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Orlando Furioso

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,538 Ratings  ·  103 Reviews
The only unabridged prose translation of Ariosto's Orlando Furioso - a witty parody of the chivalric legends of Charlemagne and the Saracen invasion of France - this version faithfully recaptures the entire narrative and the subtle meanings behind it.
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 656 pages
Published January 28th 1999 by Oxford University Press (first published 1516)
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I read Orlando Furioso many years ago, but I still remember the good feeling as I went through Ludovico Ariosto's pages. A fantastic and unusual parody of chivalry.
“Nature made him, and then broke the mold.”

“Ah, how I rue that what I could have done I did not do!”
Highly recommended!
J.G. Keely
May 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps it speaks more to the age I live in than that of the author, but I'm always surprised to find a reasonable, rational mind on the other end of the pen. Though Ariosto's unusual work is full of prejudice and idealism, it is constantly shifting, so that now one side seems right, and now the other.

His use of hyperbole and oxymoron prefigures the great metaphysical poets, and like them, these are tools of his rhetoric and satire. Every knight is 'undefeatable', every woman 'shames all others
Το Άσχημο Ρύζι Καρολίνα
Ο κεντρικός άξονας του έργου αφορά στην πολιορκία του Παρισιού από τους Μαυριτανούς και τους Σαρακηνούς. Ο χριστιανός βασιλιάς Καρλομάγνος έχει να αντιμετωπίσει τον Αφρικανό Αγκραμάντ και τους Μαυριτανούς συμμάχους του, που έρχονται από την Ισπανία. Δεν είναι όμως αυτό το μόνο θέμα που κυριαρχεί στη διήγηση του ποιητή.

Ο έρωτας είναι η μεγαλύτερη και πανταχού παρούσα δύναμη που κινεί τα νήματα της ιστορίας. Οι βασικοί χαρακτήρες του έργου και πολλοί από τους δευτερεύοντες, που κάνουν το πέρασμά
In this sixteenth year of the twenty-first century, and only just a few days ago, a tree fell in my garden.

I didn't see the tree fall but the tremendous thump as it hit the ground, and the shocked silence of the birds afterwards, caused me to drop the book I was reading and run to see if a giant wasn't attacking my house.
There was no giant of course - only the weeping willow, roots in the air, branches bent to the ground, bowing towards the sun. A moving sight.

The book I was reading when the wi
[2 novembre 2012]
Appena comprata questa edizione Bur mi dicevo: ma perché in una collezione di classici con nuovi commenti ristampano questo di Emilio Bigi che compie proprio ora trent'anni? Ora che lo sto leggendo capisco il perché.

[5 settembre 2017]
Una delle cose che non sopporto è quando dicono che nel Furioso tutte le vicende dipendono dalla fuga e dall'inseguimento di Angelica. Una parte. Una parte cospicua, se proprio si vuole, ma tutte proprio no! Bisognerebbe buttare via ben più di mezzo
Sep 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I am in love with this book, and I have no idea why everybody isn't reading it all the time. It is a massively fun tale dealing with the exploits of the knights of Charlemagne. It moves incredibly quickly, seamlessly weaves together dozens of terrific stories, and gives the reader all the fulfillment one could wish for in an adventure novel. Lots of battles and intrigue and sorcerers and giants and mistaken identities and flying steeds and magic and all of that good fantasy stuff, and it was wri ...more
Aug 05, 2011 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
My brother got me a hardcover 1st of the new translation of the Furioso for Xmas - hell yes bro!
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I told you that you should read an early sixteenth century Italian verse epic whose primary themes are courtly love and chivalry, would you do it? What if I told you there's a new translation which abridges the massive original to a mere 700 pages? Too good to be true?

I know what you're thinking: uh, yawn, cough, cough, maybe I'll get to that when I can't use my legs any more. Thanks anyway.

But what if I told you it's one of the funniest, most rollicking adventures ever written, with astoundi
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why is this epic not better known? Sure, there are ample academic texts written about it, its importance to later literature is widely acknowledged, and I've read more than one reference to it in the works of other great authors, but the vast majority of readers have never even heard of Orlando Furioso. Though originally published less than fifty years after Mallory's Le Morte D'Arthur, Orlando Furioso is not nearly as well-known or as widely read, which is a shame because it's a far better book ...more
Jo Walton
I read this version after giving up on two different verse translations.

So Orlando Furioso is a very strange thing. It's a sequel to a book called Orlando Inamorata, by Tasso, and it has one of the horrible flaws of fanfic that it assumes you're already deeply invested in these characters, and that when it is revealed to you that (gasp) the character is Rinaldo in disguise, you'll be all excited. And this would be a real payoff for somebody who cares about Rinaldo, but if you've started reading
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow, that was ... long. Good, but long. And featuring surprisingly little of Mad Roland, all things considered.

So this was an English prose translation (from 1973) of an Italian epic poem by Ludovico Ariosto that's almost exactly 500 years old -- first published in 1516 although, like George Lucas, Ariosto kept tinkering with it over the years until his death.

Basically, this was a chivalric romance -- set hundreds of years prior to its writing, featuring an assortment of historical and not-so-hi
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
Bought after hearing an interview with the translator, David R. Slavitt (listen at the following link):
World Books Podcast: Of Naked Maidens and Sea Serpents (February 2, 2010)

The Italian Renaissance epic “Orlando Furioso,” was once a hot volume, at least among the literati, such as Shakespeare, and musicians, such as Scarlotti and Haydn. But Ludovico Ariosto’s long tale of knights and monsters duking it out largely dropped off the radar screen in the 20th century, though it was Italo Calvino’s
Steve Morrison
Orlando Furioso is a miracle of lightness, speed, and wit. Imagine all the brightest qualities Byron, Spenser, Calvino, and Cervantes jumbled deliciously together, and spiced with a dash of Kafka. It's little wonder so many Italian operas sprang from such fertile soil. The poem is about the labyrinthine impossibility of desire and the wild weavings of destiny, told in a wry tone that jumps so quickly from person to person and scene to scene that the reader is soon swept up in Ariosto's ironic wh ...more
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Classic of world literature. Renaissance Proto-feminism, dizzying irony, labyrinths of interwoven parallel plotting, and very funny: what more could you want from a this ponderous multi-volume work of an iconoclastic poetic genius? Here one sees the beginning of the breakdown of the rigid classical literary norms: e.g. the poet breaks into the narrative to cast aspersions on the supposed chastity of the beautiful princess who all the knights fall in love with: "Forse era ver, ma non pero' credib ...more
Czarny Pies
Let me confess: I read the French prose translation not the Italian verse original I am thus unable to comment on the poetic qualities of the Italian. What I was able to comprehend convinced me that this is an extraordinary adventure tale from the Renaissance and with a very modern perspective on many issues that we are still grappling with today.

If you have the good fortune to be taking this work on a university course, you should obviously concentrate on the interpretation that your professor
Adamo Lanna
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 500, poesia
L'Orlando Furioso fu una bella scoperta. Dopo secoli passati a leggere fantasy un giorno poi mi venne lo sfizio di leggere Ariosto. Avevo la diffidenza tipica di chi ha fatto il liceo classico e il suo prof saltava a piè pari tutte le ottave. Niente da fare, ottava dopo ottava cacchio mi pigliava assai. Certo le storie sono spesso tirate per i capelli però non ci scordiamo che parliamo di 500 anni fa. Ariosto non lo conosceva Beautiful. Così mi ci sono appassionato e ho letto tutto da inizio a f ...more
I read the 1831 verse translation by William Stewart Rose. However there are a small number of pieces missing in that translation which i filled in using the 1591 translation by John Harrington.

Epic italian poem, featuring knights, damsels, magic and the occasional monster. Its not so much a single story as an entire library of them all mixed together. Set against the backdrop of the Moors invading France. This gives the work a lot more cohesion than other epics like the Faerie Queene.
The auth
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
If you read just one Renaissance epic poem, I would recommend this.

Keep in mind while reading my glowing review that this is a 16th century epic poem in translation. Mileage - woo varies.

Definitely more of an interwoven plot than Spenser's dreary Fairy Queen. Ariosto has a sense of fun and I think he gleefully leaves off at as many cliffhangers as possible.

Plus - two female knights! Woot!

The poem is much improved by skipping any part where a seer talks about the glorious future of the descenda
May 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Orlando Furioso, written during the Renaissance, is a grand epic lark as hilarious and fantastic as any Monty Python adventure. Writers as from Spencer to Calvino have favored it.

Orlando is obsessed with Angelica, pursuing her all over the world until he loses his mind (stored on the moon in a bottle).

The war between Christian Europe and Muslims rages on with Charlemagne under siege in Paris.

"You think it's easy? No, it's very hard
to say nice things to a tree--about how its bark
is worse than
Dec 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Like King Arthur meets "Arrested Development." A surprisingly exciting, original, kalidescopically plotted poem with ideas regarding gender and race that might be considered progressive by even todays standards. The only thing keeping it from 5 stars is that the characters are pretty 2 dimensional and the whole thing gets a little repetitive after a while (I can only read about so many jousts...)
Cassandra Kay Silva
This book is so intricately woven. It really is one of those classics that so many other stories draw from. The characters are fabulous and the stories legendary.

That's it. I'm truly fucked by this wonderful book.
Now what?


La recensione vera e propria

Dopo mesi in cui ho letto questo libro ovunque e in qualsiasi situazione e posizione (leggere in piedi su un treno un mattone del genere non è mai confortevole), l'ho finito.
Ho finito quello che credo sia il libro più lungo letto in tutta la mia vita e non mi sono quasi mai annoiata.
Ariosto dovrebbe essere portato in trionfo per tutto il mondo, con m
Jackson Cyril
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: italy, poetry
One of the truly great works of Italian (and world) literature; it's funny, fast-moving and thoroughly enjoyable-- I particularly enjoyed how Ariosto incorporated elements from Arthurian romances into his great poem. That said, it is tragic how this poem also contains some of the earliest versions of the whole "East v West" rubbish-- Charlemagne and his knights are shown as the valiant defenders of Christendom from Moorish invaders; great poem, but yes, it has some rather repulsive elements whic ...more
Nick Bond
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After The Divine Comedy, Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso is probably the best example of epic poetry that I've read. At the beginning of the Renaissance, literary tradition consisted primarily of what was handed down by the Greeks and Romans, with epic poetry being among the most popular of literary forms. Ariosto is clearly well versed in this tradition, as his epic utilizes the best elements of classical literary canon.

The story is fairly easy to follow for the layperson, though the form ca
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Passionnant! Moi qui étais assez sceptique face à cette "reprise" de Calvino, j'ai été très agréablement surprise et suis sous le charme. Calvino est un excellent conteur et a admirablement repris ce poème de l'Arioste. Sa narration est entrecoupée d'extraits du poème même: il s'agit davantage d'une co-écriture que d'une reprise totale. Cela donne malheureusement parfois lieu à des répétitions que je jugeais assez inutiles, mais dans l'ensemble, c'est une vraie réussite!

Dans ce poème qui porte l
Le donne, i cavallier, l'arme, gli amori,
le cortesie, l'audaci imprese io canto[...]

Con alcuni libri accade così: come per l'amore a prima vista, lo capisci dall'inizio se ti appassionerà... Questo per me è stato Ariosto. Perciò non ve lo posso spiegare né mi sento di dirvi di leggerlo... è troppo "personale"... L'ho letto per dovere, ma, poi, sono stata molto contenta di questa forzatura... come una pianta legata al sostegno per crescere diritta, puoi non apprezzare il laccio, ma al sole ci arr
Jul 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A magical experience!

this has to be one of my top 10 favorite books.

The writing is genius, I love how Ariosto always gets you hooked!
and how he combines different genres together and not to mention surprise us with all these twists and turns!

The wonderful Ruggiero, who is brave and noble, how I loved his flight to Alcina's island!

and of course great Rinaldo and his conquests in Scotland!

This is is like Lord of the Rings, Harry potter and Homer all in one.

Beautiful, with sub stories too!

Jun 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Prachtig ! Puur leesgenot. Wervelend avontuur. Kandans, rijm.
Uitstekende vertaling, ambacht. Ike Cialona, vertaalster, onvoldoende geprezen!
Dus: Televisie buitengooien, haardvuur aan en lezen! Luidop lezen! Het is de moeite.
Peter Aronson
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well, this was certainly a fun read. The Matter of France mixed with the Matter of Britain and a ton of imagination and dumped in a blender set on high! Much more fun than The Song of Roland or The Faerie Queene in my opinion. I read the (somewhat) controversial David R Slavitt translation -- the one that professors of Italian literature all seem to be down on because it's irreverent and sort of modern in its language and (gasp!) abridged. But I filled in the cut out parts from the Guido Waldman ...more
Dec 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of people don't like David Slavitt's translations, saying that they're too free, too silly, and too sophomoric. They certainly won't like this one either. Terrible poetry, and what's more, it's just an abridgment. (The food was lousy and the portions were small.)But when Slavitt picks an author with a sensibility similar to his own, for example Ovid, or (here) Ariosto, then it seems like a lot of fun. You would never quote this translation in a research paper, but you could get a lot of la ...more
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Ludovico Ariosto was an Italian poet. He is best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso (1516). 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. Ariosto composed the poem in the ottava rima rhyme scheme and introduced narr ...more
More about Ludovico Ariosto
“La luna non è che il complemento della terra, il suo rovescio speculare, il luogo dove s’aduna tutto ciò che sulla terra si perde.” 10 likes
“Nature made him, and then broke the mold.” 6 likes
More quotes…