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Publications [#357401] of Roseen Giles


  1. Giles, R. "Giambattista Marino’s L’Adone: A Drama of Madrigals." Italianist 40.3 (January, 2020): 419-440. [doi]
    (last updated on 2022/05/19)

    Giambattista Marino’s L’Adone (1623) is the longest poem written in the Italian language. Exceeding even Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (1581) in length, L’Adone lacks the most central characteristic of epic poetry: a coherent narrative. As the quintessential example of Italian seicentismo, L’Adone was censured by Marino’s severest critic, Tomaso Stigliani, for being a poem composed entirely of ‘a succession of madrigals’. The absence of a comprehensible story coupled with convoluted rhetoric makes L’Adone utterly impractical for musical setting. Why then was it a literary source for seventeenth-century opera? Similarly, why did madrigal composers seem to find it equally attractive? This article proposes that musical interpretations of Marino’s epic presented a challenge to the notion of dramatic verisimilitude; musical settings based on Marino’s epic demonstrate one of the principal musical debates of the century, namely the tension between the verisimilitude of opera and the artifice of the madrigal.

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