The Cenci: A Tragedy in Five Acts  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Cenci was a verse drama by Percy Bysshe Shelley written in the summer of 1819, and inspired by a real Italian family, the Cencis (in particular, Beatrice Cenci). The play was considered unperformable in its day due to its theme of incest, and was not performed in London until 1922. It was included in the Harvard Classics as one of the most important and representative works of the western canon.

Antonin Artaud attempted to stage The Cenci, but his extensive use of surrealism in the performance meant that the production was shown only 14 times before closing.

Other works titled "The Cenci" include a true crime story by Alexandre Dumas, père and a novella by Stendhal.

Antonin Artaud adaptation

Antonin Artaud staged his adaptation Les Censi in 1935, but his extensive use of surrealism in the performance meant that the production was shown only 17 times before closing. Artaud used highly graphic and disturbing images that were meant to release the audience from their current state of mind, especially during the murder scene, where the main character, Count Cenci (the role that was played by Artaud), is murdered by his two servants. These images were supposed to release what Artaud called the "savage under the skin", an aim that was used by Artaud in many of his productions.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Cenci: A Tragedy in Five Acts" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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