fpb: (Athena of Pireus)
This is the second time in a few days that I have been assigned a text I find REVOLTING - and by revolting I mean fraudulent, mendacious, propagandistic. In fact it's much worse than the last. And I can't really turn it down. How do the other guys deal with this kind of problem?
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In 1821, as the first of the revolts against Austrian rule shook Italy, Alessandro Manzoni, the greatest Italian writer of the time, wrote an enthusiastic ode about the liberators. Ill led and divided, the rebels failed, and two generations were to pass before Italy was united and free; Manzoni lived to see it, but many brave men must have died in disappointment and despair. Nonetheless this song remains as a passionate image of the hopes and anger that drove two generations of men to revolt, fight, die or go into exile rather than tolerate the intolerable - until victory was won, late, messily, with plenty of unresolved issues, but for good.

In 1945, the young Italo Calvino, son of two scientists, joined the partisan fighters and took part in some of the last actions before the German wave of surrender between April 25 and May 2. As partisan actions go, his were not very remarkable, but the lyrics he wrote twenty years later for Italian singer Sergio Lebovici were. It is curious that the two poems share the same metre.

Behind the cut are the texts of both poems. For the convenience of my friends, I have placed my translations first.

Read more... )

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