The Stages of Property

The Stages of Property: Copyrighting Theatre in Spain

LISA SURWILLO
Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442685000
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  • Book Info
    The Stages of Property
    Book Description:

    Through an integrative historicist approach to a wide range of literary texts and archival documents,The Stages of Propertymakes an important statement about the cultural, societal, and political roles of the theatre in Spain during the 1800s.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8500-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction: Law, Theatre, and the Republic of Letters
    (pp. 3-20)

    During the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, ‘intellectual property’ has become a household term that, for most people, is about the legality and ease of peer-to-peer sharing of movies and music via Internet file-sharing tools. The concept of intellectual property is now widely known, although its genesis and early development during the nineteenth century, which continue to guide its contemporary applications, are not. Most histories (academic or otherwise) relate the history of literary copyright in Western Europe and the Americas around the case of novels or lyric poetry. While this is certainly an integral part of the story, surprisingly,...

  5. Stage I: Literary Property and Modern Spain

    • 1 Cultivating Property: Desamortización and the Culture of Authors’ Rights
      (pp. 25-40)

      At the 1836 premiere ofEl trovador[The troubadour], Antonio García Gutiérrez became the first dramatic author to be hailed by the audience in Spain. The story of his appearance is one of the most oft-repeated anecdotes of nineteenth-century Spanish literary and theatrical histories. Nevertheless, this incident is a prism that draws together contemporary concerns regarding Romantic authorship, labour, and the relationship between property and citizenship in nineteenth-century Spain, and its political and aesthetic implications merit our attention. A young and successful dramatic poet, but a poor outsider in Madrid’s political circles, Gutiérrez personalized and protagonized the campaign for dramatic...

    • 2 Performative Appeal: From El trovador to the Royal Decree
      (pp. 41-62)

      On 5 May 1837, one year after the audience in the Príncipe Theatre had called for García Gutiérrez, María Cristina declared dramatic works by contemporary Spanish poets legal property. While this decree was presented to the nation as a rational act in accordance with the ‘enlightened benevolence’ of its royal Regent, it was in fact prompted by a petition by Antonio García Gutiérrez, Juan Eugenio Hartzenbusch, Manuel Bretón de los Herreros, Gregorio Romero, and Eugenio de Ochoa on 4 February 1837. Their arguments survived debates by government ministers, were developed in several rough drafts, and ultimately evolved into a royal...

  6. Stage II: Poets and Publishers

    • 3 Authors between Stage and Page
      (pp. 67-82)

      The modern definition of a dramatic poet as author rested upon the treatment of a play as a fundamentally poetic and literary creation, rather than an inextricable element of spectacle, and granted the text an authority in performance.¹ The modern relationship between poets and their plays was initially resisted, because it stood in direct opposition to established practices. Nevertheless, copyright did take effect, and the dramaticautordid attain a brief tenure of supremacy in Spain over the next hundred and seventy years, until challenged by early-twentieth-century theories of the stage. Indeed, the tyranny of the text that would soon...

    • 4 Editores and Owners
      (pp. 83-106)

      Spanish literary property laws recodified authorship according to ownership and proprietary claims and transformed the meaning of the term ‘autor dramático’ and the understanding of the poet’s contribution to the spectacle. As a result, copyright laws for theatre guaranteed that not only poetry, but also authorship itself, should become a commodity, available for exchange in the literary marketplace. The figure who bought and sold dramatic copyrights and authorships was the new literary entrepreneur of the nineteenth century, the ‘editor.’ Indeed, his presence was so great that according to Spanish historian Jesús A. Martínez Martín, the nineteenth century should be considered...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
  7. Stage III: National Literary Galleries

    • 5 Textual Museums
      (pp. 111-123)

      After poets exchanged manuscripts for money, these became books within collections calledgaleríasthat, in turn, determined the way in which literature and theatre were read and understood over the course of the century in Spain. Manuel Delgado first launched the term ‘galerías’ as a brand name in 1839 for his set of titles.¹ Delgado’s initiative was quickly imitated by othereditores, and the word was eventually generalized to describe all compilations of editions of dramatic literature, until their decline at the end of the century. Large numbers of printed plays began to be published in the seventeenth century, but...

    • 6 Paratextual Performances in the ‘Galerías dramáticas’
      (pp. 124-146)

      The ideological and metaphorical construction of dramatic poetry collections asgaleríasof textual art was visually expressed in the paratextuality of the editions. The material form in whicheditoresdelivered their literature influenced their new readership legally and sociologically. An examination of the expression of thegaleríametaphor in the paratexts and iconography of these books demonstrates not only that each play text in the collection of theeditorwas presented to the nineteenth-century reader as anobjet d’artappropriate to a palatial gallery, but also that the space of thegaleríaand readers’ movement within it were legally restricted...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 147-150)

    Like many nineteenth-century ideals (national sovereignty, the nation, ‘Spanish’ culture, or modernity), the realities of dramatic authorship differed significantly from the philosophies upon which it was theorized. The grand, new ‘discovery’ of the individual dramatic poet’s autonomy was, more realistically, an invention that drew upon a reinterpretation of the past, a revaluation of the role of theatre in Spanish society, contemporary theories of political economy, and specific historical and personal circumstances. Not only is any authorial ‘originality’ debatable, but also dramatic poets were never free from the market and full ‘authority’ over the stage could only ever be a fantasy,...

  9. Appendix: AHN Legajo 11387
    (pp. 151-160)
  10. Notes
    (pp. 161-192)
  11. Sources Cited and Consulted
    (pp. 193-206)
  12. Illustration Credits
    (pp. 207-208)
  13. Index
    (pp. 209-218)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 219-220)