Applying recent developments in new historicism and cultural materialism - along with the new perspectives opened up by the current debate on intertextuality and the construction of the theatrical text - the essays collected here reconsider the pervasive influence of Italian culture, literature, and traditions on early modern English drama. The volume focuses strongly on Shakespeare but also includes contributions on Marston, Middleton, Ford, Brome, Aretino, and other early modern dramatists. The pervasive influence of Italian culture, literature, and traditions on the European Renaissance, it is argued here, offers a valuable opportunity to study the intertextual dynamics that contributed to the construction of the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatrical canon. In the specific area of theatrical discourse, the drama of the early modern period is characterized by the systematic appropriation of a complex Italian iconology, exploited both as the origin of poetry and art and as the site of intrigue, vice, and political corruption. Focusing on the construction and the political implications of the dramatic text, this collection analyses early modern English drama within the context of three categories of cultural and ideological appropriation: the rewriting, remaking, and refashioning of the English theatrical tradition in its iconic, thematic, historical, and literary aspects.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: appropriating Italy: towards a new approach to Renaissance drama, Michele Marrapodi; Part I Rewriting Italian Prose and Drama: Pastoral jazz from the writ to the liberty, Louise George Clubb; Harlequin/harlotry in Henry IV, Part One, Frances K. Barasch; The mirror of all Christian courtiers: Castiglione's Cortegiano as a source for Henry V, Adam Max Cohen; Shakespeare's romantic Italy: novelistic, theatrical and cultural transactions in the Comedies, Michele Marrapodi; Virtuosity and mimesis in the Commedia dell'arte and Hamlet, Robert Henke; Gascoigne's Supposes: Englishing Italian 'error' and adversarial reading practices, Jill Phillips Ingram. Part II Remaking Italian Myths and Culture: 'At the cubiculo': Shakespeare's problems with Italian language and culture, Keir Elam; Between myth and fact: The Merchant of Venice as docu-drama, J.R. Mulryne; Harington, Troilus and Cressida, and the poets' war, Lisa Hopkins; Shakespeare's dreams, sprites, and the recognition game, Nina daVinci Nichols; Re-make/re-model: Marston's The Malcontent and Guarinian tragicomedy, Jason Lawrence. Part III Refashioning Ideology: Shakespeare and Venice, John Drakakis; 'As if a man were author of himself': the (re-)fashioning of the Oedipal hero from Plutarch's Martius to Shakespeare's Coriolanus, Claudia Corti; 'The strongest oaths are straw': ritual inversion in Shakespeare's The Tempest, Victoria Scala Wood; Learning to spy: The Tempest as Italianate disguised-duke play, Michael J. Redmond; The courtesan revisited: Thomas Middleton, Pietro Aretino, and sex-phobic criticism, Celia R. Daileader. Part IV Coda: The music of words. From madrigal to drama and beyond: Shakespeare foreshadowing an operatic technique, Giorgio Melchiori; Select bibliography; Index.
’Marrapodi has not only gathered a well-chosen selection of scholars but has provided a critically sophisticated introductory essay, summarizing previous work without drawing too much attention, as he might have done without any argument from me, to his own earlier contributions. Che sprezzatura! It is impossible to do justice to each essay in a short review. Suffice it to say that each vein produces gold.’ Renaissance Quarterly '...[I] recommend the volume to anyone interested in English Renaissance drama. Italian Culture in the Drama of Shakespeare and his Contemporary is also a welcome contribution to the growing field of transnational literary studies...' Shakespeare in Southern Africa 'This is a compendious, thought-provoking book, with arguments pushed to interesting and challenging limits.' Renaissance Studies '[This book] is a rich collection of tightly argued pieces... Ashgate is to be commended for publishing this... [it is] of a high standard and merit a wide readership.' Theatre Research International