Bandello, Matteo (1485-1561)


This Italian’s Novelle, with 214 stories (EB), was the inspiration for several Shakespearean works: Cymbeline (part 1, story 19), the Claudio subplot of Much Ado about Nothing (part 1, story 20), Romeo and Juliet (part 2, story 6), and Twelfth Night (part 2, story 28), plus one from the Shakespeare Apocrypha, Edward III (part 2, story 29) (Wikipedia, “Matteo Bandello”).

I want to read this because, according to Wikipedia, “[t]he vast majority of the stories derive from those Bandello heard from contemporaries, reported as real life events:”

  • two whores seeking to win their husbands back
  • two brother thieves in cahoots to rob the treasures of the king of Egypt
  • a disdained lover voluntarily choosing to live inside a cave
  • a woman killing herself only out of fear that her good fortune will turn bad
  • Filippo Lippi, released from slavery in Africa because of his talent as a celebrated painter
  • a woman disdaining a man and then killing herself when he no longer pursues her
  • an abbot making music from a chorus of pigs
  • an adulterous lover buried alive and then saved
  • a merchant’s murder of another
  • a case of double adultery whereby each husband cuckolds the other
  • two women yelling at each other after being falsely told they are hard of hearing

These stories actually happened?  Count me in!  Which ones do you think would make good movies?

Also, I think it would be interesting to see the thought process of Shakespeare as he changed these stories.

Photo credit: Wikimedia


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