o inglês e o italiano

13 12 2007

M. J. Fitzgerald fala do inglês e do italiano (The Genius of Language: Fifteen writers reflect on their mother tongues).

Returning to Italian writing after gorging on this diet of English—Leopardi’s L’Infinito was restrained in comparison to Dylan Thomas’s Fern Hill—was like returning to milk toast after scones with clotted cream. I loved the accumulation of adjectives that a language so rich in words could indulge in, instead of the nuances in the repetition of the same adjective that gives Italian its power. I loved the exaggeration of English, the curlicues of language, its baroque quality. Many of the churches, much of the painting, and people’s gesturing in Italy are baroque. But the language itself is severe: its beauty lies in elegant simplicity and the hypnotic power of its sound. And when it is distorted by the wrong rhetoric in an attempt to “enrich it,” it becomes impenetrable without gaining in power. English has to work to be elegant and simple, because its sounds are rarely if ever as spellbinding as Italian, and so much of its nature is tortuous. But how fabulous the honed expression of that tortuousness can be for a girl who sees so clearly reflected in this language her fervent and histrionic self: not one word to describe her feelings, but half a dozen variations. At sixteen, there was no contest. English was the language of my sensibility, the language with which I would write poems as full of words as Dylan Thomas’s, novels as rich with emotion as Villette, dramas as powerful as Christopher Fry’s The Boy with a Cart.


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