In the official citation explaining the decision to award the 1997 Nobel Prize for Literature to Dario Fo, the Swedish Royal Academy stated that he had “emulated the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden”. It went on to add that “with a blend of laughter and gravity, he opens our eyes to abuses and injustices in society … Fo is an extremely serious satirist”.

The statement identifies the central paradox in the achievements of a writer-performer who is an altogether more complex figure than has been appreciated by either admirers or critics. Fo has been applauded, or execrated, as Europe’s finest political dramatist since Bertolt Brecht. He i…

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Farrell, Joseph. "Dario Fo". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 February 2010
[, accessed 01 July 2015.]

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