Translating the Italian ‘Scapigliatura’ and Iginio Ugo Tarchetti


After a long break we are back to offer you some translations on the theme of surrealism and avant-garde.

The Italian writer we are working on at the moment is Iginio Ugo Tarchetti. He was born in San Salvatore Monferrato, in Piemonte, in 1839 and later lived in Milan where he joined the ‘Scapigliatura’, an artistic movement equivalent to the French bohème. Literally, ‘scapigliati’ means ‘dishevelled’, ‘unkempt’, and its members shared a spirit of rebellion against traditional values and the artistic and literary canon of the time. Tarchetti published short stories, novels and poems. He was called the Italian Edgard Allan Poe as the atmosphere of his Fantastic Tales echoes the gothic obsession with the morbid.

Tarchetti was born too early (and indeed died too early at the age of 29) to be part of any twentieth-century avant-garde movement. However, his rebellious spirit and his sense of the ‘fantastic’ flows into a series of images which are originally surreal and therefore his writing well lends itself to experimental translation.

We have decided to translate a couple of his poems from a collection called ‘Disjecta’. The first poem we present is number VIII. To read and view the translations go to Translation and Other Writings.

As always we look forward to having your comments.


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