail

24 Section 7 Language in Literature

10

20

30

40

“Okay.” I smiled, pleased that he was still being honest with me. He stared down

at me with watchful eyes, much as he had before, when he was worried I would go

into shock. I smiled wider in encouragement, and he frowned.

“Don’t laugh — but how can you come out during the daytime?”

He laughed anyway. “Myth.”

“Burned by the sun?”

“Myth.”

“Sleeping in coffins?”

“Myth.” He hesitated for a moment, and a peculiar tone entered his voice. “I

can’t sleep.”

It took me a minute to absorb that. “At all?”

“Never,” he said, his voice nearly inaudible. He turned to look at me with a

wistful expression. The golden eyes held mine, and I lost my train of thought. I

stared at him until he looked away.

“You haven’t asked me the most important question yet.” His voice was hard

now, and when he looked at me again his eyes were cold.

I blinked, still dazed. “Which one is that?”

“You aren’t concerned about my diet?” he asked sarcastically.

“Oh,” I murmured, “that.”

“Yes, that.” His voice was bleak. “Don’t you want to know if I drink blood?”

I flinched. “Well, Jacob said something about that.”

“What did Jacob say?” he asked flatly.

“He said you didn’t… hunt people. He said your family wasn’t supposed to be

dangerous because you only hunted animals.”

“He said we weren’t dangerous?” His voice was deeply skeptical.

“Not exactly. He said you weren’t supposed to be dangerous. But the Quileutes

still didn’t want you on their land, just in case.”

He looked forward, but I couldn’t tell if he was watching the road or not.

“So was he right? About not hunting people?” I tried to keep my voice as even

as possible.

“The Quileutes have a long memory,” he whispered.

I took it as a confirmation.

“Don’t let that make you complacent, though,” he warned me. “They’re right to

keep their distance from us. We are still dangerous.”

“I don’t understand.”

“We try,” he explained slowly. “We’re usually very good at what we do.

Sometimes we make mistakes. Me, for example, allowing myself to be alone with

you.”

“This is a mistake?” I heard the sadness in my voice, but I didn’t know if he

could as well.

“A very dangerous one,” he murmured.

5. Translate the text, paying special attention to the aspects you have considered.

6. Now compare your version with a translation in the key on page 28.

What differences do you notice?

Do these differences alter the meaning? If so, in what way?

Are there any parts of your translation that you prefer? Justify your choices.


EXTENSION

Beyond the Page

Fear and Horror

Work on the theme of fear and horror in a new and creative way.

1. Read the introduction and answer the questions.

Two strangers were talking. “I don’t

believe in ghosts” said one. “Don’t

you?” said the other and vanished

into thin air…

Source: http://colonelblinker.blogspot.com/

2006/08/worlds-shortest-ghost-story.html.

What is a ghost? Do you believe in ghosts?

2. Focus on ghost stories.

a. Look at the vocabulary below which is typically

used in ghost stories. Check the meaning of the

words you don’t know.

shock

footsteps

scream

whisper

creep

haunted

terrified

shiver

dark

scary

abandoned

remote

hair-raising

blood-curdling

eerie

mist

fog

stormy

graveyard

apparition

sensation

stare

shadow

deathly

moors

moonless

strange

b. Make a chart and divide the words into nouns,

adjectives and verbs. Some words can go in two

categories.

c. Add two more appropriate words to each section.

⊳ Sleepy Hollow (USA/Germany, 1999), directed

by Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp (as Ichabod

Crane) and Christina Ricci (as Katrina Van Tassel).

d. With your partner make three ghost story

sentences using as many of the words in the

columns as possible. Here’s an example:

The deathly shadow crept through the

graveyard.

Extension

3. Try your hand at writing a ghost story.

a. Work in groups of four. Write a short ghost story

using this plan, if necessary, to guide you:

— set the scene (the place, time, weather);

— introduce the person (it could be a first or third

person narrator) who had the experience and what

he or she was doing;

— describe in detail the strange encounter;

— write a conclusion to the encounter;

— write a closing sentence or comment.

b. Practise reading your story out loud in your group

then read your story to your classmates. Use the

right tone of voice to create the atmosphere.

4. Read some ghost stories.

a. Read through these three accounts of some British

people’s encounters with ghosts. Are any of them

similar to your stories?

The Ghost in the Caravan

In 1973 I stayed in a caravan on a caravan site

in Ramsgate, Kent. There were 5 of us staying

there; my mum, myself and three of my

younger sisters. I was fourteen years old at the

time. After the first night there my mum

seemed very uneasy but didn’t tell us why. On

the second night my mum was sleeping in the

double bed with my two younger sisters, my

other sister and I were sleeping on two single

beds. During the night this sister awoke

suddenly and screamed. She said something

had scared her, then she jumped into the

double bed with the others. I made fun of her

saying ‘do you think the ghosties will come

and get you’ and other pointless remarks. My

mum was very annoyed with me and told me

Mediating between English and Italian 25


Extension

not to tease her. With this I laughed at them all

and settled back down to sleep. Suddenly the

hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I

shivered as I heard a very manly laugh echo

out from behind me. I did not imagine this and

didn’t really believe in ghosts or such like,

however I also got into the double bed with the

others! We decided to cut our holiday short

and went home the next day. It was only on the

way home that my mum confided in me that

on the first night in the caravan she had woken

up to see an old man in a sou’wester standing

at the bottom of the bed. Many people have

been told this tale, some believe me and some

don’t, but thirty years on the events are still

fresh in my mind.

The Phantom Coach

Mr Cliff Hocking of Mevagissey, Cornwall, was

driving along the country lanes to Truro one

wet November afternoon to visit his wife in

hospital when, to his shock and amazement, he

rounded a bend and without warning was

suddenly confronted with an old-fashioned

stagecoach thundering along the road towards

him, drawn by four horses galloping at full

speed. At the reins sat a coachman, whipping

the horses into a frenzy of speed. Beside the

driver blowing a posthorn sat the guard.

Horrified, Mr Hocking slammed on his brakes

and threw his hands up over his face. As the

mysterious coach bore down on him, the

thundering wheels, galloping hooves and

urgent blast of the horn rising to a crescendo,

he sat helplessly awaiting the imminent

collision. Nothing happened. Instead, the

terrifying sounds of the coach ceased abruptly

and all was quiet again. When he looked up it

had literally disappeared into thin air. The road

was empty.

Poltergeists

I lived in a one-bedroom, Georgian flat in Bath,

Somerset, from 1995 to 2003. When I moved in

initially I thought the place was a little gloomy.

My girlfriend always made jokes about it being

haunted. I never took her seriously at first but

that all changed a few years later. One night in

2000, at around 3.30am, I suddenly awoke and

there was a deathly silence, a strange kind of

atmosphere which made me feel extremely

uncomfortable. I was lying on the floor on my

side as I had a bad back. I don’t know why but

I had the sensation there was someone behind

me and that whoever or whatever it was, was

26 Section 7 Language in Literature

very tall and thin and surrounded by a thin,

hazy darkness. All of a sudden I heard the

pages of a book being turned and then a deep

sigh of disappointment and annoyance. I was

absolutely terrified and there was no way I was

going to turn around to see what it was! Then I

felt the ‘presence’ crush me with such force

that I couldn’t move. The only part of me that

could move were my eyeballs and they were

moving around frantically wondering how I

could get out of this paralysis or away from the

force. After about thirteen seconds the weight

lifted and the window shuddered violently and

I felt an immense sense of relief. I was not

dreaming, this really happened.

Another time, in the same flat, I was awoken by

the sound of children laughing in my kitchen

and their footsteps pattering on the floor. It

stopped about two seconds after I awoke and I

got a very eerie sense that the spirits knew I

was awake.

Adapted from the websites

http://www.ghost-story.co.uk/

and http://www.connexions.co.uk/.

5. Discuss the stories with your classmates.

a. Are these stories believable? Why? Why not?

Could there be any other explanation for the

strange happenings?

b. Do you know any famous ghost stories from your

country?

c. Do you enjoy reading or listening to ghost stories?

Why? Why not?

6. Create a class ghost story.

a. There is an oral tradition of telling ghost stories,

usually at night! How could you create the best

atmosphere for telling ghost stories in your

classroom?

b. Invent a ghost story orally in the round.

— Each person says just one sentence.

— Concentrate on what has been said before

and continue the story.

— Try to use as much description as possible.

c. When you have established your story, repeat it

with as much feeling as possible.

d. Record your ghost stories and add sound effects.


Keys to Section 7

Italian Texts

Source: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein ovvero

Il moderno Prometeo, Italian translation by

Maria Paola Saci and Fabio Troncarelli,

Milano, Garzanti, 2003.

n Extract from Capitolo V (see T 60, page 8)

Fu in una tetra notte di novembre che vidi il compimento

delle mie fatiche. Con un’ansia simile all’angoscia

radunai gli strumenti con i quali avrei trasmesso

la scintilla della vita alla cosa inanimata che

giaceva ai miei piedi. Era già l’una del mattino; la

pioggia batteva lugubre contro i vetri, la candela era

quasi consumata quando, tra i bagliori della luce

morente, la mia creatura aprì gli occhi, opachi e giallastri,

trasse un respiro faticoso e un moto convulso

ne agitò le membra.

Come posso descrivere la mia emozione a quella

catastrofe, descrivere l’essere miserevole cui avevo

dato forma con tanta cura e tanta pena? Il corpo era

proporzionato e avevo modellato le sue fattezze pensando

al sublime. Sublime? Gran Dio! La pelle gialla

a stento copriva l’intreccio dei muscoli e delle vene;

i capelli folti erano di un nero lucente e i denti di un

candore perlaceo; ma queste bellezze rendevano

ancor più orrido il contrasto con gli occhi acquosi,

grigiognoli come le orbite in cui affondavano, il colorito

terreo, le labbra nere e tirate.

n Extract from Capitolo XXIII (see T 61, page 13)

Ero rimasto calmo tutto il giorno; ma appena la

notte velò la forma delle cose, mi nacquero mille

timori. Ero guardingo, pieno d’ansia, con la destra

stretta sul calcio della pistola: qualsiasi scricchiolio

mi terrorizzava, ma ero pronto a vendere a caro

prezzo la vita e a non abbandonare la lotta fino a che

uno dei due fosse rimasto sul terreno.

Elizabeth osservò per un po’ la mia agitazione,

timida, impaurita, silenziosa. Ma c’era qualcosa nei

miei occhi che le trasmise il mio terrore e tremando

mi chiese: «Che cos’hai, caro Victor? Che cosa temi?».

Keys to Section 7

«Oh! Taci! Taci amore mio», risposi. «Ancora

questa notte e poi sarà tutto finito. Ma questa notte

è spaventosa. Sì, spaventosa…».

Passai un’ora in questo stato d’animo, poi all’improvviso

mi resi conto di come sarebbe stato terrificante

per Elizabeth assistere alla lotta imminente.

La pregai di ritirarsi, assicurandola che l’avrei raggiunta

presto, non appena, dissi tra me, avessi capito

dov’era quel demonio.

Mi lasciò. Io continuai a camminare avanti e

indietro, ispezionando ogni corridoio della casa, ogni

angolo che potesse offrire un nascondiglio. Non trovai

traccia del mio nemico e cominciai a pensare che

qualche felice coincidenza avesse sventato le minacce

del mostro. All’improvviso udii un grido. Acuto.

Angoscioso. Veniva dalla stanza di Elizabeth. La

verità mi balenò alla mente. Le braccia mi caddero

inerti lungo i fianchi. Non riuscivo a muovere un

muscolo. Sentivo il sangue scorrere nelle vene e bruciarmi

le membra. Non fu che un attimo. L’urlo si

ripeté. Balzai nella stanza.

n Extract from Capitolo XXIV (see T 62, page 16)

Sono entrato nella cabina dove giacciono i resti mortali

del mio sventurato, miserando amico. China su

di lui c’era una figura che non ho parole per descrivere:

gigantesca, goffa, sproporzionata. Mentre era

piegato sulla bara, il volto era nascosto da lunghe

ciocche di capelli disordinati. Una mano enorme,

pallida come quella delle mummie, era protesa in

avanti. Quando sentì il rumore dei miei passi, smise

i suoi gemiti di dolore e di orrore e saltò verso la

finestra. Non ho mai visto nulla di così orribile come

il suo viso. Deforme, disgustoso, eppure spaventoso.

Chiusi gli occhi senza volere e cercai di rammentare

il mio dovere verso l’assassino. Gli gridai di fermarsi.

Si arrestò meravigliato. Poi, voltatosi di nuovo

verso le spoglie del suo creatore, sembrò dimentico

della mia presenza, mentre ogni suo tratto e ogni

gesto erano sconvolti dalla furia di una passione selvaggia.

Keys 27


Keys to Section 7

«Anche questa è una mia vittima», urlò. «Con la

sua morte ho consumato tutti i miei crimini. Il

disgraziato ciclo della mia esistenza si avvia alla

fine! Oh! Frankenstein! Essere generoso e appassionato!

A che serve chiederti perdono? Io ti ho

irreparabilmente distrutto, distruggendo i tuoi

cari! Ahimè! Il tuo corpo è freddo, e non può

rispondermi».

Source: Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, Italian

translation by Luca Fusari, Roma, Fazi

Editore, 2006.

n Extract from Capitolo 1: A prima vista

(see T 63, page 19)

Portai il mio modulo al professore, un uomo alto e

calvo, che secondo la targhetta sulla cattedra si chiamava

Mr Mason. Quando lesse il mio nome mi fissò

con l’aria di chi casca dalle nuvole – reazione tutt’altro

che incoraggiante – e ovviamente io arrossii violentemente.

Almeno mi fece sedere in ultima fila,

senza nemmeno presentarmi ai miei nuovi compagni

di classe. Per loro era difficile osservarmi, ma in

qualche modo ci riuscirono. Io tenevo gli occhi bassi

sulla lista di letture che avevo ricevuto dal professore.

Era piuttosto elementare: Brontë, Shakespeare,

Chaucer, Faulkner. Avevo letto già tutto. Tanto

bastò a tranquillizzarmi… e ad annoiarmi. Chissà se

mia madre avrebbe acconsentito a spedirmi i miei

vecchi appunti e temi, o se l’avrebbe giudicato sleale.

Accompagnata dal mormorio monotono del professore,

mi persi in una serie di discussioni immaginarie

con lei.

Quando si diffuse il suono nasale e ronzante della

campana, un ragazzo allampanato, con qualche problema

cutaneo e i capelli neri come una macchia d’olio,

si sporse dalla sua fila per parlarmi.

«Tu sei Isabella Swan, vero?». Aveva l’aria del

tipico cervellone, impacciato e pieno di attenzioni.

Troppe attenzioni.

«Bella», precisai. Nel raggio di tre banchi da me,

tutti si voltarono a guardarmi.

«Dov’è la tua prossima lezione?», chiese lui.

Dovetti controllare, nello zaino. «Ehm, educazione

civica, con Jefferson, edificio 6».

Ovunque guardassi, incontravo occhi curiosi.

«Io sto andando al 4, se vuoi ti mostro la strada…».

Troppe attenzioni, decisamente. «Mi chiamo

Eric», aggiunse.

28 Section 7 Language in Literature

n Extract from Capitolo 6: Racconti del terrore

(see T 64, page 21)

«[…] E poi ci sono le storie che parlano dei freddi».

La sua voce si fece più flebile.

«I freddi?». A quel punto non riuscivo più a celare

il mio interesse.

«Sì. Alcune storie che parlano dei freddi sono

antiche come quella dei lupi, ma ce ne sono anche di

recenti. Secondo la leggenda, il mio bisnonno aveva

conosciuto dei freddi. Fu proprio lui a stipulare il

patto che vietò loro di entrare nella nostra terra».

Alzò gli occhi al cielo.

«Il tuo bisnonno?».

«Era uno degli anziani della tribù, come mio

padre. Vedi, i freddi sono nemici naturali dei lupi…

Be’, non proprio dei lupi in sé, solo di quelli che si

trasformano in uomini, come i nostri antenati. Quelli

che chiamate licantropi».

«I licantropi hanno nemici?».

«Solo uno».

n Extract from Capitolo 9: Teoria

(see T 65, page 23)

Tutto a un tratto, mi sembrò rassegnato. «Cosa vuoi

sapere?».

«Quanti anni hai?».

«Diciassette», rispose istantaneamente.

«E da quanto tempo hai diciassette anni?».

Guardava la strada, con le labbra contratte. Alla

fine, si rassegnò a rispondere: «Da un po’».

«D’accordo». Sorrisi, contenta che finalmente

fosse sincero. Mi scrutò come quando era preoccupato

che mi venisse un attacco di panico. Continuai a

sorridere per rassicurarlo, e lui si fece scuro in volto.

«Non ridere se te lo chiedo, ma… come fai a uscire

di casa quando è giorno?».

Rise. «Leggenda».

«Non ti sciogli al sole?».

«Leggenda».

«Dormi dentro una bara?».

«Leggenda». Per un momento esitò, poi proseguì

con un tono di voce strano: «Io non dormo».

Mi ci volle un minuto per digerire quella risposta.

«Mai?».

«Mai», confermò, con un filo di voce. Si voltò

verso di me, mesto. I suoi occhi dorati catturarono i

miei, facendomi smarrire il filo del discorso.

Sostenni il suo sguardo finché non lo volse altrove.

«Non mi hai ancora fatto la domanda più importante».

Era tornato freddo e sulla difensiva.

Ero ancora imbambolata. Cercai di riprendermi.

«Quale sarebbe?».


«Non sei preoccupata della mia dieta?», chiese,

sarcastico.

«Ah... quella».

«Sì, quella. Non sei curiosa di sapere se mi nutro

di sangue?».

Mi ritrassi appena. «Be’, Jacob mi ha detto qualcosa».

«Cosa ti ha detto?», chiese, senza tradire nessuna

emozione.

«Ha detto che voi non… andate a caccia di

umani. Ha detto che la tua famiglia non è considerata

pericolosa, perché vi cibate solo di animali».

«Ha detto che non siamo pericolosi?», sembrava

profondamente scettico.

«Non esattamente. Ha detto che non vi ritengono

pericolosi. Ma che per non correre rischi, i Quileutes

ancora oggi non vi vogliono nel loro territorio».

Aveva lo sguardo fisso davanti a sé, ma non ero

sicura che stesse osservando la strada.

«Ha detto la verità? Riguardo a voi e agli umani,

dico». Cercai di risultare il più tranquilla possibile.

«I Quileutes hanno una buona memoria», sussurrò.

La presi come una conferma.

«Non fidarti troppo, però. Fanno bene a mantenere

le distanze. Siamo ancora pericolosi».

«Non capisco».

«Ci proviamo», spiegò, lentamente. «Di solito riusciamo

molto bene in ciò che facciamo. Ogni tanto

compiamo qualche errore. Io, per esempio, non

dovrei restare solo con te».

«Questo è un errore?». Mi accorsi della mia voce

triste, senza capire se anche lui l’avesse notata.

«Un errore molto pericoloso», mormorò.

Keys 29

Keys to Section 7

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