Talk:Torquato Tasso

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1911 info[edit]

The Wikipedia article abruptly ends, and cuts off about halfway through its reprinting of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica text. This text is available at other places online. Would it be proper to copy the remainder of that 1911 text to this article? OlYeller 19:42, 3 July 2006 (UTC)

Following the precept, "be bold," I have attached the remainder of the 1911 text. It's not hyperlinked yet, nor is it written in an objective style. But it's progress. OlYeller 16:57, 5 July 2006 (UTC)

Can someone divide this article into subsections?[edit]

It is quite long and has no divisions whatsoever, making it a difficult article to go through without reading the whole thing.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.2.86.82 (talkcontribs) 00:39, 7 November 2006

POV check[edit]

I've placed a POV check tag on the article, requesting that the text (presumably based on 1911 Britannica version), should be edited to be more consistent with contemporary NPOV standards. Thanks, Lini 18:45, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Whatever standards it does or doesn't come up to, the article is one of the most beautifully written I have seen on Wikipedia. Fixlein (talk) 16:52, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Probably because it uses EB11's unencyclopedically flowery and florid prose. 68.39.174.238 (talk) 03:14, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
  • I agree with Fixlein above. I had come to this discussion page to post just that: this article stands tall among others, is a joy to read, and an ode to beautiful writing. And excuse me: Encyclopedia Britannica being NOT encyclopedic? Bizarre statement. Go wash your mouth.

Max Ventura, Italy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.66.95.74 (talk) 18:13, 25 February 2011 (UTC)

I disagree. The style is that of a literary essay rather than a reference work; perhaps appropriate if one wants to sit down and read the thing for pleasure, but obstructive if one wants it for purposes of reference. The plethora of unsupported statements is an aspect of this. (E.g., 'The precocity of intellect and the religious fervour of the boy attracted general admiration.') The self-consciously literary style is also bound up with a romantic attitude towards Tasso which occasionally borders on the comic. (E.g., 'In 1565, Tasso for the first time set foot in that castle at Ferrara which was destined for him to be the scene of so many glories, and such cruel sufferings.' Cue violins.) Somebody who knows about Tasso needs to take a pruning-knife to the thing. Dayvey (talk) 13:53, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Removed "Sections" and "POV" templates from article[edit]

I removed the "Sections" template because work had been done to create more subsections after the tag was placed. I removed the "POV" template (which I had originally placed), because some work has been done on POV/tone, and because the "tone" template more correctly articulates what I had in mind when I first placed the POV template. --Lini 23:28, 19 August 2007 (UTC)


Comunque sia, il sasso è stato lanciato ed abbiamo finalmente letto qualche nuovo studio e ascoltato qualche voce finalmente diversa. Ad esempio quella di Sandra Giannattasio, studiosa che ha contribuito alla preparazione delle celebrazioni:

"L'omosessualità del Tasso (...) è scientificamente documentata nelle lettere del poeta. (...) Tasso ebbe un rapporto tempestoso con un giovane cortigiano, Orazio Orlando, mentre Lucrezia era per lui probabilmente ciò che fu per Dante "la donna dello schermo"... E il suo gesto, attribuito a pazzia, di accoltellare il servo che lo stava spiando da dietro una tenda, mentre lui si sdilinquiva in un colloquio amoroso con Lucrezia, fu secondo me un modo paradossale di sottolineare un'eterosessualità, e quindi una "normalità", inesistente. Tasso fu vittima della Controriforma, sia per quanto riguarda le sue inclinazioni sessuali, costretto a reprimere, sia dal punto di vista intellettuale e artistico, perché fu spinto ad epurare in senso controriformistico la sua opera maggiore, trasformandola, negli ultimi anni, nella fiacca Gerusalemme conquistata" [2]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.3.150.9 (talk) 21:03, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Translation of the above unsigned comment[edit]

'However this may be, the nut has been cracked and we have at last read some new study, and heard some different article' [concerning Torquato Tasso]. 'For example, that of Sandra Giannattasio, a scholar who has contributed to the preparation of the celebrations.'
"The homosexuality of Tasso (...) is scientifically documented in the poet's letters. (...) Tasso had a stormy relationship with a young courtier, Orazio Orlando, while Lucrezia was for him probably that which was for Dante 'The veiled lady'... And his action, attributed to madness, of drawing a knife upon the servant who was spying upon him from behind a curtain, while he was diverting himself in an amorous exchange with Lucrezia, was in my opinion a paradoxical way of asserting a non-existent heterosexuality (or, by implication, 'normality'). Tasso was a victim of the Counter-reformation, with regard to his sexual inclinations being obliged to restraint, and from the intellectual and artistic point of view because he was obliged to rewrite his great work in a counter-reformationist way, transforming it, in the last years, into the dreary Jerusalem Conquered."
Some concrete references needed to incorporate this material. Note: the above information is NOT included in the current Tasso article in Italian Wikipedia, which is, incidentally, entirely unreferenced. Eebahgum 18:24, 16 September 2007 (UTC)

If it is not the place to talk about Tasso's alleged love for Leonora, don't talk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.198.73.13 (talk) 21:11, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

  • I can only imagine one reason for supposing that Tasso was homosexual: a determination to suppose that he was. Honestly. Fixlein (talk) 15:29, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Torquato has a friend, Luca Scalabrino who wrote him in a letter that he has a carnal desire to him. In a letter to Orazio Ariosto, Torquato Tasso wrote that he was in love with another boy. I can only imagine two reason for denying that Tasso was homosexual : homophoby and bad faith based on disdain of conclusing and primary sources. There is no reason to discuss baseless allegations of Tasso's unproved love for women. There is no evidence of it but there is evidences of real and documented relationship with boys. There is a lot of evidences showing that Tasso had no desire to women and if you think "pleasant" to imagine that Tasso assumed an unconquerable love for Leonora, then you can write a novel about this old legend. Honestly. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.212.184.183 (talk) 12:58, 23 March 2008 (UTC)

If these allegations must be so fully discussed, I think a paragraph about Tasso's letters adressed to his homosexual friend about his love for a boy will be soon written. There is no reason to censure documentation about these relationship that been until now censured in order to forge the presentable but totally unproved legend of Tasso's so-called heterosexual love. I know : it must be a pitty for commun that these letters are not destroyed -it is astonishing and incommon, generally evidences of homosexuality are destroyed and therefore it is possible for homophobic people to deny, but not that time ! - and that there is no proof of your allegations. To be clear, there is only one reason for supposing that Tasso was heterosexual : a determination to suppose that he was. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.212.184.183 (talk) 13:35, 23 March 2008 (UTC)



Yes, here it is, the determination. I knew it existed. This kind of thing reminds me of the constantly repeated silliness that Achilles and Patroclus are lovers in the Iliad. Not because Homer has any such notion, but because WE are so squeamish about same sex relationships that we are unable to see them as not having a genital subtext.

No doubt if you look hard enough you can find letters suggesting that Tasso was an embezzler too. And there seems to be all sorts of evidence that he was crazy, doesn't there?

Human psychology does not fit compartmentalized predeterminations. Many a married man in Pericles' Athens was capable of a sentimental passion for handsome youths. So has many a married man since. Anyone who cannot see a heterosexual sensibility in Tasso's writings has either never learned to read, or....is determined to see him as homosexual. I suppose this will become the myth with which we replace Tasso's love for Leonora d'Este: Tasso and his nameless Ganymede. Myths have to run their course, but they can make thinking people very impatient.Fixlein (talk) 19:26, 26 April 2008 (UTC)

It is better to name the thinks by their real name. 83.200.122.141 (talk) 14:13, 24 February 2009 (UTC)



Achilles and Patroclus are not lovers in the Iliad but actually they indeed are "genital" lovers in a lost athenian play by Eschylus or Sophocles, so there is nothing silly if you precise that firstly, the couple was not "sexual" but that with time, Greeks themselves invented a sexual dimension in that relation , anyway, Achilles and Patroclus are only characters and authors can do what they want with them ; that's why, at the time of Alexander, who admired the couple, the sexual dimension of it was acknoledged ; what is silly is not deny it but some people seems to have problem with the evidences. It is a beautiful thing to see a heterosexual sensibility in Tasso literary writings but a problem remains : his letters dealt with his real life and not with literary fiction. Tasso's love for Leonora d'Este is a myth, and his love for a boy is acknowledged by his own hand. Therefore, nobody can do anything against the fact it is not a myth unless to assume bad faith or worse ; a myth is an unproved belief : it is not a myth that he loved a boy because it is written in his letters to a homosexual friend. And if the boy was actually a woman ? I will tell you what all our homophobic friends would be so pleased to conclude : it would be a clear and undeniable proof that he was a great womanizer. They certainly would be right, but unfortunetaly, it is a boy. By the way, the first version of the article said that he had an affair in 1576 with no more precision ; unfortunetaly for some people, it happens to be that year that he wrote his correspondance saying that he is in love with that boy. But I am sure you are going to find a better solution ; a suggestion : it is still possible to "discover" that the letter is a forgery ; you won't be the first people to do that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.218.89.21 (talk) 15:07, 17 May 2008 (UTC)



(Can't see anything new here - except some poor writing and bad spelling. I suppose we can let Tasso's erotic proclivities rest with his body, although I might point out that Tasso was so devout with respect to his religion that he once had himself examined by an Inquisitor for fear that his orthodoxy was not unexceptionable. That doesn't sound like a man who was in the habit of contravening Christian morality on the sly. Not to me anyway. However, none of this really matters all that much. It is his immortal poetry that matters.) Fixlein (talk) 20:34, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

If you are not interested in it, so don't try to hide the documented truth : Tasso's love for a boy. But there is one silly thing : the desparate attempts to make Tasso a lover of Leonora d'Este without proof. We are not dealing with a subjective "heterosexual sensibility" in his works but with hard facts documented by Tasso's hand. In it, there are no things like that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.200.61.98 (talk) 12:28, 1 October 2008 (UTC)


Homophoby like that is an interesting phenomenon to study as well. If first hand testimonies have been censured by Official History, it is not a re-writing but simply an anctualization. To state that anybody's love for a boy is a legitimization of homosexuality is stupid ; it has no need to be legitimized. As well is the ooooooold way to censure history to please victorian people. I don't know if St Jung dealt with the symtoms of immaturity of people who don't face the truth ; like anybody, psychanalists suffer of some prejudices. It is not embarrassing to state that Tasso by his own account wrote to a homosexual friend that he loved a boy and not as a friend. Of course, it can't be embarrassing for serious historians, but this is not the case of people who used the inept pretext of gay pride to forget what Tasso himself wrote about his life, just because it is their last -and sad- possible argument. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.35.202.250 (talk) 12:51, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

I would quietly add that intolerant people and people who burn the historical evidences are obviously more pathetic than anywone else. Good luck in your life ! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 90.35.202.250 (talk) 13:13, 8 June 2009 (UTC)


When all the truth is not told, this is not a re-writing. Or if you want, the frist writing censured some elements of the file. Insult people who take account of primary source will not transform the truth in the way of censuring and insulting people. You can be as ironic as you want, you know that you're wrong and have no argument against the evidences. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.218.2.199 (talk) 11:50, 18 July 2009 (UTC) 86.218.2.199 (talk) 11:54, 18 July 2009 (UTC)


Tasso wrote to a homosexual friend he was in love with a man. It deals obviously with homosexuality, not very difficult to understand."Homoeroticism" is just an euphemism for homosexuality. There is absolutely no proof that Tasso was in love with any woman and there is documented proof of the contrary, so everyone can judge the facts. 90.3.176.176 (talk) 23:12, 25 August 2011 (UTC)


I believe the opposite is true. Tasso is known to have been in love with more than one court lady in the circles he moved in. He is not known to have had any such attachment to any man. And I repeat: Tasso was a devout Christian. Homosexuality may be considered quite compatible with that today, but it wasn't in the 16th century, Fixlein (talk) 21:52, 25 January 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fixlein (talkcontribs) 21:47, 25 January 2012 (UTC)


Believe everything you want.

1. There is no proof Tasso was in love with more than one court lady in the circles he moved on ("Tasso is known" is hearsay.)

2. Perhaps was it then not known he had such attachment to any man but we have now proofs of this fact in his letters to his homosexual friend Luca Scalabrino.

3. It is nothing but dogmatic to state a devout christian couldn't be homosexual even in the 16th century.

Frimoussou (talk) 20:02, 16 April 2012 (UTC)


In 1561, Tasso visited the court of Eleanora d'Este at Albano and fell in love with Lucrezia Bendidio. In 1563 Tasso visited his father in Venice where he met and fell in love with Laura Peperara. He wrote poems to both these ladies. (Did he write any poems to any men?) These experiences date from Tasso's earlier, happier days, when he was riding the crest of success that his gifts brought him. His troubles denied him the happiness of permanent relationship. These facts come from Max Wickert's recent translation of Gierusalemme Liberata: The Liberation of Jerusalem, Oxford University Press, 2009. pp. xxxiii-xxxiv. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Fixlein (talkcontribs) 02:40, 20 June 2013 (UTC)


Tasso writes to Scalabrino a letter about one of his students whom he is in love with, the 21-year-old Orazio Ariosto:

"I love him, and I'm ready to love him for several months, because the impression of this love into my soul is too much strong, and is impossible to erase it in a few days... And yet I hope that ime will totally heal this love illness from my soul. For sure I woul like to be able not to be in love with him, because as much as his manners are gentle, I'd like him not to be harsh towards me. ... I call my feeling 'love' and not just affection, because after all love it is. I wasn't aware of that before, because I didn't yet feel inside me none of those sexual appetites that love generally awakes, not even when we were in bed together. But now I clearly perceive that I have been and is not a friend, but a quite honnest lover, because I feel a terribel pain, not only because he doesn't respond to my love, but also because I can't talk with him with that freedom I was used to, and being far from him pains me very much. During the night I always wake up with his image in my mind, and reflecting into my soul upon how much I loved and honoured him, and how much he despised and offended me ... I become so much distressed that two or three times I bitterly weeped..."

Tasso wrote also a poem "To a lovely young man":

How have I to call you, God or human? You are blindfolded, like the handsome God, and the Love God you really are Who to stop with me opens his wings. For sure, you are Love, as love you radiate, so That I became at once a tender lover, And my heart, who was of hard diamond made, I feel becoming tender with each of your darts. Work upon me as you like, with a torch or an arrow: Tie me with each knot; and if you'll defy me, You can unsheathe the sword of the daring Mars. I ask for your war, or for the peace of others: With you I'll reign again; but your beloved Soul, at least, from far away may smile at me.

Mardochee1 (talk) 12:04, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

"The first two books of his five-hundred-odd love poems were sequences addressed to Lucrezia Bendidio and Laura Peperara, court ladies and illustrious singers" : It is mentionned in the article as well as his male inclination.

Mardochee1 (talk) 12:23, 25 June 2013 (UTC)


The long and the short of this would seem to be, then, that Tasso, like many men of his era, was capable of both homo- and heterosexual responses. That doesn't seem to be an issue deserving of so much space. It would have to be said, though, that as far as his poetry is concerned, Tasso's heterosexual character, his love of feminine beauty, his appreciation of male/female relations and his tendency to idealize them, crowds out anything homoerotic (if that amounts to a few sonnets of a private nature from the author of two of the greatest masterpieces of Renaisssance literature) by about a hundred to one. He may have given expression privately to feelings for this or that courtier, but he is one of the greatest singers of heterosexual love in all of literature.

Not exactly a popular read today, Tasso is the poet who above all motivated me to learn Italian, more so even than Dante. His style, which was to be a major influence on the century after his own, is an adventure of seemingly limitless inventiveness, grace, and beauty. Combined with which, the masterful, dramatic story-telling of Jerusalem Delivered, with its narrative abundance and its cumulative force, make it one of the most engaging reading experiences ever. It is a great pity that no translation has ever done that justice, but, some things, admittedly, just can't be done. Eamon Tanderley (talk) 17:26, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Eamon Tanderley (talkcontribs) 07:51, 13 October 2013 (UTC)

There is poetry and there is life and more private (and accurate) documentation too. In short, he was simply one of the greatest singers of love in all of literature, as Shakespeare was. The issue of his bisexuality take so much space in the talk page (and not in the article, where it's briefly but solidly referenced) only because one user was in the denial of it and vandalize the page because he couldn't accept the fact that Tasso was not purely heterosexual. Mardochee1 (talk) 14:33, 16 October 2013 (UTC)

I see. Well, I think maybe the editors should clean up the page a bit. It's wasted space. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Eamon Tanderley (talkcontribs) 21:39, 10 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree. Mardochee1 (talk) 22:53, 18 September 2014 (UTC)

Madness[edit]

Torquato Tasso lived in an era profoundly influenced by the Catholic church and perceptions of religious difference, and his carefully selected subject of Christianity battling Islam is a conflict with a long history and reverberations that still persist today. In the first octave of the Gerusalemme liberata, Tasso invites comparison with Ariosto's Orlando furioso, whose knights' religious beliefs seemed secondary to their heroic roles. While Tasso does indeed recognize poetry's divine fury, his conception of its origin differs from that of Plato. Francois Graziani posits Tasso's divine inspiration as more akin to Aristotle's theories of imitation, "parce que sans nier l'inspiration il ne lui donne pas une origine externe mais interne" 'because without denying inspiration, [Tasso] gives it an internal rather than external origin' and as a result, "la fureur poetique se confond pour lui [...] avec le genie poetique" 'he confuses poetic fury with poetic genius' Grosaveux (talk) 19:27, 27 January 2012 (UTC)