Through Hamlet, with Hamlet, against Hamlet: Giovanni Testori's Translation of the Ultimate Character

Anna Fochi


Giovanni Testori (1923-1993) is an atypical figure in the Italian cultural panorama of the second half of the twentieth century, especially because of his multidimensional artistic output and an overt obsession with Hamlet. Tracing Testori’s life-long relationship with Shakespeare's Hamlet, and focusing on his intense dramatic and poetic production in the early 1970s, this article reflects on the evolution of Testori's Hamlet into an ultimate character endowed with mythological and anthropological dimensions. Deconstructing Testori's encounters with Hamlet's haunting presence involves more than one text and different genres and forms. In this way, it involves translation, if translation is conceived as an interlingual relationship between texts or between semiotic codes. This article argues that Testori’s never-ending dialogue with Hamlet is the result of a translational experience, which is so rich and fertile that translation as re-writing evolves into translation as writing. Through the Italian poet’s approach, Hamlet lives on the borderlines and incarnates hybridity, his journey from the source text turning into a continuous process of displacement as well as evolution.

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New Readings — ISSN: 13597485


Published by: Cardiff School of Modern Languages