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380BCom, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Winter 1997) examination. Occasionally, alas (though fortunately not often), a more or less traditional reading ofthe play in question is merely tricked out in a few theoretical furbelows; the analysis in such cases does not really grow out of or depend upon the theory, which could have been dispensed with, without noticeably affecting the conclusions reached. As an introduction to modern theoretical approaches to the comedia, this volume has a couple of other problems as well. Some ofthe theoretical approaches illustrated are no longer exactly on the cutting edge of modern critical theory. And several ofthe essays, in somewhat different form, have already appeared elsewhere. Nevertheless, I would recommend the collection , despite the drawbacks. The lucidity of the theoretical synopses, and the cogency ofsome ofthe individual textual analyses, would make the volume highly useful in any graduate class on the Golden Age comedia. And the essays' overall, albeit sometimes implicit, call on students of the comedia to keep abreast of developments in critical theory seems likely to remain necessary and timely. Barbara E. Kurtz Illinois State University Stroud, Matthew D. The Play in the Mirror: Lacanian Perspectives on Spanish Baroque Theater. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP, 1996. Cloth. 242 pp. Of the many theorists whose works inform contemporary literary criticism , including that of Hispanists, the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan may well have the most forbidding reputation. Relatively few Golden Age scholars have ventured into this intimidating intellectual realm. Students of the comedia can thus profit from Matthew Stroud's The Play in the Mirror and will surely welcome both Stroud's ability to articulate Lacanian ideas methodically and his insightful application ofthem to several works. The Play in the Mirror's brief opening chapter enumerates the fundamental premises of Lacan's formulation of the subject, then in chapter 2 Stroud elaborates upon and demonstrates Lacanian subjectivity through the journeys toward greater self-knowledge experienced by Calderón's characters in La vida es sueño. Through the process of signification, they all must break free of the egoistic imaginary order and submit themselves to the symbolic order represented by civilization in order to play their proper roles Reviews381 in society; in doing so, they must accept the Other's desire as their own and act accordingly, as the play's concluding reconciliations and marriages demonstrate. Chapter 3, entitled "Love and Desire," explains how both these emotions result from the inescapable lack at the core of the subject. Desire is the attempt to achieve individual completion by (again) adopting the Other's desire as one's own, while love is the attempt to become whole by being loved. Due to inevitable conflicts between the imaginary, symbolic, and real, neither goal can ever be fully realized. The characters in La dama boba and El caballero de Olmedo, in search of wholeness, do not understand why contentment eludes them. Only the security of the symbolic order offers an apparent escape from this dilemma, as can be seen in La dama boba's concluding — and possibly less than completely fulfilling — marriages . For Stroud, however, this comedy is less illustrative of desire's true trajectory than the tragic El caballero de Olmedo, in which Alonso and Inés's passion conflicts with the symbolic order as embodied by her father's intention that she marry Rodrigo; desire cannot be satisfied in either the imaginary or symbolic realms and leads inexorably to death. Chapter 4, "Honor, Ethics, and Tragedy," continues to explore the insufficiency of the symbolic order to satisfy or control desire. Masculine honor in the Golden Age comedia, Stroud points out, partakes paradoxically of both the imaginary and symbolic registers, on one hand egoistically asserting individual autonomy and on the other submitting unquestioningly to various cultural imperatives. It is this paradox which is embodied by El castigo sin venganza's Duke ofFerrara, an egoistic individual expected to represent the symbolic order ofhis realm. The play's final tragedy results from the intersection of these registers and their imperatives when the Duke confronts desire in the form of his wife and illegitimate son's treasonous adultery . A secreto agravio, secreta venganza raises for Stroud the question of prudence, a symbolic virtue which...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 380-383
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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