Torquato Tasso: Gerusalemme liberata [Jerusalem Delivered]

Cavallo, Jo Ann

While the primary plot line of Gerusalemme liberata depicts the historical conquest of a foreign territory through military violence that precludes peaceful co-existence and seeks the complete annihilation of the Other, the romance episodes invented by the author move in the opposite direction, envisioning male and female characters who desire (and, in some cases, attain) the most intimate form of physical union with an individual from the enemy camp. The romantic vicissitudes involving the three pagan female protagonists Clorinda, Erminia, and Armida, along with the two most prominent warriors on the Christian side, Tancredi and Rinaldo, are not minor episodes, but narrative threads that extend for almost the entire length of the poem and determine the plot just as much as the attempt to conquer the Holy City.

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July 9, 2015