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them was responsible for particular scenes. SUB-PLOT. Professor MacCurdy, suspecting that Lope had a special way of running the sub-plot into the main plot, thought that a study of this technique might provide a clue to authorship. SOURCES. When Professor Parker asked whether sources are valid as criteria for judging authorship, Professor Wade argued that we needed a motif-index for the theatre of the Golden Age. Professor MacCurdy noted that John Keller of Northwestern University was compiling a motif-index for the preLopean drama. An attempt to draw conclusions from the meeting proved discouraging. The prevailing sentiment was that there are just too many comedias. And so, after tossing a merry quip at your secretary—who had not waated to discuss authorship in the first place, and who was now looking smug because of the inconclusiveness of the discussion—the Chairman brought the session to a close. Gerald Brenan's Calderón by Edward M. Wilson University of London The Literature of the Sps:n.h People is a notable book; few intelligent l."»U"s will object to the treatment accorded ro Spanish lyric poetry in it. The long discussion of Calderón's theatre, however, seems to me to be open to some objections. There is a plausibility about what Mr. Brenan says which will be persuasive to many readers. I want to explain why I am unable to agree with his account of the greatest Spanish dramatist. Mr. Brenan seems to wish to divide Calder ón's plays into two chronological groups. Up to 1640 he wrote realistic (cloak-andsword comedies, tragedies of honour) and poetical plays; after 1655 he specialized in zarzuelas and autos. The intervening period is one of transition in which few masterpieces were produced, except for El alcalde de Z,alamea. The theory is that the first period coincides with the time when Calderón "led the roistering, duelling life of the galán of the period" ; the last, with his later life when, "theology, which he got from books, (did he get it only from books? ) weakened his interest in conduct." The theory is less crude than appears from this summary, because we are told "the change was gradual, for there were no complete breaks in his literary life." Calderón tends to appear a passionate young man, carried away by his feelings in the first period and a reflective, theological craftsman in the second. Few Calderonian scholars would deny that there are differences between the early and late plays; I suspect that some would deny that his interest in conduct ever weakened. Is the difference between the work of the old man and the young man as great as Mr. Brenan seems to think? We all know that Calderón roistered in the sixteen-twenties, that later on he begot a bastard son, and that he led an exemplary life after he took Holy Orders. There is more poetry of the kind the nineteenth century admired in the early plays than in the later ones; the latter are fuller of rhetorical devices than the former. The precise differences in style cannot be accurately stated until much more work has been done on them. The assumption , however, that there was a real difference of outlook between the man who wrote El príncipe constante and the author of the later plays requires more proof than we have been given. Mr. Brenan considers that the tragedies of honour and secret vengeance give a youthful view (the roisterer's view ? ) ; the later plays, the orthodox Christian one. "At the time he wrote (the two secret-vengeance tragedies) he was going through a personal crisis." This view of the two Calderóne at least presents us with an alternative theory to the one which has so often been tediously expounded : that of Calderón, the empty rhetorician who merely stylised what Lope de Vega had felt. (If anything, Mr. Brenan is rather unfair to Lope.) He has realised that Calderón had something to say that is valid, not a mere rehash of what Lope had said more "spontaneously" before. The two CaI- deróns can be seen together in many of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 6-7
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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