SiStan ChapLee

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Saul bellows (3) or, In the Valley of Elah

If these first posts gave you the impression that reading Gerusalemme Conquistata is like subscribing to National Geographic, this happens because --- it is. The Conquistata is much more than a remake of Gerusalemme Liberata, it is a radical reboot. And not only has a great part of the plot been modified or added: the narrative structure itself has been upset. Whereas Gerusalemme Liberata was a compact, consistent story (against Ludovico Ariosto's labyrinthine Orlando Furioso), Gerusalemme Conquistata is full of sub-stories, even long ones, and blocked roads. Here Tasso quite often stops describing an action and starts to describe a set of places, or the history of a family, or a very detailed vision; or he translates passages from the Bible, etc.

This sort of 'documentary poetry' has a climax in his poem Il Mondo Creato (The Creation of the World), started just one year before, 1592, WITHOUT a plot and without personages, like Dziga Vertov's experimental movies. In Gerusalemme Conquistata Tasso finds a surprising compromise between already post-modern anti-structures and classic epic.

What about David and Goliath? They somehow anticipate the final battle between the young Richard, literally a super-hero, and Solyman. And this the second big novelty in GC with reference to GL: turning Ariostesque duels into Robert-E-Howardesque butchery, all the way up to (Marvel) comics and science fiction.

IT / Kindle and paper edition