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Representation of the servants in Croatian comedy from the 16th until the middle of the 19th century


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Gospić Županović, Ana. (2015). Representation of the servants in Croatian comedy from the 16th until the middle of the 19th century. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Comparative Literature. [mentor Senker, Boris].

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The theses identifies and analyses the typical features in the representation of the servant characters in the Croatian comedy of the early modern period between the 16th and the beginning of the 19th century. The analysis includes the characters of servants in comedy plays of various genre: in the erudite comedies of Marin Držić, in the comedy Hvarkinja by playwright Martin Benetović from Hvar, in the anonymous 17th century comedies from Dubrovnik (the so-called smješnice) and finally in the plays by the kajkavian playwright Tituš Brezovački. Due to the lack of any thorough analysis of the characters of servants in the Croatian literary and theatrical history, the main purpose of this study is to provide an analysis of the description of the servants in the aforementioned comedies and define the image of servants as a historical-typological category in relation to the adopted features of the generic model of comedy. In the comedies of Marin Držić the image of servants draws on the defining characteristics of the slaves from the Roman comedy – primarily Plautine comedy (servus callidus, servus bonus), but also of cooks (cocus) and parasites (parasitus) and to a certain extent of agroikos in accordance with the humanist-renaissance rules of social decorum and the poetics of imitation and contamination. In the plays of Martin Benetović a syncretic concept of servants is evident (a syncretic merge of the tradition of the erudite comedy, the Venetian-Paduan farce and the comic masks of zanni from commedia e ’a e). In smješnice, the characters of servants are conceptualized according to the comic masks zanni from commedia e ’a e: the typical identifying features and the characterization of these masks appear in the form of different local types of servants in smješnice. In the plays of Tituš Brezovački the basic model of servants is more difficult to establish because of the generic characteristics of his work. The servants’ characteristics to a lesser extent draw from the conventions of the Western European comedy tradition, and mostly move away from the comic description thus becoming a vehicle for the presentation of specific philosophical social theses. This makes them carriers of the ideological and tendentious layer of the comedy and also exponents (e.g. servant Diogeneš) of social criticis. The analysis also focuses on how the relationship between the master and the servant is described. The basic conventions and comic components which construct the relationship on the fictional level are identified but at the same time the attention is drawn to the fact that the analysis needs to be placed in the context of the socio-historical reality and the social structures of the period. Thus the basic changes are identified in the representation and evolution of the relationship between the master and the servant in the diachronic trajectory of the Croatian comedy of the early modern period. Since the influence of carnivalesque elements and the carnivalesque aesthetics is apparent, some opposing theories concerning the purpose and function of the carnival are problematized, but no final and unambiguous answers are given. The final analysis provides the conclusion that the characters of servants on the Croatian stage are created according to the dominant models appearing in the Western European comedies of the period, and that in diachronic order they represent the common trajectory of the character of a servant in the context of his gradual or final disengagement from the paternalistic structures of dependence.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: characters of servants, concept and typology, early modern period, comedy, comic, convention, lazzi, relation master-servant, Saturnalia pattern, paternalism
Subjects: Comparative literature
Departments: Department of Comparative Literature
Supervisor: Senker, Boris
Date Deposited: 18 Nov 2015 09:57
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2021 10:55

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