The Romance Epics of Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso: From Public Duty to Private Pleasure
In The Romance Epics of Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso, Jo Ann Cavallo attempts a new interpretation of the history of the renaissance romance epic in northern Italy, focusing on the period's three major chivalric poets. Cavallo challenges previous critical assumptions about the trajectory of the romance genre, especially regarding questions of creative imitation, allegory, ideology, and political engagement.In tracing the development of the romance epic against the historical context of the Ferrarese court and the Italian peninsula, Cavallo moves from a politically engaged Boiardo, whose poem promotes the tenets of humanism, to an individualistic Tasso, who opposed the repressive aspects of the counter-reformation culture he is often thought to represent. Ariosto is read from the vantage of his predecessor Boiardo, and Cavallo describes his cynicism and later mellowing attitude toward the real-world relevance of his and Boiardo's fiction. The Romance Epics of Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso is the first critical study to bring together the three poets in a coherent vision that maps changes while uncovering continuities.
- Series: Toronto Italian Studies
- World Rights
- Page Count: 300 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.1in x 9.3in
'In The Romance Epics of Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso, Jo Ann Cavallo demonstrates an impressive mastery of the texts of three massively complex poets, a keen understanding of the social and intellectual constructs with which they worked, and an easy familiarity with the extensive critical literature about them. She uses these formidable assets to advance a compelling and original theory about their relationship to each other. That has been a vexing and controversial problem, and Cavallo illuminates it with freshness, modesty, and great clarity of focus.'
Werner Gundersheimer, Director Emeritus, Folger Shakespeare Library
'Jo Ann Cavallo has written a smart, clear, and most engaging study of the "three crowns" of Ferrara – Boiardo, Ariosto, and Tasso. Her interpretation of the deeper concerns of their poems – the interaction between history, ethics of duty and pleasure, simulation and dissimulation etc.– explores in a new light the difficult relation existing between the poets and the realities of power in the world of the Este court. Cavallo's critical insights into the folds and the "unsaid" of their poetic representations amount to an innovative and concise re-reading of the strategies sustaining their great romance epics.'
Giuseppe Mazzotta, Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian, Yale University
Author InformationJo Ann Cavallo is a professor in the Department of Italian at Columbia University.
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