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Master of Arts (M.A.)
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Italian poet Vera Gherarducci published her second book, Giorno Unico (A Single Day), in 1970. This project consists of translations of 24 of these poems, a translation of the book’s introduction by Pier Paolo Pasolini, and a critical translator’s introduction. The critical introduction positions the work within the context of post-war Italian women’s poetry; explores the legacy of mental health in literature and its ties with diary writing and gender; and discusses specific translation strategies related to these issues. Giorno Unico deals extensively with themes of mental health, focusing on struggles with depression, suicidal thoughts, marital problems, and maternal anxieties. Such topics place the work in conversation with many other post-war women writers in Italy grappling with new conceptions of womanhood and the burgeoning Italian feminist movement. Themes of mental health are also expressed by the poems being written in the form of an intimate diary, though the temporal mapping is complicated by flashback and circular narration. As the title suggests, these poems come to resemble one long, never-ending day, manifesting in the recurrence of words and phrases, frequent mental health metaphors of being trapped inside, and the repetition of monotonous household work. After contextualizing the work’s primary characteristics, I then frame my own translation approach that looks to foreground the presence of mental health and preserve the characteristics of the diary form. This approach was influenced by feminist translation theorists such as Sherry Simon and Barbara Godard who challenge the monolithic nature of both source and target texts, and endorse the recovery of forgotten women writers through translation. In my principal theoretical assertion, I push against Lawrence Venuti’s discussion of the inherent violence enacted in translation, and conceive of what I term a non-lobotomizing translation approach to Giorno Unico. This framework rejects a masking of mental health in the collection, instead underscoring such taboo themes. In some cases, I choose more clinical translations of terminology to directly reference mental health discourse; in others I select more dated terms, such as “madness,” to gesture to a different framing of mental illness during the writing of Giorno Unico.
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Valocchi, Arianna, "A Translation of Vera Gherarducci’s Giorno Unico" (2019). Masters Theses. 802.