Angelo Beolco, also known as Ruzzante, was a 16th-century actor and playwright. He is little known today, but when the Italian playwright Dario Fo was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1997, he put Ruzzante on the same level as Molière (quoted from Dario Fo's Nobel lecture on NobelPrize.org; emphasis mine):

Above all others, this evening you’re due the loud and solemn thanks of an extraordinary master of the stage, little-known not only to you and to people in France, Norway, Finland … but also to the people of Italy. Yet he was, until Shakespeare, doubtless the greatest playwright of renaissance Europe. I’m referring to Ruzzante Beolco, my greatest master along with Molière: both actors-playwrights, both mocked by the leading men of letters of their times. (...)
Ruzzante, the true father of the Commedia dell’Arte, also constructed a language of his own, a language of and for the theatre, based on a variety of tongues: the dialects of the Po Valley, expressions in Latin, Spanish, even German, all mixed with onomatopoeic sounds of his own invention. It is from him, from Beolco Ruzzante, that I’ve learned to free myself from conventional literary writing and to express myself with words that you can chew, with unusual sounds, with various techniques of rhythm and breathing, even with the rambling nonsense-speech of the grammelot.

That is quite an impressive eulogy on an author that few people remember. When looking for his works, I found scanned editions on Archive.org and six texts on the Italian Wikisource site but not a single translation. Hence my question: have any of Ruzzante's works ever been translated into English or French?


2 Answers 2


In addition to the volume edited by Eric Bentley that Benjamin Godfrey's answer already mentioned (The Servant of Two Masters And Other Italian Classics. Republished by Rowman & Littlefield in 2000; ISBN 978-0-936839-20-2), I also found the following translations:

  • Ruzante: L'Anconitana. The Woman from Ancona. Translated with an introduction and notes by Nancy Dersofi. Biblioteca Italiana. University of California Press, 1994. (192 pages) ISBN 9780520085268.
  • Angelo Beolco: Retour de guerre suivi de Bilora. Translated by Jean-Louis Benoit. Éditions Les Solitaires Intempestifs, 2005. (80 pages) ISBN 978-2-84681-128-6. (Retour de guerre is a translation of the same play that is included in Bentley's translation.)
  • Fanelli, Carlo; Trumper, John Bassett: A Translation from "Pavan" into English of Angelo Beolco's Parlamento de Ruzante, qual giera stò in campo / Ruzante's Discourse on Coming Back from the Battlefield. Edwin Mellen, 2012. (128 pages) ISBN 978-0-7734-4078-4. This is a rather expensive study that contains a translation of one of Beolco's plays.

Search WorldCat for The Servant of Two Masters: and Other Italian Classics / edited by Eric Bently, and you should find a library near you with a copy.

Ruzzante returns from the wars by Angelo Beolco is in it.

  • Thanks. You could significantly improve your answer by adding publishing information for Bently's edition and by replacing the WorldCat URL by a URL for an actual search ;-)
    – Tsundoku
    Jun 10, 2020 at 20:10

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