Trissino's Sophonisba and Aretino's Horatia: Two Italian Renaissance Tragedies
These are the first English translations of two of the most significant tragedies of the Italian Renaissance. Trissino's Sophonisba, written in 1515, is considered the first "regular" tragedy written in Italian and the one which paved the way for the other Italian and European tragedies of the century. Aretino's Horatia, published in Venice in 1546, has been hailed not only as one of the most important works of Aretino's literary production, but also as one of the best tragic compositions of sixteenth-century Europe.
"The primary merit of this volume is that it provides for the first time an English translation of two significant Cinquecento tragedies. . . . Sharman sketches a clear and concise life of Trissino, longer than the standard in other Italian introduction to this tragedy. . . Sharman's introduction, however, is not limited to the brief biography but extends, in lucid prose, over a wide range of issues, including many that will be useful to readers coming to this author and play for the first time. . . . Sharman's extended analysis of the different meters for spoken dialogue, lyric passages, and choral odes, is particularly meticulous. Her translation aims for a midpoint between literal accuracy (which would sound too stilted for performance) and a natural-sounding version (which would be an adaptation). . . . one has to say that this translation is, indeed, highly readable.
In his introduction to the Horatia, Michael Lettieri provides a thorough but schematic view of Aretino's life before proceeding to the play itself, the editions of the tragedy, and the work's influence in Europe. . . . as for the translation itself, Michael Ukas has aimed for 'an exact rendering of the author's ideas and sentiments' in 'acceptable literary English' and in this he has been eminently successful, going so far as to maintain, with very few exceptions, a line-by-line parallel structure and an accuracy of expression that is not only admirable but enjoyable to read. Limitations of space preclude the quotation of examples, but the translation is a model of elegance, clarity, poetic beauty, and fidelity to the original." – Italica
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