Ex Libris #1 – Orlando Furioso and Canzoniere

Despite actually being a sort of librarian with something like 7 million volumes at hand at work I still buy many, many books – operating loosely on Umberto Eco’s now-tired dictum that you should limit your personal library only from considerations of budget and space, not by time or intention to immediately read what you acquire. Today’s new purchases, the Mondadori Meridiani editions of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso and Petrarch’s Canzoniere, fall into the category of abiding intentions. Petrarch I’ve of course read in selections but mostly focused on his prose (Secretum especially but also Rerum familiarium libri and De otio religioso) so it would be nice to learn more of his poetry. Ariosto I’ve never touched, despite some strong recommendations of Charles James Fox regarding his ‘freedom of manner’ – “Ariosto has more of it than any other poet, even so as to vie in this particular merit with Homer himself; and possibly it may be that my excessive delight in him is owing to my holding in higher estimation than others do the merit of freedom and rapidity.” I think he elsewhere says Ariosto alone is worth learning Italian for. So here’s to hoping time for both is found in coming years.

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