The quotation in the title is taken from a 1606 pamphlet – "An essay of the meanes hovv to make our trauailes, into forraine countries, the more profitable and honourable" – and is symptomatic of a sort of anti-Italianate feeling. Though in later years this sentiment combined with anti-Machiavellianism, it had its origin in the English Reformation, when the Catholic Church and the Pope began to be perceived as threats. In drama, this feeling gave rise to venomous portraits of Italian or Italianate clerics. The essay examines some early embodiments of the “villainous Italian (popish) priest” and their derivation from the medieval Vice. The departure and arrival points of the investigation are John Bale’s "King Johan", which was performed during the Christmas festivities of 1538, and Christopher Marlowe’s "Doctor Faustus", probably composed in 1593. Looking at the genesis of the Italian villainous priest is of interest in view of the fact that in later centuries the character had a great number of descendants, both theatrical and non-theatrical. One of them was Father Schedoni, who figured first in Ann Radcliffe’s 1797 novel "The Italian", and then in James Boaden’s play, which was performed at the Haymarket in the same year.

'Beware of Rome': The Italian Villainous Priest in Tudor Drama

Nicoletta Caputo
2017

Abstract

The quotation in the title is taken from a 1606 pamphlet – "An essay of the meanes hovv to make our trauailes, into forraine countries, the more profitable and honourable" – and is symptomatic of a sort of anti-Italianate feeling. Though in later years this sentiment combined with anti-Machiavellianism, it had its origin in the English Reformation, when the Catholic Church and the Pope began to be perceived as threats. In drama, this feeling gave rise to venomous portraits of Italian or Italianate clerics. The essay examines some early embodiments of the “villainous Italian (popish) priest” and their derivation from the medieval Vice. The departure and arrival points of the investigation are John Bale’s "King Johan", which was performed during the Christmas festivities of 1538, and Christopher Marlowe’s "Doctor Faustus", probably composed in 1593. Looking at the genesis of the Italian villainous priest is of interest in view of the fact that in later centuries the character had a great number of descendants, both theatrical and non-theatrical. One of them was Father Schedoni, who figured first in Ann Radcliffe’s 1797 novel "The Italian", and then in James Boaden’s play, which was performed at the Haymarket in the same year.
Caputo, Nicoletta
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11568/882631
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