The Mantuan Performance of Guarini's Pastor fido and Representations of Courtly Identity

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In 1598 the Duke of Mantua had Battista Guarini's Pastor fido performed magnificently to celebrate the passage of the bride of Philip III of Spain. The choice of this pastoral tragicomedy for such a political occasion was remarkable, since critics had attacked Guarini's play for immorality, and attempts to stage it had been fraught with technical difficulties. This article explores how the content and performance style of the Pastor fido were adapted to reflect the courtly and ethical ideals of the audience, and the political aspirations of the patron, paving the way for the success of this new dramatic genre on the court stage.

Keywords: Battista Guarini's Pastor fido; Mantua; audience; courtly; ethical ideals; immorality; new dramatic genre; pastoral tragicomedy; patron; political

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Wolfson College, Cambridge

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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