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“Well-Staged Syllables”
Metrica e teatro fra antichità classica e Rinascimento inglese

October 29, 2020, 5.00 p.m.

Room T.10, Palazzo di Lingue, Lungadige Porta Vittoria, 41, Verona


Guido Avezzù, Angelica Vedelago,

Emanuel Stelzer

The seminar is part of the 2017 PRIN Project



Guido Avezzù (Università di Verona): “Early Modern English Receptions of Classical Metres for the Theatre”


Guido Avezzù will provide some basic notions concerning Greek and Latin quantitative versification, specifically in relation to the typologies of dramatic performance. In particular, Avezzù will discuss 1) isosyllabic and anisosyllabic permutability (variously depending on a mimetic intention to reproduce the spoken word vs the constraints of the sung and chanted parts), and 2) the spoken/recited segmentations in relation to narrative demands as opposed to more direct mimetic purposes. The general aim is to verify the reception of a number of classical typologies in early modern English metrical theory and drama. This analysis will provide an essential basis to address two issues: a) whether, and how, early modern authors were familiar with the features of classical versification, and whether the latter determined their theoretical formulations; b) to which extent early modern translators and adapters recognised in the classical text and in the source language the different functions carried out by the various metrical typologies (recitation vs song), and whether, and how, they were able to find their equivalent in the target language.


Angelica Vedelago (Università di Verona): “Ex variis metri generibus: Classical Prosody in the English Renaissance and Examples of Versification in Neo-Latin Drama”


Angelica Vedelago will consider the role played by grammar schools, manuals and treatises in the circulation of the culture of classical prosody with a view to understanding to what extent Elizabethan playwrights were potentially knowledgeable about and skilled in this discipline. Furthermore, an analysis of some extracts from Neo-Latin tragedies of the period will illustrate how such a prosodic education sometimes resulted in outstanding metrical compositions.


Emanuel Stelzer (Verona University): “Dramatic Blank Verse in ‘a rhyming age’”


Emanuel Stelzer will focus on the development of blank verse in early modern English drama, evaluating its success in the Elizabethan and early Jacobean period. In the first part of his presentation, Stelzer will talk about the origin of blank verse as an imitation of Italian endecasillabi sciolti and as a response to a vernacular aspiration towards the adaptation of classical dramatic metres. In the second part, he will discuss the ‘prosodic literacy’ of Elizabethan audiences and how certain characteristics of the early modern acting style were conceived as ideal reincarnations of classical actio.


The seminar will be held in Italian.

To attend the seminar on Zoom please e.mail

To attend the seminar in class please e.mail 

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