Jerusalem Delivered

Torquato TASSO (1544 - 1595)

The First Crusade provides the backdrop for a rich tapestry of political machinations, military conflicts, martial rivalries, and love stories, some of which are complicated by differences in religion. The supernatural plays a major role in the action. Partly on this account, and partly because of the multilayered, intertwined plots, the poem met with considerable contemporary criticism, so Tasso revised it radically and published the revision under a new name, La Gerusalemme Conquistata, or "Jerusalem Conquered," which has remained virtually unread, a warning to authors who pay attention to the critics. The original poem influenced Edmund Spenser, whose unfinished epic, The Faerie Queene, is still more complicated in plot than Tasso's poem and, being an allegory, affords the supernatural an even greater share in the action. In Milton's Paradise Lost, the council in hell (first half of Book II) owes much to Tasso's similar scene in Book IV. (Someone with sufficient background in Old English might profitably compare the tirade of Satan in Book IV to the remarkably similar speech of Satan in the Anglo-Saxon Genesis.) Moreover, Milton's decision to write in English rather than in Latin, then the language of international discourse, was due in part to his visit to Tasso's patron, Giovanni Battista Manso, who advised him as he had advised Torquato Tasso before him, to dignify his native language by employing his talents in bold defiance of custom and precedent. Had Petrarch had the benefit of Manso's advice, his great epic, The Africa, might now eclipse his off-hour doodlings, the sonnets about Laura. The text is the Gutenberg Project's version, corrected in certain places by consulting editions, also in the public domain, published in 1749, 1844, 1845, and 1901; A Dictionary of the Italian and English Languages, by Joseph Baretti (Venice, 1795); The Oxford English Dictionary; and an edition of La Gerusaleme liberata itself (Paris: Victor Masson, 1836). (Summary by Thomas A. Copeland)

Genre(s): Historical Fiction, Poetry

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 01 - Book 1 Thomas A. Copeland
00:41:20
Play 02 02 - Book 2 Thomas A. Copeland
00:48:21
Play 03 03 - Book 3 Thomas A. Copeland
00:34:49
Play 04 04 - Book 4 Thomas A. Copeland
00:44:56
Play 05 05 - Book 5 Thomas A. Copeland
00:40:07
Play 06 06 - Book 6 Thomas A. Copeland
00:52:58
Play 07 07 - Book 7 Thomas A. Copeland
00:51:55
Play 08 08 - Book 8 Thomas A. Copeland
00:38:01
Play 09 09 - Book 9 Thomas A. Copeland
00:45:49
Play 10 10 - Book 10 Thomas A. Copeland
00:35:18
Play 11 11 - Book 11 Thomas A. Copeland
00:39:09
Play 12 12 - Book 12 Thomas A. Copeland
00:49:38
Play 13 13 - Book 13 Thomas A. Copeland
00:37:55
Play 14 14 - Book 14 Thomas A. Copeland
00:37:30
Play 15 15 - Book 15 Thomas A. Copeland
00:30:58
Play 16 16 -Book 16 Thomas A. Copeland
00:35:12
Play 17 17 - Book 17 Thomas A. Copeland
00:44:52
Play 18 18 - Book 18 Thomas A. Copeland
00:47:13
Play 19 19 - Book 19 Thomas A. Copeland
00:59:43
Play 20 20 - Book 20 Thomas A. Copeland
01:03:37