With God on Our Side

Tobias Gregory

in From Many Gods to One

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780226307558
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226307565 | DOI:
With God on Our Side

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)


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This chapter explores the second great vernacular epic of the Italian cinquecento, Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata. It also investigates the question of whether and how Liberata is a tragic poem. An examination of Tasso's argument for a Christian supernatural in his early poetic treatise, the Discorsi dell'arte poetica, is presented. It then reviews the various instances of divine intervention in the Liberata. In the early Discorsi, Tasso proposes Christian divine action as the solution to a thorny narrative problem. Gerusalemme liberata contains a range of divine action, nearly all of it of classical in origin. Tasso's Satan, whose name is classicized as Plutone, gives voice to a striking discourse of resistance that accuses God of imperialism and describes Christianity as merely the version of the winning side. Tasso's poem exemplifies the narrative tensions intrinsic to Christian epic. In Gerusalemme liberata, the rhetoric of divine partisanship becomes the truth of the poem.

Keywords: Torquato Tasso; Gerusalemme liberata; Christian supernatural; Discorsi dell'arte poetica; divine intervention; Christian divine action; Plutone; Christianity; divine partisanship

Chapter.  15758 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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