Classical Comedy 1508-1786
A Legacy from Italy and France

Richard Andrews

Italian Perspectives 55

Legenda

20 October 2022  •  308pp

ISBN: 978-1-839540-97-4 (hardback)  •  RRP £85, $115, €99

ISBN: 978-1-839540-98-1 (paperback, forthcoming)

ISBN: 978-1-839540-99-8 (JSTOR ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR

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We may recognize similarities between comedies by Molière, Marivaux, Goldoni and Beaumarchais; but it is not fully appreciated that these playwrights belong to a single continuous genre of comedy inspired by Plautus and Terence. In fact comedies which we can call Classical were first composed by Humanists such as Ludovico Ariosto; and their format was quickly taken up by improvising actors of what we now call commedia dell’arte. The erudite and artisan strains soon mingled, and created a series of audience expectations in Europe as to what comedies should contain. A dialogue developed over nearly three centuries between stage comedies in Italy and France, with the two traditions regularly consulting, and borrowing from, each other. Comic opera contributed to the mix, and the story reaches its climax and its end with Le nozze di Figaro by Da Ponte and Mozart.

Richard Andrews graduated in Italian and French from St John’s College, Oxford, where his personal tutor was the Molière specialist W.G. Moore. He is Emeritus Professor Of Italian at the University of Leeds.

Reviews:

  • ‘An encyclopedic contribution to the history of comedy, with a particular focus on the transformation of comedy in Paris, where the greatest playwrights preserved the genre’s positive vision and harnessed the vitality of the Italian “Arte” to create their more serious comedies of character... The “Analyses” section is particularly valuable. It is divided between technical questions and plot or character issues, and the technical discussions, informed by Andrews extraordinary knowledge and deep understanding of how comedy works, are outstanding.’ — 552-54, Annali d'Italianistica 2023, 41, Laurie Shepard

For a contents listing, see this volume at JSTOR.

Bibliography entry:

Andrews, Richard, Classical Comedy 1508-1786: A Legacy from Italy and France, Italian Perspectives, 55 (Legenda, 2022)

First footnote reference: 35 Richard Andrews, Classical Comedy 1508-1786: A Legacy from Italy and France, Italian Perspectives, 55 (Legenda, 2022), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Andrews, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Andrews, Richard. 2022. Classical Comedy 1508-1786: A Legacy from Italy and France, Italian Perspectives, 55 (Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Andrews 2022: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Andrews 2022: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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