The Arlecchino and three English tinkers.
To position my argument theoretically: the Arlecchino of commedia synthesizes several traditions about fools in folklore, myth, medieval drama, and sixteenth-century styles of playing, both in theaters and on the piazze. These wide-ranging antecedents, many with near parallels in England and Europe, add to the probability that reports of an Arlecchino usually, unknowingly, refer to the archetypal impersonator who is liminal, transformational, and without a propria persona. He becomes a character only when in a particular role. Even then, to the extent that fooling and role-playing always pull against the grain of romantic plot and character, fools are appositional outsiders, perched at the edge of a drama and more accurately defined in theatrical rather than representational terms. The archetypal fool might present himself to the playwright's imagination as a sketch, a ghost, a template, so to speak, as insubstantial as fools by their own report, capricious nothings. Some such concept reputedly inspired Moliere, Gozzi, Goldoni, Marivaux, and Pirandello--and I propose, inferentially, may well have inspired Shakespeare and his contemporaries. (2)
Additionally, certain kinds of fools seem to be as thoroughly integrated into comic situations or theatrical strategies as borrowed literary texts are in a finished work. Just as a pastoral like Guarini's much translated Il Pastor Fido was reinvented in Italy and flourished in Shakespeare's late plays, so some roles travel with a particular form. Critics have noticed such resemblances as "intertextuality" referring to a hypothetical descent of strategies or situations from a common ancestral text. Analogously, Arlecchino would be a "text" composed of theatrical and historical legacies, traits, styles, actions, and emblematic signs called upon by performance of a role. One action repeated in scenari with an Arlecchino, for instance, strongly suggests that either he or one of his near ancestors appeared in the earliest known Dialogue in commedia style (1568), almost a scenario, performed as the entertainment at a wedding feast and illustrated on the walls of Trausnitz castle. (3) According to its description, the action involving a Zanni and a Magnifico grew out of a recognition scene dramatizing the antitheses of authority and antiauthority. The scene became standard in full scenari and crucial to romance plots that hinge on one or more mysterious identity. Shakespeare wrote both comic and tragic variations on the basic recognition scene in all but three of his plays.
Finally, the theme of transformation in Renaissance comedy, romance, and masque relied for its expression on spectacle--acting, singing, dancing, sets, and staging. Comment about these and their relation to commedia draws on records and illustrations once considered idiosyncratic rather than authoritative evidence: diaries, playbills, broadsides, reports of performances by private persons, and like materials. I admit to guesswork about the Arlecchino who appears in these sources since he is, literally, manifested only in disguises, inversions, doubles, and a whirlwind of illusory roles assumed in the interests of transformation. About this, a reminder: Commedia was theater without a playwright; thus, a theater of actors; thus essentially theater about theater. Its primary goal was not to satirize social or political life, except as all comedy contains elements of subversion, but to offer popular entertainment, especially through its dreamlike reversals of power in a time of social chaos. The anarchic spirit of scenari coupled with their farcical aggressiveness indicate that commedia's paramount goal was to generate wonder at its artistry and amusement at its entirely spurious content. (4) In other words, addressing the idea of transformation in relation to commedia means speaking to theater as a subject as well as a medium. About these topics, I must take much for granted as already known.
I. Cultural Legacies
Harlequin has every possible gesture. He doubles and trebles himself, changes and transforms himself. He is a poor starved servant and a great conjuror. He is all intelligence, elemental, a demon of movement. He puts two flowers in his mouth and, for a dozen seconds, is a beautiful woman. He is neither a clown nor a marionette. It is he who pulls the strings of all the other characters in the comedy. He sets the mechanism of this little world in motion. But at the same time he parodies and mocks it. For he is the only one who knows all the moves. (5)
The great critic quoted here, Jan Kott, envisioned "Harlequin" as a consummate impersonator, a shape shifter, an antiauthoritarian fool, and implicitly a noncharacter. Kott idealized a form of mid-sixteenth-century theater cast up by the historical and cultural circumstances of the Venetian state, including its flourishing literature and drama, system of patronage, authoritarian Church, yet also the secular attitudes of its humanist movement. Commedia flourished where a strong Christianity embraced its own fools, in Italy, France, and England, chiefly in medieval plays and performances of ritual, carnival, and liturgical holidays that established the fool as a cultural phenomenon. Beyond this, differing responses to popular theater in each country call for some reminders about the Arlecchino's rise in Italy and flowering in France, which governed much of Italy from the 1530s to the end of the century.
Unlike commedia's innamorati, vecchi, and zanni who spin off from learned comedy, the Arlecchino from his first mention in scenari (c. 1570) is not fixed by his mask to a specific literary or social role. He arrived in commedia from diffuse connections to fools, and when particularized in a role he became his own double: at once a fool defined by his function and a character by his personification. (6) He defied a fixed identity in the same sense that his actions undermined all forms of bourgeois authority. Studies of commedia may have minimized the Arlecchino's relation to other fools partly as they fall outside of a strict definition of actors performing all' improvviso in a stable, tightly coordinated troupe. Still, "performances of sacred dramas featured mimes, jugglers, and tumblers, especially in the role of devils, whose spontaneous buffoonery clearly seems to anticipate the capers of the Arlecchino and Zanni in commedia." (7) Given commedia's celebrated life in France, the Arlecchino probably assimilated some elements of the sortie, primitive, satiric playlets by university boys costumed as sots or fools (in one script "charlatans"), coinciding with the Feast of Fools and based on mockery of clerics and other men in power. The Feast is the day of inversions--a central feature of commedia's scenari--when beggars become kings. Disguises, concealment, sudden appearances, and revelations typify sortie, as do tricks and mistakes. Roles were fixed, the players usually masked, and nonsense language prevailed. In plays like La Mere de Ville and Le Jeu du Prince des Sotz, the chief fool and ruler of the sortie was Mere Sotte, a cleric or priest in woman's dress to whom the boys reported discovered wickedness. (8)
Such associations extend the Arlecchino's links backward to medieval extempore players and goliards in Italy and France, while they illuminate commedia's continuing development during the mid sixteenth century in carnival, rustic farces, and dialect theater with lured types. A group of street players calling themselves Zanini formed at Padua in 1545. Twenty years later, in 1568, the famous Gelosi troupe was in demand throughout the Venetian province. Suffice it to say that the Arlecchino "moves up" into commedia with a bag of tricks, turns, and impostures already familiar to his audiences from his earlier popular forms. The invaluable evidence provided by illustrations of performances shows his ordinary trade to be that of Tinker and Bellows mender (figs. 1 and 2), both reputed pickpockets but a common guise among fools throughout Europe and England. The occupation gives Arlecchino a point of reference, yet not a definition or fixed character. Scenari in Scala's collection, for example, rarely name the Arlecchino in the Argument; he simply materializes at a fortuitous moment either as a breathless messenger moving the basic love story along (as in 3, 4, 9, 15); or as a mountebank dentist (12); a doctor (17); a magician (21); a woman (32); a shepherd (75); a mythic deity (145); and so on. Perhaps his long beard in Fossard's prints of performances, the earliest known, hints at his role reversals with the powerful vecchi, always bearded. Fossard's illustrations also show the Arlecchino doubling the Pantalone when teaching him to sing to the lady; when playing a Quixote who wears a kettle as a helmet (321); when parodying himself as Tinker carrying not domestic oddments or glassware but Pantalone's many bastards (322). The latter role is illustrated in fig. 3, although the basic image of transporting fools (fig. 4) repeats in several contexts with varying interpretations, as we will see. Typically, Arlecchino plays the outsider who mocks his betters by outsmarting them, while the sheer number of his manifestations from early to late underscores his one constant quality as liminal. (9)
[FIGURES 1-4 OMITTED]
In spite of Fossard's documentation of an Arlecchino's specific roles, criticism of Renaissance drama still tends to identify him with zanni: varlets, servants, and downs who proliferate in formal drama as well as in reports of public entertainments, in diaries, in theory, in accounts of aristocratic and court performances, scenari, and illustrations, none of which distinguish consistently among servants, fools, and Arlecchini. Even a preliminary survey of the material shows that some Arlecchini played the role of zanni, but obviously not all zanni were Arlecchini. The resulting confusion has led critics to assume that at some point two zanni from Bergamo came into commedia, one a dolt, the other a wit. To complicate matters further, zanni also appeared with carnival maskers, acrobats, quacks, and charlatans in the piazze--relationships that are much disputed and surveyed meticulously by Kenneth and Laura Richards. (10) At the least, a generic zanni reflects the historical world of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy with its migratory laborers, workers (fachini), vagabonds, thousands of peasants dislocated by shifting borders, political wars, foreign rule, and economic ruin.
If, instead, performance is used as a rule of thumb for identifying the figure, the zanni who joined mountebanks and ciarlitani in their shows was probably a proleptic Arlecchino. Thomas Coryat's much quoted description of a "baudie" comedy he saw in the Piazza San Marco of Venice featuring a "Pantaloun, a Whore & a Zanie" supports a similar distinction). (11) This witty zanni, moreover, not only played with mountebanks, his role was played by mountebanks, according to pictures in the album amicorum of Hans Eitel Neupronner (dated 1619-25) as well as other records discussed by M. A. Katritzky. (12) Notes in an album belonging to Michael Mailinger, dated 1615-31, describe a zanni in a variant Arlecchino costume arguing with a mountebank, confirming other evidence that disputation was a central component of performances, complete with mime, gesture, and horseplay.
One of the best authenticated albums, that of the Swiss traveler Thomas Platter, minutely records the activities of an Italian company of four actors and two actresses led by "Zan Bragetta," who drew a crowd of up to one thousand people in a Venetian piazza. (13) They played on trestle tables in the tennis court, expensively rented for the purpose, and moved outdoors to the "Place au change" after a few days when crowds thinned out. Bragetta, who seems to have been a witty Arlecchino in all but name, performed verbal set pieces such as pseudo-scientific monologues and dialogues as well as comic disputations and mimes with his opposite the "Pantalon," who dressed as a learned doctor for both the magic and the mountebank parts of their show. Apparently, sales were lively--"Zani" was able to sell "several hundred boxes this way" before and after his plays and musical interludes. Platter says that Bragetta's troupe also played "very pretty pastorals"; that Bragetta wore a zanni costume, and, separately, that the mountebank was sometimes assisted by "Harlequin, Stentorella or Francatrippa" (that is, variant forms of Arlecchino).
Some mountebank troupes such as Bragetta's routinely included full-length pastoral romances in their repertoire and thus blurred the distinction between their activities and those of commedia troupes. The predominance of fast-talking trickery in the repertory may well point to links among the itinerant mountebank, the Arlecchino archetype, and the folktale trickster, especially as there is evidence of the trickster's separate ancestral tie to the Arlecchino through his divine father, Mercury. Here I note only that "theatergrams" may be inferred; that is, some crossovers of modular actions and iconographic images from fool-as-tinker to fool-as-professional actor like Bragetta must already have occurred well before 1598, the date of Platter's diary. (14) Finally, of paramount importance to records of an Arlecchino's typical actions, other pictures and references to wily mountebanks confirm that Bragetta's stock of wares would have included not only oils, drugs, and vile medicines of the sort to which Ben Jonson refers in Volpone but also printed fables, newsletters, ballad sheets, songs, and "Mery Tales" as well as the trinkets, laces, and trifles in every peddler's tray.
Interpreting this circumstantial evidence of commedia raises at least two further questions. First, the archetypal figure reborn among zanni retained his nature as impersonator fool; yet, as he became more popular, so he also became even more abstract, a supra-Arlecchino, inspiring imitators or avatars in Italy and France. In scenari and pictures during the heroic period of commedia, up to about 1625, he is nearly interchangeable with the Truffaldinos, Trivelinos, Guazettos, Pedrolinos, Pulcinellas, Coviellos, Bagatinos, Trapolinos, and especially Francatrippas from various locales sometimes said to be his kindred. (15) In Scala's collection of scenari for 1611, Arlecchino and Pedrolino sometimes appear in the same scenario, thereby distinguishing between witty and stupid zanni; Burattino and Cola, the Neapolitan, were still other manifestations of the Arlecchino mask. Several of these doubles originated in Naples, which had its own history of comedy and was ruled in the period by Spain. But his aspect as itinerant obviously disappeared once he was named and cast as zanni to a master. It would seem that an Arlecchino either slipped out of his role as servant to spawn local contemporaries or, as intimated previously, he transformed to fit any shape called for, including that of woman, magician, doctor, or often musician and singer. As a progenitor of fooling roles, he was almost too ubiquitous for documentation--a problem of another order. (16) Put concisely, the archetype generated both fools and characters. Of course, all zanni were clownish caricatures and rascals either expressing scatological impulses or appeasing gluttonous and erotic appetites in lazzi that were far more rude than scenari indicate. The multiplicity of Arlecchino forms, however, plainly increases the number of routes that episodes, arguments, lazzi, and theatergrams traveled throughout Europe and down time. As if to illustrate, the avatars just named might be the offspring that Arlecchino carries in the basket on his shoulder in the provocative Fossard illustration shown in fig. 3. An earlier version of the basic image, familiar through much of medieval Europe and England and already referred to (fig. 3), shows a fool carrying a basket of miniature fools probably to a festival or a market. This variant appears as an incidental drawing in the border of a medieval manuscript. It is entirely possible that the basic image is related iconographically to the practice on the Feast of Fools, mentioned above, of bringing fools and sinners to Mere Sortie. The salient point is that a specific Arlecchino in all the instances cited depends for his identity upon time and place, whereas an archetype by definition is a collective expression.
To return to Thomas Platter's diary, his report of Bragetta with his printed wares seems to confirm both Fossard's pictures of Tristano Martinelli as illustrating an itinerant Arlecchino distributing papers and verses as well as depicting the actual practice of traveling companies. Each form of evidence substantiates the other, enriching the amount and variety of material that scholars now consider reliable. Engravings and prints of commedia scenes, verses, and mementoes come from the famous shops in Paris near the Bourgogne Theater, built in 1548, and the Salle du Petit-Bourbon, where the Gelosi, the Confidenti, and other troupes, including English ones, performed. The prints were sold in England, Flanders, and Spain as publicity partially financed by the troupes; as programs to actual performances; and as souvenirs. Dionisio Minaggio's feather pictures (c. 1618, Milan) include portraits of twenty actors in specific roles and costumes. (17) Vito Pandolfi refers to several such sixteenth-century prints, suggesting that commedia figures were known in London, and Duchartre refers to Parisian engravings of Brighella and Trevellino with verses referring to their travels in France and Italy. The latter are especially interesting since they identify Brighella as the cunning thief from Bergamo and putative brother of Arlecchino, while Trevellino (whose name means "tatterdemalion" the Arlecchino's costume) wears the same soft hat with a rabbit-scut or feather and claims to be Arlecchino's father. In accounting for the substantial amount and dissemination of such printed matter, some critics suspect that scenari, a company's most valuable property, were pirated by printers and visiting actors in spite of deep rivalries among Italian cities. Piracy was not a uniquely English practice. That competition among troupes grew keen to cutthroat can be inferred from their scramble for patronage: by the 1580s princes bought and controlled the best-known companies not only to protect them from being disbanded by the Church but also to enjoy the most exclusive entertainments while increasing their own reputations for magnificence.
II. Arlecchino, "Herlequin" and the Trickster
The most ephemeral aspect of an Arlecchino archetype originated in neither Italy nor France but in northern Europe and England as the legendary "Herlequin" a fantastical elf in black mask with his own crossovers to medieval devils and fools. (18) The figures seem to have merged at the latest by 1571 when Arlecchino materialized in France. Roles suggesting that the archetypes overlap tend to include quack magic, or alchemy, or Faustian illusionism, or mythological spectacle--the same roles also reminiscent of Old Comedy's archetypal trickster. While most contemporary studies have abandoned the idea of a continuity between masked figures in ancient classical and early modern records, the resemblance of the names "Herlequin" and Arlecchino, their black masks, and their tricks with magic seem more than coincidental. Clear traces of "Herlequin's" mythological aspect appear in commedia's mock tragicomedies in which an Arlecchino dies and rises again. Also, apart from his appearances as Mercury (and Hercules, Mars, even Diana), the Arlecchino's shape-changing faculty was recognized long ago as a direct legacy of his divine father, Mercury, god of deceit, disguise, and trickery. A hypothetical line of descent from Old Comedy's trickster would move through the domesticated New Comedy of Plautus and Terence where the trickster reappears as crafty slave and master schemer, to the clever servant in Renaissance learned comedy, to his reincarnation as commedia's chief improvisor, the Arlecchino. (19) I suspect that ties like these to both human and divine tricksters bear on the Arlecchino's twin lives as both archetype and character--that is, both a transformational principle and its exponent.
The trickster legacy is dearest in commedia's veritable obsession with doubling, whether or not "caused" by pretended actions or mistaken identities. (20) Lea's list of scenari with a doubled Arlecchino runs to four pages in small print, most dating to the seventeenth century. Performances must have been vertiginous from the start since Arlecchino's transformations never follow motivated action; they result either from elastic gags that stretch at will or from transformation lazzi effecting rapid changes of personality and extravagant emotion. Similarly, doubled modules of action extend a basic joke or a doubled identity to any inordinate length, going well beyond that of twins in Plautus and Terence or the endlessly parodied Gli ingannati. This practice of doubling distinguishes commedia from all its antecedent theater forms and highlights the Arlecchino as chief agent for fantastical effects, a poor man's Prospero.
As playful entertainer, a composite Arlecchino may suffer from scholarly overdetermination, not the least of which is my own. Caprice, whimsy, playfulness, mercurial antics all indirectly contribute to a sense of his mask as abstract and performative, perhaps its chief legacy to scripted drama. What cannot be overemphasized is the quintessential expression of his mask in and by song. Commedia performances began with song, were punctuated by musical interludes, ended with song, relied on song to function as spoken language. From the earliest appearance of improvised comedy, music coexisted with mime to share the task of enacting a plot typically including laments, serenades, madrigals, song and dance numbers, popular ballads, musical satires, and impersonations. The fact reminds us, too, that only the innamorati spoke Tuscan Italian; the other masks spoke dialects that were foreign even to Italians so that music carried a large burden of meaning that would ordinarily fall to speech in scripted plays. Arlecchino spoke a spurious Bergamo dialect and a burlesque mixture of Italian, French, and macaronic Latin. There was no standard Italian, after all, until the twentieth century, and French became commedia's lingua franca outside of Italy. In any case, a player's native language was beside the point, as dialect masks clearly imply.
Consistent with the importance of song, recent theory describes the psychology of the mask as the impulse before language and masked action as neither mime nor language but something in between. (21) As early amateur troupes were essentially illiterate, scenari functioned as cue cards for the movements through which players expressed a basic plot while strictly coordinating their inventions--no mean feat. By Tessari's definition, an Arlecchino's acrobatics meant physically to enact the faculty of wit. Indeed, gymnastics in a combination of movement and language set the notable Arlecchino apart from other zanni. In all the extant scenari, about one thousand in number, language alone never advances an idea to a conclusion or a new dispensation, and even verbal characters like the dottore and Arlecchino neither grow nor develop. The great Arlecchini memorized a stock of fooling speeches, set pieces, flytings, debates, verbal modules, arguments, jokes, and the like, recorded in zibaldone, actor's jest books. I refer, for example, to the Faicts Plaisants and Tristano Martinelli, whose "Composition en Rhetorique" (1600/01) is a model of fooling nonsense in polyglot language addressing his monarch. This, however, is a written composition, not a performance. The relation of speech to mask can be inferred from Molinari's remarks about the famous player Francesco Andreini's Bravure as "an unequaled model of grotesque rhetoric in which an almost Faustian conception of the character is realized." The character in question is the Capitano, but the point applies to a variety of tirades, disputes, and witticisms usually by Arlecchino and sometimes other zanni (22)
Arlecchino's many legacies still fall short of describing his most literary, provocative, and nearly metaphysical identity as a king's Other. In Christian iconography, fool and king are said to be masks or reverse mirror images of each other, down to their respective scepter and bauble. The bauble supposedly symbolized the fool's own double in a rather literal and inauthentic way, though it probably did give rise to the Arlecchino's bat as well as to a series of other phallic furnishings for clowns. (Incidentally, Holbein's illustrations for The Praise of Folly include a startling variety of baubles, the first of which is a stylized bellows, later incorporated into the costume of player fools and dancers; figs. 1 and 5). Put more prosaically, every king has his fool, whether in social fact as a protected "natural" or in aristocratic fancy as a jester, while many a jester and jongleur traveled from court to court with or without their patrons. To enlist literary terms here, whether doubled as substance and shadow, master and servant, monarch and clown, or Magnifico and Zanni, the pair's relationship turns on imaginary configurations of power and always involves role reversals. The most eccentric of Queen Elizabeth's several fools, "an Italian called Monarko" or "Monarcho," expresses that appositional posture in his name, to which Shakespeare refers in Love's Labor's Lost. The Princess intercepts a letter intended for Jaquenetta, the "country wench," and asks Boyet to read it and describe the writer: "What plume of feathers is he that indited this letter?" Boyet tells her:
This Armado is a Spaniard that keeps here in court, A phantasime, a Monarcho, and one that makes sport To the Prince and his book-mates. (4.1.98-100) (23)
[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]
Any puffed up fellow may be called a Spaniard in England or in Italy, but Armado is plainly the type of braggart soldier: "Enter Braggart Armado and his boy" (3.1. s.d.). Boyet's lines specifically refer to a public debate in London between two Spanish ambassadors and a hanger-on at court, Monarko, who claimed to be monarch of the world, a typical subject for verbal fooling and a stock module. Monarko's real name in the account is said to be "Bergamasco, a fantastical melancholy creature and monomaniac," plainly a zanni in a feathered cap if not an anonymous Arlecchino. As Monarko or Bergamasco seems to have died sometime between 1575 and the early 1580s, either Shakespeare only heard of the person costumed "in sackcloth" or perhaps he even met a live Monarko during the lost years. (24) That he was a dancer may be inferred from pictures as well as from the dance for which Theseus calls at the end of Midsummer Night's Dream, a "Bergomask" (5.1.361). But Love's Labor's Lost draws directly on commedia for the pedantic dottcre Holofernes, while otherwise revealing that certain self-consciousness about comedic form in the show of the Nine Worthies, for which Armado promises to supply "an antic" (5.1.147).
Shakespeare's allusion to a specific fool merely adds a footnote to increasing evidence of his familiarity with commedia figures. It is well known that the celebrated Arlecchino, Drusiano Martinelli, wintered in London in 1577, though whether or not he performed there remains maddeningly incondusive. (25) Ambiguity about this is odd since voluminous accounts exist of and by his brother Tristano, who corresponded with princes, wrote pamphlets, quarreled with colleagues, and while on tour in France in 1584 named himself "Arlequin," the perfect anti-king. I note only that Martinelli's "Compositions de Rhetorique," in Duchartre, include a brief exchange with his king, Henry IV, on "niente" that resonates in the lines of Fool's lesson to Lear on "nothing" and "half of nothing" Medieval references to this specie of fool are legion--for example, as one rather cheerless proverb has it: "The fool is sovereign as nothing, and if it is nothing, then man was born dead." (26) But the basic pair turn up in the form of Pantaloon and Zanni (wearing Arlecchino's feathered hat) on the cover drawing of a satiric pamphlet printed in London for Thomas Gosson in 1595. In an argumentative stance, they gesture excitedly, enacting the game of authority and rebellious double. Or, equally plausibly, in view of the earliest Dialogue between Zanni and Magnifico mentioned above, they might be enacting part of the formulaic recognition scene, a positive version of the pair's endless dispute about who's who. Zanni first recognizes his master (a module); then disputes with him (another module); before they reach mutual recognition (a third module).
The scene's final segment or module probably should be seen as a "theatergram" that performs variable and heavy service in scripted Renaissance comedy on both sides of the Channel. Some version of a recognition scene, apart from its function in romances, becomes a standard bit of fooling business that Shakespeare, for one, calls on again and again. In the Dialogue's "plot," the wit mirrors his master, who in turn mirrors him, each getting to play both Fool and Prince. The prince or Magnifico, however, retrieves his identifying mask in the end, whereas this Zanni ends as a master, living out the superior role that is his by right of fool. Until then, he baffles his master with polyglot on how to impersonate a zanni, an action repeated in better developed scenari purportedly subverting the social order; then he delivers a lesson in courtship, repeated, for instance, in the same scenari where an Arlecchino coaches Pantalone in a serenade beneath the lady's window, a scene illustrated by Fossard. In brief, the Zanni's transformation to Magnifico occurs as a result of whirling him and the audience in a centrifuge of unmotivated illusions; it is the function of a trickster like the Arlecchino to undermine any representation of stable legal identity.
To summarize these remarks: the same antiauthoritarian nature of an Arlecchino transgressing against all limits---of social rank, propriety, gender, logic, informative language---expresses his protean nature as an impersonator and free spirit. Whereas all commedia figures engage in disguising, their roles remain fixed by their masks. The Arlecchino, to the contrary, in a true spirit of transformation, may become the role he plays. Perhaps his long beard in Fossard's drawings hints at such role reversals with the powerful vecchi, who are always bearded.
III. Three English Tinkers
In Italy, where regular performances of ritual, carnival, and liturgical holidays established the fool as part of ongoing social life, theater from 1545 was professional, built by the best architects, hired by nobility. In England, where holiday moods of fooling and carnival were instead incorporated into comedies, theater beginning with the one built by Burbage in 1576 was predominantly commercial and popular. By the 1590s, theater also was clearly self-conscious in a culture attuned to its own theatricality. The image of the court as the nation's supreme stage fascinated poets and dramatists who saw duplicity and role-playing as features of court life. "All the world's a stage" is neither a Greek, nor Roman, nor even an Italian Renaissance notion, but quite thoroughly an English summary of a highly literate and literary theater. Shakespeare imports the double plots of Italian learned comedy with no expectation of duplicating its continuity in Italy with the classical period. His awareness of theater practice, however, is reflected differently in the degree that actors and acting became nearly inexhaustible sources of metaphor and irony in his plays. Shakespeare the actor must have experimented with all the tensions between players and spectators, given the playwright's ubiquitous themes of poetry versus reality. In The Winter's Tale and differently in The Taming of the Shrew, his player fools excel at manipulating the distance "across the footlights," so to speak.
Christopher Sly, Vagrant
Tinkers, pedlers [sic] rogues and such kinds of people who owned no land and were not titled gentlemen or gentlewomen; all idle persons going about ... using ... unlawful Games and Playes were condemned as vagrants. (27)
The law that condemned parasites and amateurs posing as actors while categorizing tinkers with "unlawful" players spoke volumes about the growth of professional acting. "Tinker," meaning an unruly vagabond or drunkard, passed into the language as slang (the term "to swill like a tinker" remains current in England). Malvolio scolds Sir Toby and cohort: "Have you no wit, manners, nor honesty, but to gabble like tinkers at this time of night? ... Is there no respect of place, persons, nor time in you?" (Twelfth Night 2.3.86-87, 91-92). Proverbially illiterate and thieving, tinkers yet shared in an image of the sterling English commoner with a long tradition in comedy and romances featuring kings in beggars' clothes and comic inversions. (28) Theatrical tinkers drew on rich traditions quite apart from Italian stage practices. Far from a performer, however, the drunken tinker Christopher Sly of The Taming of the Shrew is barely conscious; he inherits none of the Arlecchino's cleverness and might well be the stupid twin hypothesized by early critics of commedia. Like Shakespeare's idealized rustics, Sly insists on his own true, wretched identity even when a change of clothing promises him the privileges of a gentleman (Induction.2.5-10). (29) Not music, nor feasting, nor a beautiful wife induce Sly to accept the role reversal ultimately foisted on him. In order to pull him into the game of doubling for Petruchio, servants finally persuade Sly that he has slept for fifteen years and only dreamed his mean life as a tinker. It is the reverse of a standard module in commedia, where many a dream explains a transformation and fulfills a wish for social advancement. One "songe" for instance, in the "Compositions de rhetorique de M. don Arlequin" (i.e., Tristiano Martinelli) says:
I dreamed that an important-looking scoundrel seized me and said, "you shall have a medal and chain." I answered while still asleep: "If I am not deceived, may it please God to show us the ripe fruit of these splendid hopes!" By my faith, in dreaming of my gain I speak Tuscan. (30)
Sly with equal bewilderment wonders at the magic of his transformation, sounding very like the Arlecchino who gazes in a magic mirror and finds his image to be that of a Magnifico:
Am I a lord, and have I such a lady? Or do I dream? Or have I dream'd till now? (Induction 2.68-69) (31)
Sly's unwitting impersonation of Petruchio hardly alludes to an Arlecchino. Yet his function in the plot, to facilitate love and marriage, echoes commedia's eternal subject of winning the Innamorata with or through the Arlecchino's agency. Whereas fortune or misfortune usually "cause" the disguises of Shakespeare's aristocrats, Sly is a victim of chance. The dream that effects his change turns up regularly in Italian as well as English texts, and in commedia the joke on Sly would give rise to the formulaic duet of inversions between Zanni and Magnifico. Further, Shakespeare's play has been shown to refer to an amazing web of imitations and borrowings from both classical and contemporary Italian works. (32) Still, intricate and layered references may indicate that ruler and fool inversions derive from ancient legacies of ritual and theater practice rather than from particular plays. In one production that emphasized staging over script, one actor played both Sly and Petruchio.
Yet Sly exhibits little of the self-consciousness and self-mockery of player-fools to whom Shakespeare plainly alludes. Sly is an itinerant, at the mercy of patronage, outside of social conventions, a no-account tinker available by happenstance to serve as an all-purpose clown, that is, until he becomes a player both inside the action and perched on its rim: at once a character in the play about taming a shrew, and a spectator in the Induction. In a sense, Sly then almost becomes one of the spectral characters referred to above; for, although at first a named tinker and outlaw, he paradoxically advances in abstraction when positioned as a player. He also then exemplifies the delight shared by Italian and Elizabethan theater in comic doubling. The folio text leaves the framing play incomplete, as voluminous criticism remarks. Shakespeare nonetheless draws theatrical capital and delicious irony out of the two guises. He distinguishes between his extra, Sly, and his gentlemanly masquer, Petruchio, as if between amateur and professional actors, for the latter playacts self-consciously with a carnivalesque end in view.
While such theater-on-theater is a given in Shakespeare's drama, The Taming of the Shrew also offers an early and important statement of his preoccupation throughout his writing career with the power of art to alter reality. (33) The subject is debated vigorously by Italian critics on theater and gives rise to more questions about (a) Shakespeare's response to aesthetic theories current in London during the so-called theater wars; and (b) to arguments raised among English writers, critics, and churchmen about the moral implications of doubling, transformation, and such stage deceptions by any technical name. Whereas Sly reverts to his original identity in the framing segment of the parallel play, The Taming of a Shrew, Shakespeare leaves that eventuality unresolved in the folio text as given. And whereas Arlecchino often transforms a stage reality permanently, that possibility is proposed by Katherina's conversion rather than Sly's. In the Ur recognition scene discussed above between Zanni and Magnifico, a presumptive Arlecchino keeps his aggrandized identity in a self-fulfilling dream, while Sly returns to his role as plain vagabond. He only dreamed.
Autolycus, Songster and Rogue
The exuberant tinker Autolycus of The Winter's Tale who hawks ballads and appears singing of spring, may be the English Arlecchino incarnate. If he harks back to Boyet of Love's Labor's Lost, that "wit's pedlar" who "retails his wares/At wakes and wassails, meetings, markets, fairs" (5.2.317-18), then Shakespeare had been thinking about the character for many years. The type, however, must have been immediately recognizable to audiences, for at the turn of the century there were an estimated ten thousand balladeers and pedlars of cheap print working the rural roads and hundreds on London street corners. (34) A pedlar woman with a pack of laces, ribbons, and toys on her back commonly carried songs as well, while petty chapmen, tinkers, and glass sellers circulated more than three thousand distinct ballads in the second half of the sixteenth century. They also sold broadsides, pamphlets, pictures, and simple playlets door to door, at fairs, bookstalls, and markets in provincial towns and villages all over England. Penny ballads sensationalized cheap news: battles at sea, skirmishes in the Netherlands, earthquakes, fires and floods in distant towns, obituaries, miraculous births, and marvels like Autolycus's fish that sang like a woman (The Winter's Tale 4.4.275-81). Though literacy rose astonishingly by midcentury, songs, simple performances, and stories recited in common spread the word more quickly and comprehensively than any book among country folk, who remained in a transitional stage from an oral culture. As for the tinkers themselves, a license by two Justices usually kept them from a whipping as vagabonds, but not from suspicion as potential sources of seditious rumor and petty thievery. Autolycus's counterpart in Jonson's Bartholomew Fair distracts his audience with song while his companion picks their pockets.
This aspect of the period's flourishing print industry and its disseminators echoes in Shakespeare's tinker extraordinaire: no mere news carrier, gossip, or huckster of notions; no simple indigent, or gypsy (often Irish), or bogey like the English Herlequin who reputedly kidnapped children. He is an irrepressible singing player in a world given over to play and a rogue who delights in his own impostures. When he first appears, he says he has served the prince and worn "three pile velvet"; now, however, he is a free spirit of the road with the appetites of a lover and a thief: he traffics in "sheets" In all, he is the true son of his spiritual father Mercury, god of tricksters: "litter'd under Mercury," Autolycus was, like his physical father "a snapper-up of unconsider'd trifles" (4.3.25-26). The metaphoric identity remains apt even if "littered under" means born under the planetary sign rather than actually sired by the god Mercury. Perhaps Shakespeare also drew on Plautus's Amphitryon, a mythological burlesque that especially travesties the romance fantasy of divine birth. Shakespeare often conflates his sources and applies the principle of imitatio liberally. Still, the quick-thinking Autolycus might have spoken lines attributed by Duchartre to the Arlecchino, who like Autolycus also fears hanging: "Learn, my friend, that I am the shade of an ancient thief, and by right of seniority it is my place to steal the purse.... [I]t is my business to cut purses to keep it alive." (35)
Within moments of Autolycus's first soliloquy the Clown appears, offering Autolycus his first occasion for impersonation. Autolycus pretends to be a gentleman who was beaten and left in rags; he not only cons the Clown out of money that was to be spent on buying spices but also audaciously identifies his putative robber as one called Autolycus (4.3.100). From the start, he doubles himself and calls the audience's attention to the trick. The theatrical territory which he stakes out belongs to an Arlecchino who is lusty, deceitful for the fun of it, an ebullient entertainer referring to a mirror image of himself, which refers back to him reflexively, and so on ad infinitum. Like the Italians, the Elizabethans delighted in doubling that was deliberately conspicuous and upped the theatrical ante on a piece. In any case, the antics and stage business that Autolycus invent remain to be gleaned inferentially. When Autolycus next appears, Clown does not recognize him, so he must have altered his clothes or added the false beard referred to later on in order to present himself as an entertainer at great houses. The servant who announces him to Polixenes says: "He sings several tunes faster than you'll tell money ... as he had eaten ballads and all men's ears grew to his tunes" (4.4.182-86). We gather that he has already performed either for the servants or in the vicinity, probably a move toward cadging a good meal. He has dazzled his audience by his art, which plainly includes fast talking. When Perdita warns the Servant that the balladeer may use no "scurrilous words in's tunes" (4.4. 213-14), she is reassured that the fellow is "without bawdry" though he does carry "dildos and fadings" The servants' wordplay and malapropisms underscore Autolycus's superior wits, daring, and audacity. He vows that his ballads are all "true" once again conning his first victim, the Clown, who still fails to recognize his tormentor.
Clown: What hast here? Ballads? Mopsa: Pray now buy some. I love a ballet in print, a-life, for then we are sure they are true. Autolycus: Here's one to a very doleful tune. Mopsa. Is it true, think you? Autolycus: Very true, and but a month old. Autolycus: Here's another ballad, of a fish that appear'd upon the coast on We'n'sday ... and sung this ballad against the hard hearts of maids ... very pitiful, and as true. Dorcas: Is it true too, think you? (4.4.259-62, 266-67, 275-82)
Then Autolycus cheerfully joins them in a three-part round as singing is his "occupation" (296), after which the Clown completes his own gulling by arranging to buy gifts from the tinker for both girls.
A true gamester, Autolycus is in his element at the sheep shearing. The Clown (again not recognizing the opportunist) enthralls a crowd with "the nothing" of a song, while Autolycus works them over. He sells all his wares and would have picked all purses too, he boasts, if his "choughs" had not been scared off by the appearance of the royals making a "whobub" about Florizel and Perdita. Until then, the rustics behave as if his "trinkets had been hallow'd and brought a benediction to the buyer" (4.4.601-02). Events also bring something of a benediction to the player. The lovers and Camillo, who were in hiding throughout Autolycus's retrospective on having conquered the festival, come forward to "make an instrument" of him--that is, to facilitate their escape from the father. The echo of commedia's central love plot and the Arlecchino's main function is unmistakable. Autolycus and Florizel exchange garments, and Camillo gives him money, so in this sense Autolycus's third imposture is foisted on him. Fortune raises him in rank as it does in dreams of the powerless, like Sly or the Arlecchino. "Sure the gods do this year connive at us, and we may do any thing extempore" (4.4.676-77), he says in wonderment, as if alluding directly to the playing style of commedia.
The rogue can do no wrong and remarks on it. Whereas in modern usage "extempore" means unrehearsed, in sixteenth-century theater it also referred to an unscripted performance. An English player might be called on unexpectedly to tell a story or a joke on a particular subject and would recite a piece he had memorized as part of his stock in trade. But the dense texture surrounding what Autolycus "may do extempore" suggests that "extempore" is an embedded reference to the episode at the Boar's Head Tavern where Falstaff and Hal perform their brief "recognition" playlet (1 Henry IV 2.4.376-481). To the extent each knows the style of speech, biases, opinions, and roles of the father-king and son-fool, they resemble the Magnifico-Zanni pair handed a plot to enact "extempore" Hal rejects Falstaff's performance as father-king, and, again like Magnifico and Zanni, they switch roles. And so too, implicitly, Autolycus and Florizel, for Autolycus sees through his prince and will play out a recognition scene offstage. Autolycus also echoes the fat knight Falstaff on Honor in his disquisition on "that fool" honesty (1 Henry IV 5.1.126-41). He delivers a performance "extempore," technically a set piece from the stock of a professional actor adding not to the plot but to the stage business. Since the lexical meanings of the term "honor" were in transition, it held a special attraction for punsters. But both of Shakespeare's rogues scorn the chivalric virtues of their Magnificos and both parallel the Arlecchino who, in a fit of mock despair over his plight as fortune's fool, speaks a long set piece cut from the same doth on the folly of moral seriousness. (36) In purpose, all three comic realists mock the humanist's ideal of art for the sake of moral instruction, at least to the degree that humanism underlies Shakespeare's romance.
The implications of "extempore" collect still more provocatively around Autolycus's basic function as an impersonator. Even while representing a tinker, he plays a figure without a self who generates action around him. In this sense, he is the artist bringing fresh meaning to his play's mythic underpinnings. Shakespeare like Ovid makes Autolycus the firstborn of twins, one from Mercury, the other from Apollo, "who in musick arte excelled all farre all other/As well in singing as in play" [emphasis mine]. (37) Does Shakespeare conflate the deities as progenitors of his singer and thief? Mercury steals the senses of his spectators much as song enchants the crowd at the sheep festival so Autolycus can shear them. (They had "No hearing, no feeling, but my sir's song, and admiring the nothing of it" [4.4.612-13]). Equally telling, Autolycus reports the festival as a theatrical event--a reminder that Ovid makes Mercury the model dramaturge, an intermediary between heaven and earth who summons players and orchestrates deceits. Salient traits appear while the god is still in his cradle and steals the cattle of Apollo; later Mercury invents the lyre for his twin. In brief, there seems to be more than one echo in Autolycus of the twins' divine powers. They offer a specific glimpse of him as a timeless force of nature that conspires with art. Whereas technically the chorus of Time spans the play's sixteen years, Autolycus himself embodies the mythic Spring celebrated in his opening song, "When daffodils begin to peer" (4.3.1ff). He evades linear time. So does that other thief of orderly process, Falstaff, "a latter Spring" and "all hallown summer." To return to an earlier point here, the tinker's "hallow'd" trinkets bring a "benediction" to a world far from the political court of princes. As he says, he is "blessed"; the diction gives him a spirit that acts without fear of consequence or reprisal. He possesses the complete self-regard of a born rascal.
Autolycus's game of go-between manages to reconcile Polixenes and Florizel. He would conceal his knowledge of the prince's whereabouts from the King and play the knave to the hilt, if that were "the honest way." But to be "constant to his profession" as a rogue, he'll do the reverse and turn in the prince for his own good. His true touchstone, after all, is a heart of gold. In the next moment, he overhears Shepherd and Clown with the "farthel" that proves Perdita's royal identity, and, calling on the wits of an illusionist, he decides to live up to the imposture of authority foisted on him with Prince Florizel's clothes. Momentarily, however, he philosophizes:
How blessed are we that are not simple men! Yet nature might have made me as these are, Therefore I will not disdain. (4.4.745-47)
He will engage them. He can play any part "naturally" for he is neither "simple" nor simply one man, not only witty in himself but like Falstaff the source of wit in others. Autolycus, terrifying the rustics with threats of the king's punishments, exercises the royal power symbolized by Florizel's mantle while never losing sight of himself as a vagabond on the edge of the law. He doubles his impersonation of a gentleman when he removes the false beard, the "excrement" he had worn earlier as pedlar (4.4.714), so now he is neither pedlar nor gentleman but yet a third persona that Clown once again fails to recognize. The true Autolycus is purely an illusion in the eye of the beholder, and Clown is his test case:
Autolycus: ... I am a courtier. Seest thou not the air of the court in these enfoldings? Hath not my gait in it the measure of the court? Receives not thy nose court-odor from me? Reflect I not on thy baseness court-contempt? Think'st thou, for that I insinuate, that toze from thee thy business, I am therefore no courtier? I am a courtier cap-a-pe. (4.4.730-36) Clown: This cannot be but a great courtier. Shepherd: His garments are rich, but he wears them not handsomely. Clown: He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical. (4.4.748-52)
Autolycus then disappears until the play's final resolutions are in progress. He brings father and son together almost as a game and at a moment when Perdita is still disguised as a shepherd's daughter. But he tells the recognition scene, not enacted, as befits his first role as herald of good news and seasonal renewal (5.2.112-25). Autolycus connects elements of plot as well as the play's two parts in a manner analogous to the Arlecchino performing lazzi (physical tricks and jokes) to bridge real and imaginary worlds. The tricks demonstrate that a paramount reason for the archetypal fool's many doublings and transformations is to create illusions of a new order they themselves foster. In The Winter's Tale, the new order is moral; it matters that the tricks Autolycus played on the Clown be forgiven him as the play moves to a decidedly English finish. Shepherd and Clown have become gentlemen, though the Clown, wringing every drop of humor from the topic of transformation in nonsense gabble, says that he "was no gentleman born," and yet a few lines later that he "was a gentleman born before [his] father" (5.2.129-30, 139-40). A last the Clown seems to recognize the tinker, who humbly begs pardon and asks for the Clown's good report to the Prince. It is the play's final inversion of Zanni-Magnifico and requires this recognition scene of its own to complete the comic business.
A more subtle question about Autolycus refers back to his doubleness and the tension between a theoretical Arlecchino archetype and the character whose "nature" differs from that of "simple men." Hypothetically, in the process of becoming a character, Autolycus loses some of his wildness, his demonic legacy from "Herlequin" and some of Mercury's mysteriousness. Shakespeare cuts him closer to the size of his good commoners, as if transforming an Italian fool--secular, wily, amoral, irreverent--into an English one called for a pinch of moral salts. Autolycus had been in Florizel's service, but left the role for the itinerant life on the English road. In effect, the character slipped back into the encompassing archetype. On returning to Bohemia he finds that the prince once again needs him, for metaphorically king is incomplete without fool. So while it is against his "nature" as a free spirit to be defined by an ordinary role, he fits himself into several impostures that clip his archetypal wings. Critical remarks on the facility with which Autolycus "changes shape at will without changing substance" or is "unchangeable despite his impersonations" discount his shifts from role to type and back. (38)
Perhaps the dramaturgy in a romance always engages types and archetypes to some degree. The mythic Perdita-Persephone reappears like Spring after sixteen years of winter, while it is the disguised Princess Perdita who talks technicalities to Polixenes about making hybrids in the plant world. So too Autolycus as highwayman and songster remains unrecognizable even to his victims unless he takes on a role, or disguise. The shifting values of the characters may be analogous to the play's theme of art as literally life-giving and triumphant over the mortal dangers in the first three acts of madness, loss, and death. Autolycus in his function as semi-divine dramaturg stands in relation to his impostures as the spectator stands in relation to the stage--or, we might say, as Leontes stands in relation to Hermione's statue. In each case, theatricality turns on belief in an illusion, which ironically turns out to be real. When Shepherd thinks Autolycus looks the part of nobility, Clown points out in wonder: "He seems to be the more noble in being fantastical" (4.4.751-52). The dramatic irony here works as truth telling, for Autolycus's art is nothing but fantastical and does indeed reveal the true nobility of players. Nature might have made Autolycus like the ignorant rustics, but did not. His streak of mythic divinity allows him to participate at will in the mundane, at which instances he needs the Clown's forgiveness. Autolycus then becomes the innately moral Englishman, part of the comic ensemble rather than its privileged moving spirit.
The play's further debts to commedia range widely over incidents such as the dance of satyrs (4.4.343), a regular feature in Italian spectacles and Italianate anti-masques at Whitehall, to carnival masking and dancing, to New Comedy lovers, to a style of rustic downing typical of the Italian pastoral, favored by English traveling troupes. (39) There may be still more ephemeral debts in the setting of Arcadia to which the lovers retreat from the danger of ruling fathers. The piece compares for its spectacle and music with several popular scenari collected by Scala, one for instance in three parts called "The Bear, A Royal Opera." The Argument centers on a prince in love with a dream nymph. Soothsayers send him to Arcadia to find her, and there he meets a helpful shepherd; after many adventures disguised as a shepherd, he finds a princess enamored of him and happily marries her. Similar elements occur in other commedia plots, including "The Comical, Pastoral, Tragical Events, A Mixed Opera"; or more particularly, "The Enchanted Wood," or "The Fortune of the Solitary Prince of Muscovy" with its aristocratic child brought up by peasants. In the latter scenario, a well-born baby girl like Perdita is left in the woods and rescued by a shepherd. Years later, a prince like Florizel changes clothes with a servant in order to woo the girl in her own rustic world, but the principals are transformed instantly into royalty. In all these scenari, it is not character or motivated action but turns of Fortune's wheel that guide the lovers' fate.
Given Shakespeare's bank of borrowed Italian comedies and his liberal use of imitatio, might Autolycus have materialized without his creator's knowledge of the Arlecchino? Possibly. Commedia after all spins off from New Comedy via commedia erudita and from medieval as well as Renaissance romances, forms which traveled to England on their own momentum in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Or Shakespeare might have culled his ebullient player from Heywood's Apology for Actors ("The world's a theatre, the earth a stage"), transformed by Jaques of As You Like It;, or from Histriomastix, about a group of uneducated players and ignorant rogues including a "pedlar," whose nonsense embarrasses Italian nobility; or from English "lords of misrule"; or any number of Christmas revels at Gray's Inn as well as Whitehall. Ultimately, Autolycus stands apart from even Shakespeare's most Italianate fools in Love's Labor's Lost, or The Taming of the Shrew, or Twelfth Night, and has no match in the much imitated Gli ingannati or I suppositi. A shadow of the Arlecchino may have traveled with the comic techniques Shakespeare recreated in Autolycus's extravagant antics, his self-celebration, his spirit as songster, or as the wit who exploits language for its own sake. Even Autolycus's longest scenes of fooling only minimally advance the plot. Like an Arlecchino of irrepressible creativity, Autolycus spins the illusion that he is enacting a subject while he twirls from person to place with all the freedom of an Ariel. In these senses too he reincarnates his spiritual father who usurped the playwright's role. Art comes to life in his theater: a statue moves, an archetype sings.
Capriccio, Anti-Masquer and Fool
One illustration of Autolycus in the Folger Library's picture collection shows him carrying a tray of ribbons, laces, and small linens and wearing a feather in his cap. The more typical outfit of a medieval tinker or pedlar, male or female, included a bellows poked into a shoulder sack or carried like a bat along with the assorted equipment of itinerants, like the one in fig 1. A century later, and certainly by the time Inigo Jones worked on his sketchbook of anti-masque figures, images for the role of tinker included a woman (probably a transvestite) wearing a bellows on her head with the handle sticking up straight, as in fig. 5. Beyond its reference to making fires, the curious headgear also appears earlier as a version of the fool's bauble or scepter in Holbein's illustrations for The Praise of Folly. Apparently an early Arlecchino carried bellows, and who better than a fool with a legacy from the devil to remind his audience of fanning up the fires of hell. (40) The image of pedlar woman with bellows seems to metamorphose later into the elaborate costume worn by four fools dancing in the "Singspiel" (fig. 6), the two females in bellows headgear? The costume is otherwise mysterious. Thomas Platter describes a performance of Julius Caesar at the Globe that ended with an extremely elegant dance by "two in men's clothes and two in women's." While no illustration of this exists, the same critic who refers to the "Singspiel" dancers believes that Thomas Platter saw some such event. The image of a pedlar woman with bellows may have been widespread throughout continental Europe and seen by traveling players--a wild guess.
[FIGURE 6 OMITTED]
A fool with bellows is related to the Arlecchino in other ways as well. First, iconography is notoriously conservative; images continue in use long after their meanings have changed. The image of an itinerant medieval fool with his bellows, again like that in fig. 1, may have been evoked deliberately by an actor performing the role of an itinerant Arlecchino. Secondly, costumes like those in figs. 5 and 6 imply that during the first decade of the seventeenth century the image of fool and bellows moved up, like the Arlecchino himself, from popular to aristocratic entertainments. In the latter, the image would have exaggerated the theatrical counterpoint between visual and verbal elements about which both English and Italian critics theorized. The bitter quarrel between Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones over the relative importance of poetry and theater arts offers one example of how heated the issue became--and, differently, points to how seriously costume was regarded. Arlecchini appeared in sophisticated entertainments and masques at the courts of the d'Estes, the Sforzas, the Gonzaga, of Marie d'Medici at Valois, and of others both earlier and later than Nicolo Barbieri's defense of commedia in his La Supplica. (41) Given current research relating commedia in Barbieri's time back to the earlier heroic period, his comment substantiates the professionalism and cultural importance that commedia acquired; the best troupes performed not mere "buffoonery" but comedies consistent with aristocratic delight in costume spectacles, revels, and masques.
In England, masques reached their peak of extravagance under the Stuarts, who spent vast sums on actors, sets, and costumes; many by Jones reflected commedia figures and their antics. Long before the authoritative Jacques Callot drawings of commedia figures (1630) ever reached England authoritative, that is, partly as Callot played Pulcinella, a form of Arlecchino--and long before Inigo Jones's Italian journey of 1613-15, his work already reflected his absorption of Italian artists, painters, and designers through practical handbooks and perhaps earlier travels. (42) Jones drew on the commonplace book of costumes by Vecellio, and whether or not he saw commedia performances at home or abroad, awareness of the characters filtered into his costumes for masques and anti-masques by Jonson, George Chapman, Sir William Davenant, and other poets. (43) At the least, Jones's sketches prove that he knew commedia's fools extremely well, for he elaborated his anti-masquers with a multitude of domestic, lower-class, and "mad" creatures like Tinkers, Bellows Menders, and Tooth Drawers. On the evidence of Jones's sketchbooks alone, these characters appeared onstage more frequently than the corresponding texts suggest. The account of Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (1618) by the diplomat Orazio Busino confirms the evidence of drawings: Jones "put on the stage the world they [the court] imagined, full of monsters, capriccios, the mad things of the commedia dell'arte, the earthy life of field and tavern." (44)
Whether or not the dates of Jones's designs correspond to those for commedia's putative travel to and in England remains unresolved. Though "mad things" turn up earlier, the list of designs for anti-masque figures in Jonson's Masque of Queens (1613), for instance, specifically allude to commedia. So do labels on costumes for his Anti-Masquers in Love's Triumph. In the same period, Jones sketches "Fantastic Masks" with brutish faces that he identified either as "zanni" or as "Punch"; for Daniel's Tethys's Festival (1610), he created bare-breasted costumes for women in commedia style; other allusions appear in the style of satyrs' costumes for Oberon Fairy Prince. Later, anti-masque figures, including a mountebank as a doctor, a "zany," a harlequin, and "two pale wenches distributing printed receipts," for the Britannica masque offer especially provocative evidence that Jones often adapted commedia images and remind us that both the Arlecchino and Autolycus distribute printed matter as a key element in their roles. Jones's sketches even capture commedia's paramount concern with transformations. He designed a costume for a figure in the Britannica called "Imposture" who is said to "mimic apparitions" or ghosts and chimerical transformations.
It is against this background that the Capriccio in George Chapman's The Memorable Masque of Two Honorable Houses, or Inns of Court, the Middle Temple and Lincoln's Inn (1613) should be read as primary evidence of an English Arlecchino with bellows. (45) It is unclear whether Chapman or Jones knew Il Capriccio, a pastoral fable by Dr. Giacomo Guidozzo published in 1608 and again in 1610, but the fantastical antimasque creature Capriccio personifies the tinker and bellows mender already associated with an Arlecchino in elaborate spectacle. Wearing a bellows on his head, Capriccio leads an itinerant troupe of entertainers who perform at festive events such as weddings. The text incorporates transformations, polyglot, and the inevitable role reversals, while Capriccio describes himself as an imp who "must be a second Proteus, and turn himself into all shapes" (ll. 255-75). At the same time, he embodies the antiauthoritative posture of fool with the wit of a player and the surreal looks of a master of ceremonies in dream worlds. I will quote lines (following) from his encounter with Plutus, a rich alderman, as they play an English version of Arlecchino or Zanni and Magnifico. Powerless and powerful figures here also show how masque and anti-masque pivot on flattery and praise for wealthy patrons of the arts--a topic that may reflect the intellectual ambitions of masques as well as debates in the period about their aesthetic worth. Capriccio speaks to Chapman's satire of reigning authorities who dismiss the seriousness of masques.
Plutus: ... These bellows you wear on your head show with what matter your brain is puffed up sir: a religion-forger I see you are, and presume of inspiration from these bellows, with which ye study to blow up the settled governments of kingdoms.... Capriccio: Your worship knocks at a wrong door, sir; I dwell far from the person you speak of. Plutus: What may you be, then, being a man of wit? A buffoon, a jester? ... Capriccio: Your worship, I see, has obtained wit with sight, which I hope yet my poor wit will well be able to answer.... Plutus: Nay, nay, I commend thy judgement for cutting thy coat so just to the breadth of thy shoulders.... [H]e that cannot personate the wise man well amongst wizards, let him learn to play the fool amongst dizzards. Capriccio: 'Tis passing miraculous that your dull and blind worship should so suddenly turn both sightful and witful. Plutus. The riddle of that miracle I may chance dissolve to you in sequel; meantime what name sustainest thou, and what toys are these thou bearest so fantastically about thee? Capriccio: These toys, sir, are the ensigns that discover my name and quality, my name being Capriccio; and I wear these bellows on my head to show I can puff up with glory all those that affect me, and, besides, bear this spur to show I can spur-gall even the best that contemn me. (ll. 332-72)
Plutus indeed "contemns" the fool and his "men of wit" whom he dismisses without pay. He "cannot abide these bellows on [Capriccio's] head" since the action of bellows, along with the antics of Capriccio's men, have "melted his mines" and "consumed him" "Melting" Plutus's mines locates them where they belong, in the hell familiar to popular theater's devils. But the masque itself, far from popular entertainment, promotes a well-known visual image of fool-with-bellows not only into lavish spectacle but into character. Quite apart from its literary reputation, the entire text offers a model of visual and verbal elements in balance in a period of controversy about their relative significance.
Jones's idiosyncratic labels for figures in his sketchbook may indicate the kinds of crossover and merging of Zanni and Arlecchino that I mentioned early in this essay. An "Envious Unquiet Lover" in white pajamas, for example, wears Arlecchino's feather and bat. Among antimasque characters for the later Britannia Triumphans (1638) are a "harlequin" and a "zany" belonging to "a mountebank in the habit of a grave doctor" and another "harlequin" dressed as in the Recueil by Fossard. Finally, much later, in the Twelfth Night masque for 1640, the famous Salmacida Spolia composed with Davenant, the anti-masque figure, "Wolfgangus Vandergoose," wears fancy sleeves, a spangled skirt, a large ruff like the Pulcinella's (another avatar of Arlecchino), and a bellows on "her" head. (fig. 5) The origin of this image is the pedlar woman, discussed previously, who plainly has advanced into a courtly entertainment being performed by a male. The text for this entry reads as follows: "Wolfgangus Vandergoose, spagyric [sic], operator to the Invisible lady styled the Magical Sister of the Rosicross, with these recepts following and many other rare secrets, undertakes in short time to cure the defects of nature and diseases of the mind." (46) There follows a list of ten such diseases, the first "recept" purporting to be a "Confection of hope and fear, to entertain lovers" It is unclear whether "recepts" refers to "her" medicines or to printed broadsides and handouts like those distributed by the Arlecchino and Autolycus. The bizarre Vandergoose seems to combine elements of a dottore and a mountebank. Jones apparently toyed with two costumes for "her" which differed only in headgear. One Vandergoose wears a tall hat with feathers that belonged originally to his sketch of a Mountebank (47) before he shifted it to Vandergoose. The role was probably played by a transvestite, although the antiauthoritarian nature of the figure remains regardless of gender. The list of actors and their roles in the same masque include a "Dr. Tartaglia" a version of commedia's dottore, who appears several times in the Jones Catalogue, and an "Italian lover" who seems to draw on the innamorato.
Sketches, descriptions, even firsthand experience of commedia in England may have crossed other theatrical and iconographical currents by the time Inigo Jones created his first designs. So too, the image of an itinerant tinker and bellows mender may have found its way into masques quite separately from images of either the itinerant fool or archetypal Arlecchino. Still, using the same criterion for masques as for the plays discussed previously, can it be entirely coincidental that Capriccio and Vandergoose appear in masques clearly incorporating other elements of commedia?
Literary criticism expects echoes in the form of specific verbal references and allusions to embed works in an historical framework. The more elusive echoes of theater events, styles of performance, or even more amorphous references to actors' programs and habits--these still belong to speculation about the English Renaissance stage. An archetypal performer seems to anticipate Shakespeare's player-fools. Yet, no one has retraced the precise route traveled by images in print and verse, nor documented their exact conformation to the biases of differing cultures and purposes of individual writers. Archetypes also last through time, while characters live a Pirandellian moment. The Inigo Jones bellows lady of 1613 (fig. 5) looks nothing like the medieval itinerant fool from Brussels (fig. 1), yet they obviously share a reference to a third and prior image I have hypothesized as an archetype. Still, in these territories, any final statement probably needs to be cautionary. Contemporary scholarship in commedia dell'arte tends to aggrandize a popular and short-lived social phenomenon by treating it like source material for Shakespeare on a par with Aretino or Boccaccio. To the contrary, theater history might be better served by noticing that commedia began to die out while Shakespeare and Moliere and then Goldoni were retrieving it back into literature where it began. They were well situated by their own experience as performers and men of theater to effect the Arlecchino's transition to formal stage and his mergers with scripted characters. At the same time, by the end of the seventeenth century a man of theater and of letters like Angelo Beolco, known as the Italian Shakespeare, or, later on, Evaristo Gherardi, the French author and actor, served his company not only as leading performer but as capocomico--writer, director, and manager.
(1) Harry Levin, Shakespeare's Italy: Functions of Italian Locations in Renaissance Drama, rev. ed., ed. M. Marrapodi (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997), 19.
(2) For example, Derek Connon sees ghosts of commedia in his views of Marivaux ("The Servant as Master: Three Plays of Marivaux," in Studies in Commedia dell Arte, ed. David J. George and Christopher J. Gossip [Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1993], 34, 131).
(3) Giacomo Oreglia, The Commedia dell'arte, trans. Lovett F. Edwards (London: Methuen, 1968), 17.
(4) Vito Pandolfi, Il teatro del Rinascimento e la Commedia dell' Arte, 12 vols. (Rome: Lerici editore, 1969), 3:158-60.
(5) Jan Kott, Theatre Notebook, 1947-1967, trans. Boleslaw Taborski (Garden City: Doubleday, 1968), 172.
(6) Robert Weiman drew this important distinction in Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978) and has incorporated the argument in his Author's Pen and Actor's Voice (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 12.
(7) Douglas Radcliff-Umstead, The Birth of Modern Comedy in Renaissance Italy (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), 233.
Pandolfi sees a direct continuity from fool to zanni in Il mariazo a la fachinesca da ridere, an entertainment that may represent the birth of zanni (specifically, "la fachinesca"), whom we know as "Bergamask" workers with the same language and "silly parodies." As its title implies, Il mariazo offered a parody of a serious sermon on marriage and probably was recited as an intermezzo during a wedding feast to cheer the guests with fooling. The fragment also suggests commedia's central subject of winning a woman (Il teatro del Rinascimento, 3:159).
(8) See Heather Arden, Fools' Plays: A Study of Satire in the Sottie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 67-80. The Feast of Fools continued to be celebrated in Europe through the sixteenth century, the period in France when the end of the career of Gringoire, the famous Prince des Sots, coincided with the popularity of the new Italian touring companies.
(9) How much may be inferred about earlier roles and forms from later illustrations is arguable. In another version of the design shown in fig. 3, an anonymous seventeenth-century engraving, Arlecchino carries two of his (?) miniature children in a basket, and another in swaddling clothes; reproduced in Lynne Lawner, Harlequin on the Moon (New York: Abrams, 1998), 122. By the mid-seventeenth century, he is a woman identified as Arlecchina; or he has a wife, Mme. Arlequine. See the illustration in Allardyce Nicoll, The World of Harlequin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 66, 211.
According to Pierre Louis Duchartre, The Italian Comedy (New York: Dover, 1966), by the time Biancolelli ("Dominique") interprets the Arlecchino, in 1660, he appears as a doctor (141); as mythological emperor of the moon mistaken for a fish (142); as a philosopher on the maladies of women (146). By 1710 in a Dutch engraving he nurses stray children (Lawner, Harlequin, 121). Lawner shows that still later, in a play by Gherardi, The Linen Vendor (1741), he is half man and half woman, also holding trousers in one hand and a skirt in the other as if deliberately proving he is transformational (ibid., 71). See also Enid Welsford, The Fool: His Social and Literary History (1935; reprint Gloucester, Mass: Peter Smith, 1982), 298. And finally by the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century in French and Dutch engravings reproduced by Lawner (Lawner, Harlequin, 149), he appears as a boy and a dwarf reminiscent of the ugly elf Herlequin (ibid., 138). In the series of drawings for the undated scenari The Malady of Harlequin, he gives birth to a baby whom he then rears (Duchartre, The Italian Comedy, 55-57, and Lawner, Harlequin, 120).
(10) Kenneth Richards and Laura Richards, The Commedia dell'Arte (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1990), 17.
(11) K. M. Lea, Italian Popular Comedy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1934), 381.
(12) For this and subsequent discussion of albums, see, M. A. Katritsky, "Was Commedia dell'arte performed by Mountebanks?" Theatre Research International 23, no. 2 (1998): 104-25.
(13) For Thomas Platter's diary of his grand tour through Europe (in Avignon in 1598), see Journal of a Younger Brother, trans. Sean Jennett (London: Frederick Muller, 1963), 181-83.
(14) The likelihood, incidentally, would substantiate George Whetstone's cryptic note that "mountibanks of Italie are in a manner, as Englysh Pedlers" (An Heptameron of Ciuill Discourses [London, 1582], as quoted by Katritsky, "Was Commedia dell'arte Performed by Mountebanks?" 106n).
(15) For several of his incarnations, see Duchartre, The Italian Comedy, 156. For scenari, I refer to the collection of Flaminio Scala, Il teatro delle favole rappresentative, 1611, trans. Henry F. Salerno (New York: Limelight, 1996).
(16) The point deserves an essay of its own. Arlecchino is claimed to resemble Fritellino, a zanni invented by the Neapolitan Pier Maria Cecchini of the Accesi troupe; however, he is said also to resemble the zany Pulcinella, invented by the Neapolitan author-actor Silvio Fiorillo. Others say he and Trivellino are one and the same figure. See Duchartre's reconstructions of Arlecchino's relation to other figures with whom he shares some traits (The Italian Comedy, 134). Also, it is known that the son of the famous Dominique Biancolelli performed as Arlecchino, Pierrot, and Trivellino, probably at differing locales but most likely evidence of their overlapping identities, for actors tended to perform one mask during their careers.
Arlecchino is further confused with the Neapolitan Cola. The influential critic G. C. Croce, in his "Fra Cola et Arlechino [sic]" (Bologna, 1628), summarized by Richards and Richards, The Commedia dell'Arte, 120, suggested that Cola is Harlequin's master. But a different record of 1607 says Cola is substituted for Arlecchino in local performances. This seems likely given Cola's multifarious roles as servant, lover, knight, doctor. Many doubles in theater of the period are traceable to Naples, which has its own history of comedy and was ruled at the time by Spain. Language, however, cannot count as a reliable method of tracing the figure, as dialect masks make amply clear. Arlecchino spoke a "spurious" Bergamo dialect and "burlesque mixture of Italian, French and macaronic Latin," according to Oreglia, The Commedia dell'arte, 58. We also need to keep in mind that there was no standard Italian until the twentieth century; French quite literally became commedia's lingua franca outside of Italy.
(17) Illustrated in Gerhard Lomer, "Feather pictures of the commedia dell'arte," Theatre Arts Monthly 14 (1930): 807-10. Also, for the following references to pictures and printed matter, see Pandolfi, Il teatro del Rinascimento, 1:125; and Duchartre, The Italian Comedy, 157.
(18) Insofar as costume matters to the Arlecchino's relations to English and German itinerant fools, they travel unmasked and often wear a purse and cap with a feather or a fox tail. I compare this to a proleptic Arlecchino's costume in fig. 1. His bellows are indicative of his roles as tinker and bellows mender; see Welsford, The Fool, 295.
In this connection too, Arlecchino's shaved head and black mask may derive from the Herlequin of England, Germany, and France as much as it does from associations of zanni to Greek phallophores and slaves; see Pandolfi, Il teatro del Rinascimento, 2:120. According to Luigi Riccoboni's Histoire du theatre italien (1723) quoted by all modern researchers since Ducharte, the relationship between the ancient and modern figures is proven by the latter's tatterdemalion costume; see Richards and Richards, The Commedia dell'Arte, 19.
(19) See Leo Salingar, Shakespeare and the Traditions of Comedy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974), 110.
(20) Giulio Ferrone. "L'ossessione del raddoppiamento" in The Science of Buffoonery: Theory and History of the Commedia dell'Arte, ed. Domenico Pietropaolo (Toronto: Dovehouse, 1989), 135-47.
(21). Roberto Tessari says: "The poet's work fits a scene to various ideas; it presents itself as the other side [of the coin] of what for the actor is improvisation, not a matter of expressing whatever `comes to his mouth', but of restructuring quasi extemporaneously a new whole out of elements separated in the comic organism, and of making interchangeable parts in the machinery of spectacle" (La commedia dell'arte nel seicento [Florence: Mondadori, 1979], 850).
(22) See Cesare Molinari, "Actor-Authors of the Commedia dell' arte: The Dramatic Writings of Flaminio Scala and Giambattista Andreini," Theatre Research International 23, no. 2 (1998): 142-51. As a footnote to these comments about language, I note that recently discovered scripts called Commedia Ridicolosa are brief plays in imitation of commedia written by and for amateurs incapable of expressing the relation between verbal and physical gymnastics that was mastered by professionals. The chief value of these scripts published between 1605 and 1630 in and near Rome may be their evidence of commedia's continuity at popular and professional levels simultaneously. It follows that establishing relations between commedia and verbal theater at home and abroad has been most successful when tracing shared events. See Richard Andrews, Scripts and Scenarios: The Performance of Comedy in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 175.
(23) All references to Shakespeare in this article are to The Riverside Shakespeare, 2nd edition, ed. G. Blakemore Evans et al. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997).
(24) See John Southworth, Fools and Jesters at the English Court (Phoenix Mill: Sutton, 1998), 111-113, 119.
(25) According to Scala, Il teatro delle favole rappresentative, the earliest record of Italian players in England, probably musicians and mountebanks, is an entry in accounts at Norwich in 1566 (xvii). Revels Accounts for 1573-74 indicate that anonymous Italian players performed at Windsor and Reading. According to Privy Council records, Drusiano Martinelli wintered in London 1577/ 78. Like his brother, he was an Arlecchino with the Confidenti and is said to have performed in England with a troupe that year; see Richards and Richards, The Commedia dell'arte, xvi. Yet, Records of Early English Drama research, so often called upon for evidence in this regard, shows no Italian traveling troupes in England in that period. Also see E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 4 vols. (1923; reprint Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1951), 2:264, who cites one family of amateur Italian players of three generations for whom there is evidence dating from 1562 to 1578.
(26) See William Willeford, The Fool and His Scepter (Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 1969), 227. For a theoretical meditation on the Arlecchino as poetic expression of carnival and metaphysical "god of nothing," see Mauricio Piendibene, La smorfia di Arlecchino [The Arlecchino's Grimace] (Florence: Atheneum, 1996).
(27) Vagrancy statutes of 1572 and 1597, as described by Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, 1:279. Robert Weimann believes vagabonds and players probably were lumped together not to denigrate actors but to reflect fact that "many vagabonds tried to make their living by acting" (Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition, 53).
(28) The bad boy Hal says he can "drink with any tinker in his own language" (1 Henry IV 2.4.20), a double allusion to the wit of those who speak well and the witlessness of "gabblers." Shakespeare's vagrants and tinkers speaking a low "rethoricke" tend to fall into the type of commoner proud of his Englishness in a putatively unified and coherent English culture. Popular bias favored the commoner's plainness, an image with a long tradition in comedy and folklore featuring kings in beggars' clothes. In John Cooke's Greene's Tu Quoque (1614) a serving man turned gentleman discovers there is more to the position than clothes and rhetorical nicety. In "The Cobbler of Caunterburie" a scullion is appointed to a prior's position, and the ballad "A Merie Songe of the Kinge and the Tanner" (1584) tells a similar tale. These, along with other works, are mentioned by Bernard Capp, "Popular Literature," in Popular Culture in 17th Century England, ed. Barry Rea (New York: St. Martin's, 1985), 198-243.
(29) Michele Marrapodi, "Crossdressing, New Comedy, and the Italianate Unity of The Taming of the Shrew," in Shakespeare and Italy, ed. Holger Klein and Michele Marrapodi, Shakespeare Yearbook 10 (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999), 333-35, describes the many Italian debts of The Taming of the Shrew while discussing the relation of Induction to the main plot. As for borrowings within borrowings, both Aretino and Ariosto drew on the still older plays, La Casina and Eunuchus, which therefore probably should be seen as historical intertexts.
(30) Duchartre, The Italian Comedy, 128.
(31) Scala, Il teatro delle favole rappresentative, 231
(32) Marrapodi ("Crossdressing, New Comedy, and the Italianate Unity of The Taming of the Shrew") sees Shakespeare's pair of sleeping beggar (a "monstrous beast," Ind. 1.34) and cultured nobleman as a recollection of Aretino's Marescalco, where a similar jest is played on a lower-class figure. Aretino, in turn, drew on still older plays for the root idea--the same plays Ariosto drew on for his widely imitated I suppositi, the English Supposes by George Gascoigne. Finally, the comic spirit of the Induction may allude to Boccaccio, for Shakespeare turned to him several times, while a list of his debts would need to include the Calandria and Gl'Ingannati as sources for the main plot.
(33) See Alvin Kernan, Shakespeare, the King's Playwright (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995), 65.
(34) For this and subsequent information about pedlars of print: their number is drawn from the register of printed materials in the Stationers Company. Also see Capp, "Popular Literature," 62. Frances K. Barasch in discussing Shakespeare's familiarity with commedia mentions his line about women pedlars in 2 Henry VI 4.2.45-46: "She was indeed a pedlar's daughter, and sold many laces" ("Theatrical Prints: Zany, Pantalone, and the Elizabethans," in On Page and Stage: Shakespeare in Worm Culture [Cracow: Jagiellon University Press, 2000], 5).
(35) Duchartre, The Italian Comedy, 150, emphasis mine.
(36) Ibid., 150
(37) Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Arthur Golding, 2.846-79; as quoted from the edition of W. H. D. Rouse by Simon Palfrey, Late Shakespeare: New World of Words (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 233; emphasis mine.
(38) Bente A. Videbaek, The Stage Clown in Shakespeare's Theatre (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1996), 34.
(39) To my mind, these exert at least as much influence on The Winter's Tale as Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, to which it usually is compared and which had been produced by the King's Men a year or so before; see Hallett Smith's introduction to the play in The Riverside Shakespeare, 1613.
(40) For an engraving showing the Singspiel, see Peter Thomson, Shakespeare's Professional Career (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), fig. 44; for the information following about Thomas Platter, see ibid., 133-34.
(41) Nicolo Barbieri, La Supplica (1634), refers to nobility performing at Verona and Mantua: "Francesco, Ferdinando and Vincenzo act with some of our players; and the most illustrious Prince of Urbino, and many others I shall not mention, have often done likewise" (quoted by Richards and Richards, The Commedia dell'Arte, 253).
(42) At issue is whether Inigo Jones traveled through France and Germany and visited Italy in 1598, and whether he remained long enough in the latter country to learn to speak Italian fluently. See John Harris, Stephen Orgel, and Roy Strong, The King's Arcadia: Inigo ]ones and the Stuart Court: A Catalogue (London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1973), 17, 20. Jones's journey to Italy with Lord Arundel's party in 1613-15, a trip documented in many sources, would have been his second visit. Richard and Richards (The Commedia dell'arte, 218) dispute an early trip and claim that all Jones's works treating Italian comedy date from the 1630s. Uncontroversial, however, is that between 1605 and 1609 Jones was learning to draw through his access to engravings after Italian Mannerist painters. He already had come into contact with something resembling Agostino Carracci's engravings of the 1589 Florentine intermezzi. Jones's Italian sketchbook includes work stemming directly from instructions sheets of the Carracci school of engravings and later the compositions of Giulio Parigi and Jacques Callot. Also see Stephen Orgel and Roy Strong, The Theatre of the Stuart Court (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1973).
(43) See Harris, Orgel, and Strong, The King's Arcadia. Jones may, for instance have been present at performances at Elizabeth's court around 1600, or he might have seen Niccolini long before the Italian was licensed to perform, in 1630, but the issue falls outside the scope of this argument. For a conservative view, see Richards and Richards, The Commedia dell'arte, 219.
(44) Harris, Orgel, and Strong, The King's Arcadia, 47.
(45) See David Lindley, ed., Court Masques: Jacobean and Caroline Entertainments, 1605-1640 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), xi. All quotations from Chapman's Masque in my article are from this text.
(46) Harris, Orgel, and Strong, The King's Arcadia, 2:731.
(47) Ibid., Catalogue no. 356.
NINA DA VINCI NICHOLS Rutgers University
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|Title Annotation:||Italian comedy and Shakespearean characters|
|Author:||Da Vinci Nichols, Nina|
|Article Type:||Critical Essay|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2002|
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