In 1880, the first modern editor to publish a collection of commedia dell'arte scenarios noted, not without surprise, that ‘the earliest professional actors were almost all writers as well’. ‘Almost all’ is perhaps an exaggeration. Yet the literary production of comic players, and particularly that of the second and third generation of actors, is impressive for its quantity as well as its variety. It ranges from Giovan Paolo Fabbri's Capitoli alla Carlona and Adriano Valerini's historically important essay on the beauties of Verona, to the Rime of Isabella Andreini, in which she established a dialectic connection between the art of writing and that of the theatre:
If you will read one day
my neglected verses, don't be taken in by
these feigned ardours
I am used to playing in dramatic love scenes
with such insincere passions
with lying and mock expressions.
I unfold the Muses' high furores
sometimes weeping in false sorrow
sometimes singing with false pleasure.