Our current project is a fresh translation of Ariosto's influential 'Orlando Furioso'. A masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance, it is an interwoven tale of knights and ladies, arms and love, set in the age of Charlemagne, against a backcloth of Moorish invasion, and Christian resistance. A tribute to the House of Este, and Ariosto's patron Cardinal Ippolito d'Este in particular, its varied subplots and colourful episodes proved a treasure-house for later writers, artists and composers, and it can lay claim to being the first true 'fantasy novel', although in verse form. It is particularly interesting for Ariosto's championing of women, and was clearly aimed at the enlightened and intelligent ladies of the Este court. This translation will appear canto by canto, of which there are forty-six, in serialised format, though at irregular intervals, and is enhanced by the superb illustrations of Gustave Doré, which we are digitising from an Italian 1899 edition. The translation employs Ariosto's original rhyme scheme, while introducing arbitrary section headings to clarify the direction and meaning of the narrative. The first twenty-one Cantos are available online here.
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