Author: Horn, Philip
Giraldi, G. B.
Selene is quintessential court theater, written by a courtier, performed before courtiers, and depicting events at a fictitious court. This volume proposes that after 1546, when he entered the service of the Duke of Ferrara as Secretary, Giraldi the playwright had more practical and pressing concerns than the pursuit of literary fame. Charged with the organization of dramatic entertainment, his prime obligation was to devise lively theatrical spectacles for the enjoyment and edification of his peers at court, and he used the theater as an instrument of moral and religious persuasion and as a vehicle for dynastic propaganda. In 1546 Giampaolo Manfrone had been convicted of two assassination attempts against Duke Ercole; it was politically apt, therefore, that Giraldi's choice of plot for the cautionary drama Selene should have been the downfall of a power-hungry noble intent upon murdering his sovereign. The introduction discusses personal experiences and cultural influences at work in Selene. Chapter I examines Giraldi's exposé of court life written for the guidance of an aspiring young courtier and based on his knowledge of the Ferrarese court. Chapter II illustrates his close rapport, as dramatist, with the Duke. Chapter III sets the play in the context of the burgeoning contemporary literature concerning the excellence of women. The Notes to the play comment on its ideological content, resolve syntactical problems, and clarify the movements of the actors on stage. The Glossary lists all word-forms found in the text not represented in modern Italian.