The Rise of the Diva on the Sixteenth-Century Commedia dell'Arte Stage

By Rosalind Kerr

© 2015

The Rise of the Diva on the Sixteenth-Century Commedia dell’Arte Stage examines the emergence of the professional actress from the 1560s onwards in Italy. Tracing the historical progress of actresses from their earliest appearances as sideshow attractions to revered divas, Rosalind Kerr explores the ways in which actresses commodified their sexual and cultural appeal.

Newly translated archival material, iconographic evidence, literary texts, and theatrical scripts provide a rich repertoire through which Kerr demonstrates how actresses skillfully improvised roles such as the maidservant, the prima donna, and the transvestite heroine. Following the careers of early stars such as Flaminia of Rome, Vincenza Armani, Vittoria Piissimi, and Isabella Andreini, Kerr shows how their fame arose from the combination of dazzling technical mastery and eloquent powers of persuasion. Seamlessly integrating the Italian and English scholarly literature on the subject, The Rise of the Diva is an insightful analysis of one of the modern world’s first celebrity cultures.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Illustrations: 26
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
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  • PUBLISHED MAR 2015

    From: $53.25

    Regular Price: $71.00

    ISBN 9781442649118
  • PUBLISHED FEB 2015

    From: $53.25

    Regular Price: $71.00

Quick Overview

The Rise of the Diva on the Sixteenth-Century Commedia dell’Arte Stage examines the emergence of the professional actress from the 1560s onwards in Italy.

The Rise of the Diva on the Sixteenth-Century Commedia dell'Arte Stage

By Rosalind Kerr

© 2015

The Rise of the Diva on the Sixteenth-Century Commedia dell’Arte Stage examines the emergence of the professional actress from the 1560s onwards in Italy. Tracing the historical progress of actresses from their earliest appearances as sideshow attractions to revered divas, Rosalind Kerr explores the ways in which actresses commodified their sexual and cultural appeal.

Newly translated archival material, iconographic evidence, literary texts, and theatrical scripts provide a rich repertoire through which Kerr demonstrates how actresses skillfully improvised roles such as the maidservant, the prima donna, and the transvestite heroine. Following the careers of early stars such as Flaminia of Rome, Vincenza Armani, Vittoria Piissimi, and Isabella Andreini, Kerr shows how their fame arose from the combination of dazzling technical mastery and eloquent powers of persuasion. Seamlessly integrating the Italian and English scholarly literature on the subject, The Rise of the Diva is an insightful analysis of one of the modern world’s first celebrity cultures.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Illustrations: 26
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘Kerr’s analysis of how actresses used their skill at recitation to capture the public is very fine, as is her account of their personal rivalries and those of their followers… Kerr’s study opens this area to English-speaking public and provides valuable insights.’


    Linda L. Carroll
    Renaissance and Reformation vol 38:03:2015

    ‘Kerr’s work is commendable for several reasons. It is theoretically grounded in unusual ways…It reflects her deep knowledge of the then prevailing social and cultural constructs of status and gender.’


    Maria Galli Stampino
    Renaissance Quarterly vol 69:04:2016

    ‘Kerr has made a significant contribution to our knowledge of commedia, identifying exciting themes for future examination and indicating fruitful ways of approaching them.’


    Domenico Pietropaolo
    Theatre Survey vol 58:01:2017

    ‘It is an excellent resource for English-speaking scholars. It opens the way for those interested in these aspects of theater history, women’s history, and commedia dell’arte in general to enrich their understanding of the multi-faceted impact of women’s performances on the early modern stage.’


    Julie D. Campbell
    Early Modern Women Journal vol 11:01:2017

    ‘Timely and fascinating, this study addresses what is arguably the single most important change in western theatre since classical times: the advent of the actress on the male-dominated stage… Everyone who is interested in how women broke into professional theatre and managed to stay there should read this book.’


    Pamela Allen Brown
    University of Toronto Quarterly vol 86:03:2017

    “With The Rise of the Diva on the Sixteenth-Century Commedia dell’Arte Stage, Rosalind Kerr offers both masterful research and compelling cultural critique, transported by clear, elegant writing. What a joy it is to read such an engaging text! Anyone studying celebrity culture, women’s negotiations of public space, or Renaissance theater writ large will need to come to terms with Kerr’s work.”


    Anne MacNeil, Department of Music, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    “A thorough consideration of the early modern actress is long overdue in theatre studies, and Rosalind Kerr’s Rise of the Diva more than satisfies this need.”


    Erith Jaffe-Berg, Department of Theatre, University of California, Riverside
  • Author Information

    Rosalind Kerr is a professor emerita in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    1. The Early Female Performer as Marketplace Fetish

    2. Pornographic Bawds, Courtesans, and Maidservants

    3. Iconic Prima Donnas

    4. Transvestite Heroines

    5. Isabella Andreini: The Making of a Diva

    6. Conclusion

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