Friday, 9 February 2018

Parallel Text and Numbers


My favourite story from the eight stories in this Penguin is the fifth, which is a story titled 'The Ash of Battles Past' - La Cenere Delle Battaglie - written by Carlo Emilio Gadda (1893-1973). 


The reason for mentioning the story here is that I recently read a a comment from blogger Magyar that had to do with numbers.  And, by coincidence if you like, a short time later I read the following passage on the final page of the above mentioned story a few minutes later:

    That evening Prosdocimo, against all his usual habits, spent two hundred and fifty-six lire on brandy. Then he locked himself in his pent-house: (a terrific clanging of bolts startled the other tenants). Then he patted his coral charm thirty-two times. Thirty-two is the fifth power of two, and two hundred and fifty-six is the eighth. Two is the genetic number: from the amoebae to the mammals and to homo sapiens. Five is a perfect number, and so is twelve, according to the gnosis of the Pythagoreans. Then he counted and re-counted the four one-thousand lire notes: as if they had been four hundred. Then he kissed them. He added ninety-six lire to make four thousand and ninety-six, which is the twelfth power of two, the generative number (of thousand-lire notes). Then he kissed the whole lot once more: and hid this capital sum in the Tractatus de lapide philosophico of Saint Thomas Aquinas: but changed his mind and put it instead in the Confessions of Jean-Jacques . . .

    Prosdocimo, quella sera, contro ogni abitudine, compero dugentocinquantasei lire di cognac. Poi si sprango in casa: (un tremendo colpo di catenaccio, i casigliani sussultarono). Poi palpo il corno: trentadue volte. Trentadue e la quinta potenza di due, dugentocinquantasei l'ottova. Due e il numero genetico: dalle amebe ai mammiferi, all'homo sapiens. Cinque e numero perfetto, e dodici altrettanto secondo la gnosi dei pitagorici. Poi conto e riconto quattro biglietti da mille: come fossero stati quattrocento. Poi il bacio. Vi aggiunse novantasei lire da far quattromila e novantasei, che e la dodicesima potenza di due, numero generativo (dei biglietti da mille). Poi ribacio il tutto: e nascose quel valsente nel <<Tractatus de lapide philosophico>> di San Tommaso d'Aquino: poi muto idea e lo mise invece nelle <<Confessioni>> di Gian Giacomo . . . 


13 comments:

  1. Ma stai dando i numeri Gwil...?! ;)
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. I am "playing" with words so no offence intended, Gwil :)
      x

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  2. But you are giving the numbers Gwil .... ;-) (Pons - my pc dictionary)

    I'm also
    doing a Duolingo course via their free app which says I'm up to 47% in Italian . . . mmm. I think they mean 4.7%. ;-)


    I must say I'm enjoying myself, and can read a little more every week. I'm going to try to find some Italian blogs to read.



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "But are you giving numbers" is correctly translated but doesn't make much sense in English. It means, "are you losing your marbles" I used jokedly used the idiom so I could connect it to all those numbers mentioned in your post...;)
      English blogs helped me improve my English but, strange as it may seem, I don't read Italian blogs. However there are not many Italian ones as there are in English, but if you find one of your interest it will help you a lot.
      X

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    2. Your joke is right. I have definitely lost my marbles. Not to mention my numbers.

      I haven't a good blog yet, but I have an amusing book that is a something like a blog: 'Io speriamo ch me la cavo' by Marcello D'Orta, maestro elementare (1990). It has a story a page, or a page and a half, so it's about 100 stories. Some easier than others.

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    3. I have the book. It's brilliant. The teacher D'Orto actually published his pupil's class essays. He wrote another book "Dio ci ha creato gratis" on how his pupil's understood the new testament. Very funny.
      Another funny book is "Stupidario Medico" by Antonio di Stefano.

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    4. Thanks for those book tips. They'll be useful to me. I found a nice Italian blog called Orso-Polare and I've put a link to it on my Poet-in-Residence page.

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    5. I just found this:
      http://poesia.blog.rainews.it/

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    6. Blog fantastico! Link in P-I-R.

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  3. Parallel Texts are always auseful way to help language learning

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    1. They certainly are. And when I can't get a parallel text I buy and Italian book, as I just did and it's Orwells 1984, which of course I already have in English. We are lucky that we have a bookshop for Italian books in the town. So no need to send off for them and having to wait for the post.

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    2. I have a dual language text of William Carlos Williams' Il Grande Romanzo Americano (pub. Marsilio Editori, Venezia) which I read several months ago and am looking forwad to reading again, to see if I've improved any.

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