Mirror Images of Remembrance in Marisa Madieri’s La conchiglia and Claudio Magris’s Lei dunque capirà: A Translator’s Notes

Anne Milano Appel


A kind of parallelism is noted between Marisa Madieri’s short story La conchiglia and the novella Lei dunque capirà by Claudio Magris. In La conchiglia there is a she (Madieri the author) who writes in the voice of a he (the narrator and surviving spouse) who recalls another she (his deceased wife Naipuni) and their life together. A similar stratagem can be seen in Lei dunque capirà, though in the novella there is a he (Magris the author) who writes in the voice of a she (the narrator Eurydice) who talks about another he (her poet husband Orpheus) and their moments together. The lives reflected in these immagini speculari which mirror one another compose a kind of love song, one (the surviving spouse’s hymn) a simple tender one, the other (Eurydice’s song) no less devoted but more complex, knotty. Both songs are perhaps a projection of how the protagonists might have wanted to appear to the person they love. The parallel is not perfect, though in each case the projection compensates for a lost reality.

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