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Drama, Poetry and Music in Late-Renaissance Italy

The Life and Works of Leonora Bernardi

Translated by Anna Wainwright
The first-ever study of Leonora Bernardi’s life along with a modern edition of her recently discovered literary corpus.

Leonora Bernardi (1559–1616), a gentlewoman of Lucca, was a highly regarded poet, dramatist, and singer. She was active in the brilliant courts of Ferrara and Florence at a time when creative women enjoyed exceptional visibility in Italy. Like many such figures, she has since suffered historical neglect. Drama, Poetry and Music in Late-Renaissance Italy presents the first-ever study of Bernardi’s life along with a modern edition of her recently discovered literary corpus, which mostly exists in manuscripts. Her writings are presented in the original Italian with new English translations, scholarly notes, and critical essays. Based on new archival research, the substantial opening section reconstructs Bernardi’s unusually colorful life. The second major section presents her pastoral tragicomedy Clorilli, one of the earliest secular dramatic works by a woman. The third section presents Bernardi’s secular and religious verse, which engaged with new trends in lyric and poetry for music, and was set by various key composers across Italy. The volume thus firmly positions Leonora Bernardi as a distinctive voice and dynamic player in the extraordinarily rich social, cultural, and geo-political networks of late-Renaissance Italy.  

500 pages | 15 color plates | 6.125 x 9.1875

History: European History

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Table of Contents

List of figures and tables
List of contributors

1 Context, life, legacy

2 Clorilli and late-Renaissance theatre

3 Bernardi’s lyric verse and its musical settings


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