|from Benali's edition of Dante's Commedia|
- What is your impression of Yambo's opinion of himself, especially now that he's seen evidence of his past as a businessman and with (though perhaps he's only invented it, as Gratarolo suggests) Sibilla?
- (I will generally leave issues of Italian grammar aside, like, for instance, the differences between tu and lei and their correlates in French, unless you'd like me to load up each post with bits of Italian minutiae; otherwise, if you have a question about anything like this, please ask.)
- This chapter makes me really wish I could afford ancient treasure tomes like these! I am guilty of buying books just because they're pretty, because they feel nice. I love a library for its smell. Would I say no to a Nook were it offered me? Of course not! But pages and ink and sweat and love packed between stretched, gilt leather covers.... But that's just me. Is it such a business of passion for Yambo?
- "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." As Yambo has forgotten his past and lost the experiences of love with it, from where will new love build or grow or spring [insert your poetry here]? In a child, love begins as dependence and trust, and therefore is extended--and only ever around the girth of its own selfishness--to parents, guardians, caregivers.
- "Are there drugs for remembering?" // "Maybe Sibilla..." What is the emotion he's experiencing toward this girl?
- So here's the line that provides the chapter's title: "And someone will pluck your flower, mouth of the wellspring, someone who won't even know, a fisher of spongers with take this rare pearl." The context, of course, provides its own interpretation of jealousy and lust, but there's another use of plucking flowers, or deflowering, which also applies to the source of Yambo's fear--and mixed sense of conquest--for his maybe-relationship with Sibilla. Also, often, a wellspring is a ready source of ample fog when conditions are right.
- Issue of translation and plurals: Umberto Eco carefully supervises the translation of each of his works. He most certainly was aware of the translator's pluralization of palazzo to palazzos, though the "correct" carry-over pluralization would be palazzi.
- At the time the Lira went out for the Euro, 1000 lira was worth about 65 cents (very approximately) --just to give you an idea.
- Another brilliant analogy: Yambo compares his loss of past to the loss of the third dimension, leaving everything flat--without depth.
- Eco ascribes certain fog quotations to certain characters as their favorites. Is this meant to indicate character traits or the like, or was the determination arbitrary?
- Ah, that last sentence!
Finally, what do you think of the nickname, Yambo? I don't have an Italian copy of Mysterious Flame, so I don't know if the original uses the Y or the more appropriate Ia (Italian generally skips y/upsilon), like J, K, X, and W (except for carryovers from English or French or whatever else), which are phonetically useless. It doesn't make much sense to examine it in English, which shows itself mildly as "I am," and all it's Old Testament weight, though I can't totally disregard it. As it is, "Io," is Italian's first-person singular pronoun. Closer to its spelling, however, is the Italian of the poetry term, "iamb," "giambo" in Italian ("iambo," "iambe," and "jambo" in others of the Romance languages), which, in English, is a trochee, but in Italian, as "giambo" is actually three syllables, contains in its first two an iamb. I don't know. Names are usually important, but I can't find anything more than this. Thoughts?