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Title: Coleridge's translations of Gabriello Chiabrera
Authors: Cassola, Arnold
Keywords: Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834 -- Criticism and interpretation
Chiabrera, Gabriello,1552-1638 -- Criticism and interpretation
Translating and interpreting
Issue Date: 1992
Publisher: University of Malta
Citation: Cassola, A. (1993). The role of dialects in Anthony Burgess's 'Abba Abba'. Journal of Anglo-Italian Studies, 2, 162-167.
Abstract: Kathleen Coburn has shown that before leaving England for Malta in April 1804 Coleridge 'had almost certainly read very little Italian literature in the original, though he had made a beginning in the language.' During his stay in Malta he improved his knowledge of the Italian language and this was probably also due to the fact that, contrary to what Coburn maintains, the island was 'almost completely isolated from [anything but] Italian culture'! Ever since 1249, the year the Arab dominators were expelled from the island, and in particular after 1530, when Malta was taken over by the Order of the Knights of St. John, the cultural life on the island was almost totally dependent on what was forthcoming from the nearby peninsula. This was also the case at the time of Coleridge's stay in Malta. In November 1804 he was quite capable of understanding spoken Italian; at the beginning of 1805 he was definitely having a few conversations with Vittorio Barzoni, one of the first Italian exiles to set foot in Malta, in the Italian tongue and in 1806 he could distinguish between the Tuscan and Homan variants of Italian. A few years later, he even devoted some of his time to translating Italian authors, amongst whom was Gabriello Chiabrera, a lyric poet he found incomparable. The Chiabrera translations can provide an approximate but reliable checkpoint on Coleridge's knowledge of Italian in the years 1808 -1810.
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