Critics have often noted that the tradition of the comedia was characterized by a tendency to recycle the sort of organizational and thematic elements pointed out by Lope and Bances Candamo in their contemporary descriptions of Spanish drama. That is to say that comedias tended to be in some degree "formularistic," a description that as applied to recreational literature commonly connotes inferior quality, even though any given dramatic component presumably becomes formular because it proves both efficacious and resilient. The present study proposes otherwise and argues instead that the particular formulas developed by Lope and Calderón were themselves largely responsible for the aesthetic impact of plays such as El perro del hortelano and El pintor de su deshonra. The plays by Calderón are of special interest because they were produced after the more efficacious elements of dramatic composition had become conventional, and because he improved significantly upon the basic formulas explored by Lope.


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pp. 119-127
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