Traces to sail

Pietro De Luigi on web


Home ] Su ] La Terra di Hurqalya ] Musica ] Philosophia ] Personale ] Mappa ] Contatti e Links ]


In Italian: Tracce per navigare nell'universo di Enoch Arden



From the essay:

Traces to sail trough the universe of Enoch Arden

by Pietro De Luigi

(translation by Alice Bracchi)



- Back cover -

England, 1864. A long cliff towers over a gulf. A tiny harbor, a wharf, sand and sea, the raging, seething sea. In the bay of Freshwater, Isle of Wight, Farringford, Alfred Tennyson is writing Enoch Arden, his best-known poem.

"Here on this beach a hundred years ago…"

Can a flashback start an initiation journey? A window is thrown open on the past, but the past was there, in the future, ready to be narrated. A sailor leaves and comes back, carrying out the circle of his life. His navigation is a spiritual itinerary; a journey that, developing on the axis of days, months and years, sinks in a spiral in which the clusters of time create a knot with eternity.

A navigation which is also a fascinating philosophical itinerary, an investigative inquiry on the tracks of accurate clues, traces within traces




Traces to sail

through the universe of Enoch Arden



To Angiolino Barberi (Forte dei Marmi, 1903-1995):

Sailor, who told me "tales of foreign parts";

He taught me how to swim, sail,

And ride a bicycle, too.


These Traces were born after a long relationship with Enoch Arden. I began to perform this melologue by Strauss-Tennyson at the end of the 1990s, perfecting a partial translation by Riccardo Allorto, which was kindly granted to me by Mario Delli Ponti. Here and there, that partial text reached excellent results, but in a very discontinuous way.
For this reason, since I was planning several concert-lectures on Enoch Arden for high school students, I was encouraged by high school teachers from the district of Lodi to realize an accurate and complete translation of the poem, so that the literary value of Tennyson’s poem could find its full expression. So, in the fall of 1999 I ventured into an attempt of translation, with all the worries this implied. As I explain in the Notes to the translation, which are published together with the CD (Rugginenti Editore) and attached to these Traces, towards the end of the work I made some important discoveries of exegetic nature, stumbling upon a hidden aspect of the poem; it was a sort of compact but hermetic symbolical structure, disentangling which I got to peep in Tennyson’s stratified world.

Enoch Arden, this very simple yet extraordinary seafaring poem, hid a surprising esoteric framework.

On the basis of this new knowledge, while putting into practice the cycle of concert-lectures in high schools I had a chance to entertain at length, a piano at hand, an audience of both students and teachers. What I obtained was not only a touched attention to the melologue itself, but also a vibrant curiosity toward the analysis of the text.

Now, with the opportunity of realizing, together with Laura Marinoni, the first Italian recording of Enoch Arden, I wanted to close the series of my labors with these Traces to sail through the universe of Enoch Arden, writing down the essential contents of those concert-lectures, giving them a methodical form, extending at length the documentation and expressing in my personal way its conceptual structure.

As a matter of fact, these Traces have become a strange hybrid between hermeneutics in western tradition, exegesis, investigative inquiry – sort of a treasure hunt to discover Tennyson’s symbolisms – but also, and not incidentally, with a certain autonomy, a sort of spiritual and mystic journey, with a fair and not simple philosophical verve. So much that in my opinion, at the end (and it surprises me, in a way), these Traces turned out to be a kind of philosophical manifesto, an essay on the meaning of time. All of the knots, already implied in the trinity at the beginning, appear evident in Trace 4, are disentangled in Trace 5, are perfected in Trace 6, and are eventually transcended in Trace 7. After Trace 4 (which comes to an unusually deep end, thanks to its sections of deeper analysis), the conclusion is drawn; the discourse thins out until it dies into pure evidence: the past is still present, "traces are within traces".

In spite of my long digressions (or, perhaps, in virtue of them), I think I have managed to remain faithful to Tennyson’s character, following in the wake of a long tradition that loves and pursues the philosophia perennis as a lifestyle.

I wish to thank my friend Stefania Landi, Philosophy teacher at G. Gandini High School in Lodi, who, in a way, inspired this whole work by heartening me in the very first stages; I wish to thank my sister Paola, excellent painter, to whom we owe the cover of this book and of the CD; and, above all, I wish to thank my wife Silvia, together with Clara and Alberto, our grown-up pets, because they put up with me through all the forced march of completing this work, supporting me with the love that always pervades our lives, like a deep breath.

Pietro De Luigi

Lodi, March 25th 2004





Trace 1 – The beginning and the end
Trace 2 – The Prologue in the sky: dialectics between Earth and Sea
Trace 3 – An exchange: dialectic crossroads

Trace 4 – Square. Tropology and chronology of the poem

4.1 – The landscape as a metaphor

4.2 – The lion and the badger-peacock of the lonely Castle: the initiation journey

4.3 – Seven. Life as a journey: going beyond

4.4 – Going beyond to come back

   4.4.1 – Metaphors and periphrasis

   4.4.2 – Biblical symbols: redire in seipsum

               Section 1 – The "Enochian" tradition

   4.4.3 – The Ring of the comeback: the Dragon

               Section 2 – The dragon, between East and West

               Section 3 – Eternity

               Section 4 – The dragon and sacrifice

Trace 5 – Coniunctio

Trace 6 – Creation and Revelation
Trace 7 – Transfiguration














In Italian: Tracce per navigare nell'universo di Enoch Arden





Home ] Su ] La Terra di Hurqalya ] Musica ] Philosophia ] Personale ] Mappa ] Contatti e Links ]