The Info List - Ludovico Ariosto

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Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto
(Italian: [ludoˈviːko aˈrjɔsto; ariˈɔsto]; 8 September 1474 – 6 July 1533) was an Italian poet. He is best known as the author of the romance epic Orlando Furioso
Orlando Furioso
(1516). The poem, a continuation of Matteo Maria Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens with diversions into many sideplots. Ariosto composed the poem in the ottava rima rhyme scheme and introduced narrative commentary throughout the work. Ariosto also coined the term "humanism" (in Italian, umanesimo)[1] for choosing to focus upon the strengths and potential of humanity, rather than only upon its role as subordinate to God. This led to Renaissance humanism.


1 Birth and early life 2 Education and patronage 3 New patronage and diplomatic career 4 Poetic style 5 References 6 In popular culture 7 External links

Birth and early life[edit]

Access to the villa where Ariosto was born

Ariosto was born in Reggio nell’Emilia, where his father Niccolò Ariosto was commander of the citadel. He was the oldest of 10 children and was seen as the successor to the patriarchal position of his family. From his earliest years, Ludovico was very interested in poetry, but he was obliged by his father to study law.[2] After five years of law, Ariosto was allowed to read classics under Gregorio da Spoleto. Ariosto's studies of Greek and Latin literature were cut short by Spoleto's move to France
to tutor Francesco Sforza. Shortly after this, Ariosto's father died. Education and patronage[edit]

Memorial statue and park, Ferrara.

After the death of his father, Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto
was compelled to forgo his literary occupations and take care of his family, whose affairs were in disarray. Despite his family obligations, Ariosto managed to write some comedies in prose as well as lyrical pieces. Some of these attracted the notice of Cardinal Ippolito d'Este, who took the young poet under his patronage and appointed him one of the gentlemen of his household. Este compensated Ariosto poorly for his efforts; the only reward he gave the poet for Orlando Furioso, dedicated to him, was the question, "Where did you find so many stories, Master Ludovico?" Ariosto later said that the cardinal was ungrateful, that he deplored the time which he spent under his yoke, and that if he received some small pension, it was not to reward him for his poetry — which the prelate despised — but for acting as a messenger.[citation needed] Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto
and Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
shared a patron in Cardinal Ippolito d'Este's older sister the Marchioness Isabella d’Este, the "First Lady of the Renaissance." Isabella d’Este
Isabella d’Este
appears in Ludovico’s masterpiece, Orlando Furioso. She also appears in Leonardo’s, “Sketch for a Portrait of Isabella d’Este,” at the Louvre. “A statue no less jocund, no less bright,/ Succeeds, and on the writing is impressed;/ Lo! Hercules’ daughter, Isabella hight,/ In whom Ferrara
deems city blest,/ Much more because she first shall see the light/ Within its circuit, than for all the rest/ Which kind and favouring Fortune in the flow/ Of rolling years, shall on that town bestow.” Orlando Furioso, Canto

Portrait of Isabella d'Este Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci

The cardinal went to Hungary
in 1518, and wished Ariosto to accompany him. The poet excused himself, pleading ill health, his love of study, and the need to care for his elderly mother. His excuses were not well-received, and he was denied even an interview. Ariosto and d'Este got into a heated argument, and Ariosto was promptly dismissed from service.[3][citation needed] New patronage and diplomatic career[edit]

Titian, A Man with a Quilted Sleeve, long believed to be Ludovico Ariosto

Ariosto's play I suppositi (it) was first published in verse form in 1551.

The cardinal's brother, Alfonso, duke of Ferrara, now took Ariosto under his patronage. By then, Ariosto had already distinguished himself as a diplomat, chiefly on the occasion of two visits to Rome as ambassador to Pope Julius II. The fatigue of one of these journeys brought on an illness from which he never recovered, and on his second mission he was nearly killed by order of the Pope, who happened at the time to be in conflict with Alfonso.[citation needed] On account of the war, his salary of 84 crowns a year was suspended, and it was withdrawn altogether after the peace. Because of this, Ariosto asked the duke either to provide for him, or to allow him to seek employment elsewhere. He was appointed to the province of Garfagnana, then without a governor, situated on the Apennines, an appointment he held for three years. The province was distracted by factions and bandits, the governor had not the requisite means to enforce his authority and the duke did little to support his minister. Ariosto's government satisfied both the sovereign and the people given over to his care, however; indeed, there is a story about a time when he was walking alone and fell into the company of a group of bandits, the chief of which, on discovering that his captive was the author of Orlando Furioso, apologized for not having immediately shown him the respect due his rank. In 1508 Ariosto's play Cassaria appeared, and the next year I suppositi was first acted in Ferrara
and ten years later in the Vatican. A prose edition was published in Rome
in 1524, and the first verse edition was published at Venice in 1551. The play was translated by George Gascoigne
George Gascoigne
and acted at Grays Inn
Grays Inn
in London in 1566 and published in 1573, which was later used by Shakespeare
as a source for The Taming of the Shrew. In 1516, the first version of the Orlando Furioso
Orlando Furioso
in 40 cantos, was published at Ferrara. The third and final version of the Orlando Furioso, in 46 cantos, appeared on 8 September 1532. Poetic style[edit]

Statue of the poet in Reggio Emilia

Throughout Ariosto's writing are narratorial comments dubbed by Dr. Daniel Javitch as "Cantus Interruptus". Javitch's term refers to Ariosto's narrative technique to break off one plot line in the middle of a canto, only to pick it up again in another, often much later, canto. Javitch argues that while many critics have assumed Ariosto does this so as to build narrative tension and keep the reader turning pages, the poet in reality defuses narrative tension because so much time separates the interruption and the resumption. By the time the reader gets to the continuation of the story, he or she has often forgotten or ceased to care about the plot and is usually wrapped up in another plot. Ariosto does this, Javitch argues, to undermine "man's foolish but persistent desire for continuity and completion". Ariosto uses it throughout his works.[4] For example, in Canto
II, stanza 30, of Orlando Furioso, the narrator says:

But I, who still pursue a varying tale, Must leave awhile the Paladin, who wages A weary warfare with the wind and flood; To follow a fair virgin of his blood.

Some have attributed this piece of metafiction as one component of the "Sorriso ariostesco" or Ariosto's smile, the wry sense of humor that Ariosto adds to the text. In explaining this humor, Thomas Greene, in Descent from Heaven, says:

"The two persistent qualities of Ariosto's language are first, serenity – the evenness and self-contented assurance with which it urbanely flows, and second, brilliance – the Mediterranean glitter and sheen which neither dazzle nor obscure but confer on every object its precise outline and glinting surface. Only occasionally can Ariosto's language truly be said to be witty, but its lightness and agility create a surface which conveys a witty effect. Too much wit could destroy even the finest poem, but Ariosto's graceful brio is at least as difficult and for narrative purposes more satisfying." — Thomas Greene, The Descent from Heaven, a Study in Epic Continuity


^ Etymology Online: Humanist 1580s, "student of the classical humanities," from Middle French humaniste (16c.), formed on model of Italian umanista "student of human affairs or human nature," coined by Italian poet Lodovicio Ariosto (1474–1533), from Latin humanus “human” (see human; also see humanism). Philosophical sense is from 1903. ^ "Vita e Opere di Ludovico Ariosto". Retrieved 15 December 2015.  ^ Bondanella, Peter; et al. (2001). Cassell Dictionary Italian Literature. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 0304704644. CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link) ^ Daniel Javitch, Cantus interruptus in the 'Orlando Furioso', Modern language notes, 95 (1980)

Greene, Thomas. The Descent from Heaven, a Study in Epic Continuity. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963. Robert Durling, The figure of the poet in Renaissance
epic, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965. Charles P. Brand, Ludovico Ariosto : a preface to the 'Orlando furioso', Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1974. Daniel Javitch, Cantus interruptus in the 'Orlando Furioso', Modern language notes, 95 (1980), 66–80. Albert R. Ascoli, Ariosto's bitter harmony : crisis and evasion in the Italian renaissance, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987. Daniel Javitch, 'The Poetics of Variatio in Orlando Furioso', Modern Language Quarterly, 2005, 66(1): 1–20. Giuseppe Sangirardi, Ludovico Ariosto, Firenze: Le Monnier, 2006. Giulio Ferroni, Ludovico Ariosto, Roma: Salerno Editrice, 2008. Stefano Jossa, Ariosto, Bologna: il Mulino, 2009.

In popular culture[edit] Lodovico Ariosto is featured in the novelization of Assassin's Creed: Revelations (the novel describes Ezio's journey to Masyaf, his marriage to Sofia Sartor, the birth of his children and his retirement in more detail) as an Assassin. When Ezio retires after the events of the game, in 1513, he gives his position of Mentor to Lodovico. External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ludovico Ariosto.

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Ludovico Ariosto

has the text of the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article Ariosto, Ludovico.

Ludovico Ariosto's works, translations and chronology Works by Lodovico Ariosto at Project Gutenberg Works by or about Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto
at Internet Archive Works by Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto
at LibriVox
(public domain audiobooks) Ludovico Ariosto's works: text, concordances and frequency lists LitWeb: Ludovico Ariosto Daniel Javitch, The Poetics of Variatio in Orlando Furioso.pdf The Medieval & Classical Literature Library: Orlando Furioso: Canto
1 & Canto

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Ludovico Ariosto's Orlando Furioso

Fictional Characters

Angelica Bradamante Brandimarte Ruggiero Angelica and Medoro Rodomonte Astolfo Atlantes Brunello Ferragut Sacripante Agolant Duke Aymon Ganelon Marfisa Maugris Melissa Naimon Oliver Pinabel Renaud de Montauban Zerbino Brigliadoro

Historical Figures

Roland Charlemagne


Orlando Innamorato
Orlando Innamorato
by Matteo Maria Boiardo La Spagna Entrée d'Espagne


Hearts and Armour
Hearts and Armour


La liberazione di Ruggiero (1625) Il palazzo incantato (1642) Roland
(1685) Bradamante
(1707) Orlando furioso (1714) Orlando furioso (1727) Alcina
(1728) Orlando (1733) Ariodante
(1735) Les Paladins
Les Paladins
(1760) Roland
(1778) Orlando paladino
Orlando paladino
(1782) Ariodant
(1799) Ginevra di Scozia
Ginevra di Scozia
(1801) Bombastes Furioso
Bombastes Furioso


The Castle of Iron The Song of Roland Paladin

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 71386455 LCCN: n79041715 ISNI: 0000 0001 2138 5817 GND: 118503952 SELIBR: 175423 SUDOC: 026690233 BNF: cb11889084c (data) BIBSYS: 90191722 ULAN: 500313522 NLA: 35007973 NDL: 00851300 NKC: jn19990000244 ICCU: ITICCUCFIV16897 BNE: XX1163