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Preface

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2024

Jo Ann Cavallo
Affiliation:
Columbia University, New York
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Summary

Intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization.

UNESCO (https://ich.unesco.org/en/what-is-intangibleheritage- 00003)

Many will remember that Opera dei Pupi was designated by UNESCO as an “Oral and Intangible Masterpiece in the Heritage of Humanity” in 2001. It remains much less known, however, that this popular tradition also had an illustrious history in the United States, especially in New York City due largely to the passion and perseverance of the preeminent Catanese-American puppeteer Agrippino Manteo. In 2010, the Manteo family donated to the Italian American Museum of New York over thirty of their Catanese-style puppets and most of the family's extant scripts, along with Italian chivalric publications from Agrippino's library and painted backdrops used during performances. This generous gift has in a real sense made tangible an extraordinary intangible cultural heritage.

The Italian American Museum of New York is scheduled to reopen in the fall of 2023 in a completely redesigned four-story building at 151 Mulberry Street—just down the block from the family's former marionette theater, Teatro Manteo, in Little Italy. In addition to a Manteo puppet display in the Museum's permanent exhibition, future plans include a full exhibit on the history of the Manteo family's puppet theater tradition featuring the marionettes donated by Agrippino's descendants.

At the time of this writing, I have scanned all of the extant notebooks in Agrippino Manteo's handwriting donated to the Italian American Museum as well as some additional privately owned scripts. The Museum, in turn, has scanned twenty-one notebooks from the Paladins of France cycle copied by Agrippino's son Mike Manteo. These scripts will soon be made available on both the Museum's website and the eBOIARDO website. While the Manteo Sicilian Marionette exhibit will give an idea of the artistic inspiration, cultural tradition, and artisanal craftsmanship at work in the construction of the wooden actors, the online scripts will give students, scholars, and the general public a unique window into an imaginative world that transcends the categories of elite and folk, Sicilian and American, and medieval and modern.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo (1884-1947)
The Paladins of France in America
, pp. xix - xx
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Preface
  • Jo Ann Cavallo, Columbia University, New York
  • Book: The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo (1884-1947)
  • Online publication: 28 February 2024
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  • Preface
  • Jo Ann Cavallo, Columbia University, New York
  • Book: The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo (1884-1947)
  • Online publication: 28 February 2024
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Preface
  • Jo Ann Cavallo, Columbia University, New York
  • Book: The Sicilian Puppet Theater of Agrippino Manteo (1884-1947)
  • Online publication: 28 February 2024
Available formats
×