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Selections from Boiardo's «Orlando Innamorato»

preface by Paolo Valesio


Mark Staebler

Without Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, such varied works as Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, Spenser's Faerie Queene and Byron's Don Juan would never have been written. Boiardo's style, structure and imagination became the literary model for the epic of chivalry, in Italian and in English. In this first English translation of this central poem to appear for 400 years, English ottava rima faces the original Italian, remaining faithful to its spirit as well as to its letter, while the prefatory commentary details the strange linguistic and political fortunes behind the Innamorato's initial popularity, subsequent eclipse and modern importance.