l’influenza di Ann Radcliff – Edgar Allan Poe’s The Oval Portrait

In the short story The Oval Portrait  (1842) Edgar Allan Poe mentions the name and work by Ann Radcliff in the introduction. The idea of  a mysterious portrait which hides (= nasconde) a secret is one of the most common topic of the horror literature, together with the themes of the double, of life and death of the dichotomy between art and life. The tale is about an injured (= ferito) narrator who refuges with his valet Pedro into an abandoned manor (= palazzo) in the Apennines. There he sees beautiful paintings and finds out (= trova) a booklet (= libretto) which explains them and their stories. A painting in particular strikes (= colpisce) his imagination and rises (= solleva) his curiosity for its “absolute life-likeliness of expression”. Then he looks through (= sfoglia)  the book to read about the portrait (= ritratto):  the picture is  the work of an eccentric artist, the sitter (= la modella) is his young wife. While depicting it he grows obsessed (= diventa sempre più ossessionato) to the point (= al punto) that he pays  no attention (= non presta)  to the woman he is painting. When the work is completed  he  exclaims, “This is indeed Life itself!” (= questa è la vita stessa) and looks at his wife ……who is  dead: her spirit is in the life-like painting (= dipinto simile alla vita)