Il curioso Impertinente
By Alessandro De Stefani.
Introduction, edition and notes by Iole Scamuzzi and Stefania Di Carlo.
Translation by Tomás Borrás.
Il curioso Impertinente, by Alessandro De Stefani, staged in the Spanish translation by Tomás Borrás at the Teatro Español in Madrid in 1947 (on the 400th anniversary of Cervantes’ birth), is the most recent in a rich series of dramatic rewrites of the novel that the Spanish author included in Don Quixote of 1605, in chapters 32 to 35.
This is one of the most famous and controversial secondary plots in the novel, since it deals with the theme, very common in European novels, of the test of a wife’s fidelity; for the first time, however, the cause that triggers the husband’s jealousy is not the suspicion of infidelity or the malice of an antagonist, but the demon of curiosity that dwells in the very soul of the husband, eager to possess for himself all the will of his wife.
De Stefani interprets the Cervantine plot, originally a counter-reformist discourse on faith, knowledge and free will, as a psychological and sentimental drama, with a distant Pyrandellian influence, about the clash between being and seeming, loving and possessing. The paroxysmal jealousy of the curious Anselmo leads to the tragic end of all the protagonists.