Proposing an original and important re-conceptualization of Italian Renaissance drama, Kristin Phillips-Court here explores how the intertextuality of major works of Italian dramatic literature is not only poetic but also figurative. She argues that not only did the painterly gaze, so prevalent in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century devotional art, portraiture, and visual allegory, inform humanistic theories, practices and themes, it also led prominent Italian intellectuals to write visually evocative works of dramatic literature whose topical plots and structures provide only a fraction of their cultural significance. Through a combination of interpretive literary criticism, art historical analysis and cultural and intellectual historiography, Phillips-Court offers detailed readings of individual plays juxtaposed with specific developments and achievements in the realm of painting. Revealing more than historical connections between artists and poets such as Tasso and Giorgione, Mantegna and Trissino, Michelangelo and Caro, or Bruno and Caravaggio, the author locates the history of Renaissance art and drama securely within the history of ideas. She provides us with a story about the emergence and eventual disintegration of Italian Renaissance drama as a rigorously philosophical and empirical form. Considering rhetorical, philosophical, ethical, religious, political-ideological, and aesthetic dimensions of each of the plays she treats, Kristin Phillips-Court draws our attention to the intermedial conversation between the theater and painting in a culture famously dominated by art. Her integrated analysis of visual and dramatic works brings to light how the lines and verses of the text reveal an ongoing dialogue with visual art that was far richer and more intellectually engaged than we might reconstruct from stage diagrams and painted backdrops.
Prize: Winner of the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies, 2009, sponsored by the Modern Language Association A Yankee Book Peddler UK Core Title for 2011 'In her ambitious interdisciplinary study, The Perfect Genre, Kristin Phillips-Court explores the nexus between humanist literary practice and Renaissance visual culture in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries - the interlaced intermedial� development of an anthropocentric ideology in conjunction with the emergence of perspectival visual representation. In so doing she offers a strikingly new and compelling perspective on Italian Renaissance theater, one which foregrounds the work of wide cultural synthesis and difficult experimentation which produced and is reflected in the five plays she analyzes.' Albert Russell Ascoli, University of California, Berkeley, USA 'Kristin Phillips-Court has brought together five very different sixteenth-century Italian dramas, and she reveals an unexpected link among them. Placing them in dialogue with the visual arts, particularly Cinquecento painting, she shows that her five authors were attuned to visual art, but not simply at the level of imagery. At stake here are the shared premises and structures of the two arts. This is innovative interdisciplinary work, and it offers a new lens on this material.' Anne Dunlop, Tulane University, USA 'Considering rhetorical, philosophical, religious, political, and aesthetic dimensions of each play it treats, The Perfect Genre. Drama and Painting in Renaissance Italy draws our attention to the intermedial conversation between theater and painting in a culture famously dominated by art. Phillips-Court’s range of pictorial and literary reference is confident and inspired. Original, elegant, and often gripping in its arguments, this book exposes the "circle of knowledge" in which Renaissance theater and painting were reordering human experience, and shows how together these two
Contents: Preface; Introduction: written drama and visual art; Delighting the spirit: Belcari's Rappresentazione quando la Nostra Donna Vergine Maria fu annunziata dall'Angelo Gabriello (1469); Writing for the eyes: Trissino's Sofonisba (1514-15); The arts of monument: Caro's Comedia degli Straccioni (1543); The interpreter's tale: Tasso's Aminta (1573); Perspective's end: Bruno's Candelaio (1582); Bibliography; Index.