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David Copperfield - The Dickens Bicentenary

Febbraio 2012
In collaborazione con il British Council, quest’anno celebriamo anche noi il bicentenario della nascita di Charles Dickens. Un brano da leggere, degli esercizi da fare (se volete) e per gli insegnanti una lezione a tema da scaricare. Iniziamo con un brano da David Copperfield.

di Charles Dickens - by British Council

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clicca qui per andare alla relativa traccia audio (contrassegnata dalla scritta "speaker")


David Copperfield with Mr Micawber (the illustration is by Reginald B. Birch)
David Copperfield with Mr Micawber (the illustration is by Reginald B. Birch)

Speakers: Mark Worden, Rachel Roberts, Justin Ratcliffe (Standard British accent)

Charles Dickens, the famous English novelist, was born on February 7th, 1812, and died on June 9th, 1870. This month is therefore the bicentenary of his birth and the British are celebrating in style. Speak Up is celebrating with some readings from one of his most famous novels, David Copperfield, which was first published in 1850. But first a short explanation of the scene:

DAVID COPPERFIELD AND MISS BETSEY

David Copperfield’s parents are both dead. His step-father has sent him to work in a factory in London, a very hard life. When his landlord is sent to a debtor’s prison, David decides to find his aunt, Betsy Trotwood, who lives in Dover. David walks the 70 miles (110km) to Dover, which takes days. He arrives and sees a lady come out of the house with gardening gloves on. He knows this is his aunt, because she is just as his mother had described her. She sees him... (Sotto trovate la traduzione in italiano)

Go away!’ said Miss Betsey, shaking her head, and making a distant chop in the air with her knife. ‘Go along! No boys here!’
I watched her, with my heart at my lips, as she marched to a corner of her garden, and stooped to dig up some little root there. Then, without a scrap of courage, but with a great deal of desperation, I went softly in and stood beside her, touching her with my finger.
‘If you please, ma’am,’ I began.     
She started and looked up.
‘If you please, aunt.’
‘EH?’ exclaimed Miss Betsey, in a tone of amazement I have never heard approached.
‘If you please, aunt, I am your nephew.’
‘Oh, Lord!’ said my aunt. And sat flat down in the garden-path.
‘I am David Copperfield, of Blunderstone, in Suffolk – where you came, on the night when I was born, and saw my dear mama. I have been very unhappy since she died. I have been slighted, and taught nothing, and thrown upon myself, and put to work not fit for me. It made me run away to you. I was robbed at first setting out, and have walked all the way, and have never slept in a bed since I began the journey.’ Here my self-support gave way all at once; and with a movement of my hands, intended to show her my ragged state, and call it to witness that I had suffered something, I broke into a passion of crying, which I suppose had been pent up within me all the week.

– Va’ via – disse la signora Betsey, scotendo il capo, e tagliando col coltello un’aerea costoletta. – Va’ via! Non voglio ragazzi qui.
Col cuore in sussulto, la vidi andare in un angolo del giardino e chinarsi a raccogliere delle piante. Poi, senza un filo di coraggio, ma con l’impulso della dispera-
zione, entrai furtivamente, e fattomele da presso, la toccai con l’indice.
– Per carità, signora – balbettai. Ella diede un balzo, e levò gli occhi. – Per carità, zia.
– Eh? esclamò mia zia, con un atto di sorpresa del quale non ho mai visto l’eguale.
– Per carità, zia, io sono vostro nipote.
– Oh, Signore! – disse mia zia, e cadde a sedere nel viale.
– Io sono Davide Copperfield, di Blunderstone... dove voi eravate la sera che nacqui. Io sono stato molto di-sgraziato da quando è morta la mamma. Sono stato trascurato, e non mi s’è insegnato nulla, e mi s’è la-sciato in balìa di me stesso, e sono stato messo a un lavoro disadatto per me. Son fuggito per venirvi a trovare. Sono stato derubato per strada e ho camminato sempre a piedi, e da quando mi son messo in viaggio, non so più che sia il letto. – Qui, a un tratto, ogni forza mi venne meno, e con un gesto ai miei cenci, come per chiamarli in prova delle mie sofferenze, scoppiai in un torrente di lagrime, accumulatosi forse lentamente durante tutta la settimana.


Betsey takes David inside the house. She gives him a terrible mixture of medicines to drink, and then she calls to Mr Dick, who lives upstairs. He is a bit simple, a bit dreamy, a bit hopeless. But Aunt Betsey knows how to talk to him, how to make him think. And when she needs advice she can always turn to Mr Dick. So now, with David Copperfield lying sick on her sofa, that is what she does:

‘Mr Dick,’ said my aunt, ‘you have heard me mention David Copperfield? Now don’t pretend not to have a memory, because you and I know better.’
‘David Copperfield?’ said Mr Dick, who did not appear to remember much about it. ‘David Copperfield? Oh yes, to be sure. David, certainly. ‘Well,’ said my aunt, ‘this is his boy – his son. He would be as like his father as it’s possible to be, if he was not so like his mother, too.’
‘His son?’ said Mr Dick. ‘David’s son? Indeed!’
‘Well then,’ returned my aunt, softened by the reply, ‘how can you pretend to be wool-gathering, Dick, when you are as sharp as a surgeon’s lancet? Now, here you see young David Copperfield, and the question I put to you is, what shall I do with him?’
‘What shall you do with him?’ said Mr Dick, feebly, scratching his head. ‘Oh! Do with him?’
‘Yes,’ said my aunt, with a grave look, and her forefinger held up. ‘Come! I want some very sound advice.’
‘Why, if I was you,’ said Mr Dick, considering, and looking vacantly at me, ‘I should –‘ The contemplation of me seemed to inspire him with a sudden idea, and he added, briskly, ‘I should wash him!’

– Dick – disse mia zia – tu m’hai udito nominare Da-vide Copperfield? Ora, non fingere di non ricordartene, perché tu e io c’intendiamo.
– Davide Copperfield? – disse il signor Dick,che mi parve non avesse molta memoria. – Davide Copperfield? Oh, sì, certo. Davide, proprio.
– Bene – disse mia zia. – Questo è il suo ragazzo, questo è suo figlio. Egli rassomiglierebbe in modo sorprendente tal quale a suo padre, se non rassomigliasse anche a sua madre.
– Suo figlio? – disse il signor Dick. – Il figlio di Davide? Veramente!
– Bene, vedi – rispose mia zia, rammorbidendosi per quella risposta – come puoi fingere di non capire, quando sei più acuto del ferro d’un chirurgo? Ora, ecco qui il giovane Davide Copperfield, e la domanda che ti faccio è questa: Che posso far di lui?
– Che far di lui – disse il signor Dick, timidamente, grattandosi la testa. – Che far di lui?
– Sì – disse, mia zia, con uno sguardo grave; e l’indice levato. – Su, voglio un buon consiglio.
– Ebbene, se fossi in voi – disse il signor Dick, pensoso, e fissandomi in viso uno sguardo distratto – io, io... – La contemplazione della mia persona parve gli ispirasse un’idea luminosa, ed egli aggiunse con vivacità:
– Lo laverei!

Per gli esercizi e la lezione da scaricare, clicca qui: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/dickens/david-copperfield-miss-betsey


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