In his new book, The Image of the Puppet, Dr. Pacchioni identifies and interprets the aesthetic and cultural significance of the different traditions of the Italian puppet theater in the broader Italian culture and beyond. Grounded in the often-overlooked history of the evolution of different Italian puppetry traditions –the central and northern Italian stringed marionettes, the Sicilian pupi, the glove puppets of the Po Valley, and the Neapolitan Pulcinella– this study examines a wide spectrum of visual, cinematic, literary, and digital texts representative of the functions and themes of the puppet. A systematic analysis of the meanings ascribed to the idea and image of the puppet provides a unique vantage point to observe the perseverance and transformation of the deeper spiritual and humanistic values linking premodern, modern, and contemporary contexts. With the current advancement of cybernetics, avatars, animation, and virtual reality games, a thorough understanding of how the puppet metaphor originates from specific theatrical practices and media can be relevant today.
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