[lit-ideas] Silvia

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 3 Sep 2015 20:02:55 -0400

In a message dated 9/3/2015 4:05:36 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx writes: I agree that, "un pays de sauvages" is unlikely
to
have meant, "a country full of people who are as interesting, valuable and
attractive as wilderness."

Well, the etymology is of course Latin 'silva', and I think it was a term
of appraisal (good appraisal, that is) by the time of even Tasso! A bit like
the magazine "Town and Country", with "Country" being what Tasso meant by
the idea of the Arcadian woods.

The Lewis & Short Latin Dictionary defines "silva (less correctly sylva)",
as "a wood, forest, woodland."

From 'silva' comes "Silvius", modern "Silvio", the name of several of the
legendary kings of Alba Longa.

When Tasso wrote "Aminta" (a "favola boschereccia") he has him fall for
"Silvia", the role of which was created by Leonora d'Este.

Aminta is in love with Silvia, who does not return his attentions.

Matter of fact, she prefers hunting.

She risks rape at the hands of a satyr but Aminta saves her.

However, again she flees from him.

Aminta, finding her blood-stained veil, attempts to kill himself.

Now Silvia is remorseful, comes back to cry over Aminta's body who is still
alive.

The two can thus happily marry, following the advice that wiser friends
had been giving them.

It was the basis for several opera librettos, such as Mozart's "Il re
pastore" (1775), Antonio Mazzoni's "Aminta; ossia, il re pastore" (1756) and
the
plot of Delibes' ballet "Silvia", as re-written by Jules Barbier

Cheers,

Speranza
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