Gerusalemme conquistata (Italian Edition)

Gerusalemme liberata
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Eventually the 10 are chosen by lot, only to be lured by Armida to a castle on the Dead Sea, where she keeps them imprisoned, turning them by sorcery from men into fish and back again. They are rescued, however, by Rinaldo, a disaffected knight who has fled the army after killing a fellow officer in a brawl.

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Armida vengefully traps him by magic, intent on murdering him. When she looks on his prostrate, unconscious body, however, she realises that she loves him, and transports him to "the Fortunate Isles" off the coast of Africa, where the pair enjoy an initially unbroken erotic idyll in the grounds of an enchanted palace summoned up by her magic.

Godfrey, meanwhile, having had a vision that Jerusalem cannot be taken without Rinaldo's aid, sends two of his soldiers in pursuit. Armed with a magic staff that wards off Armida's spirit guards, and a diamond mirror that awakens reason in all who look into it, they penetrate the sorceress's kingdom and break her spell.

Sleeping with the enemy | Culture | The Guardian

Rinaldo returns to the Christian army, while Armida, in whom desire and hate are now in conflict, flees to the enemy forces, offering her body to any man who can kill Rinaldo and bring her his severed head. During the final battle, however, he slaughters her soldiers and the pair finally come face to face.

Her magic diminished through realisation of her own desire, the sight of Rinaldo brings her to despair and she contemplates committing suicide. Still in love with her, Rinaldo prevents her from doing so. At the end, the lovers have reached an uneasy truce, with Rinaldo offering Armida marriage on the proviso that she converts to Christianity. Tasso, like Shakespeare and Mozart, leaves relationships open, in cliff-hanging irresolution. In Tasso's scheme of things, Rinaldo and Armida are placed in juxtaposition to Tancredi and Clorinda, the two relationships forming mirror images of each other.

In each case, concepts of gender are obliterated, but, where Tancredi and Clorinda frequently suggest two men circling each other homoerotically, Rinaldo and Armida combine gender role reversal with hints of lesbianism. Armida, the active partner, describes Rinaldo as "impenetrable". Once he has reached her enchanted island, however, he gets shot of his armour, wreathes flowers round his sword and dons women's clothes.

The image that confronts Godfrey's soldiers when they come to claim him is of two women lying on the lawn in post-coital slumber. Yet Tasso's portrait of Armida also contained elements that ensured her a life beyond the context of the poem.

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A contributory factor to the length of his imprisonment may have been Alfonso's fear that Tasso's doubts about his own and others' religious orthodoxy might play into the hands of the Roman Curia in its designs on the duchy of Ferrara. I vol. He escaped at the end of July, disguised himself as a peasant, and went on foot to his sister at Sorrento. Massarengo] [Reprint] Le Tasse. While with his sister at Sorrento, Tasso yearned for Ferrara.

She is, first and foremost, one of literature's great tragic heroines. Tasso also clothes Armida in imagery that derives from art forms beyond the printed page. Her castle on the Dead Sea is a "theatre", where she arranges her captive soldiers in tableaux, like a seasoned director. Her palace on the enchanted Fortunate Isles is an idealised Renaissance architectural masterpiece filled with sculpture and paintings.

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Armida's magic is music itself: Rinaldo is first captured by the siren sound of her singing; birds in Armida's garden warble madrigals. At one point, Tasso breaks off the lament to compare the modulations of her voice with those of a singer. Armida is herself, in other words, an artist within an art work, and ever since the appearance of Gerusalemme Liberata, generations of creative artists have struggled in their turn either to visualise her world or to give her unheard music its voice.

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Just as Tasso lures us into her palace, past painted images of great lovers of antiquity, so Tiepolo draws us through the Villa Valmarana in Vicenza with Armida's story. Angelica Kauffmann depicts her with Rinaldo hovering at her lap in a gesture of sexual submission. The Italian madrigalists were soon setting sections of the great lament, and it was not long before Tasso's sorceress was weaving her spell on the operatic stage.

Musical interpretations of her legend vary. Few composers attempted to set the story in its entirety. Most, avoiding Tasso's ending, take the lament as their closing point, furthering Armida's tragic status. Lully, in , shrouded her in baroque pageantry. A century later, Gluck enfolded the lovers in psychodrama, their prevarications between desire and repression pre-empting Wagner's Tristan und Isolde. Gluck's music for the love scenes is shamelessly sexy.

Other composers made the attempt, then drew back querulously from portraying Armida's sexuality, producing versions that glance off Tasso rather than embodying him. Handel, who set the lament as a cantata during his Italian apprenticeship, conquered London with his Rinaldo, in which Tasso turns comic - the joke being that none of Armida's ploys have any effect on the hero whatsoever. Rossini's version, first performed in Naples in , is one of the most remarkable operatic adaptations.

It is also, after Gluck's masterpiece, the greatest.

Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso

Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso Trans. Our Assessment: A- : impressive epic of the First Crusade in an energetic translation.

The complete review 's Review :. Torquato Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered is one of the great Italian epics, an influential and immensely popular piece that was, eventually, easily eclipsed in reputation by Dante's earlier great work, the Divine Comedy. Jerusalem Delivered now seems to rank somewhere beside Ariosto's Orlando Furioso , a big bulky classic, known but largely unread.

There have been many translations of Tasso's work, new ones continuing to appear at a steady rate most recently, in , by Anthony Esolen -- see our review , but to speak of Tasso in English has, for four hundred years, been to speak of Edward Fairfax's translation. Tellingly it is essentially out of print, unavailable in any affordable paperback edition -- unlike Orlando Furioso or any of innumerable Dante-translations.

The Elizabethan poet Fairfax did not make a great mark with his own verse little of which survives , but his translation is an acknowledged masterpiece -- of sorts. Fairfax's "translation" is a fairly free one, taking more liberties than most translators care or dare to. There is considerable embellishment of the text, specifically with the addition of nouns and adjectives as Fairfax uses two -- or three -- words to repeat what Tasso expressed in one.

Fairfax remains true to the story, but his language is much more sprightly and the effect more dramatic -- or at least melodramatic than in Tasso's original.

Usually such translatorial interference does little to enhance a text, but Fairfax was a real poet and his English version, though a stretch as a translation, is an impressive English epic. Fairfax's imprint was a strong and enduring one, and the reception of Tasso in the English-speaking world has been almost entirely through this rose-coloured version.

Tasso's epic tells the story of the First Crusade, leading to the sacking of Jerusalem in The tale centers around Godfrey's exploits, from the beginning when he is chosen to lead the crusaders "To free Jerusalem from thrall and wrong" I. Despite the fact that god and right are obviously on their side -- they are, after all, liberating Jerusalem from those unworthy Muslims -- the adventure is not a smooth and painless one.