About the author: Mary Morrison (PhD Cambridge) was from 1946 to 1977 Lecturer in the French Department of Bristol University. She contributed articles on various aspects of neo-Latin literature and French Renaissance poetry to Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, and collaborated with Christine Hill on a critical edition of Robert Garnier's Hippolyte and Marc Antoine (Athlone Press, 1975) and with Peggy Osborn on an annotated edition of Giraldi's Cleopatra (Exeter University Press, 1985).1997 0-7734-8636-4
This study examines the creative processes by which Giraldi transforms his narrative source, usually a novella from his own Hecatommithi, into a five act drama, conforming, more or less, to the conventions of 'regular' classical tragedy. Giraldi, devising these entertainments for the court of his patron, Ercole II, Duke of Ferrara, begins each play by designing an appropriate stage set of the Serlian type (the perspective of a city), to be built and painted by professional artists under his direction; he than adds to the plot new personages, drawn from court life or reflecting topical problems, and places these in situations of tension, with moments of surprise and occasional outbursts of violence. This study demonstrates these points by giving a summary of the relevant novella, followed by a scene by scene synopsis of the play. The detailed synopses will allow all students of drama to appreciate the nature of Giraldi's court entertainments by drawing attention to the non-literary aspects of his dramaturgy, to décor, movement and spectacle. With illustrations.