University of Padua
The Return of Epic Formulas in Various Italian Translations
of Kosovka djevojka (The Kosovo Maiden)
Abstract: This paper makes a comparative analysis of the various Italian translations of the famous Serbian popular poem Kosovka djevojka [The Kosovo Maiden] and illustrates the different interpretations and consequent translations of epic formulas in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Italy. The Parry-Lord oral formulaic theory, together with other important contributions in the field of oral studies, is a starting point for this analysis, which also takes into consideration the socio-cultural context in which these translations were produced. Translation solutions are therefore brought into relation with the poetics of individual translators and especially with the socio-cultural context of their time. Particular attention is devoted to the centuries-old Italian rhetorical tradition, which influenced even the greatest experts in popular poetry in their interpretation of the figures and clichés typical of oral production.
Keywords: Kosovka djevojka, translation, formulaic diction, Tommaseo, Nikolić, Cronia