Spain & Italy – Translating Rafael Alberti: Cádiz to Rome, a Poetic Pilgrimage

7 Jan

Program Director: Tony Geist & Giusseppe Leporace
Dates of Instruction:
August 17 to September 12, 2008

In 1968 Rafael Alberti, Spain’s greatest living poet at the time, published a stunning new book of poems:  Roma, peligro para caminantes (Rome, Pedestrians Beware!).  The seminar will be a trilingual experience: students will work in groups translating Alberti’s poems into English.  Those with a background in Spanish will be the primary linguistic resource for the students in Italian, while Italian speakers will lead their classmates through Alberti’s Roman sources.

Roma, peligro para caminantes is Alberti’s tribute to his adopted city.  He devotes sonnets to Rome’s elegant alley cats, to the garbage piled on street corners, to the ubiquitous streams of urine running down the cobblestones, to the city’s innumerable taverns, to the streets and plazas, and to the motorscooters, bicycles, cars and buses that careen through the streets.  The poems all feature epigraphs drawn from two poets who wrote in Roman dialect:  G. G. Belli and Trilussa.

spainSites: Our classroom will be the streets, cultural institutions and cafés of Alberti’s Madrid, Cádiz and Rome.  We will spend approximately two weeks in each country. We will begin the seminar in Madrid, visiting the Prado Museum, where Alberti spent the ages of 16 and 17 copying the great masters.  We will also have a tour of the Residencia de Estudiantes, where Alberti consorted with Federico García Lorca, Luis Buñuel, and Salvador Dalí, among others.  In  Cádiz, Alberti’s hometown, on the far southern coast we will alternate working sessions on the poetry with tours of the landscapes of Alberti’s youth.  We will visit the Rafael Alberti Foundation in Puerto Santa María, a twenty minute ferry ride from Cádiz, which has an important collection of the poet’s books and manuscripts, photos, memorabilia, etc.  Cádiz is also one of the birthplaces of flamenco, an art form of vital importance in Alberti’s poetry.

In Italy, the poet’s ancestral homeland, we will visit Alberti’s home in the Trastevere, as well as the local haunts he references in his poems (one neighborhood tavern, for instance, has a copy of a poem Alberti hand lettered for the owner).  Students will continue refining the translations begun in Cádiz.  At the same time, students of Italian will lead their Spanish counterparts through translations into English of the Roman dialect poems that Alberti cites in his epigraphs. 

In Spain and Italy, students will live either residence halls or with local families, and on average 2-3 meals per day are included in the program fee.

Target audience: The Exploration Seminar is designed for students ranging from the advanced 200-level, up through the 300- and 400-level in Spanish and Italian.  The language of instruction will be English, but students will need a considerable level of proficiency in one or the other of the two source languages to deal with complex poetic texts.

Participants may earn 5 credits of CHID 471-Europe Study Abroad (I&S), Spanish 390/499, OR Italian 390/499. Participants should check with their academic advisors to determine how these credits may ammpy to major requirements.

Student costs:
$200 IPE Fee
Additional costs include: Round trip airfare, health insurance, select meals (most meals provided) and personal expenses.

Apply Now - Click here for application


One Response to “Spain & Italy – Translating Rafael Alberti: Cádiz to Rome, a Poetic Pilgrimage”

  1. Delmar Gilbert May 30, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    If I had a dime for each time I came to! Superb article!

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