Entertainment and Irony: The Orlando Furioso from Modern to Postmodern

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Less popular than in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, in the twentieth and twenty-first century Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso has however made an impact on Anglo-American fiction. Loved by Samuel Beckett, who called risolino ariostesco (Ariosto’s smile) the poetic strategies of his preferred artists, and C.S. Lewis, who famously claimed that his utmost happiness would be to be always sitting by a windowin front of the sea, reading Ariosto’s masterpiece, Orlando Furioso proves more and more influential in contemporary fiction when it comes to epic modes, narrative techniques, fantasy and sci-fi: taken as a source of inspiration by both well-educated and popular writers and filmmakers, such as, among many others, David Lodge in Small World, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro in Ariosto and Jim Jarmusch in Mystery Train, Orlando Furioso proves in tune with two keywords of our contemporary age, irony and entertainment. This article will explore his legacy in twentieth-century Anglo-American fiction in order to assess its potential in our times.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAriosto, the Orlando Furioso and English Culture
EditorsStefano Jossa, Jane Everson, Andrew Hiscock
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780197266502
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of the British Academy
PublisherBritish Academy


  • Ariosto
  • C.S. Lewis
  • Beckett

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