The Portrayal of Muslims and Muslim-Christian Relations in Late Medieval and Renaissance Chivalric Literature

Maria Pavlova
DPhil Candidate, St. Hilda’s College, University of Oxford

Maria's paper analyzes representations of Islam, Islamic culture and Muslim-Christian relations in a selection of Italian chivalric poems and prose romances composed in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, with a special focus on Matteo Maria Boiardo’s Inamoramento de Orlando (1483, 1495) and Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso (1516, 1521, 1532).

She reads the two Orlandos and their (possible) chivalric sources in light of the complex perceptions of Turks in Ferrara and other Italian city-states. Drawing on unpublished archival material and other little-known historical documents, she demonstrates that Boiardo and Ariosto are partly inspired by contemporary courtly culture which was characterized by openness towards the religious and cultural Other and in particular towards the figure of the foreign prince.