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
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
Pietro De Luigi
Lodi, March 25th 2004