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Glocal Melville

N.2 Nuova Serie

Primavera 2012 - Anno XIX


A cura di: 
Sonia Di Loreto e Giorgio Mariani

Herman Melville: tra globale e glocale - p. 8

Sonia Di Loreto, Giorgio Mariani
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Melville transnazionale

Exceptional Rome - p. 12

Dennis Berthold

The many towns in the United States named “Rome” enact a transnation­al exchange of cultural identities that undermines today’s renewed claims of American exceptionalism and invites critique of the concept.  Similarly, Melville’s many referenc­es to Roman civilization cast doubt on the explanatory power of excep­tionalism and show that nationalism and exceptionalism are complemen­tary ideologies for achieving politi­cal and cultural identity.

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“Between Man and Place”: insegnare Moby-Dick nel contesto della globalizzazione - p. 25

Martina Pfeiler

This essay focuses on how recent trends in global studies can be utilized for the teaching of Moby-Dick in the American Studies classroom. It strong­ly argues in favor of teaching Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick as a transnational cultural trope that has found numer­ous creative forms of reception and ap­propriation both in and outside of the U.S.  Based on practical accounts of the author’s teaching experience, the es­say shows that the book’s adaptations and appropriations offer highly fasci­nating terrain for students of Ameri­can Studies and anyone interested in the cultural implications of the trans­locations of the arts.

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Indiani, italiani e Melville: la lettura come cosmopolitismo - p. 39

John Bryant

Reading can be a cosmopolitan experi­ence not only because it takes us out of our local world into larger interna­tional realms but also because it can expose readers to broader spheres of universalized thinking.  Both condi­tions apply to reading experiences in Herman Melville’s adolescence.  While we do not have direct evidence of Mel­ville’s reading practices, we find a re­cord of reader response in his brother Gansevoort’s Index Rerum, a com­monplace book for categorizing and alphabetizing information related to one’s reading.  Gansevoort’s entries for 1838 include commentary on Wil­liam L. Stone’s 1836 The Life of Joseph Brant and on Italian thinker Giuseppe Botta’s 1807 History of the War of Inde­pendence of the United States of America.   In his Index Rerum Gansevoort noted with disgust the negative descriptions of American genocidal treatment of In­dians found in both Stone’s local his­tory and Botta’s international history.  Gansevoort’s commentary on atroci­ties committed against Indians re­veals his growing awareness of racial crimes, which Melville absorbed from his brother and later incorporated into a fiction that questions his family’s hero-worship of the grandfather.  Both brothers used their reading to achieve a more cosmopolitan perspective on the American revolution, race rela­tions, and family.

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Ai confini della terra: Melville, la storia dei vinti e la democrazia in America - p. 49

Giuseppe Nori

The essay offers a re-reading of “Sketch Eighth” of The Encantadas (1854) in the transatlantic context of Romantic historiography. Usually appreciated as a canonical piece of sentimental narrative, Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow is also an un-canonical example of the history of the vanquished, a nineteenth-cen­tury European genre which was to prove particularly questionable in the United States. If “oppressed” Hunilla may be said to stand as the epitome of the conquered peoples in the New World at large, then her “little history” qua history of the vanquished, as the author main­tains by calling attention to a here­tofore unacknowledged source from Tocqueville, turns into a critique of the conquerors’ view of history and history-writing, and, in particular, of the historiographical concept of “democracy” in America.

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“Follow your leader”: violenza, morte e nazione in Benito Cereno - p. 64

Sonia Di Loreto

By focusing on some specific violent and deadly episodes in H. Melville's Benito Cereno, this essay investigates the nexus linking violence, ritual deaths and political authority in the novella. Since the American captain A. Delano only inhabits and imagines private and domestic interrelations between blacks and whites, he does not comprehend the political impli­cations inherent in the ritual death of Aranda, and the death threat issued by Babo to Benito Cereno.Therefore, Delano will remain unaware of how both authority and leadership - cen­tral preoccupations in the text - move from the Spanish characters into Ba­bo's domain.

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“Girava quel Cappello a piacer suo tra i vistosi Turbanti”: Herman Melville e l’Islam - p. 75

Souad Baghli Berbar

A romantic rebel and iconoclast, Herman Melville presents Islam, its prophet and its followers in a more favourable light than his contempo­raries, counterpoising stereotyped rep­resentation of Islam either as romantic overindulgence in the senses or the traditional enemy of Christianity and an epitome of despotic rule with a be­nevolent attitude, an alternative vision of Western and Oriental relationship through an ethos of tolerance and un­derstanding, stemming from a better knowledge of the other.

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Tradurre Melville

Melville poeta: “Chafing against the metric bound“ - p. 85

Gordon Poole

In this essay  Poole tells how his status as an American living in Naples, Italy, brought him to Melville, especially the poetry. In discussing the specific problems one faces when translating Melville's poems into Italian - most re­cently in Melville poeta e l'Italia (Filema, 2011) - he tells how translating forced him to do close readings of "Naples in the Time of Bomba" and the other po­ems about Italy that he feels he could not otherwise have achieved. To hear his reading of "In a Bye-Canal" one can go to the Melville Society webpage <http://melvillesociety.org/>.

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“I Got a Crush on That Fellow”. Cesare Pavese, Herman Melville e il desiderio di un traduttore - p. 73

Sarah Salter

According to Walter Benjamin’s fa­mous essay on translation, “The Task of the Translator,” a successful transla­tion must navigate complex linguis­tic systems while balancing several important tasks. This essay examines Cesare Pavese’s translation of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, using Benjamin’s articulation of the translator’s task to argue that translations, and language use more broadly, can often be under­stood as linguistic manifestations of desire. In the case of Moby-Dick and Pavese’s la Balena, the desires underly­ing the texts are cultural, animated by the appeal of cross-cultural interaction and the attraction of the unfamiliar.

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Per una lettura in chiave antifascista della prima traduzione di Benito Cereno - p. 105

Giuliano Mori

The aim of this essay is to propose a possible oblique reading of the first Italian translation of Benito Cereno. The essay argues that, in parallel with Melville's critical method, the reader would have been positioned to inter­pret Melville's tale as a critique of the Italian society which permitted the fas­cist ascent to power. This argument is strengthened by the allusions scattered by Pavese in his translation and intro­duction of the work. Finally, a similar reading of the text is also analysed in regards to the Italian publishing trends of the Thirties and of Pavese's own work.

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Adattare Melville

Pulpy fiction? Dylan Dog sulla rotta di Moby-Dick - p. 114

Giorgio Mariani

The essay analyzes the Dylan Dog story Sulla rotta di Moby Dick, origi­nally published in 2001 and reissued as a graphic novel in 2005. The story reinvents the hunt for the White Whale in a contemporary setting, by cre­atively recasting some key features of Melville’s text against a background marked by  9/11 and the launching of the so-called “war on terror”. Of special interest is the meta-narrative awareness displayed in the Dylan Dog story, which the essay reads as an al­legorical meditation on the tension be­tween the modernist “original” and its mass-cultural reinvention.

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Pulpy fiction? Dylan Dog sulla rotta di Moby-Dick - p. 114

Giorgio Mariani

The essay analyzes the Dylan Dog story Sulla rotta di Moby Dick, origi­nally published in 2001 and reissued as a graphic novel in 2005. The story reinvents the hunt for the White Whale in a contemporary setting, by cre­atively recasting some key features of Melville’s text against a background marked by  9/11 and the launching of the so-called “war on terror”. Of special interest is the meta-narrative awareness displayed in the Dylan Dog story, which the essay reads as an al­legorical meditation on the tension be­tween the modernist “original” and its mass-cultural reinvention.

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La fragata de las máscaras: una riscrittura sudamericana di Benito Cereno - p. 127

Alessandro Portelli

La fragata de las máscaras, by the Uru­guayan author Tomás de Mattos, is a rewriting of Herman Melville’s Benito Cereno from a Latin American point of view, and much more. Based on notes and recollected conversations by a fic­tional literary lady, Josefina Peguy de Narbondo, it combines the narratives of biologist Aimé Bonpland, friar Tobís Infellez, and ex-slaves Dago and Muri to weave a complex tapestry in which the Latin American and Catholic con­text  of the events, and the experience and subjectivity of the slaves not only add depth to Melville’s narrative, but also explore entirely new areas of myth, ambiguity, ritual, and devolu­tion. The narrative is framed by Jose­fina’s letters to “Ishmael”(as she calls Herman Melville) and Elizabeth Mel­ville’s reply to her after his death.

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“Questa mascherata potrà avere un seguito”: rileggere The Confidence-Man attraverso gli adattamenti contemporanei - p. 136

Paolo Simonetti

It is no coincidence that Herman Mel­ville’s The Confidence-Man: His Mas­querade (1857) has acquired a promi­nent place in the literary canon only during the second half of the twenti­eth century; as a matter of fact, its nar­rative has more in common with the fragmented and disorienting structure of postmodernist fiction than with a proper nineteenth-century novel, let alone a suitable romance. This essay investigates the ways in which Mel­ville’s last finished novel has been reinterpreted, adapted, and remedi­ated in post-9/11 America. Since the end of the Nineties, the text has been adapted several times through mis­cellaneous genres such as vaudeville, experimental theatre, opera, and mu­sical. Each rewriting underlines cer­tain aspects of the novel that in the past were strongly criticized, such as the comic vein, the dialogic form, and the disorienting structure; each author relates (more or less explicitly) Melville’s novel to present concerns.

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