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date: 10 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In April 1818, Percy Bysshe Shelley saw Salvatore Viganò’s coreodramma Otello at La Scala, Milan. Viganò, then at the height of his fame and powers, was admired by liberal thinkers for the progressive philosophy behind such works as I Titani and La Vestale. His artistry was evident in the beauty and grace of the dancing, the magnificence of the scenery which complemented it, the music which harmonized perfectly and the significance of the gesture. Although recognized as a ‘towering figure’ of dance history, Viganò’s art has not been sufficiently acknowledged by Romantic scholars. Similarly, the influence of the Italian performing arts upon Shelley’s own drama and poetry has been less studied than the impact of Italy’s landscape, poetry and fine arts. This chapter redresses the balance and suggests that Viganò’s coreodramme should be seen as forming part of the rich cultural context which so inspired Shelley in his last years.

Keywords: Shelley, Viganò, coreodramma, Italy, dance, Romanticism

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