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«Dormivo e sognavo che non ero al mondo»

Shakespearean Resonances in Alda Merini’s Works

Cristina Paravano    Università degli Studi di Milano, Italia    

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abstract

The paper investigates the Shakespearean resonances in Alda Merini’s works. Shakespeare was one of Merini’s favourite ‘fellow travellers’ in her literary journey, seemingly because he exploited the enormous dramatic potential of madness. His plays can be read as a projection and an amplification of the poet’s emotions, while providing them with names, bodies and voices. In her turn Merini perceived significant affinities with several Shakespearean characters, and tended to identify with some of them, superimposing her life onto theirs: during her stay in the mental hospital, peopled by horrible figures reminding her of Macbeth’s witches, Merini identified with Juliet, who embodied her love fancies and her romantic dreams. I will also discuss in detail the texts which refer to two famous couples, namely Othello and Desdemona, Hamlet and Ophelia, who are the most recurrent Shakespearean figures in Merini’s corpus. These are not only universal symbols but also mirror and give voice to the poet’s emotions. Indeed, as I will show, Merini read and appropriated their stories through the filter of her painful personal experience.

Published
Sept. 28, 2017
Accepted
March 29, 2017
Submitted
March 7, 2017
Language
IT

Keywords: HamletMadnessPoetryMeriniAsylum

Copyright: © 2017 Cristina Paravano. This is an open-access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction is permitted, provided that the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. The license allows for commercial use. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.