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Aufhebung im Mythos: Petrarca, RVF 180, ‚Po ben puo’ tu portartene la scorza‘.

Mit Bemerkungen zu den deutschen Übersetzungen des Gedichts

Philipp Jeserich

Pages 1 - 38

Petrarch’s sonnet RVF 180, remarkable for its uncommonly joyful tone, contrasts equal
and opposite movements: The river, flowing eastward towards dawn, distances the
lyrical ‘I’ from his ‘dolce soggiorno’, Laura; still, his mind, moving westward with the
course of the sun, flies back to her. Transcending common readings of these motives
(instances of the navigatio and the ‘flight of the soul’) as Christian allegories, this article’s
first section highlights forms of allusivity which problematize such readings. Laura’s
inscription in the text is twofold: The beloved is present paronomastically as well as by
metonymical reference to the Apollon/ Daphne-episode of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. The
river Po, removing the lyrical ‘I’ from his beloved, is, by means of intertextual references
to Vergil, identified with the mythical Eridanos, the river the same Apollon’s son Phaëthon
was cast into by Zeus’s flash of lightning. The opposite movements evoked by the
poem, and with them the lyrical I’s contradictory experience, are thus sublated in a
unitary diegetic continuum supplied by Ovid’s fashioning of ancient myth. Its uncommonly
joyful tonality becomes readable as epiphenomenal to this sublation. Central to
this reading is an adequate consideration of the poem’s intertextual dimension, which
this article’s second section (IV–V) takes as point of departure for the discussion of
intertextuality as a challenge for translation and translation theory. This discussion is led
on the basis of the totality of German translations of this poem extant, ranging from
1774 to the present day.


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