At the heart of Ariostoâs romance are Orlandoâs unrequited love for the pagan princess Angelica and his jealous rage when she elopes. The action takes place against a besieged Paris, as Charlemagne and his Christian paladins defend the city against the Saracen king. The poem, however, obeys no geography or rules but its own, as the story moves by whim from Japan to the Hebrides to the moon; it includes such imaginary creatures as the hippogriff and a sea monster called the orc.
Orlando Furioso is Danteâs medieval universe turned upside down and made comic. Characterized by satire, parody, and irony, the poem celebrates a new humanistic Renaissance conception of man in an utterly fantastical world. Slavittâs translation captures the energy, comedy, and great fun of Ariostoâs Italian.
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