“Copied from the age”. The Use of Rape on the Eighteenth-Century Stage

Starting date
October 1, 2016
Duration (months)
Foreign Languages and Literatures
Managers or local contacts
Calvi Lisanna

In 1727, the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane presented a production of Lewis Theobald’s Double Falsehood; or, The Distrest Lovers which its author, Lewis Theobald, claimed to be an adaptation of a play by William Shakespeare. The now lost early modern drama was based  on the Cardenio episodes in Cervantes’s Don Quixote, and presumably performed during the court season of 1612-13. If Theobald were working on a text of the lost Cardenio, one may think that he excised large portions of it, perhaps sacrificing a subplot, and yet looking at this eighteenth-century play, both the shape and the content of the supposed Shakespearean original is not clear, and scholars have hypothesized that Theobald probably based his work on a Restoration adaptation of a Renaissance text. The Epilogue of Double Falsehood focuses on the topic of rape, much popular on the Restoration and early eighteenth-century stage, claiming it is a ‘relic’ of the ancient play. Indeed, its treatment in Double Falsehood differs from how it was usually employed on the contemporary stage, that is, either titillation, through the exposition of the actress’s body, or political allegory, with special regard to the Tory vs Whig struggle. This project aims at investigating how this topic is dealt with in Double Falsehood by comparing it with the treatment it gets both in the Cervantine source and on the early modern and Restoration stage.

Importo previsto relativo alle missioni:
FUR Calvi € 900

Project participants

Lisanna Calvi
Associate Professor
Research areas involved in the project
Letteratura inglese e letterature anglofone


Research facilities