In this second volume of Renaissance Comedy, Donald Beecher presents six more of the best-known plays of the period, each with its own introduction, reading notes, and annotations. Beecher's general introduction, though stand-alone, complements and extends the historical and critical essay prefacing the first volume. Together, the eleven plays in both volumes illuminate the range, variety, and development of the Italian comedy.
The second volume of Renaissance Comedy raises fascinating questions about the uses of classical literature, the conventions of comedy, the politics of theatrical production, and the representation of contemporary social issues. Though it is clear that comedic plays exercised considerable influence over the development of European drama, these plays are above all remarkable for their sheer wit and invention, and their capacity to generate laughter and admiration in readers nearly half a millennium later.