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Distributed for Iter Press

The Buffoons, A Ridiculous Comedy

A Bilingual Edition

Edited and Translated by Sara E. Díaz and Jessica Goethals
This translation makes The Buffoons, the first female-authored comedy printed in Italy, available to Anglophone readers for the first time. Published in 1641, this burlesque play depicts the mismatched sexual desires of a prince and princess. Although set in northern Africa, the comedy satirizes the Florentine court of Grand Duke Ferdinando II de’ Medici, one of Costa’s several elite patrons. By featuring the clownish antics of an unconventional cast of dwarfs, hunchbacks, and buffoons, it reflects the bizarre appetites and grotesque entertainments of the day. Ribald puns and commedia dell’arte-inspired slapstick abound, presenting the reader with a comic alternative to decorous women’s writing in early modern Italy.

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"Margherita Costa’s Li Buffoni, depreciated, misattributed or just simply forgotten through the centuries, has finally found some love. In the sensitive hands of Sara Díaz and Jessica Goethals, who cheerfully whip the complicated language of this commedia ridicolosa into shape while remaining attentive to the irreverent, rambunctious vocabulary of the text, we find another valuable voice to add to the ever-growing roster of early modern women writers from Italy. A poet, dramatist, historian, singer, librettist, 'widow and poor virtuosa with two daughters,' Costa produced fourteen works in which she managed to say something important through laughter about what court life was like for underlings of either sex, and what kind of Baroque poetics allow women to find their voice."

Valeria Finucci, Duke University

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii
Illustrations xv
Introduction 1
The Buffoons, A Ridiculous Comedy 73
Dedication 75
To the Readers 77
Cast of Characters 79
Argument 81
Canzonetta 83
Prologue 85
Act One 97
Act Two 201
Act Three 273
Canzonette 325
Notes to the Italian Edition 330
Notes to the English Translation 331
Bibliography 347
Index 363

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