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Becoming ChristianRace, Reformation, and Early Modern English Romance$
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Dennis Austin Britton

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823257140

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823257140.001.0001

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. Infidel Texts and Errant Sexuality

. Infidel Texts and Errant Sexuality

Translation, Reading, and Conversion in Harington’s Orlando Furioso

(p.91) 3. Infidel Texts and Errant Sexuality
Becoming Christian

Dennis Austin Britton

Fordham University Press

Chapter 3 considers John Harington’s distinctly Protestant translation of Ludovico Ariosto’s epic romance, Orlando Furioso. It suggests that Harington’s translation gained legitimacy by creating a reading experience that was similar to that of reading the Bible. Like early modern English Bibles, Harington’s translation uses paratextual materials—prefaces, marginal glosses, “Moralls” and “Allegories”—in order to guide readers’ interpretations and foster moral and spiritual transformation. Just as reading the Bible (alongside preaching) was deemed necessary for spiritual transformation, Harington’s translation and subsequent allegorizing of Ariosto’s poem seek to transform and indeed convert readers. Moreover, Harington’s translation is itself a convert: The formerly infidel text, a repugnant Romish romance, is transformed into an English Protestant poem. Harington thus likens the translation and allegorizing of Orlando Furioso to religious conversion.

Keywords:   John Harington, Ludovico Ariosto, Orlando Furioso, English Bibles, translation, paratextual materials, reading, spiritual transformation, religious conversion, romance

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