Italy Literature – Torquato Tasso

Tasso in his troubled existence composed numerous works of various kinds: hundreds of lyrics, among which not a few of new and profound inspiration; letters, which span the entire last thirty years of that life, philosophical, literary, autobiographical; dialogues of moral, literary, psychological, clear arguments and therefore of style where they reason; flat, lively, picturesque where they describe; and prayers and treatises and poems and a tragedy and a comedy. But the glory of a poet comes essentially from  Liberata  and from Aminta , works born in the full flower of his youth, before he was seized by that mental imbalance that in more or less serious forms afflicted him in the last two decades of his life.

Since he was a young man, Tasso published  Rinaldo at the age of eighteen , in which he worked to make a poem of a single action of a single hero out of chivalrous matter, endeavoring to reconcile respect for Aristotle with the delight of readers, the unity of the epic with the delightful variety of the novel. In those same years the historical conditions of the time and family circumstances suggested to him the idea of ​​singing the first crusade, an idea that after a long series of studies and experiments could be said to be implemented with the completion of the  Liberata  in April 1575.

According to Topschoolsintheusa, Epic and epically posed and organized the main subject, which Tasso derived from the chroniclers of the first crusade; The episodic inventions, suggested by Ariosto, Trissino, by recent Latinists, by Greek and Latin classics, are romantic and fictionally intertwined with each other and with the main action, so as to form a coherent unity. But a man of the Renaissance, not made for the great ardor of faith, nor fervent with national passion, Tasso was unable to infuse the true spirit of epic into his work, nor to create characters of epic gravity and dignity. Too often the epic degenerates into emphatic and rhetorical, or, as it is in descriptions of battles and duels, feels the epic of chivalry novels. To whom the poet was drawn from his nature and his aptitudes; so that the same episode of Rinaldo and Armida, which forms the true core of the poem, even if it clearly reflects Achilles’ retreat under the tent, it has a completely romantic development, and in general the world of the epic is overwhelmed by the world of the Ariosto knights, which constitutes the most lively part and more important than the poem. In the representation of this world, Tasso brings the heartbeat of sentiment, and all pours out the poetry of his soul, revealing the intimate life of his characters, which is often his intimate life. Thus a sweet elegiac melody passes through the whole poem, accompanying itself, especially in the episodes of Erminia and Armida, to sweet and deep idyll notes. But unfortunately this beautiful individuality of the poet is often overcome by what we could say the common literary individuality of his time,

Fresher, more sincere, more vivid the poetry of that soul bursts out in the short pastoral fable  Aminta  (1573), where the tenuous thread of the action unfolds with complete naturalness for scenes and episodes so intertwined that the Aminta it acquires the aspect of regular drama without losing its beautiful simplicity. It is easy to indicate the classic sources; but the inspiration comes from the passionate soul of the poet who, young and happy, is inebriated by the dream of an ideal world, all courtly refinements – and the Torquato court describes and subtly celebrates – all harmonious with arcane melodies, all perfused with soft and sweet tenderness. The idealization of the pastoral custom, already carried out by the ancient bucolic people and more or less grossly by the many authors of Latin and vulgar eclogues of the last two centuries, is suffused here with an entirely modern feeling of dear melancholy, which seems to announce the modern voluptuousness of ache.

Italy Literature - Torquato Tasso