Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Ariosto Today

Ariosto Today: Contemporary Perspectives

Donald Beecher
Massimo Ciavolella
Roberto Fedi
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Ariosto Today
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays brings together twelve noted Italian and American scholars to provide a complete picture of Ariosto and all his works as an integration of tradition and invention.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7098-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    Let us agree that one of the greatest hallmarks of Ariosto’s literary career is the remarkable degree of individualism and innovation he achieved in works that everywhere pay homage to a vast repository of antecedent forms, styles, and narrative parts. These ostensibly contrasting vectors may be called tradition and invention or imitation and novelty. That one might seek precisely through this practice an expression of personal poetic revelation and a particular vision of the world is one of the paradoxes of any age. There can be no doubt that Ariosto’s creative works were compulsively grounded in the axiomatic habits of...

  5. Ariosto and the Classics in Ferrara
    (pp. 18-31)

    Ariosto’s knowledge of the classical languages and literatures was uneven. On the one hand, he was a superb student of the Latin tradition, as evidenced by his accomplished Latin verse that won him praise from even the sternest critic, Pietro Bembo (Pigna 74). On the other, he knew no Greek, made little or no attempt to learn it, and lamented this lack in his education. Still, his situation was typical for writers in the second half of the quattrocento. Authors coming of age in the generation of Ariosto and Machiavelli learned about the expressive possibilities of literary Italian in part...

  6. The Orlando innamorato and the Genesis of the Furioso
    (pp. 32-54)

    Writing in the second half of the sixteenth century, when the aesthetic ideals of unity, completeness, and perfect fusion between the various parts of a literary work were predominant, Torquato Tasso, who deeply shared and believed in those ideals, suggested that the plot [favola], that is, ‘the form of the poem which can be defined as the texture or combining of facts or things,’ should be ‘whole, ... aptly large, and ... one.’ As for the first point, it was obvious that ‘theOrlando innamoratoand theFuriosoare not whole, and are incomplete with regard to their component parts:...

  7. The History of the Furioso
    (pp. 55-70)

    The 1974 celebrations marking the five hundredth anniversary of Ariosto’s birth also signified the beginning of a renewed and urgent interest in studying, independently of one another, the three versions of theFurioso(printed in 1516, 1521, and 1532). Before these celebrations, studies had been conducted on this crucial problem pertaining to the understanding of the poem, which were further justified by the release of a critical edition in 1960. However, many of these early studies attempted to demonstrate the superiority of the last version (1532) without offering an objective and systematic analysis of each of the first two against...

  8. ʻThe Nightingale in a Cageʼ: Ariosto and the Este Court
    (pp. 71-92)

    ‘As much as a subject wrongs his prince by acting in ways that are appropriate only to the prince’s office and commits the crime oflaesae majestatis, so too does a prince err by acting in ways that are appropriate only to the people and commits the crime oflaesi populi: the Duke of Ferrara, by engaging in commerce, monopolies, and other manual trades, merits the greatest reprimand.’¹ Thus concluded Guicciardini in the ninetythird aphorism of hisRicordi, as rewritten and collected in 1530. In the first two versions of theRicordi(1525, 1528), this aphorism was the last of...

  9. Ariosto: Landscape Artist
    (pp. 93-105)

    With his superb literary style of highlighting, and following, the subjects in theOrlando furioso, Ariosto foreshadows the cinematic use of ‘panning’ and ‘tracking’ by several centuries. By alternating these two techniques through the narrator - an ideal camera lens - he vividly portrays the fabulous characters and warring heroes in their daring feats, as well as the poem’s many extraordinary panoramas:

    Di monte in monte e d’uno in altro bosco

    giunsero ove l’altezza di Pirene

    può dimostrar, se non è l’aer fosco,

    e Francia e Spagna e due diverse arene,

    come Apennin scopre il mar schiavo e il tosco...

  10. The Advertising of Fictionality in Orlando furioso
    (pp. 106-125)
    Daniel Javitch

    In this age of readers so drawn to artistic self-consciousness in works of literature, Ariosto’s desire to make conspicuous his poem’s artifice and fictionality has been more appreciated than in the past. It could even be said that a characteristic trait of late-twentieth-century criticism ofOrlando furiosois the attention it pays and the sympathy it shows to some of the means Ariosto used to advertise his poem’s literariness. I say some of the means because the critical attention has been partial. It has focused primarily on the narrator’s role in this advertising. Robert Durling’s fundamental contribution on Ariosto’s narrator...

  11. A Reading of the Interlaced Plot of the Orlando furioso: The Three Cases of Love Madness
    (pp. 126-153)

    Ludovico Ariosto, in his handling of the narration of theOrlando furioso, takes full advantage of the technique known asentrelacement, or interlaced plot structure, in order to give implicit as well as explicit meanings to his stories.Entrelacement, a technique inherited from the Italian and the earlier French chivalric tradition, is an ordering of the narration in which narrative sequences are interrupted, separated, and recombined with other narrative sequences.¹ The interruption creates narrative suspense as the reader is made to read stories belonging to different plot lines before returning to the point of disjunction. At the same time, the...

  12. The Lyric Poetry of Ariosto
    (pp. 154-175)

    The lyric poems of Ariosto, theRime, remained virtually unpublished during the author’s lifetime, and were edited and printed only posthumously by Iacopo Coppa¹ in Venice in 1546. We do not know when Ariosto first composed these poems, but it is probable that he began them in his youth, since the first texts are datable to 1493, and that he continued to rewrite them and to add new ones over a lengthy period that included the years he served as governor of the Garfagnana (1522–5) and, later still, while continuing to revise his epic masterpiece, theOrlando furioso(Bianchi...

  13. The Theatre of Ariosto
    (pp. 176-194)
    Stefano Bianchi

    In theHistory of Italian Literature(1870), the eminent literary critic Francesco De Sanctis dismisses the plays of Ariosto as seeming too derivative of Latin models. Accordingly, he describes Ariosto’s first comedy, theCassaria, as a ‘reconstruction’ of classical texts rather than his own ‘creation.’ He also expresses strong reservations regarding the other plays, because Ariosto, almost obstinately, had insisted upon composing those works in dactylic verse, ‘in order to render the Latin faithfully, since the metre seemed to correspond perfectly to the iambic one’ (De Sanctis, 2:498–9). Once liberated of those theatrical works, the critic then discusses the...

  14. From Poem to Theatre to Cinema: Luca Ronconiʼs Orlando furioso
    (pp. 195-210)

    Ronconi’sOrlando furioso, staged in 1969, was driven by the director’s protest against the classical theatrical tradition. In particular, he opposed the division between the audience and the stage and he objected to the spectator being reduced to the relatively passive role of the addressee by the play, which was considered sufficient unto itself. The staging ofOrlando furiosodeveloped, in an original and brilliant manner, all of his various theories concerning audience participation, outdoor theatre, and theatre as festival, and called for the abandonment of the stage as a separate and symbolically privileged place. TheOrlando furiosowas, in...

  15. Ariosto and Calvino: The Adventures of a Reader
    (pp. 211-234)

    Cesare Pavese, in his 1947 review ofIl sentiero dei nidi di ragno[The Path to the Nest of Spiders], was the first to point out Italo Calvino’s affinity with the literature of chivalric romance and with Ariosto’s writing in particular: ‘There is a flavour of Ariosto here’ [C’è qui dentro un sapore ariostesco] (246). Since then Pavese’s observation has been echoed many times by other critics, and Calvino’s subsequent work, including a delightful ‘retelling’ of theOrlando furioso(1970) has borne out Pavese’s intuition. The marks of Ariosto’s influence on Calvino are (as Calvino himself observed)¹ laid bare for...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 235-237)