Event—Scholarly Seminars

Joe Heininger, Dominican University


Seamus Heaney and the Impact of Translation: Rendering the Italian Texts of Dante and Pascoli, Joseph Heininger, Dominican University

Seamus Heaney produced many significant translations from his early work in Latin and Italian to his colloquial versions of Pascoli’s “The Last Walk” in 2013. In his discussion of translation’s methods in “The Impact of Translation” and “Earning a Rhyme,” Heaney reveals his translatorial allegiance to creating both “faithful” and “imaginative” versions of the original texts. I address two examples: in his version of Cantos I, II, and III of The Inferno, I examine his techniques with terza rima, metrical rhythms, and idiosyncratic diction, and briefly compare them with versions by Mark Musa and Robert Pinsky. Heaney’s engagements with Italian poets continue with Pascoli’s “L’ultima passegiatta” or “The Last Walk.” I argue that Heaney translates this pastoral sequence into an Irish idiom that re-energizes Pascoli’s locutions and the portraits of his villagers.

Respondent: Richard Russell, Baylor University