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A History of Spanish Golden Age Drama

A History of Spanish Golden Age Drama

Henryk Ziomek
Copyright Date: 1984
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    A History of Spanish Golden Age Drama
    Book Description:

    Spain's Golden Age, the seventeenth century, left the world one great legacy, the flower of its dramatic genius -- the comedia. The work of the Golden Age playwrights represents the largest combined body of dramatic literature from a single historical period, comparable in magnitude to classical tragedy and comedy, to Elizabethan drama, and to French neoclassical theater.

    A History of Spanish Golden Age Dramais the first up-to-date survey of the history of the comedia, with special emphasis on critical approaches developed during the past ten years.

    A history of the comedia necessarily focuses on the work of Lope de Vega and Calderon de la Barca, but Ziomek also gives full credit to the host of lesser dramatists who followed in the paths blazed by Lope and Calderon, and whose individual contributions to particular genres added to the richness of Spanish theater. He also examines the profound influence of the comedia on the literature of other cultures.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6497-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-5)

    THE SPANISHSiglo de Oro(Golden Age)—almost two centuries of great cultural intensity—arose out of a rich historical background. A brief review of the origin and early history of the Spanish people provides a fuller understanding of the heterogeneous character of their drama.

    The benign climatic conditions, rich resources, and accessible location of the Iberian peninsula attracted invaders from the beginning of time. The earliest record of its aboriginal past is found in the Paleolithic cave paintings, believed to have been made twelve to fourteen thousand years ago, at Altamira in the western Pyrenees. Evidence has also been...

  5. CHAPTER 1 The Birth and Development Spanish National Drama
    (pp. 6-35)

    ALTHOUGH THE Spanish verse drama—thecomedia—came into existence toward the end of the sixteenth century, its origin as a great art form can be traced not only to the first part of that century, when the Spanish Renaissance influenced the direction of drama, but even to the beginning of dramatic activity on the peninsula. A number of factors and dramatists played important roles in development of thecomedia.

    Little is known about Spanish theater in the Middle Ages. A complete, systematic study of it may never be written because of several problems. Numerous critics have expressed various and...

  6. CHAPTER II Lope de Vega and the Formation of the Comedia
    (pp. 36-81)

    IN THE LAST quarter of the sixteenth century two trends in Spanish theater became evident: the popular, represented by Lope de Rueda and Juan de Ia Cueva, and the classical, headed by Cristobal de Virués, Lupercio Leonardo de Argensola, and Miguel de Cervantes. In the period beginning in the 1580s, Spanish theater underwent a change that was to affect its development in the following century.¹ The foundation for the new drama was laid by the early dramatists, but its form was definitely fixed by Lope de Vega (1562-1635), one of the greatest geniuses the dramatic world has known.

    Lope de...

  7. CHAPTER III The Proliferation of the Comedia: Lope de Vega’s Contemporaries
    (pp. 82-133)

    IN THE TIME of Lope de Vega, the public’s passion for the theater made possible the unusual growth of thecomedia.Their deeply infused attraction for theatrical entertainment, which was supported by the government and the Church, became in part an artistic substitute for their interest in the politically declining Spain. Since the Spaniards looked upon playwriting as a profitable art that could be easily acquired, a large number of gifted poets tried their talents in it. In the prolific period that followed, over one hundred dramatists contributed several thousand short and full-length plays, of which nearly 2,000 are still...

  8. Chapter IV Calderón: Thw Apogge of the Comedia
    (pp. 134-168)

    After Philip III became king in 1598, Spain entered an era of theatrical brilliance in which the prolific and original output of the great Spanish playwrights attained its greatest height. Lasting for thirty-seven years, this period of Spanish drama made a permanent impression on the literature of the world. Its end coincided with the death of Lope de Vega in 1635, when another giant of Spanish drama was attaining recognition. Pedro Calderon de la Barca inherited a legacy established by Lope and his followers and brought it to maturity. Carrying the inventive genius of the previous generation to the level...

  9. Chapter V The Decline: Calderón’s Contemporaries and Imitators
    (pp. 169-186)

    THE NEW generation of playwrights who were contemporaries of Calderón de la Barca continued in the tradition of court drama with even more refined forms and styles. In the midst of this intensely productive and heterogeneous period, the young dramatists, like their master, profited from the inventiveness and diffusion that was characteristic of the Lopean school while writing for court audiences. The works of the Calderonians show more adequate character delineations, refined and affected styles, and pathetic sensibility.

    During Calderón’s long career a large number of playwrights associated themselves with him, competing with him in a friendly way and also...

  10. Chapter VI The Comedia since 1700
    (pp. 187-199)

    THE POLITICAL and economic decline of Spain in the seventeenth century resulted from the exhaustion of the entire nation. Worn out by the long succession of wars it had waged in many parts of the globe, the nation finally lost its collective ideal of military conquest in the name of faith. The driving force that had moved the whole nation disappeared. Finding no substitute for their idealistic motivation, the Spaniards entered a period of disorientation. The withdrawal from active life and consequent isolation from the rest of Europe had an unfavorable impact on the growth of Spanish arts and, in...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 200-217)
  12. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 218-228)
  13. Index
    (pp. 229-246)