"I was back in a dark wood": Don Paterson's "The Forest of the Suicides"

Segnini, E. and Jones, E. (2014) "I was back in a dark wood": Don Paterson's "The Forest of the Suicides". Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate, 24(1), pp. 143-168.

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Through an analysis of Don Paterson's "The Forest of the Suicides," the article examines creative translation as a process that sheds light on the specificities of the source and creates new meanings in the context of the target language. Taking into consideration the main variations in Paterson's re-writing of Dante's canto xiii, among which the substitution of the 13th century Pier della Vigna with the 20th century poet Sylvia Plath, the essay illustrates how "The Forest of the Suicides" functions simultaneously as an interpretation of Dante's canto and as a means to retell Plath's suicide through the lens provided by Dante. Re-writing Dante's text while imitating Plath's style allows Paterson to comments on Plath's suicide-an event that is usually regarded as gossip and sensationalism. Furthermore, the article underlines how Paterson's thoughts on translation and re-writing are reflected in the metanarrative of "the Forest of the Suicides." On the one level, deviations alter the meaning of the source, while on another they are instrumental in reproducing the interdependence of sound and content, as well as the intertextuality at the core of Dante's text and the ambivalent attitude of author and pilgrim. The adoption of Plath's poetic voice allows Paterson to challenge traditional notions of authorships within and beyond the source text.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Segnini, Dr Elisa
Authors: Segnini, E., and Jones, E.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Italian
Journal Name:Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate
Publisher:Waxmann Verlag GmbH
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2014 The Authors
First Published:First published in Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate 24(1): 143-168
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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