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Renaissance Comedy

Renaissance Comedy: The Italian Masters - Volume 2

Edited with Introductions by DONALD BEECHER
  • Book Info
    Renaissance Comedy
    Book Description:

    In this second volume ofRenaissance Comedy, Donald Beecher presents six more of the best-known plays of the period, each with its own introduction, reading notes, and annotations.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9738-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-2)
  3. Introduction: From Italy to England: The Sources, Conventions, and Influence of ‘Erudite’ Comedy
    (pp. 3-20)
    Donald Beecher

    The six plays in this second volume ofRenaissance Comedy: The Italian Mastersare arranged in chronological order and cover nearly the entire period of ‘erudite’ comedy – a theatrical phenomenon the bookends of which correspond very nearly to the opening and closing years of the sixteenth century in Italy. Bibbiena’s spiritedCalandriawas written for Urbino’s winter festival season of 1513, while Bruno’sCandlebearerwas published in Paris in 1582. Arguably, the genre began with the 1508 production of Ariosto’sThe Coffer(La cassaria) and winds to a close with the late plays of Giambattista Della Porta, such as...

  4. The Calandria
    (pp. 21-100)

    The soon-to-become Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi da Bibbiena was by no means a seasoned and professional playwright. TheCalandriahas so far proven to be his unique contribution to the genre, despite intimations of others. But there is little doubt that in this single assay he met the challenge of the occasion, which was to furnish for the carnival season of 1513, in the ducal city of Urbino, a lively and witty entertainment. There were high expectations, because Bibbiena was known to the court as one of the great merrymakers and pranksters of his age. His contribution was undoubtedly created at...

  5. The Mandragola
    (pp. 101-162)

    Niccolò Machiavelli, famed author ofThe Prince, theDiscorsi, andA History of Florence, during his retirement years in the country also tried his hand at writing comedies, the most successful of which is known today asThe Mandragola(derived from the mandrake plant, the roots of which were used for making drugs and potions). Dates for its composition have ranged from 1512 to a terminus of 1520, but there is reason to think that the carnival season of 1518 is the most likely occasion for its first production – this in light of a manuscript version of the play...

  6. The Moscheta
    (pp. 163-220)

    Angelo Beolco (called ‘Ruzante’ after the role he performed on stage)¹ was born in Padua around 1496. He was the illegitimate, and eldest, son of Giovan Francesco, a member of a family originally from Milan that had become rich through commerce and estate management. His mother was likely one of his grandmother Paola’s maids. It was his grandmother who cared for the boy when his father married Francesca Guidotti, who produced six more children between 1501 and 1521; nevertheless, Ruzante’s relations with the rest of the family remained close throughout his life.

    Very little about his education is known. Both...

  7. The Horned Owl
    (pp. 221-288)

    When Giulio, a young Florentine, goes to Pisa to attend university, his first two months in town are not easy. Not only is he without his trusted servant Giorgetto, but he has also fallen hopelessly in love with Oretta, a young married woman who lives next door to him. Although her old, jealous husband might somehow be circumvented, such is not the case with Rinuccio, Giulio’s housemate, who himself has fallen in love with Oretta and is now hard at work trying to bed her. To make matters worse, Rinuccio has innocently confided his love and his intentions to the...

  8. Frate Alberigo
    (pp. 289-322)

    Antonfrancesco Grazzini was born in the Via delle Caldaie in the Santo Spirito quarter of Florence on 22 March 1503. His father, Grazzino d’Antonio, was a notary. There is very scanty information about Grazzini’s education and professional occupation – some critics argue that he was trained as a pharmacist. According to Ciasca,¹ the shop with which he was associated existed and was known by the name ‘Moro’ until the end of the nineteenth-century.² Like another notary, his contemporary Giovanni Maria Cecchi, both the father’s practice and his own would have given him the chance to observe closely the behaviour and...

  9. The Candlebearer
    (pp. 323-465)

    Giordano Bruno’sIl candelaioorThe Candlebearermay be thought of as the culminating contribution to the tradition of the regular or ‘erudite’ drama, even though, chronologically, it was not the last written. From the inception of the genre there had been a mannerist impulsion to stylize characters, compound plots, interlace sources, and extend references to include current affairs, particularly those meriting ridicule. Clearly, however, this is a balancing act; for stylizing, compounding, and referencing entail incrementally demanding levels of computational thinking on the part of readers, no matter how carefully they are coached in seeking out the philosophical innuendoes...