Metamorphosing DanteAppropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First CenturiesVienna: Turia + Kant, 2010
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Cite as: Erminia Ardissino, ‘‘Perché mi vinse il lume d’esta stella’: Giovanni Giudici’s Rewriting of Dante’s Paradiso for the Theatre’, in Metamorphosing Dante: Appropriations, Manipulations, and Rewritings in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, ed. by Manuele Gragnolati, Fabio Camilletti, and Fabian Lampart, Cultural Inquiry, 2 (Vienna: Turia + Kant, 2010), pp. 137–52 <>

‘Perché mi vinse il lume d’esta stella’Giovanni Giudici’s Rewriting of Dante’s Paradiso for the TheatreErminia Ardissino

Keywords: Alighieri, Dante – Divina Commedia – Paradiso; productive reception; stage adaptions; Giudici, Giovanni

Transforming a text — narrative or poetic — into a play, made of dialogues and organized into scenes, has been one of the most frequent forms of literary transcodification both in the past and in the present. We can find examples of this procedure at the very origins of Italian theatre, which indeed began as the rewriting of earlier texts, both in the sacre rappresentazioni and in the profane field: the Bible in the first case and the Ovidian mythologies in the second. Poliziano’s Fabula d’Orfeo and Cefalo e Procri by Niccolò da Correggio are the first well-known examples of this process.

Thus, the metamorphosis of a text into a dramatization has many models in the history of theatre and literature. It would be of great interest to start with an overview of the different types, aims, and forms of transcodification of texts that are enacted in order to create dramatizations capable of being performed on stage. It is impossible to do this here, but I will nonetheless attempt to offer an introduction to my study of Giovanni Giudici’s play about Dante’s Paradiso with a brief discussion of three different practices of theatrical transcodification. I will look at three pièces written at the request of the Italian scenographer Federico Tiezzi between 1989 and 1990 as stage productions of the three cantiche of the Divine Comedy. Although they belong to the same project, are inspired by the same person, and share a unified aim, the three pièces created by Edoardo Sanguineti, Mario Luzi, and Giovanni Giudici show three different approaches to the task of transcodifying a text in order to produce a drama — the task, in Genette’s words, of creating a theatrical palimpsest.


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