Struktura Orlanda szalonego między eposem a romansem rycerskim

Alberto Roncaccia


The Structure of Orlando furioso—Between Epic and Chivalric Romance

The aim of this paper is, on the one hand, to show coherence within the thematic frame of Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso, and on the other, to give consideration to fragments commonly considered minor and only complementary. Roncaccia based his work both on sixteenth-century studies of Ariosto and on contemporary research. Scholars who study Ariosto have always been challenged by the issue of the narrative and structural unity of Orlando Furioso. Both contradictory patterns can be reduced to images of a complex maze of events and a complete structure built  with architectonical precision. The still current opposition between the two different manners of interpretation can be considered in relation to the two fragments of the chivalric narrative that intertwine in Orlando Furioso: the adventure genre related to the Breton Arthurian cycle and the epic genre that undertakes the subject of the Carolingian Wars. This tendency to duality—clear at the narrative plane—can be overcome at the macrotext level. Roncaccia shows how the four “movements”  alternately play a role in the overall structure of the poem (as if in a symphony): two of them are characterised by the dispersion of motifs characteristic of romance, while the other two concentrate them, as if in an epic poem. By virtue of this original device, Ariosto combines the two genres, proportioning them depending on his compositional intentions.

In the first part of the paper, Roncaccia briefly reconstructs the old perspective of critical studies on Ariosto, which concerned the structure and coherence of the poem. In the second part, the twentieth- century studies on the structure of the poem are quoted, starting with the research of Attilio Momigliano, who divided the poem into four parts and outlined its narrative and thematic macrostructure. Roncaccia develops this rarely considered and somewhat sketchy division proposed by Momigliano, demonstrating how the four parts form pairs that are interconnected with each other by contrasts or analogies. In this part, Roncaccia also reflects on the use of the category of epics and romance in the context of Orlando Furioso. In sections three to six, the author carries out a detailed analysis of the four previously indicated parts of the poem. In the last, seventh section of the study, inspired by today’s research on the structure of the poem, the author proposes an entropic chart: the dynamic given to the action is dispersed in numerous narrative motifs due to extreme acceleration, in which various time planes are intertwined, and then it is gradually concentrated in an isochronous flow leading to the end of the poem. Unlike the traditional interpretations of Orlando Furioso, which show consistency of only two or three main thematic motifs, the proposed interpretation of the poem indicates the possibility of inscribing minor motifs into a general and coherent thematic outline.

Słowa kluczowe: chivalric romance, epic, structure, macrotext, madness, entropy

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