Verse translation of Plautus into Brazilian Portuguese : iambic senarii and trochaic septenarii in Poenulus

Source document: Graeco-Latina Brunensia. 2020, vol. 25, iss. 1, pp. 5-17
  • ISSN
    1803-7402 (print)
    2336-4424 (online)
Type: Article
For modern readers and viewers, the theater of ancient Rome is like a puzzle with many missing pieces or pieces that are very difficult to fit together. Even so, against all odds, some crucial pieces have been preserved: the dramatic texts (only a few). These texts were the theatrical scripts for performances that people on holiday in Rome over 2,000 years ago watched at wood stages. And if, on the one hand, philology appears as the science that studies these "pieces" and tries to unravel how to solve the puzzle, on the other hand, translation studies may encourage us to draw a possible image that could fit into that puzzle screen. In this complicated game of creating a new picture, I propose an exercise to reimagine one of these texts. In this paper, I intend to present some outlines of my ongoing verse translation of the comedic play Poenulus by Plautus (c. 250–184 BCE) into Brazilian Portuguese. I will talk in particular about the translation of the iambic senarii into Alexandrine lines, arguing that we can follow the 19th-century Portuguese-speaking theatrical tradition of composing and translating comedies into Alexandrine lines. With respect to the trochaic septenarii, I will outline a proposal for translating it as a composed verse, which we can call bi-heptasyllable. To conclude, I will present a translation of Poen. 53–54 to address some issues and possibilities that a textual lacuna can bring regarding the title of the play and its translation.
  • This text is an expanded version of a paper given during the conference Titus Maccius Plautus: From Page to Stage at the University of Masaryk, Brno, on the November 14, 2019.
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