A New World

Certi progetti hanno un travaglio lungo prima di vedere la luce del giorno e questo è il caso di “A New World”. Il progetto nasce da una mia curiosità, molto tempo fa, di leggere il vecchio testamento nella sua versione “autorizzata”, quella di King James pubblicata in Inghilterra nel 1611, con l’idea di conoscere meglio la storia di per sé, senza la sua  sovrastruttura religiosa.

Bene, è stata una vera faticaccia e mi sono fermato dopo il secondo libro, Esodo. Però ho scoperto, aldilà del linguaggio antiquato e ostico, una storia colma di tutti quegli elementi drammatici – omicidio, fratricidio, guerra, sesso, tradimento, amore, rapina, adulterio, riconciliazione – che si trovano oggi in una qualunque serie televisiva drammatica su Netflix o altrove.

Da qui è nata l’idea, forse un po’ folle, di scrivere una nuova versione della Genesi, fedele all’originale, ma con un linguaggio moderno, un ritmo serrato e – per rendere la sfida ancora più stimolante – a rima baciata.

Dalla concezione al parto ne è passato di tempo, e anche tante stesure, ma credo che la versione finale che è disponibile adesso sul sito di Amazon ne è valsa la fatica. Ovviamente il libro è in lingua inglese, essendo destinato principalmente al mercato anglosassone, ma il linguaggio usato non è complesso e credo che potrebbe essere una lettura molto piacevole e nello stesso tempo stimolante per studenti della lingua inglese di un livello intermedio.

Nelle settimane a venire è mia intenzione registrare una traccia audio per ogni capitolo del libro in modo che si potrà seguire la storia leggendo e ascoltando contemporaneamente. A questo fine ho già registrato una traccia audio per il primo capitolo che pubblicherò qui insieme al testo, per dare un assaggio dello stile e del livello di difficoltà del testo in generale.

Il libro è disponibile qui:

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Introduzione
“A New World” è il primo libro di Mosè, più noto come la Genesi, raccontato in modo unico. Versi scorrevoli in rima baciata ed un incalzante ritmo trasportano il lettore dalle delizie verdeggianti del Giardino dell’Eden, oltre Noè e l’alluvione e le avventure di Abramo e Isacco, fino all’arrivo di Giuseppe in Egitto e la sua ascesa al potere come braccio destro del Faraone. Uno stile scanzonato ma mai irriverente, porta in vita i personaggi di questa storia biblica e fa di “A New World” una lettura molto piacevole sia per bambini che per adulti.

[Musica di Mario Chianello]


The
very
beginning

[Genesis 1:1]

Once upon a long long time, a long long time ago,
There was not a single thing of all that we now know.
Absolutely nothing was all that could be seen,
Nothing here, nothing there, and nothing in between.
The universe was empty, like a pocket with a hole,
As silent as the ‘b’ in lamb and black, as black as coal.

If you close the curtains and switch off every light,
If you stop your thinking and screw your eyes up tight,
Can you imagine nothing? I don’t suppose you can,
Nothing disappeared, you see, the day it all began.
And everything began, of course, as everyone should know,
Once upon a long long time, a long long time ago.

In those distant days of old, God was one and all,
Alone he wandered in the dark, strong and proud and tall.
But though he was almighty and called himself the Lord,
In all that empty nothingness he very soon got bored.
So one fine day he raised his hands where cosmic vapours swirled,
And stretching out his mighty arms – tock! – he made the world.

He saw that it was beautiful, he saw that it was right,
He couldn’t see much else because there wasn’t any light.
But this was not a problem for God to dwell upon,
He raised his mighty arms again and – tock! – the dark had gone.
Then he really saw it all, the wondrous thing he’d done,
And swiftly made the land and seas, the moon, the stars and sun.

When he’d finished making these, all colourful and bright,
He made the heavens up above, and then the day and night.
He felt such joy and happiness at all the things he saw,
He made the bushes and the trees, the flowers and so much more.
He started making animals, both medium, large and small,
With legs and tails, wings or scales, he quickly made them all.

When everything was ready, according to his plan,
He scooped a little dust up and made the world’s first man.
After sitting for a while in quiet contemplation,
‘Adam’ was the name his chose to call his new creation.
God was really happy now, he had so much to do,
His man would need assistance and lots of guidance too.

God selected Adam to be the one in charge
Of all the plants and animals, both medium, small and large.
But Adam would require a gift to carry out this role,
So God blew in his nostrils and gave his man a soul.
The Lord was pleased with Adam, very pleased indeed,
And really quite determined to meet his every need.


6 comments

  1. I tried to read the Bible many times, always gave up, till I decided to become a humanist, I suspect to avoid reading The Book. I’ve found this chapter really intriguing and amusing. Will I change my mind after reading the whole book? Don’t know, till I can’t stop thinking to the verse “He saw that it was beautiful, he saw that it was right,
    He couldn’t see much else because there wasn’t any light”, but I suppose I will have had a very nice time, once finished 😄

    1. Ahah! Becoming a humanist to avoid reading the Bible made me laugh. I’m sure your reasons were actually quite different, Elena. In any case, the project is not really a religious one, as you will have understood.
      I’m hoping to continue with the audio as soon as I get my voice back! 😉

      1. Of course I understood, and of course I was joking about my reasons of being a humanist (whilst writing I was hoping my English made it clear).
        If I can say… putting some more drama in your reading maybe could make it more attractive for students.

  2. Thank you so much teacher Tony for your amazing new gift. I enjoy listening and reading The Very Beginning of Genesis in the adapted poetic, elementary and fun version as well. Even if I stay on the side of the evolutionistic theory, those verses have already clarified some of my doubts. I now know why I wasn’t able to imagine an empty universe, for instance. It is said that God created everything because He was bored and after introducing living creatures and a human in charge of them, He felt happy for the beauty of His creation. Is it possible, in hindsight, that now He is repented of it? Thanks

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