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date: 22 June 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter describes the cultural translation of Shakespearean tragedy in Italy as a long and difficult process that took place alongside the equally protracted establishment of the country as a unified state in the nineteenth century. Shakespeare came to Italy initially mediated by translations and critical interpretations made in France and Germany; and to begin with literary debates about his work took precedence over theatrical performances. Reworking Shakespeare for Italian culture meant retranslating Italian plots and materials, as a number of the plays have Italian settings. It also meant dealing with tragedy as a genre (tragedy) that, since Dante’s DivineComedy, had been at best secondary. As well as reviewing the plays’ own performance history, various kinds of adaptation (including opera, music and painting) and the leading role played by actors in promulgating Shakespeare (such as Tommaso Salvini, Eleonora Duse, and Carmelo Bene) are analysed.

Keywords: tragic, adaptations, Italy, actors, opera, avant-garde, sources

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