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Reviews291 amor, La puente de Mantible, and Los tres mayores prodigios. This is a major contribution to Calderonian studies that will provoke much thought and perhaps some controversy at the same time as it broadens our understanding and deepens our appreciation of Calderonian dramaturgy. Thomas Austin O'Connor Kansas State University N. D. SHERGOLD y J. E. VAREY. Genealogía, origen y noticias de los comediantes de España. London: Támesis Books, 1985. "Fuentes para la historia del teatro en España", II. Paper. 633 pp. There seems to be no English equivalent of the word histrionismo, in the sense which embraces all personalities related to the life of the theater. The enormous MS edited here is only a genealogy in that it records the immediate parents, spouses and immediate progeny of not just actors and actresses, but also of autores and autoras, and of minor theatrical functionaries, up to about the year 1721. Many of its pages resemble an arid fichero, though it does compensate for this by telling a number of anecdotes of theater life, las que les dan, in the happy phrase, cuerpo y garbo a las sombras del pasado. These stories are chiefly of human interest, hardly ever concerning occurrences onstage. We read, for instance, of the "preordained" death of Iñigo de Loaisa, previously told of in this Bulletin (10 [1958]) by Hannah Bergman. However, the compilation does not seem to have been made to appeal to public curiosity about actors; it must be distinguished from, say, the contemporary English Roscius Anglicanus (1708) of John Downes. A previous volume in this series, "Fuentes III", had indicated the Spanish authorities' insistence on the married state as proper for actresses , and on travel accompanied by wives, if they had any, for actors and autores. This anonymous MS perhaps owes its heavy emphasis on who was married to whom to this ordinance. The compiler's name might not be too difficult to identify at some future time, given his special connections with the Valencia theater and with the Madrid archives of the Cofradía de Nuestra Señora de la Novena, specifically a confraternity for actors and the functionaries mentioned above. Genealogía illustrates particularly well the economic and social circumstances of the profession. Diderot later in the century had wondered, in his Paradoxe: what sends them on to the stage? He decided that conventionally it was their lack of education, mere poverty, or a recourse from dissolute living. To 292BCom, Vol. 39, No. 2 (Winter 1 987) be "a slave under the ferule of slaves" cannot possibly be an enthusiastic choice. That was the Paris stage, and Diderot probably exaggerated. In Genealogía we learn much about the recruitment of actors and actresses, and it bears out that analysis only in part. We also have the impression that the Cofradía de la Novena does not seem to have functioned very well in seeing to the welfare of those who retired. Many ended their days in appalling poverty. Another striking impression is of so many acting careers beginning or ending in violent crime, . . . and of the law's astonishing leniency towards autouiudas. At least some members of the profession made a good living, to judge from the rich donations in sumptuous materials and jeweled objects received by the Cofradía, and on a different level, by habits such as that of one actress who slept between black taffeta sheets! The authors conclude that the stigma that had for so long attached itself to histrionismo, and to having actor parents, was by the time of this compilation (1700-1721, the MS being probably datable as of 1723) becoming effaced. They emphasize how useful Genealogía might be for tracing the composition of acting companies at any one time; we might set our findings alongside printed cast-lists and so date some first performances more accurately. We have five separate indexes. First, all records of the meetings of the Cofradía to have survived and to have been used by the compiler are calendared. A second index is that of other documentary sources. Next come those of plays and entremeses mentioned, and one of places. Finally, there is...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 291-293
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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