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date: 21 September 2019

Ariosto, Ludovico locked

(b Reggio Emilia, Sept 8, 1474; d Ferrara, July 6, 1533).
  • Dennis Looney

Extract

(b Reggio Emilia, Sept 8, 1474; d Ferrara, July 6, 1533).

Italian poet. His father was a captain in the service of the ruling Este family of Ferrara, and Ariosto studied Latin literature and philosophy at the studium (university) there. From 1503 he served first Cardinal Ippolito I d’Este and then his brother, Alfonso I d’Este, Duke of Ferrara, in various administrative and diplomatic capacities, finally retiring around 1526. His supervision (1526–33) of the ducal theatre at Ferrara enabled him to collaborate with, among others, Dosso Dossi and Battista Dossi, who designed sets for several of his comedies (Fiorenza). Despite the brilliance of these plays and of his seven Satires (1517–25), Ariosto’s fame rests on his romance-epic in Italian, Orlando furioso (Ferrara, 1516, 1521, 1532). The poem, begun around 1506 and completed only shortly before his death, uses Charlemagne’s war against the Saracens as a backdrop to explore typical Renaissance themes such as love, madness, and fidelity. In an early reference to his narrative in a letter, the poet describes his creative process with the intriguing phrase, ‘my muse will have a story to paint’ (Ariosto, pp. 4 and 30–31). The poem highlights Ariosto’s interest in art in several ways, containing many ...

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