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Jerusalem Delivered (Gerusalemme liberata) Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; New Ed edition (July 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801863236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801863233
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #345,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Published in 1581, Tasso's (1544-95) verse epic on the 11th-century First Crusade and the love of Tancred and Clorinda is one the masterpieces of Italian literature. Esolen (English, Providence Coll.), a translator of Lucretius's On the Nature of Things, here provides a solid verse translation. Despite its importance, Jerusalem Delivered has enjoyed only one significant rendition in English that is still in print: Edward Fairfax's 1600 Spenserian version. Esolen observes the basic shape, rhythm, and rhetorical movement of the original ottava rima but never sacrifices poetry or meaning to rigid form. The result is both highly readable and truer to the spirit of Tasso than Fairfax's rendition. Esolen also provides a valuable introduction, an essay on Tasso's allegory, a glossary of characters, and helpful textual notes to identify allusions. An important contribution; recommended for public and academic libraries.DT.L. Cooksey, Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

What a tale it is!... [Esolen's] notes are full of fascinating and comment and helpful information... These notes, a thoughtful introduction, and above all a winning translation that captures the charms of Tasso's verse should give Tasso the wide audience in the English-speaking world that he has so far never had, but richly deserves.

(Bernard Knox New York Review of Books)

This is the best way to read [Tasso] at the moment. Do it.

(Colin Burrow London Review of Books)

Now English readers have available to them Anthony Esolen's readable and accurate verse translation of Jerusalem Delivered. Esolen copes admirably with Tasso's octave stanza... It is not only beauty that Jerusalem Delivered still holds for us. In our time, when the future of the Holy City is contested once again, and sectarian conflicts are on the rise, and a Tridentine spirit, a fear of internal dissent, has returned to the Roman church, Tasso's magniloquent epic still has something to say.

(David Quint New Republic)

A solid verse translation... Esolen observes the basic shape, rhythm, and rhetorical movement of the original ottava rima but never sacrifices poetry or meaning to rigid form. The result is both highly readable and truer to the spirit of Tasso than [Edward] Fairfax's rendition... An important contribution.

(Library Journal)

[A] much-needed new translation... No one will fail to admire the careful enormity of the undertaking.

(Publishers Weekly)

This new translation of Gerusalemme liberata is a very fine, highly readable version of Tasso's epic about the First Crusade. The Gerusalemme is an acknowledged masterpiece of world literature and a culmination of Italian Renaissance poetry. It is good to have a modern, affordable edition of Tasso in print again, in a fast-flowing English verse that is infinitely more accessible to the ordinary reader than the Elizabethan rendition of Edward Fairfax... Tasso's work is charged with the fiery passion of youth. Esolen's translation captures this fire... A very useful feature of Esolen's edition, besides the notes and index, is a 'Cast of Characters' at the end, where each personage is identified, with words and actions noted for each canto.

(Anne Barbeau Gardiner New Oxford Review)

Until now, the rollicking story of the heroes, villains, witches and lovers was available in only one modern English translation. Anthony M. Esolen has corrected this shortage in masterful style and his translation restores not only the epic grandeur of the original but also its excitement.

(Daniel Boice Catholic Library World)

[Esolen] executes verse with art that it rarely intrudes upon the reader's consciousness, and then only to invoke admiration at the accomplishment of both the poet-scholars involved in telling the tale... This edition is eminently satisfying. Because Esolen takes such care to make the text accessible, he offers an excellent introduction to Tasso for new generations of readers, and he succeeds in awakening an interest in the original Italian, as well as in all of Tasso's works, with this translation.

(Karen L. Nelson Sixteenth Century Journal)

We are fortunate to have Anthony Esolen's new verse Englishing of Torquato Tasso's masterpiece... Thanks to Esolen we now have an English Tasso worthy of use in our classrooms without the sort of fussy apologies that can undermine the experience we are trying to provide our students. In translating the Liberata Esolen has undertaken a daunting challenge and met it handsomely.

(Lawrence F. Rhu Spenser Review)

Esolen's translation of Tasso is a genuine intellectual and poetic achievement. The accompanying scholarly apparatus makes this the most valuable edition of Tasso available. Esolen has thought through with care what readers need to make their way through the immensity of the poem.

(Thomas P. Roche, Princeton University)

Esolen wittily calls Tasso 'a kind of Caravaggio of poetry,' and his own fluid translation of Jerusalem Delivered brings alive this ars poetica from the opening of Tasso's epic... Though not a child and not reluctant, I was up well past midnight several nights in a row, feverishly reading Esolen's wonderful translation, swept along by Tasso's stories and Esolen's accomplished and fast-moving verse.

(Andrew Hudgins, author of Babylon in a Jar and After the Lost War)

Jerusalem Delivered offers a thorough introduction tackling T.'s relationship to Ariosto, his struggle with the problems of truth, authority, and religion, and notes on the characters.

(Year's Work in Modern Language Studies)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Unfortunately, the IndyPublish hardback comes with absolutely no notes, introductory or otherwise.
C. Berkhouse
The story is violent and erotic, especially the torrid love affair between Tancred, the bravest of the Christians, and Clorinda, a fierce but beautifl warrioress.
Guillermo Maynez
A verse translation of an epic in ottava rima is obviously a difficult thing, and I think that Esolen does a fantastic job.
tspencer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on January 31, 2001
Format: Paperback
This magical epic poem tells the story of the First Crusade, led by Godfrey of Bouillon and other European noblemen and warriors. The story is full of supernatural characters and events. It develops during the bloody siege of Jerusalem, against the Moors and their famous leader, Soliman. The story is violent and erotic, especially the torrid love affair between Tancred, the bravest of the Christians, and Clorinda, a fierce but beautifl warrioress. Written in the XVI century, this book captures the spirit and ideology of the Middle Ages, specifically the XI century. Like in "Curial and Guelfa", Christian symbols mix with Greco-Roman ones, in a tale of war and sex. Tasso's images are powerful and the poem is anything but childish or naive. As I said, it is violent and full of action. It contains no boring digressions or reflections, but pure action.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mr. Esolen has done the english-bound reader a fine service: we are drowning in Dantes, up to our eyeballs in Homers and Virgils and Ovids, but where are the compulsively readable and poetically enjoyable modern translations of Pulci, Boiardo, Ariosto, and not least of all Camoes, who has written the most neglected major epic in Western literature, "The Lusiads"! Most thankfully, Mr. Esolen has given us Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered," which in his magnificent translation is quite simply a pleasure to read--I could not put it down! If you are intimidated by "classic literature," don't be--this english Tasso is just a jolly good adventure/love story. If you enjoy this, and you will, then let's hope Mr. Esolen will favor us with his rendition of Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso" in the not-to-distant-future!!!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Most every reader of literature in English is familiar with Arthurian romance and legend, from Malory's medieval masterpiece "Mort d'Arthur" to Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" to contemporary writers like Mary Stewart and Marion Zimmer Bradley.
But how many of these readers are aware that there exists in Western literature another, parallel stream of myth and legend called Carolingian, which celebrates the exploits and heroes of the Age--not of Arthur--but of Charlemagne?
Carolingian epic and romance may safely be said to begin with "The Song of Roland" (available in W.S. Merwin's excellent translation in the Modern Library volume "Medieval Epics"), but the tradition includes scores if not hundreds of contributors--and three of these constitute together a magnificent achievement: Pulci's "Morgante," Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso," and Tasso's "Jerusalem Delivered."
Maybe due to the hyper-popularity of Arthurian material, these three major authors and their respective masterpieces have a shockingly undistinguished and short list of english translations. Happily, Anthony Esolens has supplied us with a truly superb, vivid, and beautiful rendering of Tasso's neglected epic. It is so good, in fact, that I second the reviewer below in hoping for a future translation of Ariosto. For what it's worth, Bernard Knox wrote a highly favorable review of this edition in the New York Times Book Review, in which he called Esolen's work "a triumph." Don't hesitate.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Neil Scott Mcnutt on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anthony Esolen does it again to bring us a powerfully translated and edited poem, originally in Latin, now for the modern reader. This is a dark and brooding poem that was written by Torquato Tasso when he was slowly going mad. His fixation was on the subject of the first Crusade to free Jerusalem from the Moslems, which was led by Godfrey of Bouillon and the peers of France. This was a subject of Tasso's interest since he was an 18 year old boy,who published a poem about Rinaldo, one of the key figures in the current story. Tasso eventually extensively revised "Gerusalemme liberata", removing its amorous portions to publish "Gerusalemme conquistada" at age 49. The darkness of the original poem is tempered by the love stories, but it remains a violent story with a concentration on the horrors of war and of love also. For example, in the middle of the story of an intense battle, Soliman, the powerful Turkish sultan, sees his young page cut down: "Sees how the trembling eyes so gracefully shut, and the neck falls limp, as if in sleep; so sweet the whiteness of his face, so sweet the pity his dying semblance breathes, that deep in his then-stony heart something grew soft and the spring burst through his anger: he must weep. You, Soliman weeping...who stood by while your realm was destroyed, and your eyes dry. But when he sees the enemy's sword still slick and steaming with the blood of the young lad, pity gives way to anger boiling quick and all the tears within his heart are dead"(Canto 9, #86-87). The contrast of darkness and jumping-out vividness in the story cause Esolen to refer to Tasso as a Caravaggio of poetry, an apt comparison.Read more ›
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Extollager on July 27, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The original must be an astonishing work! Fierce battles, passionate romance, stirring orations, even scenes of cosmic splendor succeed one another; there's the sense of real genius here, of an artist who is fulfilling his intention. This translation reads very, very well indeed. A remarkably satisfying book.
C. S. Lewis relished this epic poem -- see his essay "Tasso" in his book of essays on medieval and Renaissance literature. I wonder if Tolkien also had read it, as a number of scenes reminded me of the Siege of Minas Tirith, etc. For those who want to move on from the authors and works that everyone knows influenced and/or impressed Lewis (and Tolkien?) such as Chesterton, George MacDonald, et al., Tasso may be recommended. I wonder if Lewis didn't get the idea for the severed head, of the criminal Alcasan, who seems to speak, but is really manipulated by a devil, and which the heroine of That Hideous Strength sees in a dream, from Tasso, where a Fury from hell makes a severed head talk (deceivingly) in a dream to one of the Christian warriors. The gruesome descriptions are similar, and Lewis even calls Alcasan "the Saracen"; and Alcasan certainly could be the name of one of the Saracen knights in Tasso. Who knows...?
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