Pollastra and the Origins of Twelfth Night addresses two closely linked and increasingly studied issues: the nature of the relation of Shakespeare's plays to Italian culture, and the technology of modern theater invented in Renaissance Italy. The discovery of forgotten works by Giovanni Lappoli, known as Pollastra, led to publication in Italy in 1993 in a limited edition of the Italian texts with supplemental scholarship by the authors, entitled Romance and Aretine Humanism in Sienese Comedy. One of those texts, the comedy Parthenio, has escaped the attention of theater bibliographers, because it was quickly sold out in its time and only a handful of copies are known to exist today. Yet it played an important part in the birth of Italian Renaissance drama and of modern comedy in general, in that it was the immediate predecessor and source of Gl'Ingannati, arguably the most famous comedy of the Italian Renaissance and certainly the most imitated, translated, adapted all over Europe. The best known of its progeny is Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Much has been written in Italy and England about Gl'Ingannati and Shakespeare's debt to it, but nothing at all about Parthenio. This volume provides the first English translation (with the original Italian on facing pages); and presents for an international audience the theatrical scholarship from the 1993 book Romance and Aretine Humanism in Sienese Comedy, augmented with new findings.
Contents: Foreword; The Sienese origins; Romantic comedy: lineage, structures, contaminatio; Italian text and English translation of Parthenio; Textual references; Bibliography; Index.