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Reforming theatre in Farnese Parma: the case of the Accademia degli Innominati (1574-1608)

Sampson, L. (2016) Reforming theatre in Farnese Parma: the case of the Accademia degli Innominati (1574-1608). In: Everson, J. E., Reidy, D. V. and Sampson, L. (eds.) The Italian academies 1525-1700: networks of culture, innovation and dissent. Italian Perspectives (31). Legenda, Oxford, pp. 62-76. ISBN 978190966575

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The essay explores the socio-cultural role of the main academy in Parma, the Innominati (1574-1608), which flourished in the years when the Farnese dynasty was beginning to assert more forcefully its political control over the new state of Parma and Piacenza. The Innominati was from the start associated with the ruling dynasty, who must have recognized the importance of its cultural activities to strengthening their regime, particularly in the absence of a strong local university. This essay explores the institution’s contested position within the cultural landscape – as reflected also in its membership of courtiers, clergymen, and feudal aristocrats with more ambivalent relations with the Farnese. In particular, the focus falls on the theatrical activities of the group during the 1580s, a decade which saw the establishment of the Parma Index (1580) and the succession of the internationally celebrated Duke Alessandro Farnese (1587). Based on the little surviving evidence it is argued that the Academy in the 1580s became a creative hub for theatrical experimentation – through theoretical debate and composition, and possibly even performance. However, as relations between the Farnese and the local elites, especially feudal aristocrats, became more contested the Academy’s theatrical production and the public memory of this became increasingly controlled.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Early Modern Research Centre (EMRC)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > Italian
ID Code:46255

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