Tasso and the Late Renaissance. Within the context of the late-16th-century ‘age of criticism’ Tasso’s epic poem celebrates the First Crusade, the rise of the new imperial vision of the West, and its discontents. This seminar focuses primarily on a close reading of Torquato Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered but will include other works. Students will bring to their reading contemporaneous debates regarding the nature of imitation, whether art and poetry were meant to teach or to please, artistic decorum and Church reform, the role of the imagination in visual and literary arts, genre, and political ideology. Requirements: familiarity Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso and earlier (Homeric, Virgilian, Medieval) epic traditions.