Aposto's chief aim in writing the poem - composed over a period of twenty-seven years, and one of the greatest works of the Italitan Renaissance - was to give delight, and in this he admiringly succeeds. He created a world situated between high fantasy and reality: a dazzling kaleidoscope of fabulous adventures, ogres, monsters, barbaric splendour and romance, all tempered by the unifying personality of the author - his humour and serenity, his humanity and moderation.
One of the greatest epic poems of the Italian Renaissance, Orlando Furioso is an intricate tale of love and enchantment set at the time of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne's conflict with the Moors. When Count Orlando returns to France from Cathay with the captive Angelica as his prize, her beauty soon inspires his cousin Rinaldo to challenge him to a duel - but during their battle, Angelica escapes from both knights on horseback and begins a desperate quest for freedom. This dazzling kaleidoscope of fabulous adventures, sorcery and romance has inspired generations of writers - including Spenser and Shakespeare - with its depiction of a fantastical world of magic rings, flying horses, sinister wizardry and barbaric splendour.
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Ludovico Ariosto was born in 1474, the son of an official of the Ferrarese court. He first studied law, but later acquired a sound humanistic training. His adult life was spent in the service of the Ferrarese ducal family. Essentially he was a writer; his lifetime's service as a courtier was a burden imposed on him by economic difficulties. His fame rests on his major work, Orlando Furioso. The poem was probably begun around 1505. It was first published in 1516. The most important of Arisoto's minor works are five comedies, written for production in the Ferrarese court. Ariosto died in 1533.
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