In 2016 and 2017 Italy celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Orlando Furioso. This conversation offers a reading of Ariosto’s 16th centuries literary masterpieces from a Jewish perspective.
It appears that Orlando received considerable attention in the Jewish world. Among its numerous translations, one was in Judeo-Spanish (even though a Spanish version already existed) and three chapters, including one that was censored by the Inquisition, were translated into Hebrew by the young Leone da Modena. A best-seller of his time, its satire and a subtle play of roles marked the end of an epoch. Shortly after the publication of the poem, the series of wars that would for ever purge Europe from Islam came to end. The Ottoman Empire, city states and emerging nation states began to confront each other. The first portable weapons entered the history of war and the printing press the history of knowledge and propaganda. New forms of Christianity rose and scientific thought defied the realm of faith. The Jews residing in Western countries faced a century of tremendous instability seeking to define themselves as minority within power structures that they could no longer recognize.
Many works of chivalry literature centered on the Crusade and the contention over Jerusalem, became popular among Jewish readers and were translated into Spanish and Judeo-Spanish. Although little work has been done on contemporary Jewish responses to the Crusades, Orlando‘s Jewish readership, real or imaginary, may open a new perspective on the poem as well as on Jewish relations with the society at large in the wake of the expulsion from Spain and the segregation era.
Come join Centro Primo Levi, Michela Andreatta from the University of Rochester, Serena Di Nepi from the University of Rome La Sapienza, and Jane Tylus from New York University for this exciting presentation.
This event is free and open to the public!
For more information on the program: primolevicenter.org/events/orlando-furioso-the-knights-and-his-jewish-readers/
For reservations, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org