TORQUATO TASSO, the author of the "Jesusalem Delivered" ("Gerusalemme liberata"), the famed epic poem of the First Crusade, was born at Sorrento in 1544 and served as court poet to the d'Este family in Ferrara for many years. He suffered greatly at their hands, however, when Alphonso II had him confined for seven years as insane in Sant'Anna Hospital. He spent the remainder of his life wandering through Italy, much admired but impoverished. He died in Rome in 1595 at the monastery of Sant 'Onofrio on the Gianicolo. Max Wickert is the author of critical articles on Edmund Spenser and on early opera, as well as of several volumes of verse. His verse translation of Tasso's "Gerusalemme liberata," was published by Oxford University Press in 2009 as "The Liberation of Jerusalem." His rhymed version of Book One of Tasso's Rime was published by Italica Press in 2011 as Love Poems for Lucrezia Bendidio. His translation of Tasso's Rinaldo was published by Italica Press in 2017. He is the founder-director of Outriders Poetry Project, a small press, and taught for many years at the University at Buffalo, NY.
"Wickert's magnificent translation -- the first in ottava rima verse -- finally allows the Rinaldo to take its place in the English-speaking world alongside Boiardo's Orlando Innamorato, Ariosto's Orlando Furioso, and Tasso's own Gerusalemme Liberata. First-time readers will be surprised and delighted by this account of young Rinaldo's romance adventures under the sway of love and desire for glory, written when Tasso was himself just a teenager." -- Jo Ann Cavallo, Professor & Chair, Columbia University Department of Italian"Max Wickert's The Liberation of Jerusalem is a splendid English version of Tasso's masterpiece. It manages to keep the rhymed octave form going in a fluid readable way -- itself a remarkable accomplishment -- while staying very close to the original. And it handles the big moments (Clorinda's death, Solimano's view of the world, Armida's arias) with wonderful sureness and power. I admire this translation, and I trust that it will catch on and be the standard one for years to come." - David Quint, Sterling Professor of English and Chair of Comparative Literature (Yale University)"Wickert's is a remarkable achievement....The translation is consistently faithful to almost every detail of the content [and] successfully recreates much of the distinctive structure of Tasso's language and its complex interrelation with the metre." -- David Robie, Times Literary Supplement"Wickert's fine translation captures both the dignity and the energy of Tasso's epic, its artfulness and its passion." -- Carl Dennis, Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 2002"I would have guessed from Max Wickert's sonnets that his handling of ottava rima would be strong and fluent. As indeed it is. I can't imagine a translation reading any better: everywhere easy, natural, idiomatic, taking the demanding rhyme scheme with no strain at all. A great 'read.'" -- John Frederic Nims, former Editor, Poetry (Chicago)