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A Companion to Golden Age Theatre

A Companion to Golden Age Theatre

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 238
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  • Book Info
    A Companion to Golden Age Theatre
    Book Description:

    Spain's artistic Golden Age produced Cervantes's great novel, Don Quijote, the sublime poetry of Quevedo and Góngora, and nurtured the prodigious talent of Velázquez, and yet it was the theatre that captured the imagination of its people. Men and women of all social classes flocked to the new playhouses to see and hear the latest offerings of their favourite dramatists, and to be seen and heard. As well as dealing with the lives and major works of the most significant playwrights of the period - Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, Miguel de Cervantes, Calderón de la Barca - the Companion focusses on other aspects of the growth and maturing of Golden Age theatre, reflecting the interests and priorities of modern scholarship. These include: the sixteenth-century origins of the comedia nueva; the lesser-known dramatists, including women playwrights; life in the theatre; the Corpus Christi street theatre and minor genres; performance studies; and the critical reception of the drama. The Companion also contains a guide to comedia versification, a full bibliography and advice on further reading. JONATHAN THACKER is a Fellow of Merton College, Oxford.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-521-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Jonathan Thacker

    ThisCompanionis intended to be an up-to-date and reliable guide to the extraordinary flowering of Spanish theatre between the late sixteenth century and about 1680. It provides an account of the nature and development of this theatre from the time when the first permanent playhouses were created in Spain until the death of Pedro Calderón de la Barca, the last major playwright of the time – a hundred-year period which Spaniards justifiably call their artisticSiglo de Oro.

    Although Golden Age theatre is studied as part of university Spanish courses and tends to be admired and highly valued by...

    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    The early-modern period in Europe, broadly the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, is regarded, as the epithet suggests, as critical in the development of the way Western cultures view themselves today. Spain experienced the tensions of this period with a particular intensity: its Empire, which had expanded confidently, providentially to some eyes, within the Old World and the New, fell into crisis and gradual but unrelenting decline. The Spain of Philip II (1556–98), Philip III (1598–1621) and Philip IV (1621–65) bred a succession of painters, poets, prose-writers and dramatists, who confronted and engaged with the issues at the...

  6. 1 The Emergence of the Comedia nueva
    (pp. 1-22)

    When he appears ghost-like from the sack of flour in which he has been hiding, Lope de Vega’s peasant-turned-captain, Peribáñez, fatally stabs the proudcomendador, Don Fadrique, his feudal lord. The shocking murder is committed with the very sword that this noble warrior, scourge of the Moors, has girded on the peasant. However, our sympathy for thecomendadoris limited as the wily and principled Peribáñez has just crept into his own house under cover of darkness in order to prevent Don Fadrique from raping his wife, Casilda. For a moment, flour-encrusted and hesitant, he cuts a comic, even farcical...

  7. 2 Lope de Vega
    (pp. 23-55)

    Lope de Vega, as we have begun to see, is the most important figure in the development of Spanish Golden Age drama, whether we ascribe to him the god-like role of creator of thecomedia nueva, or whether his (instinctive?) selections were responsible for a giant step in its evolution. A separate chapter must be dedicated to him. The designation of Lope by his contemporaries asfénix de los ingenios, ormonstruo de la naturaleza, helped to create an image of him as a unique, superhuman genius, an image which has proved durable in assessments of his life and work....

  8. 3 Cervantes, Tirso de Molina, and the First Generation
    (pp. 56-91)

    Among the many playwrights plying their trade in the early years of the development of thecomedia nueva, was, as we saw in chapter 1, Spain’s greatest writer, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. It was his works in prose, of course, which were to make Cervantes’s reputation amongst his contemporaries and for posterity. He probably did have some success as a playwright, though, in the early days of thecorralesand before Lope de Vega had begun to shape thecomedia nueva, and his surviving drama deserves careful attention. Cervantes’s failure later in life to have his plays performed has led...

  9. 4 Calderón and the Comedia’s Second Generation
    (pp. 92-122)

    Pedro Calderón de la Barca was born in Madrid in the year 1600 and was thus Lope de Vega’s junior by a generation. The two dramatists coincided in writing for the stage from the early 1620s until Lope’s death in 1635, more than enough time for Lope to become aware of the capabilities of this particular specimen of the ‘pájaros nuevos’, as the veteran called the fresh wave ofpoetas. Although he retained the basic structure of thecomedia nuevaas established by Lope and his contemporaries, it is certainly apt to denominate Calderón and his ‘school’ a second wave...

  10. 5 Staging and Performance
    (pp. 123-142)

    The popular enthusiasm for thecomedia nuevain Golden Age Spain, combined with the appeal of play-going within even the highest social circles, assured the success of the theatre throughout most of the seventeenth century. The theatrical world became attractive and potentially lucrative to a whole host of individuals and bodies, and with its rise came increased regulation. Although it is tempting to ascribe the confidence of actor-managers and entrepreneurs to the ascendancy of Lope de Vega’s theatrical star, in fact it was as early as the mid-sixteenth century that Lope de Rueda from Seville (see pp. 14–15), and...

  11. 6 Types of Comedia and Other Forms of Theatre
    (pp. 143-169)

    Throughout thisCompaniona number of different generic terms have been used to describe, in a kind of short-hand, some of the main kinds of play that have been discussed:comedia de santos,comedia urbana,drama de honor, tragedy, are a few examples. They have often been employed reluctantly or somewhat tentatively as they were either coined well after the era in which they appeared or were used somewhat imprecisely in the Golden Age itself. On balance their use has been taken to be helpful in breaking down an author’soeuvreinto constituent parts. However, it is worth remembering that...

  12. 7 A Brief History of Reception
    (pp. 170-178)

    The full history of the reception of Spanish Golden Age drama is yet to be written, and there is no space here (nor should there be in aCompanion) to attempt to produce one. However, one of the more significant lessons that modern approaches to literature have taught us is that responses to works of art can never be fixed or eternal, and indeed they reveal at least as much about its audience (reader or spectator) as about the art itself. It is worth briefly outlining some of the characteristic and influential reactions to the works of Lope de Vega...

    (pp. 179-185)
    (pp. 186-188)
    (pp. 189-196)
    (pp. 197-214)
  17. INDEX
    (pp. 215-223)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 224-224)