In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews209 primera línea y que supone una importante contribución al conocimiento de ese gran escritor, cuyo cuarto centenario nos ha permitido profundizar en numerosos aspectos de su variada y extensa dramaturgia. Fernando Plata Colgate University Calderón de la Barca, Pedro. La primerflor del Carmelo. Ed. Femando Plata Parga. Autos sacramentales completos, vol. 22. Kassel: Reichenberger, 1998. 269 pp. La primerflor del Carmelo, an auto sacramental likely to have been first performed in 1647 or 1648, has been read as dealing mainly with Old-Testament imagery and issues (Valbuena Prat) or as fundamentally Marian in its outlook (González). Frutos and Rubio Latorre see both aspects operating in the play, with a somewhat forced nod to a Eucharistie ending as the resplendent Mary figure also appears on stage. Femando Plata Parga tries to make sense ofthe apparently divergent trajectories of the story in his introduction and notes to this excellent critical edition. While the play concludes abruptly and depends on several distinct allegorical threads, Plata carefully ties them together in a theologically sound and aesthetically pleasing whole. La primerflor del Carmelo develops the story of David, Abigail, and Nabal as told in I Samuel 25. David, fleeing with a band ofmen from the jealous Saul, sends messengers to the wealthy Nabal requesting supplies. When Nabal rejects the petition, David in his wrath swears to slay Nabal and all his male servants. Abigail, Nabal's wife, takes provisions and pleads mercy at David's feet. David relents, and, when Nabal leams what has happened, he falls ill and dies. Later, David marries Abigail (not mentioned by Calderón). The allegorical meaning ofthe play derives from the straightforward identifications of David with Christ and Abigail with the Virgin. Calderón includes other characters such as Luzbel, Lascivia, and Avaricia to disrupt order. Luzbel first seeks to corrupt David, but, upon failing to sway him (as in the temptations ofChrist), he persuades Nabal, who represents the world, into rejecting Abigail and withholding his opulence from David. In one of the most interesting scenes in the play, the gracioso, 210BCom, Vol. 55, No. 1 (2003) Simplicio, leads Abigail, Castidad, Liberalidad, Avaricia, Lascivia, and Luzbel in a game of colors. Each player chooses a color and its symbolic meaning. Simplicio recounts the story ofthe war in heaven and Satan's opposition to God, then the Fall, the promised Redemption, and the intercession ofthe Virgin. Whenever Simplicio mentions either a color or the concept it symbolizes, the players chime in with the corresponding concept or color. Abigail wins, ofcourse, and Luzbel fulminates as he refuses to improve his play and subsequently loses the game. Calderon's inclusion ofthe game serves to break up what in some ofthe other autos sacramentales are long monologues by characters outlining the Fall and Redemption; at the same time, it emphasizes the details ofthe story as the characters discuss the meaning of what they hear. For this scene, and throughout the play, the footnotes prove quite useful. Plata exhaustively catalogues the differences between the nine extant manuscripts and seven editions oíLaprimerflor del Carmelo, traces the relationships between the manuscripts and editions, and includes a fiftyfive -page list oftextual variants. For the most significant variation (about sixty additional lines at the end ofan edition he dates at 1676), the editor presents his text and the variant in dual-column format. The edition also boasts an index ofthe biblical allusions in the auto, scores offootnotes, a mostly complete bibliography of criticism on the auto sacramental (noticeably absent are recent books by Barbara Kurtz and Viviana Diaz Balsera), and a discussion of other works treating the I Samuel story which may have influenced La primerflor del Carmelo. Plata occasionally overlooks a biblical allusion. For example, near the beginning ofthe play Goliath wishes he could spit his blood into the sky to cover the sun, moon, and stars. This clear reference to the Apocalypse goes unmentioned, even though fifty verses earlier Avaricia and Lascivia mention the beast with seven heads (dutifully explained in a footnote). Goliath continues on the same page to allude to sinners wishing for the mountains to fall on them to cover their guilt, an echo of Isaiah again...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 209-211
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.