TASSO, Torquato. Il Goffredo, Ovvero Gerusalemme Liberata. Venezia: Presso Antonio Groppo, .
Two volumes. 4to. Contemporary vellum binding; spine titled in gilt; all edges marbled; pp. [vi], iii-xxx, 364; [iv], v-xii, 360; with 20 splendid finely engraved plates throughout both volumes, and 95 vignettes illustrated by Jacopo Leonardis after designs by Bernado Castelli and Pietro Antonio Novelli, some of which are full-page, and other engraved initials; title of first volume lettered in black and red; very light rubbing to extremities; some stains on boards; shelving label '533' to upper portion of spine on volume I; previous owner's bookplate to paste-down endpaper of volume I; light discoloration to pages, and off-setting from plates and vignettes, also some offsetting from red lettering on title-page; else a very good copy of Tasso's epic.
Each canto has its own unique initial summary, and is then followed by the verse. Each volume contains annotations of the cantos by Scipio Gentili, as well as a list of places mentioned, and places changed, in the text, observed by Giulio Guastavini.
Tasso's epic, first published in 1581, is a mythified retelling of the First Crusade, led by protagonist Godfrey of Bouillon. It was completed in 1875, with the first complete editions published in Parma and Ferrara in 1581, however, pirated copies of 14 of the 20 cantos were circulated in Venice in 1580. The epic is composed of 1,917 stanzas in ottava rime, grouped into twenty cantos of varying length. The work belongs to the Italian Renaissance tradition of the Romantic epic poem.
The historic conflict between Christians and Muslims, which comprises a great part of Tasso's verse, also consults the medieval idea of a European conversion to Christianity. The three heroines' names, which appear throughout the tale, became names familiar across Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.