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Jerusalem Delivered (Gerusalemme liberata) Paperback – Jul 10 2000

4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Hopkins Fulfillment Service (July 10 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801863236
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801863233
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.3 x 25.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 794 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #462,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

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 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 2003

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
I sing the reverent armies, and that Chief who set the great tomb of our Savior free; much he performed with might and judgment, much he suffered in the glorious victory; in vain hell rose athwart his path, in vain two continents combined in mutiny. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Paperback
Tasso is arguably Italy's most important 16th-century poet. His Gerusalemme liberata is both his major work and the last great epic of the Italian Renaissance tradition, with foreshadowings of the emerging baroque style. Esolen is close to the mark in calling his subject "a kind of Caravaggio of poetry," for Tasso's verse embodies a chiaroscuro of both content and style. A retelling of the first Crusade--presenting battle, duels, and heroes in the classical mold and capturing doomed love affairs in sensual, melodic poetry--this is a rousing story, and Esolen does an exceptional job of capturing the rhythm and tensions of the original in a superb translation. Unlike Ralph Nash (prose translation, CH, Mar'88), Esolen provides fluid modern verse that maintains the end couplets of the ottava rima (which is nearly impossible to render into English) and many end rhymes too, making this a lyric feast as well as an accurate translation. The brief introduction provides considerable information about Tasso's life and times and a fine overview of the epic itself. The notes are equally informative, providing historical data as well as literary, particularly classical, references. A good bibliographic essay, a lengthy "Cast of Characters," and the solid scholarly apparatus includes a discussion of the epic's allegory
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Format: Hardcover
Let's be clear on what I am reviewing...I am reviewing Jerusalem Delivered as published in hardcover by IndyPublish. This poem is also available in paperback as published by John Hopkins Univer. Press, and it is that version of the poem that first captured my attention. The John Hopkins paperback is a translation by A.M. Esolen and, in my humble opinion, it is magnificent in almost every way -- good introductory material on the original poet (Tasso) and the poem itself, great translation, good endnotes, nice packaging. The only draw back to the John Hopkins-published book is that it is a paperback, and after reading the poem I had to have a hardcover for my budding library. After months of searching I stumbled across the subject of this review...the IndyPublish hardcover version of Jerusalem Delivered. Where to start...? Firstly, the translation is (I think) that of Edward Fairfax, written in the late 1700s (perhaps...?). I prefer Esolen's, but the Fairfax is good. I get the feeling reading the Fairfax that the translator often tried too hard to force the rhymes, often employing punctuation to emphasize the rhymes and creating a very sing-song and, at times, tiring la-te-la-te-la-te-doe-doe. But, it is for the most part still a good read if you can break the sing-song cycle.
Unfortunately, the IndyPublish hardback comes with absolutely no notes, introductory or otherwise. The cast of characters in the poem is very large, the scenes and settings shift, the action ebbs and flows, ...I believe that in order to appreciate the Fairfax as presented by IndyPublish you must have prior and intimate knowledge of the poem (cast, scenes, settings, history, etc) prior to reading.
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Format: Paperback
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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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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