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Unruly Women

Unruly Women: Performance, Penitence, and Punishment in Early Modern Spain

Series: Toronto Iberic
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 184
  • Book Info
    Unruly Women
    Book Description:

    In the first in-depth study of the interconnected relationships among public theatre, custodial institutions, and women in early modern Spain, Margaret E. Boyle explores the contradictory practices of rehabilitation enacted by women both on and off stage.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6503-3
    Subjects: Film Studies, History, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    The actress Barbara Coronel (1643–91) began her career at age eleven alongside her parents, Agustin and Maria Coronel, in the company of Tomas Diaz in Seville. For fifteen years, the actress celebrated her success onstage and off while she managed her own troupe of actors in Valencia. On stage, she frequently and to much acclaim played the part of themujer varonil(masculine woman). Coronel’s cross-dressing also extended into her personal life, where she is said to have openly dressed and behaved as a man (Shergold and Varey 422). When her husband Francisco Jalon was murdered, Coronel was accused...

  5. 1 Gendering Recogimiento in Early Modern Madrid
    (pp. 19-42)

    One of the earliest and most prominent examples of public rehabilitation for women occurred in 1623, when the magdalen house, the Casa de Santa María Magdalena de la Penitencia (founded in 1587), relocated to a larger space and marched its charges in a solemn procession through the streets of Madrid.

    Llevároslas en Procesión, y pasároslas por el Monasterio de las Señoras Descalzas Reales, donde estaban los Reyes para verlas: allí cantaron todas una Salve, y al decir la Oración se postraron en tierra; cuyo acto causó mucha devoción. Iban de dos en dos, vestidas con un saco de sayal blanquecino...

  6. 2 Stage Widow in Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s La dama duende
    (pp. 45-61)

    Pedro Calderón de la Barca’sLa dama duende(The Phantom Lady) (1629) narrates the familiar tale of the deviant woman transformed and domesticated by marriage.¹ Just months after Madrid consolidated its control over public theatres, whereby companies paid an amount of their profits directly to the city, which in turn paid a fixed sum to the hospitals, the widowed protagonist of the canonical comedy enacted a favourite role on the early modern stage. Like many trickster heroines of thecomedia, Ángela eschews the solitary practice ascribed to her by contemporary moralists and instead crafts dramatic scenes designed to woo the...

  7. 3 Dramatizing Women’s Community in María de Zayas’s La traición en la amistad
    (pp. 62-76)

    At the onset of María de Zayas’scomedia,La traición en la amistad(The Betrayal of Friendship) (1630), the protagonist of the play, Fenisa, commits the ultimate betrayal when she finds herself taken with her best friend Marcia’s love interest. Although she is conflicted about her obligations to Marcia, Fenisa is ultimately willing to sacrifice their friendship for the sake of her personal desire. Fenisa does not merely pursue this new affair with Liseo, but, true to her assertive character, she does so flagrantly and worse yet, in tandem with other romances, repeatedly rebuffing the criticism she receives from betrayed...

  8. 4 Women’s Exemplary Violence in Luis Vélez de Guevara’s La serrana de la Vera
    (pp. 77-95)

    Luis Vélez de Guevara’sLa serrana de la Vera(The Mountain Girl of La Vera) (1613) narrates the tale of Gila, the amazon-like hunter turned man-hating murderess.¹ The play imbues new life into the mythical character of the sensuous mountain woman and recalls the classic tale of themujer varonil, the betrayed woman, who takes on male dress to avenge her dishonour and marry.² In this story, however, Gila decides to reclaim her good name by killing every man with whom she comes into contact, a hefty sum that totals 2,000 men. Instead of marrying her unfaithful lover at the...

  9. Conclusion
    (pp. 96-100)

    Although the execution scene provided dramatic closure to Luis Vélez de Guevara’sLa serrana de la Vera, Jusepa Vaca, the actress who inspired the play, was reborn at the end of each curtain call. Time and again, the dramatic world celebrated the actress’s readiness to enact Gila’s independence, transgressions, and fall in another performance. Vaca enjoyed success on stage; she was widely celebrated for her ability to take on masculine roles in Vélez de Guevara’s play and many others, yet her powerful reputation in society continued to be a favourite subject of conversation. As the satirical poet Count of Villamediana,...

  10. Epilogue: “Bad Girls” of the Spanish Comedia
    (pp. 101-106)

    The deviant heroine of the Spanishcomediadramatizes a variety of relevant social and political concerns that surround the topic of rehabilitation in early modern Spain as a contradictory practice of containment and assistance for women. The figure of this “bad girl” – a contemporary label I use here intentionally and provocatively – also illuminates an assortment of issues that are relevant and pressing for readers today. The topic of “bad girls” on the Spanish stage raises a number of important questions about the relationships between spectacle, gender norms, and exemplarity.

    On the final day of an upper-division undergraduate seminar dedicated to...

  11. Appendix 1A. Reason and Form of the Galera and Royal House (1608)
    (pp. 107-112)
  12. Appendix 1B. Razón y forma de la galera y casa real (1608)
    (pp. 113-118)
  13. Appendix 2A. Historical Compendium and Instructive Manifesto on the Origin and Foundation of the Royal House of St Mary Magdalene of the Penitence, commonly known as the Recogidas of Madrid
    (pp. 119-122)
  14. Appendix 2B. Compendio histórico, y manifiesto instructivo del origen, y fundación de la Real Casa de Santa María Magdalena de la Penitencia, vulgo las Recogidas de Madrid
    (pp. 123-126)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 127-144)
  16. Works Cited
    (pp. 145-158)
  17. Index
    (pp. 159-172)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 173-173)