Machiavelli’s Belfagor: my English translation

I have translated Niccolò Machiavelli’s Belfagor the Archdevil into modern English. Here is a link to the page on this site where you can read it.

The novella Belfagor is short, only 3220 words in the original, and barely 4000 in translation. My translation is as clear and faithful to the original as I could make it. It is also the basis for the stage adaptation and the screenplay, which are both longer than the novella.

Machiavelli wrote “La fiaba di Belfagor arcidiavolo” during the same time he worked on The Prince and La Mandragola, between the Spring of 1513 and 1518, making it just about 500 years old, today.

My theatrical adaptation of Machiavelli’s Belfagor tells the same story as novella but with the addition of a lot of my own original material which is based on the story as I found it, taking the story out of plain narrative and turning narrative into dramatic dialog.

The Story of Machiavelli’s Belfagor

The story starts in Hell, where the devils in charge there hear that the souls of many newly arrived men blame their wives for their damnation. They can’t believe it and Pluto orders an investigation, to protect their reputation. They decide to send an emissary up into the world to investigate what is ‘matrimony’ and Belfagor is chosen to go. After a comical and dramatic chain of fortunes and misfortunes, Belfagor flees back to Hell rather than return to his wife.


Posted in Translating Italian Literature and tagged , , , .