Tasso retells the First Crusade

Torquato Tasso (1544–1595)
Gerusalemme Liberata del Sig. Torquato Tasso, tratta da fedeliss. copia, et … emendata dell’istesso auttore … aggiunti a ciascun canto gli argomenti del Sig. Oratio Ariosti
In Casalmaggiore: appresso Antonio Canacci & Erasmo Viotti, 1581

By the late Renaissance, poets had begun to assume sophisticated and self-conscious attitudes towards older texts, and were alive to the possibilities afforded by the creative tensions between classical traditions of narrative and more modern literary forms. Torquato Tasso’s epic Jerusalem delivered embroidered romantic and magical tales onto the story of the capture of Jerusalem by Christian knights during the First Crusade. The ninth canto tells of the repulse of a night attack on their camp. Although in many ways purposefully adopting Virgilian modes in rhetoric and diction, Tasso’s impulse to Christianize epic poetry led him to draw explicit distinctions between the nature of his muse and that of his Roman predecessor. The poem’s relationship with a more direct precursor, Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, was similarly ambivalent.

Montaigne.1.5.23, p. 103

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