Boiardo, Matteo Maria

Boiardo, Matteo Maria

Boiardo or Bojardo, Matteo Maria (mät-tĕˈō märēˈä bōyärˈdō), 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. He wrote Latin eclogues and songs and lyric love poems, and he translated Herodotus, Xenophon, Lucian, and Apuleius. His great unfinished Orlando Innamorato (1st complete ed. 1506) is a transformation of the Roland epic, recounting the love of Roland for the pagan Angelica and her love for his cousin Rinaldo. In this work Boiardo fused elements of Arthurian and Carolingian poetic cycles with material from classical antiquity. The vigorous beauty of Boiardo's epic was lost in the revision by Francesco Berni, which supplanted it until the 20th cent. Ariosto continued the tale in Orlando Furioso.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Boiardo, Matteo Maria


Count of Scandiano. Born 1441, in the castle of Scandiano; died Dec. 19, 1494, in Regglo. Italian poet.

Boiardo’s Three Books of Loves (1472–76) are among the best examples of Italian love lyrics of the 15th century. His most important work is the poem Orlando innamorato. (The first two books appeared in 1495, along with the beginning of a third, unfinished book.) At the center of the poem is the unhappy love of Orlando, the nephew of Charlemagne, for the beautiful Angelica. Boiardo’s poem is a chain of sometimes fantastic and sometimes satiric novellas. Their themes are taken from legends of the Middle Ages, but their treatment reveals that Boiardo was a humanist. In Russia, the first translation of Orlando innamorato appeared in 1799. Boiardo translated the works of Herodotus, Xenophon, Apuleius, and Cornelius Nepos from the Greek and Latin and wrote Latin verse (the cycle Epigrammata, 1476, and Verses of Praise for the Acts of the d’Este Family).


Tutte le opere, vols. 1–2. Edited by A. Zottolie. Milan, 1936–37.
In Russian translation:
“Iz Vliublennogo Rolanda.” In Khrestomatiia po zarubezhnoi literature: Epokha Vozrozhdeniia, vol. 1. Compiled by B. I. Purishev. Moscow, 1959.


De Sanctis, F. Istoriia ital’ianskoi literatury, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1963–64. (Translated from Italian.)
Reichenbach, G. L’Orlando Innamorato di M. M. Boiardo. Florence, 1936.
Zottoli, A. Dal Boiardo all Ariosto. Milan, 1934.
Bigi, E. La poesia di Boiardo. Florence, 1941.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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