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‘Repatriating’ Falstaff: Boito, Verdi and Shakespeare (in Translation)1

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2011

Denise Gallo
Music Division, Library of Congress, Washington, DC


In 1946, W.H. Auden began a series of weekly lectures on Shakespeare's plays at New York's New School for Social Research. Arriving at The Merry Wives of Windsor, he pronounced it ‘a very dull play indeed’. Nevertheless, he allowed, ‘We can be grateful for its having been written, because it provided the occasion of Verdi's Falstaff, a very great operatic masterpiece’. Having nothing to say about The Merry Wives, he played a recording of the opera for the duration of the class.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2010

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2 Arthur C. Kirsch reconstructed Auden's lectures from notes of students who had taken the course, among them Alan Ansen, who became Auden's secretary. For Auden's dismissal of The Merry Wives, see Kirsch, 's Lectures on Shakespeare (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002): 124Google Scholar.

3 Dennis is credited with introducing the thespian legend that the comedy had been dashed off at the whim of Elizabeth I: ‘This Comedy was written at her Command, and by her direction, and she was so eager to see it Acted, that she commanded It to be finished in fourteen days; and was afterwards, as Tradition tells us, very well pleas'd at the Representation’ (see the preface of Dennis, 's The Comical Gallant, or the Amours of Sir John Falstaffe (London: A. Baldwin, 1702)).Google Scholar This account later appeared in the first modern edition of Shakespeare's plays, edited by Nicholas Rowe (London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, 1709), and in Gildon, CharlesRemarks on the Works of Shakespear (London: Printed for E. Curll and E. Sanger),Google Scholar a spurious addition to the 1710 edition of Rowe. In his commentary on Falstaff's character, William Hazlitt wrote: ‘We could have been contented if Shakespear [sic] had not been “commanded to shew the knight in love”.’ See his Characters of Shakespear's Plays, 2nd ed. (London: Taylor & Hessey, 1818): 328–30Google Scholar.

4 Hazlitt, ibid.

5 Notes on Shakespeare's Workmanship (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1917): 124.Google Scholar

6 ‘The Italianate Background of The Merry Wives of Windsor’, in Essays and Studies in English and Comparative Literature (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1932): 81–117, 104Google Scholar.

7 The Operas of Verdi, Vol. 3: From Don Carlos to Falstaff, rev. ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992): 420.Google Scholar

8 Verdi's Falstaff in Letters and Contemporary Reviews (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1997): xxvii.Google Scholar

9 Shakespeare and Opera (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990): 321–2.Google Scholar Both the Quarto and Folio texts take their names from a printing format: a quarto is folded twice, producing eight printed pages while a folio is folded in half, allowing for four. Some 21 plays were printed as individual Quartos, some even during Shakespeare's lifetime. The First Folio, published in 1623 as Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, contained 36 plays.

10 Shakespeare reportedly condemned pirated versions of his theatrical works but did nothing to protect them. Published in 1602 and again in 1619 without his intervention, the Quarto was entitled A Most pleasaunt/ and excellent conceited Co-/ medie, of Syr John Falstaffe, and the / merrie Wives of Windsor. / Entermixed with sundrie / variable and pleasing humors, of Syr Hugh / the Welch Knight, Justice Shallow, and his / wise Cousin M. Slender. / With the swaggering vaine of Auncient / Pistoll, and Corporall Nym, suggesting a plot involving Falstaff and the wives that incorporated episodes featuring the other characters. This title adds credence to the theory that the Quarto represented a loosely constructed play allowing the addition or deletion of stage business. For early discussions of the publishing history of Shakespeare's works, see Neilson, W.A. and Thorndike, A.H.The Facts About Shakespeare (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1913): 136Google Scholar; and Peter Augustin Daniel'sintroduction to William Griggs' photo-lithographic facsimile of the 1602 Quarto of The Merry Wives of Windsor (London: W. Griggs, 1888): v–xixGoogle Scholar.

11 just shy of 30 years after the premiere of Falstaff, George van Santvoord, editor of the 1922 Yale Shakespeare edition of The Merry Wives (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press),Google Scholar noted operas based on the comedy, citing Balfe, MichaelFalstaff (1838) andGoogle ScholarNicolai, OttoDie lustigen Weiber von Windsor (1849).Google Scholar He then concluded, ‘The greatest of the operatic versions of the play is Verdi's Falstaff’ (125). Pre-dating Ralph Vaughan Williams's Sir John in Love by two years, his list nevertheless failed to include Salieri, AntonioFalstaff (1799)Google Scholar.

12 Verdi and Boito's correspondence during the planning stages of Falstaff confirms that both were familiar with the knight's every appearance in Shakespeare: ‘Before reading your sketch’, Verdi wrote to Boito on 6 July 1889, ‘I wanted to reread the Merry Wives, the two parts of Henry IV and Henry V …’. (‘Prima di leggere il vostro schizzo ho voluto rileggere le Allegre Comari, le due parti dell' Enrico IV, e l'Enrico V …’. ) Unless otherwise noted, all translations are the author's. William Weaver's translations of Verdi and Boito's letters may be found in The Verdi–Boito Correspondence (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994),Google Scholar originally published as Carteggio Verdi–Boito, ed. Conati, Marcello and Medici, Mario (Parma: Istituto di Studi Verdiani, 1978).Google Scholar The Italian texts of correspondence throughout the present article are transcribed from the latter. Although Falstaff does not appear in Henry V, his death is described in Act II, scene iii by Pistol's wife, the Hostess. Further to Boito's reliance on Shakespeare, James Hepokoski has suggested that some lines in the libretto may have been inspired by The Comedy of Errors and As You Like It. For a comprehensive discussion of Boito's borrowings, see Hepokoski's Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983): 33–4Google Scholar.

13 For discussions of the sonnet, see Senici, Emanuele, ‘“Se potessimo tornare da capo”: A Response to Linda Hutcheon and Michael Hutcheon’, in Verdi 2001: Proceedings of the International Conference, Parma—New York—New Haven, 24 January –1 February 2001, ed. Seta, Fabrizio Della, Marvin, Roberta Montemorra and Marica, Marco, 2 vols consecutively paginated (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2003): 937–43,Google Scholar and idem, ‘Verdi's Falstaff at Italy's Fin de Siècle’, The Musical Quarterly 85 (2001): 274–310.

14 See Verdi's letter to Léon Escudier of 28 April 1865, cited in Verdi's ‘Macbeth’: A Sourcebook, ed. Rosen, David and Porter, Andrew (New York: W.W. Norton, 1984): 119Google Scholar (cited in part in n. 27 below); the entire text of the letter may also be found in Giuseppe Verdi: Lettere, 1835–1900, ed. Porzio, Michele (Milan: Mondadori, 2000): 166Google Scholar.

15 Another translator was Michele Leoni. In addition to a collected edition published between 1819 and 1822 as Tragedie di Shakespeare, the following plays appeared as individual volumes: Julius Caesar (1881 and 1815),Google ScholarRomeo and Juliet (1814),Google ScholarHamlet (1814),Google ScholarRichard III (1815),Google ScholarThe Tempest (1815),Google ScholarMacbeth (1815),Google ScholarA Midsummer Night's Dream (1818)Google Scholar and Othello (1814, 1823 and 1825).Google Scholar Leoni did not translate The Merry Wives; given his penchant for translating into poetry, he must have ignored it because its text is primarily in prose. In addition to Rusconi, and Carcano, , Weaver, William noted that Verdi also owned an illustrated Shakespeare in English, edited by Knight, Charles (1852),Google Scholar as well as François-Victor Hugo's translations, whose importance to Falstaff will be explored shortly. For discussions of the translators, see Weaver, 's ‘Verdi, Shakespeare, and the Libretto’ (144–8);Google ScholarDegrada, Francesco ‘Observations of the Genesis of Verdi's Macbeth’ (156–73);Google Scholar and Porter, Andrew ‘Verdi and the Italian Translations of Shakespeare's Macbeth’ (351–5),Google Scholar in Verdi's Macbeth: A Sourcebook. Specific references to the translations of Shakespeare used for Falstaff may also be found in Hepokoski, Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff.

16 Evans, called Sir Hugh in the 1602 Quarto, has the following speech in Act I, scene i: ‘The matter is pud [put] to arbitrarments. The first man is M. Page, videlicet [fidelicet], M. Page. The second is my selfe, videlicet my selfe. And the third and last man, is mine host of the gartyr’. In the Folio text, the character, then called Evans, says: ‘Peace, I pray you: now let vs vnderstand: there is three Vmpires in this matter, as I vnderstand; that is, Master Page (fidelicet Master Page,) & there is my selfe, (fidelicet my selfe) and the three party is (lastly, and finally) mine Host of the Garter’. Most modern translations render the speech, with its linguistic mockery of the Welsh Evans, as found the Quarto.

17 See Rusconi, 's Teatro Completo di Shakspeare [sic] voltata in prosa italiana, Vol. VI (Torino: Cugini Pomba e Comp. Editori, 18521853): 51, n. 1.Google Scholar

18 Schlegel's essay on Shakespeare was published in Volume 2 of his Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Litteratur (Heidelberg: Mohr und Zimmer, 1809).Google Scholar The original text reads: ‘Unter allen Stücken Shakspeares nähert sich dieses am meisten der Gattung des reinen Lustspiels: es spielt ganz in damaligen englischen Sitten … fast alle Charaktere sind komisch, und der Dialog, ein paar kurze Liebesscenen ausgenommen, ist in Prosa geschrieben’ (284). Rusconi seems to have borrowed liberally from Gherardini's translation of Schlegel, , Corso di letteratura drammatica (Milan: Giusti, 1817),Google Scholar making only minor changes. For example, Rusconi translated the above-cited passage as follows (Gherardini's choice of words appears in braces): ‘Fra tutte le opere di Shakspeare [sic], Le Allegre Femmine di Windsor {Le donne di buon umori di Windsor} è quella che piü s'accosta al genere della pura commedia. Questo dramma si fonda {volge} interamente sulla dipintura degli antichi costumi inglesi …. Quasi tutti i caratteri sono comici; e il dialogo, tranne due scene d'amore brevissime, è sempre in prosa’ (73–4).

19 Gherardini referred to Molière's play by the original French title.

20 The letter, written on 10 May 1886, boldly indicates how Boito was willing to rationalize using what he considered a bad translation, a point Verdi, in correspondence Boito had received that day, had called to his attention as (in Boito's words) a ‘caso di coscienza’ (a case of conscience): ‘What I am about to say seems blasphemous. I prefer Rusconi's phrase. It expresses important things that the text [Shakespeare] does not, reveals Jago's evil soul, Otello's good faith and announces to all who hear it a sinister tragedy. Because we had to give up the marvellous scenes that take place in Venice, in which these sentiments are expressed, Rusconi's phrase becomes truly useful. My opinion is to save it as it is translated. That doesn't alter the fact that Rusconi was wrong to adulterate Shakespeare's idea. The fidelity of a translator must be truly scrupulous but those who transform a translated work into their own art form may, in my opinion, be less scrupulous. He who translates has an obligation not to change the literal meaning of the words; the mission of one who artistically transforms it is to preserve its spirit. The former is a slave, the latter is free. Rusconi's phrase is not faithful [to Shakespeare's text], that is a fault of the translator, but it fits well enough into the spirit of the tragedy and the adapter must take full advantage of it. Proceeding with that rationale, we arrive at the following result: By adopting Rusconi's wrong, we are right’. (‘Quella che sto per scrivere pare una bestemmia. Preferisco la frase di Rusconi. Esprime maggiori cose che non esprima il testo, rivela il male animo di Jago, la buona fede d'Otello ed annuncia a chi l'ode tutta una tragedia di insidie. Per noi che abbiamo dovuto rinunciare alle mirabili scene che hanno luogo a Venezia, dove sono accennati quei sentimenti, la frase del Rusconi torna utilissima. Il mio parere è di conservarla come ce la dà il traduttore. Ciò non toglie che il Rusconi abbia avuto torto d'adulterare un pensiero di Shakespeare. La fedeltà d'un traduttore dev'essere assai scrupulosa, ma la fedeltà di chi illustra colla propria arte l'opera d'un'arte diversa può, a parer mio, essere meno scrupulosa. Chi traduce ha il dovere di non mutare la lettera: chi illustra ha la missione d'interpretare lo spirito. L'una è schiavo, l'altro è libero. La frase di Rusconi è infedele, questo è un torto per un traduttore, ma entra assai bene nello spirito della tragedia e di questa virtù l'illustratore deve fare il proprio vantaggio. Procedendo con codesto ragionamento arriviamo al segunte risultato: Noi adottando il torto di Rusconi abbiamo ragione’.) Carteggio Verdi–Boito, Vol. 1, 104.

21 Michele Girardi has demonstrated Boito's use of Hugo's translations of the Henry plays in the creation of the character of Falstaff in ‘Fonti francesi del Falstaff: Alcuni aspetti di drammaturgia musicale’, in Arrigo Boito, ed. Morelli, Giovanni (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 1994): 395430Google Scholar.

22 ‘… l'oeuvre définitivement retouchée par le maître’. See Oeuvres complètes de W. Shakespeare, Tome 14, Les Farces, 2nd ed. (Paris: Librairie Pagnerre, 1873): 12Google Scholar.

23 See Hepokoski, JamesGiuseppe Verdi: Otello (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987): 24.Google Scholar Federica Riva, Music Librarian of the Conservatorio di Musica ‘Arrigo Boito’, Parma, graciously provided a list of Boito's Shakespeare editions housed in that library's collections. Among them are two editions of the Hugo translations, one 16-volume set published in Paris by Lemerre (1873) and the other a 15-volume second edition published in Paris by Pagnerre (1865–73). The three English editions are The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Leipzig: Baumgartner, 1854)Google Scholar; The Works of Shakespeare, reprinted from the early edition (London: Frederick Warne & Co., 1883)Google Scholar; and the 13 volumes of The Handy Volume Shakespeare (London: Bradbury, Agnew & Co, n.d.). A first edition of the Pagnerre Hugo translation, with annotations in Boito's hand, is housed in the Museo Teatrale della Scala.

24 See Bellaigue's letter to Verdi written on 12 February 1893 in Carteggio Verdi–Boito, Vol. 2, 302. A translation appears in Busch, , Verdi's Falstaff in Letters and Contemporary Reviews, 361.Google Scholar

25 ‘Dans votre lettre vous touchez avec une admirable clairvoyance, et du fin bout de votre doigt, à l'essence même de l'oeuvre. Vous dites: Voilà le vrai drame (ou la comédie) lyrique, moderne et latin. Mais ce que vous ne pouvez pas vous imaginer, c'est l'immense joie intellectuelle que cette comédie lyrique latine, produit sur la scène. C'xsest un vrai débordement de grâce, de force et de gaîté. L'éclatante farce de Shakespeare est reconduite par le miracle des sons, à sa claire source toscane de “Ser Giovanni Fiorentino”.’ See Lettere di Arrigo Boito, ed. Rensis, Raffaello De (Rome: Socièta Editrice di ‘Novissima’, 1932): 317.Google Scholar Although this letter has previously been dated April 1894, De Rensis notes that dating erroneously links the letter to the premiere of Falstaff that month at the Opéra-Comique.

26 From ‘Deux interviews – Giuseppe Verdi’, Le Figaro, 5 April 1894,Google Scholar cited here in Richard Stokes's translation from Interviews and Encounters with Verdi, ed. Conati, Marcello (London: Victor Gollanz, Ltd, 1984): 258Google Scholar (originally published in Italian as Interviste e incontri con Verdi (Milan: Edizioni il Formichiere: 1980)Google Scholar.

27 Thirty years earlier (28 April 1865), Verdi had expressed this esteem while defending the French revision of his opera Macbeth to Escudier: when a reviewer criticized Verdi's comprehension of the source play, the composer responded that to say ‘that I don't know, don't understand, and don't feel Shaspeare [sic] – no, by God, no. He is a favorite poet of mine, whom I have had in my hands from my earliest youth, and whom I read and reread constantly’; cited from Verdi's ‘Macbeth’, 119.

28 See Falstaff and Verdi's Final Narratives’, in Leonora's Last Act: Essays in Verdian Discouse (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997): 100125, 102.Google Scholar

29 Ibid., 111. See also Senici's two discussions, cited in n. 13 above.

30 Pozzi, Mario, Lingua e cultura del Cinquecento, Vol. 7 of Quaderni del Circolo filologico-linguistico padovano (Padua: Liviana, 1975): 223–5.Google Scholar The precursor to this linguistic movement was Alessandro Manzoni, whose I promessi sposi was recognized as the first work of modern literature in a unified Italian language. Manzoni's own writings on the implementation of Tuscan as the dialect of choice included Sulla lingua italiana (1846)Google Scholar and Dell'unità della lingua e dei mezzi per diffonderla (1868).Google Scholar Of course, Verdi's dedication of his Messa da Requiem to Manzoni eloquently speaks to the composer's admiration for his compatriot's place in Italian cultural history.

31 On 23 April 1894, Le Temps reported the sources for Falstaff as ‘les Joyeuses Commères de Windsor et les scènes de la tragédie d'Henri IV …’. In addition, the unnamed reviewer deemed that ‘a good portion of the success belongs to Shakespeare’ (‘une bonne part du succès appartient à Shakespeare’). For more of this review, see La réception de Verdi en France: Anthologie de la Presse 1845–1894, ed. Gartioux, Hervé (Weisberg: Musik-Edition Lucie Galland, 2001): 391–3Google Scholar.

32 Although Ser Giovanni's identity remains unknown, one significant biographical detail can be gleaned from his introduction to Il pecorone: as a result of the ciompi uprising in July of 1378, he lived as an exile in Dovadola, some 93 kilometres to the north-east of Florence. That he was an exile, however, associates him with the Signoria or with other powerful guilds temporarily ousted by the ciompi, who themselves were ejected by the end of August. Thus, Fiorentino's stay in Dovadola may have been rather short.

33 ‘The woman was seated at the hearth with Bucciuolo and hearing knocking at the door immediately thought that it was her husband, and took Bucciuolo and hid him under a pile of laundry, which was still not dry, and which she had for the time being put on a table at the foot of a window’. Ms. II, IV, 139 (Magliabechiano VI. 38) served as the primary basis for Esposito's edition. See Ser Giovanni, Il Pecorone, Vol. I of Classici italiani minori (Ravenna: Longo Editore, 1974): 27Google Scholar.

34 Il pecorone di Ser Giovanni Fiorentino, nel quale si contengono cinquanta novelle antiche, belle d'inventione et di stile ([Florence]: In Vinegia, appresso Domenico Farri, 1565).Google Scholar Since Esposito lists the two editions together (see his introduction on xlii), one may assume that this one is identical to the 1560 edition by the same publisher.

35 Esposito notes two other copyists' manuscripts of Il pecorone, both of which he also consulted for his edition: Codex 85 at the Biblioteca dell'Archivio Storico Civico e Trivulziana, Milan, and Codex Rediano 161 at the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Florence. According to Pina Robuschi Romagnoli, Ser Giovanni's original manuscript was the source of Magliabechiano VI. 38 and Codex 85; Rediano was most likely a copy of Magliabechiano manuscript. See her article ‘Ancora sulla struttura del Pecorone’, in Studi in onore di Alberto Chiari (Brescia: Paideia Editore, 1973): 1067–91.Google Scholar Esposito lists other editions published in 1630, 1650, 1740, 1793, 1795, 1804, 1815, 1830, 1832, 1833, 1853, 1866, 1879, 1910 and 1944 (see his introduction, xlii–xlv). The work also was translated and published outside of Italy.

36 Interviste e incontri, 253–4, n. 15; Interviews and Encounters, 263–4, n. 16.

37 ‘Alcuni incidenti furono forse suggeriti all'autore da un'antica traduzione del Pecorone di Ser Giovanni Fiorentino o dalle Piacevoli Notti dello [Giovanni] Straparola’. This note appears in later editions of Rusconi in comments beneath the list of characters; see, for example, Allegre spose du Windsor, commedia in cinque atti voltata in prosa italiana di C. Rusconi, 11th ed. (Roma: Forzana e C., 1878): n.pGoogle Scholar.

38 ‘Nel Pecorone di ser Giovanni Fiorentino (gior 1, nov. 2.), leggesi una storiella che ha molta analogìa coll'intrigo principale delle Donne di buon umori di Windsor’ (n. 1, 263). Schlegel does not mention this source.

39 See the Nota critica in the 10th edition of Carcano, 's Opere di Shakspeare [sic] (Milano: Ulrico Hoepli, 1881): 9Google Scholar.

40 Bucciuolo, 's tale is summarized in the Introduction to Les Farces, Oeuvres complètes de W. Shakespeare, 2nd ed., Tome 14 (Paris: Pagnerre, 1873): 33–4.Google Scholar ‘Les Aventures de Gianetto' is found in Tome 8: 426–8. Before his translation, Hugo notes that Il pecorone was first published in Milan in 1558. An English translation appeared in 1755; an abbreviated French translation was published in 1836. Hugo proclaims that his is the first complete version to be published in France.

41 In Boito's letter to Verdi, 16 May 1886, he suggested that he had done research into the historical source ‘del'Otello di Schakespeare [sic]’: Cinzio Giraldi's Ecatomiti. See letter 73 in Carteggio Verdi–Boito, Vol. 1, 101–2. For Hugo's translation, see Oeuvres complètes de W. Shakespeare, Tome 5/2: 443–58.

42 The Dramatic Genius of Verdi: Studies of Selected Operas, Vol. 2 (New York: St Martin's Press, 1977): 319.Google Scholar

43 The Operas of Verdi: From Don Carlos to Falstaff, rev. ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992): 431.Google Scholar

44 See n. 3 above.

45 See, for example, the textual notes by Mowat, Barbara A. and Werstine, Paul to The Merry Wives of Windsor in The New Folger Library Shakespeare (New York: Washington Square Press, 2004)Google Scholar and those by Melchiori, Giorgio in the Arden Shakespeare edition (Walton-on-Thames: EMEA, 2000)Google Scholar.

46 This explanation, Rolfe claimed, was introduced into Merry Wives editions as early as the 1790 text published by Edmund Malone. See his Shakespeare's Comedy of the Merry Wives of Windsor (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1882): 164, n. 34.Google Scholar Mowat, Werstine and Melchiori also subscribe to this theory. In addition, Rolfe noted, the direction ‘Qu’ was used for speeches assigned to Titania, the Fairy Queen in A Midsummer Night's Dream.

47 One such version, published in 1733, was edited by Lewis Theobald. See Vol. 1 of The Works of Shakespeare: In Seven Volumes, Collated with the Oldest Copies, and Corrected; With NOTES, Explanatory and Critical (London: Printed for A. Bettesworth and C. Hitch, J. Tonson, F. Clay, W. Feales, and R. Wellington): 301Google Scholar.

48 Guizot's translation appears in Vol. VI of his Oeuvres Complètes de Shakspeare [sic] (Paris: Didier et Ce 1862).Google ScholarSchlegel, 's translation is Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, Vol. 7 of Shakespeares Werke, übersetzt von Schlegel und Tieck (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1867)Google Scholar.

49 See n. 23 above for Boito's English editions of Shakespeare.

50 ‘Quel loro amore mi piace, serve a far più fresca e più solida tutta la commedia. Quell'amore la deve vivificar tutta e tanto e sempre per modo che vorrei quasi quasi eliminare il duetto dei due innamorati – In ogni scena d'insieme quell'amore è presente a modo suo.

È presente nella IIa parte del 1° Atto.

Nella IIa parte del 2° atto

Nella Ia e IIa parte del terzo.

È quindi inutile di farli cantare insieme da soli in un vero duetto. La loro parte, anche senza il duetto, sarà eficacissima [sic]; sarà anzi più efficace senza …. Vorrei come si cosparge di zucchero una torta cospargere con quel gajo amore tutta la comedia [sic] senza radunarlo in un punto’. See Carteggio Verdi–Boito, Vol. 1, 150.

51 ‘Certo la canzone di Fenton è appiciccata per dare un assolo al tenore e questo è male. Vogliamo toglierla?’ (7 July 1887).Google ScholarCarteggio Verdi–Boito, Vol. 1, 145.

52 See, for example, Wolfgang Osthoff's ‘Il sonetto nel Falstaff di Verdi’, translated by Bianconi, Lorenzo in Il melodramma italiano dell' Ottocento: Studi e ricerche per Massimo Mila (Turin: Giulio Einaudi, 1997): 157–86; andGoogle ScholarHepokoski, , Giuseppe Verdi, Falstaff, 30Google Scholar.

53 Tomlinson, Charles, The Sonnet: Its Origins, Structure, and Place in Poetry with Original Translations from the Sonnets of Dante, Petrarch, etc., and Remarks on the Art of Translating (London: John Murray, 1874; reprint, Folcroft, PA: Folcroft Press, 1970): 29.Google Scholar

54 This excerpt from Act I, scene v reflects lines 104–22 in the Shakespeare, FolgerLibrary's edition of the play, edited by Mowat, Barbara A. and Werstine, Paul (New York: Washington Square Press, 1992): 57–8.Google Scholar (Note: line numbers will often vary among editions).

55 The Quarto text ends in a comma; a period follows Romeo's last line. In the Folio, the sonnet ends with a colon and, as in the Quarto, Romeo's next line with a period. In his edition of 1709, Rowe introduced a stage direction not present in either the Quarto or Folio: that Romeo and Juliet kiss after the sonnet's final line, in essence breaking it off from Romeo's continuing dialogue. Some other modern editions place the kiss after the word ‘purged’. For more on this topic, see Lukas Erne's edition of The First Quarto of Romeo and Juliet, in The Early Quartos series of The New Cambridge Shakespeare (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007): 72Google Scholar.

56 See Roméo et Juliette in Hugo, 's Oeuvres, Tome VII, 271–2.Google Scholar Because this and subsequent examples so closely follow the meaning of the original passage, they will not be translated. Rather, their inclusion here is solely to demonstrate that none of the translators ‘imitated’ Shakespeare by crafting the text into sonnet form.

57 See Laura Vazzoler's commentary in Due Copioni da Shakespeare per Eleonora Duse (Rome: Bulzoni, 1984): 17Google Scholar.

58 Ibid., 87.

59 See Carcano, 's Giulietta/e/Romeo/Tragedia/di/Guglielmo Shakspeare (Milan: Giacomo Pirola, 1847): 5052.Google Scholar

60 Dott.ssa Riva confirmed in an e-mail dated 25 March 2009 that all of Boito's copies of Romeo and Juliet at the Conservatorio di musica ‘A. Boito’ were without marks or annotations.

61 Young's comments on understanding Petrarch and ‘voice’ may be found in The Poetry of Petrarch (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004): ix–xxvGoogle Scholar.

62 Petrie, Jennifer, The Augustan Poets, the Italian Tradition and the Canzoniere (Dublin: Irish Academic Press: 1983): 32.Google Scholar

63 Senici, , ‘Falstaff at Italy's Fin de Siècle’, 291.Google Scholar

64 Ibid., 287.

65 For a discussion of this concept, see Bermann, Sandra, The Sonnet Over Time: A Study in the Sonnets of Petrarch, Shakespeare, and Baudelaire (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988): 3Google Scholar.

66 Osthoff labels line 9 as this caesura, simply because, in theory, this shift should occur at this point. See ‘Il sonetto nel Falstaff di Verdi’, 172.

67 See Musselwhite, Laura Gilstrap, ‘Falstaff: Nationalism's Tie to Character Formation in the Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff, and Sir John in Love’, The Opera Journal 26/2 (Jun. 1993): 2133.Google Scholar

68 In his book Shakespeare: A Critical Study of His Mind and Art (London: Henry S. King & Co., 1875),Google Scholar Edward Dowden considered analysing the play in terms of language; the significance of this interpretation, however, has been taken seriously only recently.

69 Melchiori notes that ‘to be Englished rightly’ is a pun on the verb ‘ingle’ or cuddle, here suggesting that Mistress Ford is open to Falstaff's advances. Quickly's phrase, ‘the King's English’, was current at the time of Elizabeth I.

70 For more on this topic, see Kegl, Rosemary ‘“The Adoption of Abominable Terms”: The Insults That Shape Windsor's Middle Class’, ELH, 61/2 (summer 1994): 253–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

71 Phrase cited from Parker, , ‘Falstaff and Verdi's Final Narratives’, 124Google Scholar.

72 Conversations with Goethe, with Eckermann and Soret., trans. Oxenford, John, rev. ed. (London: George Bell & Sons, 1883): 164.Google Scholar

73 ‘The largest truth of literary influence is that it is an irresistible anxiety: Shakespeare will not allow you to bury him, or escape him, or replace him’, wrote Bloom, in The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975; 2nd ed., 1997): xviiiGoogle Scholar.

74 See, for example, Jacinto, Marchese di SanOsservazione sul merito dei maestri Bellini e Rossini in risposta ad un parallelo tra i medesimi, pubblicato in Palermo (Bologna: Della Volpe, 1834); andGoogle ScholarFerrer, Cavaliere di response, Rossini et Bellini (Paris: Éverat, 1836)Google Scholar.

75 This anonymous commentary on Benedix's writings appeared in The Atlantic Monthly 34/201 (Jul. 1874): 120.Google Scholar Together, Grabbe's and Benedix's books represent half a century of debate over the presence of Shakespeare in Germany, the former's Über die Shakespearo-Manie being published in 1827 and the latter's Die Shakespearmanie in 1873.

76 For a discussion of later critics' vision of Shakespeare, see Prior, Moody E.The Elizabethan Audience and the Plays of Shakespeare’, Modern Philology 49/2 (Nov. 1951): 101–23, 110Google Scholar.

77 ‘We single out one or two striking instances, say Shakespear [sic] or Bacon, which we would fain treat as prodigies, and as a marked contrast to the rudeness and barbarism that surrounded them’. From Hazlitt, William Carew edition of his grandfather's English Poets (1818)Google Scholar in Lectures on the Literature of the Age of Elizabeth (London: George Bell and Sons, 1890): 6Google Scholar.

78 Shakespeare and Radicalism: The Uses and Abuses of Shakespeare in Nineteenth-Century Popular Politics’, The Historical Journal 45/2 (2002): 357–79, 357–8.Google Scholar

79 The poem, entitled ‘O'Connor's Demonstration’, written by John Seety, appeared in the Northern Star and Leeds General Advertiser (30 Jul. 1842): 3Google Scholar.

80 Published in Northern Star (28 Nov. 1845): 2,Google Scholar the advertisement cites a line spoken by the character Adam in an attempt to convince the young Orlando to take him on as his servant. Here it is employed in quite a different way. Frampton's Pill of Health, advertised primarily throughout the Northern Star's Yorkshire circulation area, was said to be a cure that removed ‘all Obstructions in females’ such as headaches, depression, and nerves, while ridding them of pimples and blotches and giving their complexions ‘a healthy juvenile bloom’. See Marland, HilaryMedicine and Society in Wakefield and Huddersfield: 1780–1870 (Cambridge: CUP Archive, 1987): 241Google Scholar.

81 See Janowitz, 's Lyric and Labour in the Romantic Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998): 96.Google Scholar

82 Boito ‘era capace di lavorare una giornata intera per scrivere una cartolina postale diversa a tutte le cartoline di questo mondo; egli era maestro di giochi, intrecci e viluppi di parola, e rifà a meraviglia le combinazioni letterali e verbali di cui si compiacevano spesso gli uomini del medioevo, fino a Dante e al Petrarca’ – Boito ‘was able to work an entire day writing a postcard different from all other postcards in this world; he was a master of word play and put together marvels of letter and word combinations just like those in which medieval men like Dante and Petrarch took pleasure’. Cited by Nardi, Piero in Scapigliatura: da Giuseppe Rovani a Carlo Dossi (Milan: Mondadori, 1968): 157Google Scholar.

83 Unfortunately, this strategy drew criticism because of the obscurity of the terms. Hepokoski cites a review in La sera of 10 February 1893 in which the critic took the librettist to task for his use of ‘horrifying’ words such as ciuschero, cerèbro, pagliardo, sugliardo, scanfardo, scagnardo, falsardo, castigatoja, crepitacolo, assillo, and guindolo (Giuseppe Verdi: Falstaff, 30).Google Scholar As Hepokoski notes, Andrew Porter has written of the Boccaccian influence on Boito's choice of words, yet not all of these archaic terms can be attributed to the author of the Decamerone. The Vocabulario, grammatica, et orthographia de la lingua volgare, d'Alberto Acharisio da Cento, con espositioni di molti luoghi di Dante, del Petrarca, et del Boccaccio (1543) helps to identify other terms as ‘voci Dantesche’ from the Inferno; these terms are: guindolo (a reel for silk), ceffare (to catch by the snout or muzzle), acciaffare [cuffare] (to snatch with the teeth), arroncigliare [ronciliare. Roncigliare] (to shred, cut, weed out, grapple or take hold of), cialtrone (a prattler or babbler), crepitaccolo (a child's rattle, from crepirare – to rattle), falsardo (an imposter), galioffa (a secret pocket or a filching, cheating woman), gaglioffaria (a cheating, cunning trick), malvagia or malvasia (malmsie wine or candy wine), scanfarda (an overridden whore or doxie), scanfardaggine (a whore's condition or quality), spilluzzicare (to pluck out hair by hair, also to pinch here and there).

84 ‘Mi tormentava il Sonetto del Terz'Atto; e per togliermi questo chiodo dalla testa ho messo da parte il Second'Atto, e cominciando da quel Sonetto, giù giù una nota dopo l'altra sono arrivato sino alla fine. – Non è che uno sbozzo! E chi sa quanto vi sarà a rifare! Vedremo più tardi’. Carteggio Verdi–Boito, Vol. 1, 176.

85 For more on post-Unification disillusionment in Italy, see Parker, ‘Falstaff and Verdi's Final Narratives’; and Senici, ‘Falstaff at Italy's Fin de Siècle’.