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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(1) An actor in ancient Rome. For the most part histrions were freedmen. (Only the particularly famous ones were respected.) They formed a troupe headed by an actor who had once been only a troupe member. Originally, they performed without masks, which were introduced in the first century B.C..

(2) A wandering folk actor in the early Middle Ages (ninth-nth centuries). A histrion was simultaneously a storyteller, musician, dancer, singer, and animal trainer. Histrions united into special guilds, from which subsequently circles of amateur actors were sometimes formed. In France histrions were known as jongleurs, in Germany, Spielmänner, in Poland, franty, and in Russia, skomorokhi. They were persecuted by secular and church authorities.


Istoriia zapadnoevropeiskogo teatra, vol. 1. Edited by S. S. Mokul’skii. Moscow, 1956.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The First Histrion, in the voice of Pasquino in the Prologue of the 1525 Cortigiana, implicitly establishes that there can be no order, no weight and no conclusion to the "ciancia," that humanist and ecclesiastic pretentions to virtue and exemplarity are nonsense, and that Babel has replaced language.
In La Cortegiana, Histrions I and II describe the cityscape of Rome, taking the audience not only to St Peter's and the Castel San Angelo, but also to The Hare and The Luna, two well-known taverns.
Esta lectura al pie de la letra es la que ha hecho que buena parte de la critica le tildara, primero, de histrion intelectual, y, tras la colacion con otros escritos, brotara el epiteto de contradictorio.
Though an ardent individualist in politics and criticism, Pound also held the seemingly inconsistent view of subjectivity as a passive "clear space" through which flow "the souls of all men great" from the past ("Histrion").The "argument" of Pound's poetry is by no means clear about the status of the individual, except to show that he continued to be troubled by the basic question of what a person or subject is, and whether persons have historical agency, as the creed of individualism would seem to imply we do.