Jerusalem Delivered: Gerusalemme Liberata

Jerusalem Delivered: Gerusalemme Liberata

by Torquato Tasso
     
 

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CLASSIC EPIC POETRY

Gerusalemme Liberata

Jerusalem Delivered

by

Torquato Tasso

Translated by Edward Fairfax (1560-1635); translation first published in London, 1600.

Jerusalem Delivered is an epic poem by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso first published in 1581, which tells a largely mythified version of the First Crusade in which

Overview

CLASSIC EPIC POETRY

Gerusalemme Liberata

Jerusalem Delivered

by

Torquato Tasso

Translated by Edward Fairfax (1560-1635); translation first published in London, 1600.

Jerusalem Delivered is an epic poem by the Italian poet Torquato Tasso first published in 1581, which tells a largely mythified version of the First Crusade in which Christian knights, led by Godfrey of Bouillon, battle Muslims in order to take Jerusalem. The poem is composed of eight line stanzas grouped into 20 cantos of varying length.

The work belongs to the Italian Renaissance tradition of the romantic epic poem, and Tasso frequently borrows plot elements and character types directly from Ariosto's Orlando furioso. Tasso's poem also has elements inspired by the classical epics of Homer and Virgil (especially in those sections of their works that tell of sieges and warfare). One of the most characteristic literary devices in Tasso's poem is the emotional conundrum endured by characters torn between their heart and their duty; the depiction of love at odds with martial valour or honor is a central source of lyrical passion in the poem.

Tasso's choice of subject matter, an actual historic conflict between Christians and Muslims (albeit with fantastical elements added), had a historical grounding, and created compositional implications (the narrative subject matter had a fixed endpoint and could not be endlessly spun out in multiple volumes) that are lacking in other Renaissance epics. Like other works of the period which portray conflicts between Christians and Muslims, this subject matter had a topical resonance to readers of the period, as the Ottoman Empire was advancing through Eastern Europe.

The poem was hugely successful, and sections or moments from the story were used in works in other media all over Europe, especially in the period before the French Revolution and the Romantic movement, which provided alternative stories combining love, violence and an exotic setting.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Published in 1581, Tasso's (1544-95) verse epic on the 11th-century First Crusade and the love of Tancred and Clorinda is one the masterpieces of Italian literature. Esolen (English, Providence Coll.), a translator of Lucretius's On the Nature of Things, here provides a solid verse translation. Despite its importance, Jerusalem Delivered has enjoyed only one significant rendition in English that is still in print: Edward Fairfax's 1600 Spenserian version. Esolen observes the basic shape, rhythm, and rhetorical movement of the original ottava rima but never sacrifices poetry or meaning to rigid form. The result is both highly readable and truer to the spirit of Tasso than Fairfax's rendition. Esolen also provides a valuable introduction, an essay on Tasso's allegory, a glossary of characters, and helpful textual notes to identify allusions. An important contribution; recommended for public and academic libraries.--T.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781519481528
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
11/23/2015
Pages:
330
Product dimensions:
8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.69(d)

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Meet the Author

Anthony Esolen is a professor of English at Providence College. He is the editor and translator of Lucretius: On the Nature of Things, also available from Johns Hopkins.

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