‘If we are not uprooted from the soil where we were born and replanted elsewhere, we never do a good thing’: the 'Gypsy' in the Italian Renaissance Comedy

When and Where

Thursday, April 21, 2022 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Online via Zoom - see event description for further information


Matteo Leta


My talk explores the ambiguous role of 'Gypsies' in the construction of the Renaissance imaginary of otherness. It will reconstruct the main coordinates of their description in Renaissance figurative art and literary culture, before analyzing three different Renaissance comedies: Ludovico Ariosto’s Negromante, Gigio Artemio Giancarli’s Zingana, and Giordano Bruno’s Candelaio. These texts, based on the complex idea of comic theater as a mirror of everyday reality, will allow us to understand which metaphors allowed for the creation and assimilation of Gypsy alterity and how Gypsies became emblematic of the different othernesses that populate the Renaissance imagination (Jews, Ottoman corsairs, vagabonds) to the point of becoming the perfect metaphor for the self-representation of the heterodox philosopher.

Dr. Leta received his doctorate from the Sorbonne. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Italian Studies at the University of Toronto. Previously, He was a Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and at the Istituto Italiano degli Studi Filosofici in Naples. He is primarily interested in Renaissance comedy, seeking to understand how ethnic and scientific otherness is presented on the sixteenth-century stage. His book Le Trompeur Trompé, dedicated to the representation of the charlatan in Italian and French Renaissance comedy and novella, is forthcoming this autumn from Les Belles Lettres (Paris).

To attend this lecture, please register at this link.  You will receive a confirmation email one day before the event containing information about joining the lecture.

All times stated in Eastern time.

Contact Information

Department of Italian Studies


Emilio Goggio Chair in Italian Studies - University of Toronto