Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Comparative Literature


Giancarlo Lombardi

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature


This dissertation consists of the translation of Anna Pavignano's novel Venezia, un sogno and of an essay presenting a comment and critical analysis of the work.

The essay itself is divided into the following sections:

--An introduction to my translation of Venezia, un sogno and a reflection on my choice of Venice as a setting and background for my dissertation work.

--An introduction to the author and a description of her previous works.

--A discussion on the theory of translation and its challenges.

--A comparison between Venezia, un sogno and other literary and cinematic works set in Venice with a focus on the way the city of Venice lends itself to affecting, or in some cases, even transforming the identity of the main characters of related novels and films.

--An exploration of the cinematographic aspects of Anna Pavignano's novel and my challenges in translating its unusual colloquial style while maintaining fidelity to the original.

--An afterthought and comment on the book's general reception and the significance of its focus on environmental issues.

Venezia, un sogno, Anna Pavignano's third novel, was written after she had worked mostly as a screenwriter for Massimo Troisi's films and was nominated for an Oscar for "Il postino".

The essay discusses the concept of identity in individuals removed from their hometown either by choice (as in the case of Pavignano's main character Thomas) or by necessity (as in the case of individuals forced by financial, social, or military reasons). The city of Venice plays a major role in affecting this identity. The essay calls especial attention to the significance of environmental and social issues.

An essential component to the development of part of the dissertation is the repeated reference to films and other works of literature connected to the novel. The themes of love, betrayal, and death are present in all these works and are used as points of comparison between Venezia, un sogno and other literary references. These include works that are represented as both novels and films such as Ian McEwan's novel and Paul Schrader's film The Comfort of Strangers, Daphne du Maurier's novel and Nicholas Roeg's film Don't Look Now, Camillo Boito's novella and Luchino Visconti's film "Senso", as well as Gabriele D'Annunzio's novel Il fuoco. Particular attention is given to Thomas Mann's novella "Death in Venice" and Luchino Visconti's film of the same title, as well as Giuseppe Berto's novel and Enrico Maria Salerno's film Anonimo veneziano. The latter two play a major role in my essay.

Finally, two further elements of this section of my dissertation concentrate firstly on the authors's use of a colloquial style, including the regular use of idiomatic expressions and dialect which made the translation more challenging, and secondly, on the book's potential for being reproduced as a film.