Surreysmum's Reviews > Orlando Furioso

Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto
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's review
May 24, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: 1984, classics-in-translation
Read in February, 1984

[These notes were made in 1984:]. Renaissance Italian poetry, translated into English prose. Well, it took me long enough, but I finally finished this on Feb. 10. Fascinating, very complicated, and one can see how our forefathers would find it rather frivolous. Nonetheless, it does have structure. Alfonso is the most mature of the heroes, and gets partial instruction on the moon. Ruggiero, the most important (because the founder of the d'Este line) goes through a 3-part neo-platonic education - the flesh (Alcina's palace) the world (his exploits as Big Hero) and a sort of modified Devil (when he struggles with despair in the land of the saintly Leo). Orlando is left at the "flesh" stage, and ceases to be really important after the half-way point in the epic. He also corresponds to one of the narrator's voices (the lover losing his wits; the narrator is also, however, the dignified and skilful panegyrist of his patron). I think, in fact, that studying this helped me enjoy it more; someone had to sort out that overwhelming mass of detail and confusing story-line!
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