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Torquato Tasso was born in Sorrento, Italy on 11th March 1544.
He was sent to study law at Padua. However the young Tasso placed all his attention in philosophy and poetry. By 1562 he had written his twelve-canto epic poem; ‘Rinaldo’.
Tasso had begun work on his epic ‘Jerusalem Delivered’ in the mid-1560s under its original title ‘Il Goffredo’. It was completed in April, 1575. A pirated edition of 14 cantos derived from the poem appeared in Venice in 1580. The first complete editions of ‘Gerusalemme Liberata’ were not published until 1581 in Parma and Ferrara.
In his epic poem he depicts a highly imaginative and febrile account of the fighting between the invading Christians and the Muslims during the siege of Jerusalem at the end of the of the First Crusade.
During 1575 Tasso began to develop mental issues. The development of these caused his patrons to step back from him. In March 1579 he was sent to the madhouse of St. Anna where he was to remain until July 1586. Whilst this might seem at first to be a terrible place to be incarcerated Tasso was well treated. He received spacious apartments, friends could be received at will and he corresponded freely with whomever he chose.
Such was his glorius reputation that he was due to be crowned on the Capitoline Hill as the king of poets by the Pope.
Sadly a few days before this was to happen Torquato Tasso died in Sant'Onofrio on 25th April 1595. He was fifty-one.
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