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History & Politics, Literature, Theater & Dance

The Queen of Scots

The first English translation of the 1628 play by Federico Della Valle

September 21, 2023
6:30 pm

The event will also be broadcast live on our
YouTube, Facebook, and website

Book Presentation
The Queen of Scots
(2023, The Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library, University of Toronto Press)

Translation of the 1628 play
La reina di Scotia
by Federico Della Valle (1560-1628)

Introduced, translated, and annotated by
Fabio Battista, University of Alabama

The translator in conversation with:
Luigi Ballerini, General Editor of The Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library
Ida Caiazza, Faculty Fellow in Renaissance Studies, NYU
Berardo Paradiso, Hon. Chair of The Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library

Excerpts of the play read by members of
KIT – Kairos Italy Theater, company-in-residence at Casa Italiana
Leana Gardella, Alice Lussiana Parente, Rocco Sisto, Massimo Zordan

The publication of this volume was made possible by
NYU Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò


From the moment of her spectacular death on the scaffold, the story of Mary Queen of Scots became nothing short of a sensation across Europe. She was executed on 8 February 1587, and her death was the climax of a captivity that lasted over eighteen years. Shortly after the event, Federico Della Valle, one of Italy’s most accomplished dramatists of the time, composed La reina di Scotia (The Queen of Scots), a tragedy depicting the final hours of the Scottish queen’s life.

With its restrained tone, streamlined action, and refined poetic language, The Queen of Scots ranks among the very best of early modern Italian drama. In this book, Fabio Battista provides an English-language annotated edition of Della Valle’s work, accompanied by a comprehensive introduction exploring the fictional afterlife of Mary Queen of Scots from the early modern period to today. The volume also includes the English translation of a widely circulated letter detailing the queen’s momentous execution. Made available to an English-speaking audience for the first time, this tragedy is the earliest dramatic reworking of the death of Mary Queen of Scots in a modern vernacular, spearheading a tradition that endures to this day.

The Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library is an organic collection of Italian texts translated into English. Its role is to make available a series of one hundred works by Italian authors who have made significant literary, philosophical, juridical, and historical contributions to the world of international culture. The books of the Lorenzo da Ponte Italian Library are published under the aegis and with the financial assistance of Agincourt Press, a division of University of Toronto Press.

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