Dr. Pacchioni’s latest book, The Image of the Puppet, was awarded the Gian Antonio Cibotto Jury Prize in Italy. In presenting the award, the jury stated: “Pacchioni delivers an original work that combines philological rigor with literary flair. With an eloquent and fluid style, the author reveals various aspects of the vitality and the evocative power of the puppet theater. The book is the fruit of great sensibility and passion.”
In his new book, The Image of the Puppet: Essays across Theater, Literature, and Cinema, 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.