A Volume of Rare: Sueltas
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Does this speech mean that so great is the distress of women over the banning of the guardainfante that young girls are taught to say the name (that is, as a sort of general lament of womankind) before they learn to say mamá and papà? Possibly so, but it would be safer to interpet it only as a reaffirmation of the great importance attached to the guardainfante by the women of the day, and implicitly, as a satire against women. Whether or no the name was suggested directly to Rojas by the prohibitory decrees, its use in two of his plays furnishes us with another clear instance of the Golden Age dramatists' sensitivity to the social currents of their period and their cleverness in exploiting contemporaneous interests to heighten the popular appeal of their conventionalized art. FOOTNOTES 1.The Diccionario de Autoridades defines the guardainfante as "cierto artificio muy hueco, hecho de alambres con cintas, que se ponían las mujeres en la cintura, y sobre él se ponían la basquina." 2.Los tres blasones de España was written in collaboration with Antonio Coello, but the gracioso Guardainfante does not appear until the third act, written by Rojas alone. 3.I am now making a study of the graciosos' names and the various ways they are used by Golden Age dramatists for comical effect. 4.All quotations from the plays are taken from Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Comedias escogidas, Vol. LIV of the Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, ed. Ramón de Mesonero Romanos. 5.Cited by J. Deleito y Piñuela, La mujer, la casa y la moda) Vol. V of La vida española en tiempo de Felipe IV (Madrid, 1946), p. 157. 6.Cited by Roberto Vilches Acuña, España de la Edad de Oro (Buenos Aires, 1946), p. 373. 7.Ibid. 8.A copy of the decree is in the library of the University of New Mexico. 9.Cejador y Frauca, in his edition of Les sueños of Quevedo, Vol. XXXIV of Clásicos Castellanos (Madrid, 1943), p. 94, gives the following note: "Pellicer, en sus Avisos de 26 de julio del mismo año [16391, habla de la risa que en aquel día causó en la Corte ver colgados de los balcones de 1* cárcel más de 100 guardainfantes quitados a las mujeres. Pero el mismo Pellicer refiere cómo en 18 de setiembre del año siguiente de 1640 se alborot ó Madrid porque el nuevo Presidente quiso llevar adelante la extinción de aquella moda, abolida nada menos que por una pragmática." 10.Quoted by P. W. Bcmli, La Femme dans l'Espagne du Siècle d'Or (La Haye, 1950), p. 113. 11.See Ruth Lee Kennedy, "Certain Phases of the Sumptuary Decrees of 1623 and their Relations to Tirso's Theatre," Hispanic Review, X (1942), 91-115. 12.Published in the Colección de entremeses, loas, bailes, jácaras y mojigangas desde fines del siglo XVI a mediados del siglo XVIII, Vol. XVIII of the Nueva Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, ed. Colatelo y Mori (Madrid, 1911), II, No. 222, pp. 524-526, and No. 224, pp. 528-530. 13.Cejador y Frauca, op. cit., p. 94. It should be noted that the guardainfante continued to be ridiculed years after the decade of the 1630's. Satirical references to it are found in: Luis Vêlez de Guevara, El diablo cojuelo (1641), Vol. XXXVIII of Clásicos Castellanos, ed. Francisco Rodríguez Marín (Madrid, 1941), p. 29; Calderón, Guárdate del agua mansa (c. 1649), Act III, Scene 11 ; and an especially humorous account in Juan de Zabaleta, El dia de fiesta por la mañana (1654), Vol. XlV of Clásicos Castilla, ed. María Antonia Sanz Cuadrado (Madrid, 1948), p. 61. 14.For an account of the Academia burlesca and its various contests, see A. Morel-Fatio, L'Espagne au XVI« et au XVII« Siècle (Heilbronn, 1878), pp. 603-676. 15.Emilio Cotarelo y Mori, Don Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, noticias biográficas y bibliográficas (Madrid, 1911), pp. 237-238. 16.Ibid., p. 144. A Volume of Rare...