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Jerusalem Delivered (Gerusalemme liberata) Paperback – July 10, 2000
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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.
"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)
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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...?
> from p. 128 (Canto 9): "Tne raging floods that trees and rocks downcast, vier that towns and towers drive to
dust, . ti: r-? ie world in twain that threat,
He struck no blow tmt that his foe he hit, Ai: d never hit but made a grievous wound,
And never wounded but death followed it; And yet no harm he found; r4o weapon on hi d helmet bit,
No puissant i fs once astound,
Yet like a bell hii helmet rung,
And thence flev e and sparks among.
Himself we'! Hijyht,
A jolly cut,
Wh- aps to fight.
Covering likt out:"
> from p. 209 (Canto 15): "TASM KEBUKEO I te' fe OF THE DUKE il Hlsws.so. that tender, soft and plain,
From a Painting tya p ti 9 Ofi V fld been, one coior never long remain, v. hance their
hue 'gainst glimpse of Phoebus sheen; And m, w of moies bright a vermeil chain, f r
=v.-akr a-arknet rich of emeralds green; oofh. now alter, turn and change rhoussmd
colors, rich, pure, fair, and strange.
";! n- boa i, you happy men,' she says, wt through raging waves secure I ride; ; t,
storm, and wind obeys, a Hght, benign is stream and tide. rtf, tmt rule your journeys
and your ways,."
There is NO table of contents and some of the chapter (Canto) headings are completely missing.
Don't waste your money on this. Buy yourself a decent edition.