Convent Theatre in Early Modern Italy
This book is a study of convent theatre in Italy, an all-female tradition. Widespread in the early modern period, but virtually forgotten today, this activity produced a number of talented dramatists and works worthy of remembrance. Convent authors, actresses and audiences, especially in Tuscan houses, the plays written and produced, and what these reveal about the lives of convent women, are the focus of this book. Beginning with the earliest known performances of miracle and mystery plays (sacre rappresentazioni) in the late fifteenth century, the book follows the development in the convents at the turn of the sixteenth century of spiritual comedy and of a variety of dramatic forms in the seventeenth century. Convent theatre both reflected the high level of literacy among convent women and contributed to it, and it attested to the continuing close contact between the secular world and the convents - even in the Post Tridentine period.