Date of Completion


Embargo Period



passions, seventeenth-century France, commedia dell'arte, comédie-italienne, Italian theater, Italian theater in France, Luigi Riccoboni, Evariste Gherardi, Domenico Biancolelli, Théâtre Italien

Major Advisor

Anne Berthelot

Associate Advisor

Andrea Celli

Associate Advisor

Stephen Bold

Field of Study

Literatures, Languages, and Cultures


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


Using as a foundation two “pillars” of early modern Italy and France—passions and Italian theater—this dissertation highlights the existence, purpose, and value of passions and emotions in the commedia dell’arte and the later Comédie-Italienne. This study, then, not only leads to a better understanding of these topics, but also to increased comprehension of the cultures and time periods to which they belonged, from late Renaissance Italy through seventeenth-century France. To this end, this project analyzes passions and emotions according to three main branches—“thinkers” (how passions were thought of and treated by philosophers, moralists, and observers of society), “masks” (how an actor “internalized” his/her character and expressed emotions), and plays (how emotions and passions are used in texts)—, with the first branch focusing on French texts, and the last two combining both French and Italian works. This research, although supported by modern studies on theater and mask theory, is based primarily on sixteenth- through eighteenth-century sources, as it is from the mouths of these philosophers, writers, and actors that we gain the greatest insight into the presence and performance of passions and emotions of the time. The work broadly looks at the interactions between Italy, France, and theater, and touches on certain “timeless” questions from a variety of fields: philosophy and ethics, male/female relationships, language and translation, social levels, history and modernity, theater and literature. This project, therefore, breathes new life into—and calls for a renewed interest in—the “pillars” and topics of this study, by looking at how they interact, build, and transform across time periods and cultures.

Available for download on Monday, May 06, 2030