Animated Pulpits: On Performative Preaching in Seventeenth-Century Naples

Teresa Megale


The article foregrounds a number of cases of performative preaching in Naples under Spanish rule with particular attention to the specific form of competition between preachers and professional actors. In the churches and streets of the city, preaching was ever present, nourished by a mix of theatre and sacred oratory, a near realisation of the concept of théâtre sur le théâtre. Examples of this phenomenon are to be found in the cultural transformation of certain actors and impresarios into hypocritical, bigoted preachers and the dazzling voice of Giacomo Lubrano, the Jesuit poet, who created the rhetorical machinery of Neapolitan-style preaching.

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