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Theatre Survey. v.30 . May I November.1989, P. 45~57


Anya Peterson Royce






The Museo Correr Dodex 1040 is a collection of fifty-one three act scenari for the commedia dell' arte. As such it is an important source for anyone concerned with the history and development of that form of popular entertainment.

It assumes greater significance than simply bing another collection of texts because two of most crucial features of the Venetian style commedia dell'arte appear fully formed in these scenari that is namely the devices of maschera and lazzi

The recurrence of masque name and the consistency of character associated with them allows us to identify the Codex 1040 as the repertoire of an established company rather than being a random collection of texts.

On the basis of maschere, plot and overall style, we can identify the collection as bing northern Italian in origin. More specifically, the Codex 1040 represents the repertoire of the Duke of Modena's between 1688 and 1704 (Royce nd).

Its importance has generally been overlooked because since its associated with an established company (Rossi 1896, Beltrame 1926,1931, Pandolfi 1959)

Its misdating to the early seventeenth century and characterization as a ragtag collection performed at Teatro San Cassiano has led to its dismissal as a rather un interesting example of Golden Age commedia. Its paled. in fact as far as scholar were concerned, in comparison Age Flaminio Scala collection identfied at a very early point as the repertoire of the Flamino one of the great touring companies of the late sixteenth century. When seen in florescence of that same Golden Age style.

Crucial to determining a time and for a collection such as the Codex 1040 is an examination of the coles and the players associated with them.

The first allows us to understand the structure and the style of the plays and the latter allows us to connect the play with company over a specific period of time

I will focus in this essay on masque the serva or maid servant because in this collection it is a pivotal role Indeed in genera the role of the serva in the commedia dell' arte is one of the mainstays of player companies both large and small.

Typically she and her partner the zanni provide counsel and counterpoint to their master and her partner the zanni, provide counsel an counterpoint to their masters and mistresses, the high lovers In fact the oldest term for the servais zagna (Miklashevski 1981 [orig. 1914-17]:54) indicating the close link between the two servants.

Within this general context we find servas who like their male counterpart, move the action along sow confusion initiate night scenes participate in the acrobatics of the lazzi and trionfi and are the protagonists in some cases. More ofen the sesva takes a less active, role helping her misterss her desires by carrying letter and messages and pronouncing homilies on love.

The character of the serva also varies from repertory to repertory and country to country. When we look at the illustration in the Recueil Fossard or at freschi in the Chateau de Trauanitz in Bavaria we see a serva in varying stages of undress and in rather explicit love scenes with both zanni and Magnifico.

Although female roles were early ofen played by men, most of these illustration leave little doubt of the female sex of the player

Periodically, writer decried the loose natur of the serva. Perrucci, for example in his 1699 treatise on the commedia dell' arte, takes to task those comediennes who saw the as an opportunity to show themselves unclothed in public (1699;297-298)

Luigi Riccoboni, disapproving in general of the degenerate state of the commedia after the mid- seventeenth century, harbored particularly condemnatory sentiments about the soubrettes and their role. His own reforms were meant to add a higher moral tone to the plays and playes as one can see looking at the corpus that comprised the repertory of his company in Paris.

Violetta in these works is a demure sensible creature who confines herself to giving good advice to mistress, Flaminia.

The serva of the Codex 1040, one of the central characters in these scenari was portrayed by Gabriella Gardellini under the name Argentina The is a name that occurs rarely in the catalogue of servas throughout the history of the commedia dell' arte. and it is important to distinguish Gardellini 's character from the three other bearers of the name

The earliest appearance of Argentina occure in a scenario discovered by A.

Paglcci-Brozzi entitled " Le bizzarie Aregentina cavaliere e gentil donna lppolito e Boffetto creduti Turchi con Zaccagnina amante disperato" [ The antastical invention of Argentina gentlewoman, lppolito and Buffetto believed to be Turks, with Zaccgino, desperate lover] (Hodena Archivio di Stato, Spettacoli pubblicib busta 4a)

The play was presented in 1643 and the Argentina was played by Isabella Franchini the wife of Carlo Canyu " Buffeto " In all other instances. Franchini played the serva under the name of Colombina. Aside from the one-time occurrence , we know that Franchini is not the Argentina of the cidex 1040 from the role described in this 1643 scenario.

In the latter Argentina is revealed to be the daughter of the Dottore elevating her to one of the high characters. As such she is allowed to marry one of the high males; moreover, she wins him away from one of the other high female.

The codex 1040 Argentina is always a serva and with one exception(see below), is always paired with one of the zanni.

In addition to Gardellini and the one performance of Franchini, two other actresses played under the name Argentina. Mile Zanerini - Bianchi who made her debut with the Comediens du Role in 1766 played as Argentine throughout her career. Also in the last half of the eighteenth century, Giustina Campioni frequently took the name of Argentina(cf " La Cameriera brillante ") in the plays Goldoni composed for the San Luca theatre in Venice. The styles of these two servas are not at all comparable to the Argentina of the 1040

While we have little material from the historical record with which to construct a life and personality for Gardelliniwe cal say a great deal about her role in the company based on the characterization in the Correr scenari. To being with, Argentina is second only to Magifico in the number of scenari in which she appears- 49 ou' of 51. In the course of these 49 scenari, she establishes a strong character and place in the structure. In the most general terms. Argentina paired with one of zanni mirrors the passion and behavior of the high lovers.

There is one major difference in the conduct of the two love affairs; the low couple is

much more free to manage their courtship than are their masters and mistresses.

Where the path of the affair is not smooth it is almost always due to the individuals themselves rather than to external agent. One notable exception is scenario 41 " Inirnicizie dei vecchi "[ Enmity of the elders ] in which Argentina and Zanni are kept apart by the enmity of their masters and families.

The effect is such that the love affairs are conducted simultaneously on two levels.

The end of the play sees both couples(sometimes more) happily married after a second act full of confused identities and contrary motives of the older high males.

This mirroring function is rather more passive although still important for the play's symmetry. Argentina also plays an active role in many of the same ways as the zanni, her male counterpart

She can advance the action she can derail the play from its central and cause confusion she can determine what will happen. In all of these capacities she like zanni makes frequent use of lazzi (lazzi are indicated for her indicated for her in 25 of the 49 plays) In a few scenari Argentina and her male partner are active but not in the main plot.


Argentina and her male partner are active but not in the main plot. In " L'Amico infido" [Unfaithful friend ] (#2) for example she and Scapino are involved in the theft of some goods which the other couples but otherwise they are not connected to the main action In her role of advancing the action Argentina serves as a go-between oetween the two lovers one of whom is usually her mistress. The mediation taxes the form of carrying messages and arranging rendezvous.

Sometimes as in "Zanni incredibile con quattro simili " [ The incredible Zanni with four initators] (#21) she also tells her mistress of the plotting of the father or guardian and helps the young woman to circumvent the latter's wishes. Her intervention are not always appreciated In " The capitani " [Three Captains] (#44), for example Argentina agrees to tell Magnifico that her mistress Flaminia is in love with Orazio. For this she is beaten by Flaminia

In many of the same ways. Argentina bring confusing into the action Ttis is structurally important in varying the pace keeping the audience interest and it is a primary function of the zanni in most scenari

It is unusual in this period to find the servetta playing the active trickster role so frequently Argentina often conducts her mischief-making disguised. In " La Soverchia bonta di Virginio " [The excessive goodness of Virginio ](#14)she dresses in her misterss's clothes and meets the amorous Capitano while the misterss goes off with her lover, in "Mascarata nova " [New Masquerade](#24), she makes fun of Magnifico in the disguise scene while pretending to help him win Silvia; servetta and mistress again dress in each other's clothes in " Sdegni amorosi "(#42) in order to advance the cause of lover in " Trapolaria"(#47) Argentina is disguised as the slave Turchetta as part of Zanni's plot to make money by selling the slave to more than one buyer.

Night scenes the supreme device for creating confusion ace sometimes initiated by Argentina and she participates actively in those initiated by others In " Il find amico" [ The Faithful Find ](#22), Argentina engineers the night scene by turning off the lights as her laver Fichetto enters her house; in " Mala lingua " [ Evil Tongue] (#19), she plays a trick on the Capitano by taking the place of Rosalba during the night scene; again in " L'Imbroglitf intrighi" [Confusing Intrigues ](#35), Argentina initiates the night scene by arranging to run away with her lover Mescolino; the night scene in " Pensieri vani " [Vain Thoughts] (#36) has Argentina the victim confusing Coviello for Zanni and handing him her bundle from the window.

Letter carrying is another of Argentina's functions which can add to the general confusion and sometimes itself a source of mischief-making In two scenari.


Argentina is involved in carrying letters from misterss to lover when she and zanni interrupt the action and highlight importance of the letter by engaging in the lazzi of the letter In one of these " Ausa " (#20), Argentina drops the letter during the lazzi. Afterward she find a letter on the ground and believes it is the ine she lost In fact it is a false letter written by zanni.

Many scenari are characterized by Argentina functionig in a general mischief -making role " I dui scolari " [ Two Scholars ] (25#) in particular highlights Argentina in this role and also demonstrates the punishments for such behavior Argentina convinces her mistress to put the lovers to the test by being cold to them when they next appear Adriana agrees but afterward is filled with remorse and angrily drives Argentina from the house The poor Argentina is then tricked by zanni who pretends to love her but subsequently drives her away.

In Act3 Argentina dressed as a male slave gives Zanni a letter and a jewel case for Fabrizio 's wife. The jewels are revealed to have been stolen from Adriana and Argentina is questioned by the authorities She confesses that she had been gives them by Stopino. The scenario is interest ng because it is the servants who are the protagonists and Argentina is the active servetta

In several scenari Argentina plays the part of the inconstant lover usually a less subtle version of what happens among the high characters. In " cavalier descreto " [The Discreet Gentleman ] (#6) she deceives zanni with Scapino; in " IIcastigo della disonesta moglie " [ Punishment of a dishonest wife ](#15) she and her mistress are both unfaithful to their spouses In the end the mistress stays with her husband while Argentina abandons Coviello to with zanni;. Argentina is married to Tartaglia is " Cintio infedele e Flaminia costante " [ Unfaithful Cintio and Faithful Flaminia ] (#33) but deceives him with zanni, complaining that Tartaglia is impotent; in "Amfitrioni di Plauto " [ Plautus' Amphitryon ] (#38) Argentina plays off Trataglia against zanni.

As important as the various active roles I have discussed above are equally important and most unusual are the instances where Argentina is in love with a high male and wins him or where she is in competition with high women for the same low male and wins. "Trapolaria" (#47) is an example of the former. Argentina is in love with Virginio, a high male; when she disguised as Turchetta is given by comparing the Correr "Trapolaria " with the " La Trapolaria " scenario in the collection made by Perruci(1699). In the latter version Isabella a courtesan takes the place of Turchetta in order to be close to the Capitano the object of her desires. The serva in the Neapolitan version is Pimpinella who plays a passive role in the whole scenario .An almost identical case characterized the " Le Trapole " (20, vol. 2) of the Neapolitan collection of scenari, Codec XI. AA.40, 41 in the Biblioteca nazionale di Napoli.


There are plays with nearly the identical title and plot in the Locatelli and Corsinaiana manuscripts as well. It is not so difficult to substitute a serva, Argentina, for a courtesan, Isabekka, as it is to do so with a high female.

In "Zanni finto morto"[Zanni Pretending Death](#45), Tartaglia is the object of desire for Argentiana as well as for Flaminia and Filice, the two high women. In fact, the love of the two high females leads their lovers in desperation to plot the death of Tartaglia. He is rescued by the three women and hidden by Argentina in her house. Ultimately, it is Argentina who marries Tartaglia.

There are also scenari in which Argentina aspires in vain to someone above her station. She loves Lutio in "Zanni vindicativo"[Zanni Vindicated](#18) but marries zanni while Lutio marries Flavia. Argentina enlists the aid of zanni in "Onganni Flaminia"[Deceptions of Flaminia](#40) in order to win Magnifico. She is deceived by zanni who substitutes Coviello for Magnifico.

The last two examples are excellent demonstrations fo the inflexibility of Venetian social structure with regard to morganatic liaisons. High females may not take low status males as permanent mates. Low status females may not marry above their social satation. The Neapolitan repertories are much more cavalier in this regard.

What of the two scenari in which Artentina does not appear? "Voluvilita di Flaminia"[Fickleness of Flaminia](#9) has no serva at all. There are two low masked males, Zanni and Scapino who play active roles. The other scenario, "Due simili con le lettere mutate"[Two Similar Ones with Changed Letters](#29), has a serva named Fioretta who plays a very minor role. It is the only time this name appears in the Correr scenari and I have been able to find no actress associated with the Duke of Modena's company who played under this name. The most famous Fioretta was vittoria Piisimi who also played a high female under the name of Vittoria. She, however, was active at the befinning of the 17th centery in the companies Gelosi, Confidenti, and Uniti. Our fioretta could have been a visiting actress but this is highly improbavle. She could also have been played by Gardellini under this name rather than under Artentina.

Argentina establishes for herself a consistent and identifiavle persona in the 40 scenari in which she figures. Six other characters, each of whom appears 21 times or more, also show this consistency;Magnifico(50), Coviello(40), Zanni(34), Orazio(28), Tartaglia(21), and Flaminia(26). These are personae developed by the players which are consistent across plays and across roles and are usefully encompassed by the term maschera. The concept is an important one in discussing the structural development of the commedia dell'arte(Royee 1986). Maschere'appear fully formed in the Codex 1040 plays.

The 1040 collection is of interest as well for the style of commedia that it representative of an earlier style of commedia that was cha..cterized by a lot of fast-paced action, frequent use of acrobatics, stories that often bordered on the risque, and plots and characters clearly north Italian in nature. The high characters more often than not behave on the basis of expediency and personal desire rather than from some elevated sense of morality. Friendship between the several male lovers is often betrayed in the context of rivalry over the same woman. The low characters are no better than they should be thus fulfulling higher society's expectations of them. This style of commedia found an enthusiastic audience especially in the Veneto where the subtleties of the in-jokes were appreciated.

What immediately preceded the repertory based on the 1040 was a period in which Spanish plots and comedies were translated into Italian with a few changes here and there out of respect for their new context. A number of these were variants of the Don Juan story. So, for example, an earlier repertory of the Duke of Modena's company included "Donna Anna,""Convitato"(The Guest). "Donna Isavella" Other Spanish plays appeared as well: "Don Gaston." "Siviglia," "Cit de L'Espagne," "Vita e sogno." Plays from other European sourcess also made their Italian appearance-"Regina Inghilterra," "Duchessa de sasonia," "L'Alvarado" And. continuing a well-established tradition, there were plays of Latin and Greek authors: "La Zenobia," "Canuto," "Lucretia," "Nerone." Many of the traslations were produced by Marco Napolione, a player with the Duke of Modena's company in 1650.

At least one historian of the theatre, Luigi Riccoboni, describes the Spanish inflience as an extremely happy one: "Les Sanson," "Le Festin de Pierre,'et de autres semblables, etoient les plus beaux ornemens du Theatre Utalien"[The Spanish tragi-comedies, intranslations, such as 'Le Vie est un Songe,' 'Le Sanson," "Le Festin de Pierre,' and others, are most beautiful ornaments of the Italian Theatre](1731:47[vol.1]). We know that the Spanish influences was active in the Duke of Modena's company as late as 1681 when we find, in a letter from the Duke to Antonio Alberto Conti (associated with the teatro degli Obizzi), a description of the repertory of the two high female lovers, "Diana" and "Eulalia" With few exceptions, the plays are Spanish(ef. Brunelli 1921:109).

At the end of the 1680s, several things happened to the Duke of Modena's company and its repertory. In 1688 the company was completely reformed. Changes in the players occurred every year until finally the company lost its liberal subvention from the Duke. It is not clear that the frequent change of players or the quality of the repertory had anything to do with the withdrawal of subsidy. What is clear is that Rinaido d'Este, who had give up the Cardinal's robes in 1694 to continue the ducal succession, felt that theatrical entertainments were a waste of money and he therefore declined to support the troupe. Another interruption of the theatrical life of the dukedom occurred at the same time. The war between France and Spain brought foreign troops to the area around Modena and not even Rinaldo could bring any tranquility to his people(Brunelli 1961:58).

A favorite of Rinaldo and a crucial figure in our discussion of the changes in the style of commmedia was Luigi Riccoboni. They were two of a kind-sober types given to moralistic commentary and disapproving of entertainment for the sake of entertainment. Riccoboni felt that comedy was in a terrible state of decadence after 1680. He comments in his history about the lack of good actors and he felt that the only decent company in that period was the one headed by Francesco and Agata Calderoni. We know that this company was quartered in Bergamo in the mid-1660s and that later they left Italy for the service of the Elector of Bavaria in Munich and Brussels, moving subsequently to the service of the Emperor Leopold. Riccoboni has nothing at all to say about his own companions in the Duke of Modena's company with the exception of a kind word about Galeazzo Savorini who played the Dottore between 1689 and 1691. We can assume, based on his silence and on the general condemnatory statements about commedia of this period, the he did not regard the Modena repertory represented by the codex 1040 as being morally uplifting or the sort of theatre appropriate for the education of youth.

Riccoboni was not at all shy about introducing reforms. His first change was to substitute written comedies for the primarily improvised ones. This worked fairly well in Modena, probably because he had the moral, of not financial, support of Rinaldo, it worked not at all in Venice where Riccoboni and his companion were not successful presenters of comedy. Riccoboni himself, in his Discorso della commedia all'improviso, commented on the lack of success of one comedy that company presented:


Scielsi fra le Comedie in verso del'Ariosto la Scolastica, come la meno libertina, e un qualche alterazione, cio levandoci un frate, e sostituendo altro decente personaggio in sua, vece, moderando lo scioglimento col sfugire uno stupro, e cambiandone in circo cento e cinquanta versi, la posi su la Scena nella Citt di Venezia dove mi trovavo; ma fu con tale sfortunato sucesso, che doppo una smoderato inquietutine de'miei spettatori fu necessario di finirne la rapresentation ai principio de I'atto quinto(Mamczarz 1973:8-9).


[I chose Ariosto's comedy in verse. "La scolastica" as the least libertine, and with some alterations, that is, removing a monk and substiting a decent character in his place, modifying the explanation with an avoidance of a violation, and changing about 150 verses, I put it on stage in Venice: but there was so little appreciation that, in view of the unrest of the audience it was necessary to finish the performance at the beginning of Act 5.]


Riccoboni's general distaste for Italian comedy is clearly revealed in a footnote to this section of his Discorso:


lo convengo con voi, Illustrissimo Signore[Muratori], sopra ci , che nel secondo tomo della perferra poesia Italiana dite intorno a'nostri Comici, Egli e verissimo, che per la maggior parte I Ccmici presenti sone spogliati d'ogni scienza e privi d'erudizione, credendosi molti di loro che basta per far Comedia il presentarsi con qualche gesto ridicolo e talora immodesto, faromischiando ancora a'loro discorsi, ordinariamente sciapiti e senze spirito, il solo condimento qualche oscenit sebbene per mia buona sorte ci non e mai arivato sotto me.(ibid.:9)


[I agree with you, most illustrious sir, above all in what you say about our comic players in the 2nd volume of Perfect Italian Poetry. It is very ture that, for themost part, today's players lacx science and erudition, most of them believing that it is enough to present oneself with some ridiculous, gesture and mixing immodesty with their spiritless discourse, a discourse enlivened only by the seasoning of obscenity Although it has been my good luck never to have had this happen under me.]


The Venetians preferred the fast pace of the order style with all the alazzi and improvised horseplay. Fortunately for Riccoboni, if not for the commedia dell`arte, he received an invitation from the Regent of France to organize a company of players. He chose them from among the best of the troupe of Antonio Farance, Prince of Parma, and opened May 18, 1716 at the Th tre du Palais-Royal for the Regent and the Duchesse de Berry.

If we consider Riccoboni only as an actor, the head of the King's trupe, and the writer of commedia texts, we would be left with only a partial view of his contributions. Riccoboni also wrote a number of didactic works on the theatre- history of the Italian theatre, multiple volumes on the new Italian theatre that included scenari, works on declamation and drama in general, observations on comedy and the genius of Moli re, and a book on the reformation of the theatre. He maintained a lively correspondence with Ludovico Muratori and with Thomas Simon Gueullette of Paris. Tere remains some diplomatic correspondence from the brief period when he was acting as ambassador to the French court.

With the exccption of a few short journeys to Italy, Riccoboni spent most of his adult life in France, from 1716 to his death. He and his second wife, Elena Balletti, became naturalized France citizens in 1723. He died in Paris in December 1753 at the age of seventy-eight. The death certificate describes himas "un ancien officel du roi"(in de Courville 1967).


A man of talent and conviction, of enormous energy and dedication, Riccoboni remains nonetheless a tragic figure. Given early the theatre, a life he never wanted and about which he had little good to say, he tried valiantly to make the best of it by making the theatre better. The time and the setting rendered reform difficult. His own unwillingness to compromise made reform impossible.

Ironically what little we know of Gabriella Gardellini, the woman who played Argentina in the company we know because of her association with Riccoboni.

Most sources, if they mention her at all, confine themselves to her service with the Duke of Modena's company, the fact that she was the first wife of Luigi Riccoboni, and that she died young and without children. Sparse testament; but she fares no better in the many writings of Riccoboni, who seams to have wanted to put that part of his life behind him.

Gardellini, the half sister of Francesco Materazzi "II Dottore," was already a devoted company member by the time the youg Riccoboni joined in 1692. He joined only at the insistence of his father, Antonio Riccoboni, the company's "Magnifico." His own preference was for the contemplation of religious life. Even though he was playing the role of Federigo, a second love, unwillingly, his talent was obvious to the company members. We know from his later writing that he felt a certain contempt for actors and the lives they led. Moreover, he comments at length about the decadent state of the comedies themselves. How much of this contempt he showed to his fellow players we have no way of knowing, but that he was unhappy was obvious.

In addition to his father, two senior players wanted desperately to keep this talented young man: Teresa Costantini-Corona-Sabolini "Diana" who gavehim the name under witch he became famous- "Lelio," and Luca Rechiari, Leandro, "who had identified him for the part of the part of the second high lover. Made he vous by Riccoboni's constant threats to leave the company, they decided to block his retreat to the monastic life by marrying him off. Were he to marry one of the actresses, it would be greater assurance that he would stay. Gardellini was young, unmarried, and dedicated to the troupe. Riccoboni was not unaware of the plotting, and a plaintive letter from him to the Duca Modena in 1696 outlines his plight. He begs the Duke to release him from his contract. He reiterates his passion for the religious life and his dislike of the commedia. His last lines are poignant; "ricorre al Innata bont del A.V.S. a gratiarlo che non si sforzato a far arte di tanto suo prejiuditio, e non dubita d`ottener ci , sapendo quanto l`A. Sua sia Cristiana, che non permettera che offenda Dio esercitandola, e non scorrapericolo di sposare la gia nominata Argentina che pure e in detta Compagnia, certo alhora di non lasciar mai pi tal mestiere, e piombare al Inferno." ["I appeal to the innate goodness of your Serenity and plead that I not be forced at so much prejudice to act, and I do not doubt that I will get this (favor), knowing how Christian your Serenity is. You would not permit God to be thus offended, and I will not run the danger of marrying the abovementioned Argentina who is in said Company which would certainly mean never leaving that trade and (therefore) falling into Hell."] (Archivio di Stato, cancelleria ducale, comici, busta unica, Modena)

The Duke, knoeing a good thing when he saw it, and being assured of Riccoboni's talent by his father and the rest of the company, was not about to let him escape. So, against the young Riccoboni's will, the marriage takes place, though we have no record of the date or the place. We can assume it would have been after the exchange of letters in 1696. In a letter dated 1698 which speaks of the illness of Antonio Riccoboni, the author describes Antonio's long service and mention that his son and daughter-in-law are now also in the Duke's service (Archivio di Stato, archivi per materie, medici e medicine, busta 16, Modena). So Luigi and Gabriella were already married in 1698. After the marriage, Riccoboni forbade Gardellini to play the serva; instead she became one of the second lovers, morally a more elevated character.

What was a marriage of convenience for the company was not so benign for the principals nor ultimately for the Modena "Sliver Age" style commedia. Gardellini, because of her new husband's moral and aesthetic scruples, was deprived of a role which she made into a focal point of the repertoire; Riccoboni embarked on a oath which he himself had described as "leading to the Inferno"; the reforms he set in motion, while not successful in bringing about the complete transformation he desired, led nonetheless to the gradual demise of the lively, psychologically interesting comedy of the 1040.

Much of this Silver Age will remain a mystery-too much has been lost or was never set down in the fire place. The story of the Codex 1040 and Argentina's place within it, inextricably linked as it and she are with Riccoboni the reluctant actor and untiring reformer, gives us a glimpse of an amazing chapter in the long life of the coomeia dell`arte. Talented, dedicated players, patron willing to foot the bill in style, lovingly crafted plays brimming with vitality-all came together to create a brief moment of genius that winked out as do all performances with the closing of the curtain and the dimming of the lights.



I A number of foundation and institutions funded the research upon which this article is based: The John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (198081). the Glady's Krieble Delmas Foundation(1981,1985), the American Philosophical Society(1986), and Research & Graduate Development of Indiana University(19851986). I thank them all for their support. In addition, I would like to thank the directors and staff of the following libraries: the Biblioth que de I`Arsenal (Paris), the Museo Correr library, Archivio Marciana, and the Archivio di Stato (Parma). A version of the article was presented to the seminar in social anthropology of the Denartment of Anthropology, University of California , Berkeley in November, 1985. I am graceful to the students and faculty who attended the seminar for their comments. In particular, my gratitude goes to Elizabeth Colson. At Indiana University, Helen Nader, M.Jeanne Peterson, samuel Rosenberg, and Helga winold provided thoughtful comments. Much credit must also be give to my research assistant Donatella Schmidt who spent many hours reading though and making notes on the Codex 1040 material. Ronald R.Royce shared the many hours in the archives and, as always, helped me to see the forest for the trees.





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de Courville, Xavier

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1981 La commedia dell'arte(org. 1914-17). Venezai: Marsilio Editori


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1731 Histoire du th tre italien. 2 vols. Paris: chez Andr Cailleau


Rossi, Vittorio

1896 Una commedia de Giambattista della Porta ed un nuovo scenario. In Rendiconti reale istituto lombardo di scienze e lettere, serie II, v.XXIX.




Royce, Anya Peterson

1984 Movement and Meaning: Creativity and Interpretation in Ballet and mine, Blooming on: Indiana University Press.

1986 The Venetian commedia: Actors and masques in the in the development of the commedia dell'arte. Theatre Survey 27:69-87.

nd Silver Age of the Commedia dell'arte. ms. in preparation.


Manuscript sourees:

Archivio Di Stato, Cancelleria ducale, comici, busta unica(Modena).

Archivio Di Stato, archivi per materie, medici e medicine, busta 16(Modena)

Archivio Di Stato, spettacoli pubblici, componimenti senza nome nome d'autore, busta 4a(Modena)

Biblioteca estense, archivio muratoriano, filza 76, fasc. 38, letter 24: autorafoteca Campori, Gardellini, CAmilla (Modena)

Biblioteca nazionale, codex XI. AA. 40, 41 (Naples). 

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