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Friday, June 6, 2014

Under accusation (3)

In GC 6: 48, in the manuscript version, a not-better-specified soldier called Anselm (Anselmo in the Italian text) defends Richard. In the final printed version of the poem, this name will be replaced by a much more telling one: Rupert (Ruperto in Italian).
Just a first hint, because readers will discover the truth only much later, in the final section of Gerusalemme Conquistata, namely, that Rupert is Richard's lover. Their tragic story, completely missing in Gerusalemme Liberata, will be shaped according to the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus in the Iliad, which will provide Tasso with a lot of material for the new episodes in his own poem, together with the Aeneid. In fact, as it had already been mentioned, many new sections in GC consist in reworked and powerful translations from classical Epic.
At this stage of the story, nobody seems to suspect the nature of the bond between Richard and Rupert; it will become clear after the latter's death, in the light of Richard's reaction to it. What matters more here is that all this belies the silly commonplace that ignorant critics have been parroting for four centuries, i.e., that Gerusalemme Conquistata should be the triumph of bigotry.