Staging the Soul: Allegorical Drama as Spiritual Practice in Baroque Italy (Italian Perspectives #48) (Hardcover)
As per William Shakespeare, 'all the world's a stage'. But what if the human soul was a stage too? What if the stage of the world and the stage of the soul coincided? And what if the soul was also the main character of the play? These questions are at the core of this study, which explores pedagogical uses of allegorical drama in Italy in the decades around 1600, with a focus on the place of theatre in the education of female orphans in the hospitals of Venice. The consumption of morality plays is looked at as a form of spiritual practice modeled on long-lasting theatrical metaphors. In this context, tropes such as the theatrum mundi not only regained their literal meaning by being actually staged, but also turned into rhetorical devices able to promote the inner staging of the 'world' on the 'spiritual' stage of the soul.
Eugenio Refini is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at New York University.