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Reviews319 Calderón de la Barca, Pedro. El magico prodigioso. A composite edition by Melveena McKendrick, in association with A. A Parker. Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1992. 277 pp. $79.00. This volume offers a most attractive and learned edition of a Calderonian masterpiece; the text as Melveena McKendrick edits it, however, probably never existed in this particular form, as she states in her introduction . Calderón wrote two versions of El mágico prodigioso: the first, for the Corpus Christi celebration in 1637, survives in an autograph draft lacking the end of the third act; a reworked version clearly intended for corral performances was published in the 1663 Parte veinte de comedias varias nunca impressas and in the 1683 Vera Tassis Sexta parte of Calderón's comedias. The two versions are quite different in orientation. The Yepes text is auto-like, opening with a spectacular scene in which Demonio enters on a flame-painted cart drawn by "dragons" and points out to the audience the theological message contained in the action that will follow. The revision eliminates the carts and augments the play's dramatic impact for a secular theatre by hiding the devil's identity in the interest of suspense, heightening the love interest through the demonic fantasy seduction of Justina, and reworking the roles of the graciosos. This revised princeps has been the canonical text of the play and McKendrick does not intend to replace it with her composite version. Rather, her stated goals are to provide an "ordered, unbroken text" of Calderón's original auto-like conception of the drama that also "illuminates the reworked , secularized version" and to demonstrate the manner in which Calderón revised his religious play for a commercial stage. The composite construction is unquestionably the most dramatically powerful form of the play, and virtually all the text can be assumed to have been penned by Calderón. In the introduction, McKendrick compares the two versions concisely and postulates that the revised version was commissioned by an autor de comedias, and that, working against a deadline, Calderón left certain ragged cuts in the text. An alternative hypothesis might be that after Calderón revised the work, an autor shortened the text without due regard to rhyme scheme and later sold a copy of this cut version for publication, as seems to have been the case for Basta callar. The introduction, written collaboratively with A. A. Parker, also contextualizes the drama with regard to Counter-Reformation views of Christian martyrdom and magic, traces the legend of the devil-pact, and analyzes the play as a drama about choice, focused on the search for knowledge, the nature of ignorance and of true virtue. Readers will find 320BCom, Vol. 45, No. 2 (Winter 1993) therein his expertise in theological history, her moderate feminist perspective and their mutual talent for formal analysis. The notes that follow the text also offer a wealth of information. The problem some readers may find has to do not with the quality of work this edition evidences but with the validity of composite editions and the compatibility of McKendrick's stated goals. Her inspiration for a composite text was W. W. Greg's 1950 composite edition ofthe two versions of Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, but the legitimacy ofthat model has since been questioned by bibliographers who argue for fidelity to the coherent but distinct artistic conception represented by differing authorial versions (see Jerome McGann, A Critique ofModern Textual Criticism), and the most recent Oxford edition of Shakespeare has abandoned the practice of conflating texts. Since the Yepes manuscript is incomplete, to produce a complete text, McKendrick had to graft to it the princeps ending . But this made Clarín's role a problem, since in the Yepes version he does not witness Cipriano's apprenticeship, but spends the year in prison with Moscón under suspicion of having murdered Cipriano. Rather than allowing this inconsistency to stand, McKendrick chose to reject a good share of the manuscript third act in order to maintain a consistent plot line. She also includes the marvelous fantasy seduction scene, not in the original text. The result is a text of4130 lines, longer than...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 319-320
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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