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Tasso's art and afterlives: the 'Gerusalemme liberata' in England

Lawrence, Jason



This interdisciplinary book examines the literary, artistic and biographical afterlives in England of the great Italian poet Torquato Tasso, from before his death in 1595 to the end of the nineteenth century. Focusing predominantly on the impact of his once famous epic poem Gerusalemme liberata across a broad spectrum of arts, it aims to stimulate a revival of interest in an undeservedly neglected poetic masterpiece and its author, more than fifty years after the last book-length account of the poet in English.
Tasso’s poem is remembered in Anglophone criticism today, if at all, as a principal model for the celebrated Bowre of Blisse episode in Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, a complex literary appropriation which this study re-appraises thoroughly, in relation to both previously undetected contemporary English poetic responses to Tasso’s enchantress Armida, as in Daniel’s The Complaint of Rosamond, and visual representations of the episode across Europe. The book also traces the reception in England of notable seventeenth-century depictions of scenes from Tasso by Van Dyck and Poussin, and explores the Italian poem’s prominent role in the development of opera on the London stage, in works by Dennis and Handel. A second strand focuses on the numerous English responses to Tasso’s troubled life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, biographical and literary, exemplified in Byron’s memorable impersonation of the poet’s voice in The Lament of Tasso.


Lawrence, J. (2017). Tasso's art and afterlives: the 'Gerusalemme liberata' in England. Manchester University Press

Book Type Monograph
Publication Date Jul 15, 2017
Deposit Date Jan 9, 2018
Publisher Manchester University Press
Book Title Tasso's art and afterlives: the 'Gerusalemme liberata' in England
Chapter Number 5
ISBN 978-0-7190-9088
Public URL
Contract Date Jan 1, 1900