Ludovico Ariosto was born in 1474, the son of an official of the Ferrarese court. He first studied law, but later acquired a sound humanistic training. His adult life was spent in the service of the Ferrarese ducal family. Essentially he was a writer; his lifetime's service as a courtier was a burden imposed on him by economic difficulties. His fame rests on his major work, Orlando Furioso. The poem was probably begun around 1505. It was first published in 1516. The most important of Arisoto's minor works are five comedies, written for production in the Ferrarese court. Ariosto died in 1533.
Orlando Furioso: A Romantic Epic: Part 2by Ludovico Ariosto, Barbara Reynolds
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A dazzling kaleidoscope of adventures, ogres, monsters, barbaric splendor, and romance, this epic poem stands as one of the greatest works of the Italian Renaissance.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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Let's face it. Among the classics, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso is one of the toughest to digest, and that's probably why it's not so popular. The first-time reader needs -like Dante in his descent to hell- a competent Virgil to guide him through the maze of plots and subplots, mythological allusions, etc. Barbara Reynolds' verse translation fulfills that role marvelously, providing you with two illuminating introductions (one for each book),a comprehensive index of names and detailed maps and end notes. In spite of being a verse translation, she is scrupulously faithful to the original(I took the trouble to compare it with the Italian). It's basically a book of fantasy cast in the form of an epic poem. It inspired Milton, Spenser, Shakespeare, and other major writers, and it will certainly delight you. Enjoy!