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Love, Desire and Identity in the Theatre of Federico García Lorca

Love, Desire and Identity in the Theatre of Federico García Lorca

PAUL McDERMID
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 228
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt9qdnfr
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  • Book Info
    Love, Desire and Identity in the Theatre of Federico García Lorca
    Book Description:

    A dialectical tension between physical desire and metaphysical love lies at the heart of the theatre works of Federico García Lorca, and the deployment of queer theory's critique of gender and identity is surprisingly effective in this discussion of love versus desire. Seldom is enough attention paid to the poet's early works, and so this book offers a timely review of the 'religious tragedy' Cristo, as well as Mariana Pineda, uncovering in these early offerings an explicit proposal of the supremacy of love over desire. A meditation on the fragmentary and challenging El público yields a vivid panorama of identity in crisis, and a paradigmatic Lorcan sacrifice of self for love. The ostensibly more conventional tragedies of Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín and Yerma are also reassessed in terms of self-sacrifice and self-love. The study concludes with an argument for a practical re-reading of La casa de Bernarda Alba, which emphasises how the play might be saved from po-faced realism with music, humour and drag performance. PAUL McDERMID lectures in Spanish at Queen's University Belfast.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-565-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-8)

    The 70th anniversary of the death of Federico García Lorca (1898–1936) has now passed. In Spain, pressure is mounting on the authorities to have the site where García Lorca and three other victims of a Francoist death squad were interred, excavated, and the bodies exhumed. The current climate in Spain favours the ‘recovery of historical memory’. In the pursuit of the truth around García Lorca’s assassination, sometime soon the poet’s bones may be dug up. This study of García Lorca’s theatre comes at a time when public attention is on raising the physical remains of the man from the...

  5. I Jesus of Love: The Profane Passion and Holy Spirit of The Young Poet’s Cristo
    (pp. 9-34)

    Until the publication of the earliest writings of the young Federico García Lorca, between 1994 and 1996, it would have been impossible to comprehend the consistency with which the poet returned again and again to the same sentiment of placing metaphysical Love over carnal desire.³ Concerning the works of the poet’s juvenilia, prominent Lorca scholars are univocal in identifying in these writings the enduring subjects of García Lorca’s opus. Writing about the early theatre works, Héctor Urzáiz Tortajada finds ‘las principales señas de identidad de su teatro’. He continues: ‘Muchas de estas obras dan un inicio claro de la persistencia...

  6. II Mariana Pineda: Iconic Martyr to Love
    (pp. 35-65)

    At a banquet given in May 1929 in honour of the Granada première ofMariana Pineda, García Lorca described the second of his plays to be produced as ‘[una] obra débil de principiante’.¹ The poet’s admission of the weakness of this early work sets the tone for subsequent critical evaluation of the piece. In her detailed study ofMariana Pineda, Concha Zardoya attributes ‘las debilidades y flaquezas de la obra’ to ‘la brevedad del tema’.² Her proposition is that García Lorca’s piece depends on a structure that is too simplistic to be able to sustain the dramatic tension. The play...

  7. III The Sacrifice of Identity in Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín
    (pp. 66-100)

    Margarita Ucelay has characterisedAmor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardínas ‘[un] escalón de acceso al mundo de sus comedias imposibles’.¹ Meanwhile, Luis Fernández Cifuentes asserts thatAmor de Don Perlimplíndistinguishes itself by initiating one of two divergent paths in García Lorca’s theatre, marking off the ‘irrepresentable’ from the ‘convencional’.² Similarly, Enric Bou, summarising the critical interpretation of the play, points to the key position ofAmor de Don Perlimplínin the poet’s canon: ‘parece cerrar un ciclo de lo folclórico y abre las puertas … a un teatro de ideas y poético’.³ Such claims for...

  8. IV El público: Struggling with Identity
    (pp. 101-141)

    In April 1936, just three months before he left Madrid for Granada for the last time, García Lorca was interviewed by Felipe Morales for the journalLa Voz(OC VI: 728–33).¹ Asked about his theatre, the poet designated his ‘primeras comedias’, in seemingly unequivocal terms, as ‘irrepresentables’ and ‘imposibles’ (OC VI: 731). With the first Spanish professional productions ofAsí que pasen cinco años,El públicoandComedia sin títulotaking place in 1987 and 1989,² respectively, what García Lorca once considered quite impossible to produce has now triumphed on the stage of his native land.³ However, the epithet...

  9. V ¡Hijo de mi alma! – Gender Inversion and the Metaphysical Reproduction of the Self in Yerma
    (pp. 142-168)

    InEl público, ambiguity and confusion characterise the discussion of its themes and structures; opinion focuses on its putative ‘impossibility’. Running through the work are modulating dialectics that generate tensions between the physical and the metaphysical, interactions amid the representations of illusion and reality, and mediations between the organising poles of binary gender. InYerma, these oppositional forces re-emerge, to enact the tragedy of a woman who fails to achieve the same transcendence of material love that we have witnessed Jesús, Mariana, Perlimplín and Hombre 1 pursuing. If the themes and structure ofEl públicoare reputedly ‘impossible’ to classify,...

  10. VI Beyond the Outer Walls: Transvestite Masquerade and Transcendent Escape in La casa de Bernarda Alba
    (pp. 169-198)

    The case ofYermademonstrates that in a superficially conventional drama we can identify profoundly dissident disturbances in the dominant social, cultural and moral order. Even looking at the more orthodox of Yerma’s concerns, to have a ‘child’ (or rather to stabilise and locate her Self psychically and spiritually), we are confronted by a radical solution that leaves Juan dead. Similar to the conventional views of Yerma’s plight,La casa de Bernarda Albaappears to address some grittily real social issues by staging the tragic results of denied physical passions. But, in practice, the work shakes with the tremors of...

  11. CONCLUSION
    (pp. 199-204)

    The final chapter of this study has attempted to move away from the (socio-)realist interpretations ofLa casa de Bernarda Alba, promoting instead the potential for more transgressive, experimental performance. But in the manner of doing so, I have been obliged to work within a very conventional opposition of gender values. Whether it is a reflection of the social reality of early twentieth-century Spain, or an expression of the poet’s understanding of the tension between body and soul and the attendant crisis in gender identity that I suggest,La casa de Bernarda Albapresents an idealised picture of the freedoms...

  12. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 205-212)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 213-217)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 218-218)