Ludovico Ariosto

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Ariosto, Ludovico

(lo͞odōvē`kō äryôs`tō), 1474–1533, Italian epic and lyric poet. As a youth he was a favorite at the court of Ferrara; later he was in the service of Ippolito I, Cardinal d'Este, and from 1517 until his death served Alfonso, duke of Ferrara. He was never properly rewarded by his patrons. While in the service of the cardinal, he began writing his masterpiece, the Orlando Furioso, published in its final form in 1532. This epic treatment of the RolandRoland
, the great French hero of the medieval Charlemagne cycle of chansons de geste, immortalized in the Chanson de Roland (11th or 12th cent.). Existence of an early Roland poem is indicated by the historian Wace's statement that Taillefer sang of Roland's deeds
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 story, theoretically a sequel to the unfinished poem of BoiardoBoiardo or Bojardo, Matteo Maria
, 1441?–1494, Italian poet, count of Scandiano. A favorite at the Este court in Ferrara, he served on diplomatic missions and became ducal captain of Modena and later of Reggio.
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, greatly influenced Shakespeare, Milton, and Byron. It was intended to glorify the Este family as Vergil had glorified the Julians. Ariosto also wrote lyric verse of unequal merit, but he was among the first to write comedies in the vernacular (based loosely on Roman models), among them I Suppositi [the pretenders] and Il Negromante [the necromancer].

Bibliography

See the famous 16th-century translation of Orlando Furioso by Sir John Harington, ed. by R. McNulty (1972), as well as the verse translations by B. Reynolds (2 vol., 1975) and by D. R. Slavitt (2010); studies by B. Croce (tr. 1920, repr. 1966), R. Griffin (1974), and A. R. Ascoli (1987).