Convent Theatre in Early Modern Italy: Spiritual Fun and Learning for Women (Cambridge Studies in Italian History and Culture)

Convent Theatre in Early Modern Italy: Spiritual Fun and Learning for Women (Cambridge Studies in Italian History and Culture)

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Elissa B. Weaver
Cambridge University Press, 4/4/2002
EAN 9780521550826, ISBN10: 0521550823

Hardcover, 322 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.2 cm
Language: English

This book is a study of convent theatre in Italy, an all-female tradition. Widespread in the early modern period, but virtually forgotten today, this activity produced a number of talented dramatists and works worthy of remembrance. Convent authors, actresses and audiences, especially in Tuscan houses, the plays written and produced, and what these reveal about the lives of convent women, are the focus of this book. Beginning with the earliest known performances of miracle and mystery plays (sacre rappresentazioni) in the late fifteenth century, the book follows the development in the convents at the turn of the sixteenth century of spiritual comedy and of a variety of dramatic forms in the seventeenth century. Convent theatre both reflected the high level of literacy among convent women and contributed to it, and it attested to the continuing close contact between the secular world and the convents - even in the Post Tridentine period.

List of illustrations
List of abbreviations
Notes on texts and translations
1. Renaissance culture in Italian convents, 1450–1650
2. The convent theatre tradition
3. Plays and playwrights
the earliest examples
4. Spiritual comedies in the convents
5. From manuscript to print, from the convent to the world
6. Beyond Tuscany

'Weaver is indeed to be congratulated on her meticulous research. Convent Theatre in Early Modern Italy emerges as a significant socio-historical document.' Italian Studies

‘This is a fascinating book that will be useful for students and researchers of Italian literature and theatre and for feminist theatre historians alike.’ New Theatre Quarterly

‘… the importance of the volume as a contribution both to women’s religious history and, more generally, to the history of women’s writing.’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History

'Weaver's book restores to an unself-consciously masculinist literary history both a vivid sense of theatrical practice as intrinsic to the community life of monastic women, and a sharply focused understanding of how monastic women playwrights in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries represented their own and laywomen's experiences of a gendered world.' Journal of Early Music History