The Orlando furioso : a stoic comedy -PDF-ebook- by Ludovico Ariosto

The Orlando furioso: a stoic comedy- PDF-ebook

The Orlando furioso: a stoic comedy


Orlando furioso is an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto which has exerted a wide influence on later culture. The earliest version appeared in 1516, although the poem was not published in its complete form until 1532. Orlando Furioso is a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's unfinished romance Orlando Innamorato.

It seems to me rather that Ariosto's work on the poem— through twenty-five years and three editions— attests to the poet's perseverance. Carne-Ross's reading, though extremely suggestive, did not meet the critical challenge of reading the whole poem. To focus narrowly on one part of the poem or, worse, to lop off the last fifteen countries in the face of such an ancient notion as the wholeness of the work of art, a notion adopted by New Criticism.

 My attempt to read the entire poem is in this respect more thoroughly New Critical than the approach of any of these critics. It is also more thoroughly historical. In literary-historical matters, Greene is observant and careful, but when it comes to connecting the text with a larger moral philosophical framework, his readings are anachronistic. I particularly wince at the progressive Whig notion of history that informs his portrayal of the syncretist and sceptical Christian humanist Ariosto as an enlightened New York Times reader and liberal atheist. 

More historically minded critics, such as Durling and later Saccone, were interested in interpreting the poem in relation to specifically Renaissance concepts of poetics and consequently in considering the poem as a whole rather than a series of fragments. 6 For Saccone and Durling, the poem expressed a total harmony, however subtly shifting between "Viaggio" and "Spazio," however paradoxically based on "the reader's accepting the [poem's] manner of not totalizing reality but of being critical of it." 7 C. P. Brand analyzed the structure of the Furioso

It will, probably, be expected that a new translation of the Furioso should be prefaced by some account of the versions which have preceded it; and I the more readily undertake this little task, as in the execution of it my reasons will be found for the enterprise upon which I have myself adventured. The first version of Ariosto's great poem was made by Sir John Harrington, the godson of Queen Elizabeth, who translated it into the same stanza as that of the original.

The main defect of this work is its infidelity, and I cannot better illustrate this than by observing, that he has compressed a canto of nearly two hundred stanzas into ninety. A more unpardonable defect is, that he always omits what is best worth preserving; and, as an Italian friend. once observed to me, it is the poetry of Ariosto that he sacrifices. Another defect of this translator is that of exaggerating the extravagances of his author, and often spreading a ray of humour into a broad glare of buffoonery. 

The history of his work may explain these faults, and more especially the last; as we are told he began his labours with the story of Giocondo, without the intention of pursuing them further; when his royal mistress imposed upon him the entire version of the Furioso as a sort of covering for the indecent episode which he had chosen to give as a specimen of the Italian. 

If, however, Harrington cannot pretend to much merit as a translator, he has some claims to consideration as a writer, and his work has fallen into more obscurity than the antiquated language in which he writes, will serve to explain. His idioms, his grammar, and his construction (though things with difficulty kept free from foreign modes of speech in a translation) are exclusively English. 

His narrative is light and lively, and, in perusing it, the reader always feels as if he is swimming with the stream. The gleam of Italian sunshine, during which he wrote, though it produced beneficial effects upon our literature, was of short duration. " At one stride came the dark*." The study of Italian letters was dropped at once, and I believe that no traces of literary intercourse between Italy and England are to be found during the succeeding age.


the book details :
  • Author: Ludovico Ariosto was an Italian poet. He is best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso. The poem, a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens with diversions into many side plots.
  • Translator:  William Stewart Rose
  • Publication date:1872
  • Company: London, Bohn

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