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Ariosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture$
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Jane E. Everson, Andrew Hiscock, and Stefano Jossa

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266502

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266502.001.0001

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The Orlando Furioso, Writing and the Construction of Meaning

The Orlando Furioso, Writing and the Construction of Meaning

(p.268) 14 The Orlando Furioso, Writing and the Construction of Meaning
Ariosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture

Nicola Gardini

British Academy

Nicola Gardini explores the notion of semantic truth in Orlando Furioso. It demonstrates that writing works as the ideal space for the expression of truth. Yet, as is characteristic of Ariosto, writing does not come across as a one-sided notion, that is, the ultimate guarantee of truth. Indeed, Ariosto tells us it can lie just like everyday speech or other kinds of verbal practice, including slander and magic. Resting on linguists’ opposition between referential and relational semantics (which Richard Waswo also investigated in one of his books) and exploring the two kinds of semantics respectively in Zerbino’s and others’ scripts and Saint John’s attack on the truthfulness of ancient poets, Gardini argues that literary writing is thematized in Orlando Furioso as ultimately resisting direct referentiality, while not denying the ideal of truth altogether. Ariosto shows that poetry creates meaning relationally, that is, through hermeneutic challenges and ironic strategies.

Keywords:   referentiality, relational semantics, poetry, truth, magic

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