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The Glorious Ones

3.54  ·  Rating Details ·  67 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

The Glorious Ones travel the length and breadth of seventeenth-century Italy, playing commedia dell'arte in the streets and palaces with equal vigor. Founded by the ingenious madman Flamino Scala, the small company of players endures kidnappings and passionate affairs, cabals, riots, disgrace—all manner of triumph and hardship. Pantalone the miser, sunny Armanda the dwarf,

Paperback, 175 pages
Published January 28th 2000 by Bamberger Books (first published 1974)
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May 29, 2016 Bandit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Traveling theatre shows are close enough to circuses thematically that this novel piqued my interest. It turned out to be a very enjoyable story about a small troupe in 17th century Italy playing commedia dell'arte for royalty and peasants alike. The book is structured as a compilation of recollections and perspectives from different, charming and outrageous in their own ways members of the troupe, all brought together by their larger than life fearless leader Flaminio Scala. It took me longer t ...more
Jul 02, 2008 Kay rated it really liked it
I loved this book! Makes me sorry that I missed the musical at Lincoln Center. Prose tells the story of a commedia troupe as the shift from improvised theatre to scripted drama is happening. Each chapter is narrated by a different troupe member and fills in another part of the story. The issues and the artistic struggles were so interesting - and the characters were vividly drawn.
Jul 09, 2009 Kelly rated it liked it
Recommended to Kelly by: Lisa
Shelves: 2009, italy
I would have probably liked this book more if my imagination hadn't cast Jeff as the lead character (Flaminio Scala). It just didn't work that.
Kathleen Guinnane
Mar 14, 2017 Kathleen Guinnane rated it liked it
Shelves: for-me
I liked this book and how it was told from the various viewpoints of people in the troupe, but it wasn't the book I couldn't put down. I did want to find out what happened, and I was satisfied with what I read, but I just didn't feel vested in the characters. Maybe I am just not a fan of the roving theater troupes of old.
Dec 20, 2015 Anjum rated it really liked it
I had to read this book because I would be playing Isabella in an upcoming production of The Glorious Ones, the musical. I was thrilled that this book was an easy read that I could breeze through. But let me tell you; this book is a necessary read if you just see the musical or even just listen to the music. Otherwise, I doubt it would make much sense. Now, I read the book before I became intimately knowledgeably of the play, so it's only my best guess that it wouldn't make full sense without th ...more
Jul 09, 2014 Doug rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually bought this book back in 2007, after having seen and very much enjoyed the Broadway musical version of the story - but never got around to reading it. It brought back memories of that terrific production, but is a very good novel in its own right. Unless one has an interest in theatre history in general, or the commedia dell'arte in particular, I doubt one would find it all that intriguing though. My one quibble is that each of the characters narrates one of the seven chapters, yet al ...more
Justin Howe
Jul 24, 2013 Justin Howe rated it really liked it
It's set in 17th century Italy but you wouldn't know it from reading it. The Glorious Ones are a troupe of actors made up of archetypes and each tells their story, parading forth their dreams and obsessions. It's one of those books about stories and the power of stories. Probably not for everyone, but a refreshing read just the same.
Jessica Kwasniak
Oct 04, 2012 Jessica Kwasniak rated it it was amazing
The Glorious Ones was an excellent first novel by the prolific Francine Prose. Set in 17th century Italy, it tells the tale of a theatre troupe. Each chapter is a different person's perspective. A great, quick read.
Nov 05, 2012 Cynthia rated it really liked it
A wonderful romp through commedia dell'arte from the different points of view of the players in a small troupe wandering around Italy and France. Turned into a Broadway musical that I can't wait to see on dvd.
Apr 14, 2011 Laila rated it liked it
Meh. I could have skipped this one. I can recognize how clever some of the writing is, especially how Prose pokes fun at the useless, bumbling doctor with his own voice. But overall, quickly forgettable.
Jane Mackay
Jan 24, 2010 Jane Mackay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful journey through Italy in the time of the Commedia dell'arte. Was a little disappointed in the ending; the narrative power fizzled out. Ending was sappy compared to the rest of the book. I was expecting something more feisty.
Jan 18, 2012 Bex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dec 05, 2008 Vincent rated it liked it
I had hoped for something much different. But it was intriguing. If you are interested in commedia dell'arte, as I am, then this might appeal to you.
Harriett Milnes
A short novel with each chapter done by a different, stock character from the commedia dell'arte.
Nadine rated it really liked it
Jun 13, 2013
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Jul 26, 2015
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Jul 01, 2016
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Dec 04, 2016
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Nov 24, 2015
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Francine Prose (born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American novelist. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1968, and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. She has sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own Award, and her novel Blue Angel, a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is now teaching at Bard College.

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