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REVIEWS Exum, Frances, ed. Essays on Comedy and the Gracioso in Plays by Agustín Moreto. York, South Carolina: Spanish Literature Publishing Company, 1986. Pp. 68. Much of the reputation of Agustín Moreto rests on his talents as a comic writer. Unfortunately, this position is not strongly supported by critical works that reveal this aspect of his work. Indeed, a quick perusal of the bibliography contained in the book indicates how little attention has been paid to it. The publication of these essays within one cover, seven of which have appeared before in easily obtainable journals, may serve a useful purpose. Collections of articles that deal with a single subject help to focus the attention of their readers on that particular issue and may encourage others to undertake further studies, by rendering patent how much still needs to be done. Considering the fact that comedy , because it is inherently difficult to analyze, is often ignored, the effort has merit in spite of the evident duplication. The book is set within a framework of essays by Bruce Wardropper, whose 1957 article on the secularization of the comedia serves as the lead piece. The other essays, four of which are by Prof. Exum herself, are the products of seminars directed by Prof. Wardropper under the patronage of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Prof. Wardropper, it will be remembered, suggested that El desdén con el desdén is the first Golden Age play in which the psychological problems raised by it are "divorced from theological preoccupations " and it is this secularization which, coinciding with the ideas of the period, constitutes an advance, but not necessarily an improvement, on the art of the comedia. In her essay, "Moreto's Pollila and the Spirit of Carnival," Janet B. Norden studies the figure of the gracioso in his role as manipulator of the action who, operating within the spirit of Carnival, achieves the union of sensual love with Christian values and brings about, thereby, an affirmation of life. Ann Fountain in "Venereal Disease and the Gracioso" uncovers not only Polilla's preoccupation with syphilis but also discusses the connection of the 155 156BCom, Vol. 41, No. 1 (Summer 1989) disease with the names Polilla-Canaqui by which the servant is variously known. She suggests a possible metaphorical relation between Carlos and Apollo and, therefore, a connection between the gracioso and the shepherd Syphilis, in Fracastor's poem, who had been punished with the dreaded disease for daring to insult the Sun god. In the first of her four essays Prof. Exum discusses the role of four graciosos as directors of the action, paying particular attention to their disguises and roleplaying . In this function, they are not only directors of minidramas but also commentators on the actions of others. By establishing a special relation between the audience and themselves, they make it possible for the spectators to participate actively in the development of the plays. In the other essays, Prof. Exum denies the centrality of the image of the breva for the theme of El desdén con el desdén, uncovers the resemblance of the structure of Yo por vos, y vos por otro to a dance, the quadrille, and discusses the parodie intent of role-reversal in De fuera vendrá. In the epilogue to the book, Bruce Wardropper reviews the question of secularization of the comedia by Moreto and, while taking graciously the criticism by Francisco Rico, insists on his earlier formulation, with the modification that it is the spirit of Carnival that determines the nature of the play. Frank P. Casa University of Michigan Lope de Rueda. The Interludes (Los Pasos). Randall W. Listerman, translator. Ottawa: Dovehouse Editions, 1988. Paper. 118 pp. This is the first English translation of the complete Pasos of Lope de Rueda—the seven published in El Deleitoso (1567), and the other six contained in the Registro de representantes (1570) . Rueda's Pasos depend almost entirely on verbal humor, which is notoriously one of the hardest things to translate. As if this were not enough to discourage any potential translator, the Pasos are written in a fast-paced, telegraphic slang, replete with archaic regionalisms and colloquialisms , many...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-0928
Print ISSN
0007-5108
Pages
pp. 155-156
Launched on MUSE
2014-01-08
Open Access
No
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