Literary texts = expressive texts
Sounds and rhythm = examples of
stylistic variation
• Rhythm in narrative prose = melody
• Melodic unit: sequence of syllables
• Beginning and end of a melodic unit:
punctuation marks (usually but not
Punctuation and melodic units
• Grammatical use of punctuation vs
psychological use of punctuation
• Relevance of the melodic units in an
expressive text.
• Question: is it fair to alter the melody
of a narrative passage?
• Example: Emma (Jane Austen)
Original text
Emma could not bear to give him pain. He
was wishing to confide in her – perhaps to
consult her; cost her what it would, she
would listen. She might assist his resolution,
or reconcile him to it; she might give just
praise to Harriet, or, by representing to him
his own independence, relieve him from that
state of indecision which must be more
intolerable than any alternative to such a
mind as his. They had reached the house.
The weather continued much the same all
the following morning; and the same
loneliness, and the same melancholy,
seemed to reign at Hartfield; but in the
afternoon it cleared; the wind changed into
a softer quarter; the clouds were carried
off; the sun appeared; it was summer
16// 6/7/6/8/10/6/4/6//
With all the eagerness which such a
transition gives, Emma resolved to be out
of doors as soon as possible.
Never had the exquisite sight, smell,
sensation of nature, tranquil, warm, and
brilliant after a storm, been more attractive
to her.
She longed for the serenity they might
gradually introduce; and on Mr Perry’s
coming in soon after dinner, with a
disengaged hour to give her father, she
lost no time in hurrying into the shrubbery.
The melodic units in the ST and in
two target texts
(language: Italian)
• ST
• TT1 16/14,7,11,9/16,10,19,1,17,14,30/12
• TT2 18/16,9,7,8/13,9,16,13,23,9,9/9
Emma non poteva tollerare di addolorarlo.
Egli desiderava di confidarsi con lei – forse di
consultarla – qualunque cosa dovesse
costarle, essa doveva ascoltare. Avrebbe
potuto confortare la sua decisione, o fare che
ci si rassegnasse; avrebbe potuto tributare le
debite lodi a Harriet, o, argomentando in
favore della sua indipendenza, sollevarlo da
quello stato d’indecisione, che doveva essere
più intollerabile d’ogni alternativa a una mente
come la sua. Frattanto erano giunti alla casa.
Ma Emma non poteva tollerare di recargli
dolore. Poiché Mr Knightley desiderava
confidarsi a lei... e forse chiederle consiglio,
l’avrebbe ascoltato, costasse quel che
costasse. Poteva confortarlo nella decisione,
o riconciliarlo con essa: poteva rendere a
Harriet l’omaggio dovuto o, richiamandolo alla
sua indipendenza, liberarlo da uno stato
d’indecisione certo più intollerabile, per una
mente come la sua, di qualunque alternativa.
Erano davanti a casa:

Aspetti ritmici nel testo letterario