11 Mar, 2021

Torquato Tasso – Italian poet

Torquato Tasso (Italian Torquato Tasso), one of the greatest Italian poets of the 16th century, was born on March 11, 1544 in Sorrento. Torquato’s father, the philologist and poet Bernardo Tasso, was the secretary of the Prince of Salerno. Torquato received an excellent education and was at court from childhood. He was the companion of the young son of the duke and in the atmosphere of the Urbinsky court imbued with the ideals of the aristocracy.

In Venice, Torquato helped his father in literary work and at the same time pondered epic plots that he could use himself. However, his father sent him to study law in Padua, where the young man fell under the influence of S. Gonzaga, S. Speroni and K. Sigonio and became addicted to philosophy and literary theory.

In Padua, Torquato began to publish his poems, and in 1562 his fantastic epic poem “Rinaldo” was published. In 1565 he moved to Ferrara and entered the service of Cardinal Luigi d’Este, brother of Duke Alfonso II.

In 1570-1571, Tasso became the court poet of Duke Alfonso. His love lyrics of that time are addressed to the ladies of the court. Within a few weeks he wrote the pastoral drama Aminta, which was presented with great success at court. In 1575, Tasso completed work on the epic poem that is still considered a masterpiece – Jerusalem Liberated.

As a result of overstrain, a mental disorder happened to him – he was tormented by thoughts of sinfulness, and a persecution mania developed. After several violent nervous breakdowns, he was imprisoned in an insane asylum, where he spent seven years. True, there were rumors that the reason for the imprisonment was not illness at all, but Tasso’s love for the Duke’s sister Leonora d’Este.

During the periods of enlightenment, Tasso continued to write lyric poetry and treatises-dialogues on literature and philosophy. In 1586, Tasso left the hospital and for the following years lived with several patrons, continuing his creative activity.

Torquato Tasso died on April 25, 1595 in Rome, in the monastery of Sant Onofrio.

His literary heritage includes not only the aforementioned works, but also a large number of poems and sonnets, the tragedy “King Torrismondo”, the religious poem “Seven Days of the Creation of the World”, the treatise “Discourses on Poetic Art”.