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Jerusalem Delivered (Gerusalemme liberata) Paperback – July 10, 2000
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From Library Journal
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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...?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This prose version of Tasso's great epic appeared many years ago. The translator's preface quite frankly acknowledges that he makes no attempt to reproduce the poetic effects. Read morePublished on December 26, 2013 by Albert MacSwigart
What a surprise this was for me. After reading Ariosto, I was told that this should be my next book. I was taken in by not only the narrative, but how elegantly the prose read. Read morePublished on May 4, 2013 by Joey
This is not, strictly speaking, a book. It is a print-out of a computer file made from scanning an unnamed edition of Tasso's masterwork. Read morePublished on March 22, 2010 by David Cairns
This is a copy of what I believe is the first translation of Tasso into English from 1600. Translated within roughly 50 years of the original the translator keeps the rhyme scheme... Read morePublished on September 19, 2008 by Bruce E. Musser
The fame of Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme Liberata was known far and wide during the Renaissance but sadly, it is far from everyday reading today. Read morePublished on March 17, 2008 by Neutiquam Erro
I am perplexed at the negative reviews of this translation (if they were even about this translation). I find it remarkable. Read morePublished on November 4, 2007 by tspencer
Let's be clear on what I am reviewing...I am reviewing Jerusalem Delivered as published in hardcover by IndyPublish. Read morePublished on March 11, 2004 by C. Berkhouse
It is what it is. I suppose the fact that I wish it was something different is hardly Tasso's fault; nonetheless, I have mixed emotions regarding this poem. Read morePublished on August 1, 2003 by GeoX
I am just about to finish this translation of Tasso's venerable crusade and I just had to express how wonderful I think it is. Read morePublished on January 2, 2002 by Kim