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Tasso's Art and AfterlivesThe Gerusalemme Liberata in England$
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Jason Lawrence

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090882

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090882.001.0001

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‘There are as many Tassos as there are Hamlets’: representations of Tasso’s life in England

‘There are as many Tassos as there are Hamlets’: representations of Tasso’s life in England

(p.173) 5 ‘There are as many Tassos as there are Hamlets’: representations of Tasso’s life in England
Tasso's Art and Afterlives

Jason Lawrence

Manchester University Press

During the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, attention in England focused increasingly on the troubled life of the poet, who came to be regarded as ‘a prototype of the Romantic poet, loving passionately but hopelessly and above his station, ...chained in a lunatic’s cell’. In the fifth chapter the second principal strand of this study traces and analyses the development of such views about Tasso himself, from the earliest English biographical account by Henry Layng in 1748 to the last at the start of the twentieth century. It also examines the many imaginative engagements with aspects of the poet’s legendary biography, such as his apparent madness and prolonged imprisonment in Ferrara as a result of his supposed love for Leonora d’Este, the Duke’s sister, which were to become a prominent feature of English and European responses to him in the nineteenth century. It focuses particularly on Lord Byron’s impassioned ventriloquisation of the Italian poet’s voice in The Lament of Tasso (1817).

Keywords:   Tasso, biography, Henry Layng, imprisonment, madness, Ferrara, Leonora d’Este, Byron, ventriloquisation, Lament of Tasso

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