Shakespeare and the Italian Renaissance investigates the works of Shakespeare and his fellow dramatists from within the context of the European Renaissance and, more specifically, from within the context of Italian cultural, dramatic, and literary traditions, with reference to the impact and influence of classical, coeval, and contemporary culture. In contrast to previous studies, the critical perspectives pursued in this volume’s tripartite organization take into account a wider European intertextual dimension and, above all, an ideological interpretation of the 'aesthetics' or 'politics' of intertextuality. Contributors perceive the presence of the Italian world in early modern England not as a traditional treasure trove of influence and imitation, but as a potential cultural force, consonant with complex processes of appropriation, transformation, and ideological opposition through a continuous dialectical interchange of compliance and subversion.
Table of Contents
Shakespearean subversions. Part 1 Appropriations of Poetry and Prose: Sprezzatura and embarrassment in The Merchant of Venice. A niggle of doubt: courtliness and chastity in Shakespeare and Castiglione. Dramatic appropriations of Italian courtliness. Disowning the bond: Coriolanus's forgetful humanism. Matteo Bandello's social authorship and Paulina as patroness in The Winter's Tale. Tracing a villain: typological intertextuality in the works of Painter, Webster, Cinthio, and Shakespeare. Part 2 Transformations of Topoi and Theatregrams: 'Wanton pictures': the baffling of Christopher Sly and the visual-verbal intercourse of early modern erotic arts. Shylock's Venice and the grammar of the modern city. Helen the Italianate theatrical wayfarer of All's Well That Ends Well. 'These times of woe': the contraction and dislocation of time in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. 'Dark is light'- from Italy to England: challenging tradition through colours. The Italian Commedia and the fashioning of the Shakespearean fool. Part 3 Oppositions of Ideologies and Cultures: The Aretinean intertext and the heterodoxy of The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare Italianate: sceptical crises in three kinds of play. The Jew and the justice of Venice. Hamlet, Ortensio Lando, or 'to be or not to be' paradoxically explained. Much ado about Italians in Renaissance London. Shakespeare, Italian music-drama, and contemporary performance: space, time, and the acoustic worlds of Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest.
Michele Marrapodi is Full Professor of English Language and Literature, and History of English Drama, in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Palermo, Italy.