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Friday, May 13, 2016

The Big Gap

The posts devoted to Torquato Tasso's long poem Gerusalemme Conquistata (for newcomers: the 1593 reboot version of his more famous Gerusalemme Liberata, 1581) will now suddenly jump from Canto 8 to Canto 16. Why? Because no complete edition of Gerusalemme Conquistata is currently available. Yeah, "you" are right: it is a scandal.

The translations we are working out are based on the printed version of the manuscript (Gerusalemme conquistata: Ms. Vind. Lat. 72 della Biblioteca Nazionale di Napoli, ed. by Claudio Gigante, Alessandria: Edizioni dell'Orso, 2010, that is volume III.1 of the National Edition of Torquato Tasso's Works) but in the manuscript approximately one third of the text is missing. A complete copy of the poem can be found in the Internet, but without any critical apparatus. So, we will keep following the manuscript, and provide "summaries of the last episodes" as they will be needed.

There can be a number of reasons why a manuscript is incomplete, often quite trivial ones. In this case, the missing section -- Cantos 9 to 15 -- corresponds basically to the episodes of the Conquistata that followed the Liberata more closely. While working on the Conquistata, Tasso used a printed copy of the Liberata where he inserted variations and added new stanzas. Possibly, therefore, Cantos 9 to 15 of GC belonged to a different set than the other sections (those which had been more radically modified), and have not been preserved together.

Be it as it may, it is a great thing to have two thirds of the GC manuscript available; and the next volume in the National Edition should come out one day. Meanwhile, again many thanks to Prof. Gigante for his painstaking work.

N.B. The next GC post (not any kind of post) will be online on May 24.