Culinary Professions in Early Modern Italian Comedy Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Weintritt, April
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • This dissertation explores representations of the cook and the deliveryman – il cuoco e lo zanaiuolo – in Renaissance Italian comedy (1509-1560). The figure of the cook is well established in ancient comedy and in Athenaeus’s Deipnosophistae (The Learned Banqueters), and centuries later several playwrights, including Ludovico Ariosto, Agnolo Firenzuola, Alessandro Piccolomini, Giovan Battista Gelli, and Giovanni Maria Cecchi, feature cooks and novel food purveyors in their comedies. In a rapidly changing Early Modern society, culinary professionals provide crucial insight into the sustenance of households in urban centers, mediating how communities interact with their foods. As members of the working class, cooks and deliverymen offer a unique perspective on social dynamics of the period, different from that offered by political and religious courts. Comedies that include these professionals rely, in part, on previous canons to characterize the figures, yet they do so in conversation with contemporary settings and everyday realities of Early Modern Italy. As cooks reappear on the stage throughout the sixteenth century, typified roles establish them as a Renaissance version of the classical stock character. The development of the novel deliveryman as a member of the cast, instead, suggests an increasingly diverse number of professions in Italian city centers and a consequential push towards innovative representations of a more inclusive world in Early Modern theater.
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  • In Copyright
  • Luisetti, Federico
  • Rao, Ennio
  • Escolar, Marisa
  • Wolfe, Jessica
  • Fritz-Morkin, Maggie
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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