The Epic Rhetoric of Tasso
Theory and Practice

Maggie Günsberg

Legenda (General Series)


1 May 1998  •  254pp

ISBN: 1-900755-05-X (paperback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85


Maggie Günsberg examines the poetica and poesia of Tasso in the context of the historical and cultural climate in which he lived. His epic theory is explored from the point of view of the three rhetorical faculties current in sixteenth-century poetics: inventio, dispositio and elocutio. His discussion of dispositio reveals a fascinating similarity with ideas on art expressed by the Russian Formalists in the 1920s, a coincidence that can be attributed to the lasting influence of Aristotelian writings on plot. In her analysis of the Gerusalemme liberata, Dr Günsberg draws on methodologies based on Freud, Lacan and the ideology of body language.

Maggie Günsberg is Lecturer in Italian at the University of Sussex. She is the author of Patriarchal Representations: Gender and Discourse in Pirandello's Theatre and Gender and the Italian Stage: From the Renaissance to the Present Day. She has written on epic poetry, Machiavelli and the cinema.


  • ‘Günsberg examines her material with great accuracy... deals with important aspects of Tasso's thought and poetical practice in a meticulous way, and can be useful both for readers attached to traditional rhetorical categories and for those with an interest in more recent critical developments.’ — Laura Benedetti, Italian Studies LIV, 1999, 177-8
  • ‘An attractive and interesting volume that provides a useful addition to the comparatively thin recent output of Tasso scholarship in this country.’ — Peter Brand, Modern Language Review 95.3, 2000, 857-8 (full text online)

Bibliography entry:

Günsberg, Maggie, The Epic Rhetoric of Tasso: Theory and Practice (Legenda, 1998)

First footnote reference: 35 Maggie Günsberg, The Epic Rhetoric of Tasso: Theory and Practice (Legenda, 1998), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Günsberg, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Günsberg, Maggie. 1998. The Epic Rhetoric of Tasso: Theory and Practice (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Günsberg 1998: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Günsberg 1998: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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