Giuseppe Enrico Carpani e il teatro gesuitico in Arcadia

Valerio Sanzotta

This paper presents the figure of Giuseppe Enrico Carpani (1683-1762), who was significant in the context of the relationship between the Jesuits and the cultural life of the Arcadia. In particular, his Latin tragedies are a good example of traditional Jesuit drama and represent a successful attempt by the Society to redirect the Arcadian reform towards their pedagogic and moral aims. The political implications of Carpani’s tragedies are also discussed. His dedications to the Portuguese cardinal Nuno da Cunha and to the King of Portugal John V are politically significant, in view of the difficult relationships between the Pope, Portugal and the Jesuits. Finally, an episode of literary polemic concerning Carpani is studied in detail. After Carpani’s conservative poetics was criticized by the French Jesuits of the «Mémoires de Trévoux», Carpani received a heartfelt defence from Michele Giuseppe Morei. In this speech, printed as a preface to the fourth edition of Carpani’s tragedies (Rome 1750), Morei opposes the noble tradition of Greek authors, especially Euripides, to the exclusive use of French models, making this polemic relevant to the contemporary Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes.