Studies in the Commedia dell'Arte

Edited by David J. George and Christopher J. Gossip

Edited by David J. George and Christopher J. Gossip

Distributed for University of Wales Press

278 pages
Cloth $70.00 ISBN: 9780708312018 Published January 1993 For sale in North and South America, Australia, and New Zealand only
The original commedia dell'arte in late sixteenth-century Italy was performed by traveling players who improvised their plays around a basic plot or scenario. The best known commedia characters were the comic servants like Harlequin and Pierrot who have become almost household names. The commedia dell'arte players soon moved to other European countries, and the genre was transformed in the process, particularly in France. Over the centuries the commedia has been adapted to suit the needs of successive cultural movements, and has become a symbolic theme not only in drama, but also in other branches of literature, as well as in art and music. 
This book examines manifestations of the commedia dell'arte from Shakespeare to Dario Fo. The emphasis is on the variety and richness of the commedia, and includes discussion of music and poetry as well as drama, popular culture and the avant garde. Another feature of the book is its comprehensive and integrated coverage of the cross-cultural nature of the commedia: it draws together a collection of experts in major European Languages and literatures (including Latin American literature) and provides a new angle for discussion of a phenomenon until now covered mainly from the viewpoint of the drama historian.


1. Shakespeare and the actors of the commedia dell’arte

Andrew Grewar

2. Performing omnivores in Germany circa 1700

Tom Cheesman

3. Stage and audience in the commedia dell’arte and in Moliere’s early plays

John Trethewey

4. Sunset: from commedia dell’arte to comedie italienne

Bruce Griffiths

5. Lesage and d’Orneval’s theatre de la foire, the commedia dell’arte and power

George Evans

6. The servant as master: disguise, role-reversal and social comment in three plays of Marivaux

Derek F. Connon

7. Ernest Dowson’s ‘Full Pierrot’

Glyn Pursglove

8. Commedia dell’arte in Ruben Dario and Leopoldo Lugones

David George

9. Commedia dell’arte: Blok and Meyerhold, 1905-1917

W. Gareth Jones

10. From Symbolism to Modernism—Apollinaire’s Harlequin-Acrobat

Susan Harrow

11. The commedia dell’arte in early twentieth-century music: Schoenberg, Stravinsky, Busoni and Les Six

Gabriel Jacobs

12. Dario Fo and the commedia dell’arte

Christopher Cairns

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