. Infidel Texts and Errant Sexuality

Dennis Austin Britton

in Becoming Christian

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2014 | ISBN: 9780823257140
Published online September 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780823260836 | DOI:
. Infidel Texts and Errant Sexuality

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Chapter 3 considers John Harington’s distinctly Protestant translation of Ludovico Ariosto’s epic romance, Orlando Furioso. It suggests that Harington’s translation gained legitimacy by creating a reading experience that was similar to that of reading the Bible. Like early modern English Bibles, Harington’s translation uses paratextual materials—prefaces, marginal glosses, “Moralls” and “Allegories”—in order to guide readers’ interpretations and foster moral and spiritual transformation. Just as reading the Bible (alongside preaching) was deemed necessary for spiritual transformation, Harington’s translation and subsequent allegorizing of Ariosto’s poem seek to transform and indeed convert readers. Moreover, Harington’s translation is itself a convert: The formerly infidel text, a repugnant Romish romance, is transformed into an English Protestant poem. Harington thus likens the translation and allegorizing of Orlando Furioso to religious conversion.

Keywords: John Harington; Ludovico Ariosto; Orlando Furioso; English Bibles; translation; paratextual materials; reading; spiritual transformation; religious conversion; romance

Chapter.  8019 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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