The essay provides an analysis of how Prospero Bonarelli (1588-1659) started his literary and theatrical career, taking advantage of the fame of his brother Guidubaldo (1563-1608) author of the famous pastoral play Filli di Sciro. To introduce the argument, the article starts by addressing the way Prospero represented the continuity between his brother’s work and his own in his letters and in two particular texts. These are the Introduction to the edition of Guidubaldo’s Works, which he himself edited, and a petition to the Duke of Tuscany Ferdinando II, a document which is published here as an appendix. The rest of the essay is divided into three parts. In the first part the author provides a reconstruction of the history of Bonarelli’s family in the years from 1575 to 1655. In the second part he studies how Prospero managed, both metaphorically and practically, the heritage of manuscripts and fame his brother had left him from 1608 (the year of Guidubaldo’s death) to 1612. In the third and last part he shows how Prospero exploited the network of friends and patrons “inherited” from his brother to promote his own first theatrical work, the tragedy Solimano.
Keywords: Italian literature; Italian 17th-century drama; Guidubaldo Bonarelli; Prospero Bonarelli.