The Italian Almanac

Ludovico Ariosto

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Ludovico Ariosto

Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)

Poet, born in Reggio Emilia. He intended to take up law, but abandoned it for poetry. In 1503 he was introduced to the court of the Cardinal Ippolito d'Este at Ferrara, where he produced his great poem, Orlando furioso (1516), the Roland epic that forms a continuation of Boiardo's Orlando innamorato. The rich structure of Orlando features a main plot and several minor ones, and a stylistic balance which fuses reality and fantasy.

When the cardinal left Italy (1518), the duke, his brother, invited the poet to his service. He then composed his comedies, and gave the finishing touch to his Orlando. Besides his great work, he wrote comedies, satires, sonnets, and a number of Latin poems.