Italy Literature – Ariosto

Because the subject is chivalrous, indeed because Ariosto himself said that he wanted to continue the count’s invention, Orlando furioso  can in a speech like this, which, in order to be a literary history, cannot fail to be a history of culture, to follow immediately to the Lover , even if it is quite another inspiration: heroic-amorous in one, placidly and universally human in the other.

Apart from some lyrics and small chapters, there are two works of poetry by the great Lodovico: the  Satire  and the  Furioso, magnificent forms of two different aspects of the limpid serenity in which the essence of his poetry lies. Written over several years from 1517 to 1524, the seven satires are confidential epistles in third rhyme to relatives and friends, in which the author complains, prays, gets angry, forms resolutions, drawing vivid pictures of the conditions and cases of his life, judging men and things according to a mediocre and witty morality. He writes with amiable contempt, familiarly, and represents himself as he is, a good, simple, meek soul, without great aspirations, open to domestic affections, and the habits and vices of his century with good-natured indulgence. Deep spirit of that poem, a nostalgic desire for peaceful peace, resigned to the setbacks and needs of life.

But serenity implemented by art is the profound essence of the  Furioso; serenity in the inventions, in the style, in the octave, in the verse, the serenity of the dream dreamed of by the poet. Central action, Agramante’s war against Charlemagne in the land of France; but an action that is continually lost among the thousand episodes, which follow one another alternating and intertwining to form the development of many and various other actions. Two of these stand out above all, the madness of Orlando which gives its name to the poem and the exploits of Ruggiero, the warrior who, made a Christian and husband of Bradamante, will be the progenitor of the Este family. The main sources of the matter are the Breton novels and the Latin classics, whose inventions may seem logically elaborated, while in reality they are fantastically relived in new images, by a calm and balanced spirit.

In that fantastic world in which he has taken refuge, the poet lives serenely, passing from the roar of battles to the soft whispering of love scenes, from tragedy to idyll, from elegy to comedy with constant interest, with lively sympathy for the heroes and for the facts, but without real emotion, with the air of one who enjoys watching, but is pleased to be out of the game. As a wise man, who does not believe too much in the wisdom of his paladins, he looks with mischievous eyes at the history of the chivalrous world and certain portentous actions, and from the height of his observatory as a curious spectator purses his lips in a smile. In the beginnings of the songs, in the transitions from story to story and in several episodes he turns to contemporary reality, but while deploring the decadence of custom, the corruption of churchmen, the troubles of Italy, which he feels and loves as a spiritual unity (only a few zealous people could think of attributing it to the political sense), never ignites with anger. However, the contemplation of the artist does not cancel the sensitivity of the good, upright, loving man, devoted to friendship; and certain spectacles that pass before his imagination (the death of the heroic Isabella; the love of Brandimarte and Fiordiligi, etc.), conquer him, disturbing the fundamental serenity of his spirit and his art with emotion. This calm and luminous serenity is also reflected in the eurythmy of the narrative and periodic constructions, in the coloring magic of the style, in the varied homogeneity of the tone, in short, in the precision and coherence of the fantastic vision; in the perfect correspondence between the breath of thought and the capacity of the octave;

According to Thefreegeography, Great was in the century. XVI the fortune of the  Furioso ; fortune of luxurious and popular editions, commented and graphically illustrated, of erudite dissertations on language and sources, of translations into dialect and foreign languages, of innumerable imitations. Of these there is perhaps not one that deserves to be remembered because the author was able to instill the life of a spirit well identified in the inert matter, as did the Pulci, the Boiardo, very weakly a Francesco Cieco called by Ferrara in the  Mambriano  composed in the last decade of the century. XV, and Ariosto.

Last came – but with such energetic and unbridled originality that no one thinks of putting him, despite some reminiscence, among the imitators of the Ferrara area – Teofilo Folengo with  Baldus .

Of the tales of chivalry skilfully parodied, Folengo used to express his world of plebeian realism and coarse playfulness in forms that reveal a certain epic aspiration and inspiration. Fully conforming to this comic, because it is contradictory, a spiritual moment, is the macaronic language he used, a curious mixture of classic words and Italian or Latin dialectal voices, which Folengo did not invent but perfected giving him an admirable flexibility. With amiable anachronisms, contemporary reality freely enters the poem, as well as through the coloring images and similes of the story, in many episodes and scenes of popular and bourgeois life, which often become savory mockery of the superstitions of the vulgar and biting satire of the various social classes, especially of the ecclesiastical class.Orlandino ; the anti-Catholic convictions of a period of his life also inspire  Chaos , a curious operetta of various languages ​​and materials. The satire of Zanitonella , a short collection of macaronic lyrics that effectively portrays the life and psychology of peasants, is against the insipid love songbooks and the artificial pastoral poetry  .

Italy Literature - Ariosto