This study examines the 38 anonymous plays performed at the state banquets that Doge Marino Grimani was required by law to offer four times a year to the leading senators and magistrates of the Venetian Republic. It explores the patronage, audience, site, performers and music of the first performances, and places their ideological content in the context of the Venice of 1600. The book asserts that their most unusual feature is a ludic use of rhetoric which betrays the influence of the Sienese "veglia" games. These games, which called for wit, verbal skill and variety of response, had recently penetrated Venice by means of Girolamo Bargagli's Dialogo de' Giuochi. They inspired the creation of a new theatrical form. A stylistic analysis of the Grimani plays suggests that all but one are the work of a single author, most likely Enea Piccolomini, a figure hitherto unknown to scholarship, and to whom one of the plays has traditionally been attributed.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd