The faces of Napoleon in the dramaturgy performed in Milan: three examples

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The article focuses on the faces of Napoleon proposed in the dramaturgy performed in Milan during the years following the thirteen months of Austro-Russian occupation: the search for Napoleonic faces seems to find the examples of greatest dramaturgical complexity in the periods in which Napoleon had by then clearly claimed for himself the role of absolute protagonist of the stage of history and often it was he himself who commissioned his portraits, and not only through pictorial art. The work is based on three examples, emblematic of three different historical-political moments, of authors of great significance for the contradictory and complex Milanese scene: Francesco Saverio Salfi's 'Pausania', Vincenzo Monti's 'Teseo' and Ugo Foscolo's 'Ajace' . The analysis goes to the heart of a crucial question concerning texts written for the theatre, to be considered as such, i.e. forms of public art, inextricably linked to the moment of performance that determines their meaning through the participation of the audience. Especially if playwrights are also intellectuals with wide-ranging training and multiple interests, dedicated to many forms of expression, art and communication, when they write for the stage, they do so bearing in mind the specifics of writing for the theatre, especially in terms of the relationship with an audience they well know, as well as its habits, reactions and ways of reception. This perspective can shed new lights on these works and allow for a deeper historical understanding of them
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteNapoleonic Milan Laboratory of modernity and strategies of representation
EditorAngelo Bianchi, Annamaria Cascetta
Numero di pagine26
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • 19th century Italian theatre
  • Francesco Saverio Salfi
  • Ugo Foscolo
  • Vincenzo Monti
  • politics and theatre


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