Lelia's Kiss: Imagining Gender, Sex, and Marriage in Italian Renaissance Comedy
Published: November 2009© 2009
Imprint: University of Toronto Press
Series: Toronto Italian Studies
Page Count: 352 Pages
Dimensions: 6.25 x 9.25
352 Pages, 6.25 x 9.25 x 1.00 in
Lelia's Kiss analyzes gender roles, sexuality, and marriage in the Italian Renaissance through the lens of a large number of comedies from the period, ranging well beyond the traditional canon. Focusing on the social and cultural scripts found within these comedies, Laura Giannetti offers a new perspective on the way gender and marriage were portrayed, imagined, and critiqued on stage during the Italian Renaissance.
Giannetti argues that these Renaissance plays created an often humorous dialogue with the presuppositions of their day, engaging with contemporary social norms, expectations and desires. The actions and choices of cross-dressing female and male characters challenged standard discourse and illustrated how masculinity and femininity was socially and culturally constructed. By examining representations of gender and marriage onstage, Lelia's Kiss demonstrates that Renaissance comedies not only reflected and commented on the everyday life of the time, but also interacted with it, exercising playful humour and revealing insight.
'Giannetti reveals a rich dialogue(both on and off stage) that portrayed, discussed, challenged, and contributed to seicento ideas on gender, homosexuality, and marriage... This study also demonstrates how theatrical texts can serve as important sources for the reconstruction of sixteenth-century culture when historical and archival resources are lacking adding color and nuance to topics that have been long understudied. Kathy Johnston-Keane, Annali d’Italianistica, vol 28:2010