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REVIEWS ZIOMEK, HENRYK. Lo grotesco en /a literatura española del Siglo de Oro. Madrid: Alcalá, 1983. Paper. 212 pp. Of the five chapters of this book, two deal specifically with the theater. Chapter ?, «El drama prelopesco,» devotes 15 of its 19 pages to Cristóbal de Virués and the remaining 4 pages to plays by Torres Naharro, Lope de Rueda, Juan de Timoneda and Juan de la Cueva. Here Ziomek primarily relates incidents that display grotesque elements but without much critical comment. For instance, his observation that the «escenas de horror, que suceden ante la vista de los espectadores de La gran Semíramis, son suaves si se las compara con la muerte de la reina» (p. 26), is left hanging, and the reader wonders what significance Ziomek sees in this contrast. Chapter ??, «El drama del Siglo de Oro,» is 59 pages long, of which some 13 are a translation of Sturgis Leavitt's «Some Aspects of the Grotesque in the Drama of the Siglo de Oro,» originally published in Hispania in 1935. Ziomek informs us of this fact in a footnote. The lack of any explanation for this procedure is puzzling, particularly since Leavitt himself had resurrected the essay in his Golden Age Drama in Spain: General Consideration and Unusual Features (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1972), just four years prior to Ziomek's completion of the work reviewed here. The date of the manuscript's completion, some seven years prior to its publication, explains one of its shortcomings, though the blame is evidently to be laid at the doorstep of the publisher, not the author. The bibliography contains only four references to works as recent as the 1970s, and of these, the latest is 1971. The publisher is also to be faulted for a large number of typographical errors, many of them only irritating , some of which prevent comprehension, such as the mangling of 145 146BCom, Vol. 37, No. 1 (Summer 1985) a quotation from Paul Hie on p. 113 (and again on p. 115). On the other hand, the fact that Northrop Frye's name is spelled «Horthrup» in the footnote on p. 80 and is found this way as well in the Bibliography, suggests careless proofreading. Chapter ?? is not confined to Leavitt's essay. In addition to having supplied the quotations from the plays to which Leavitt only alluded, Ziomek has made his own contributions. For instance, Leavitt wrote: «It is a pleasure to discover that some major playwrights of the century are almost able to refrain from shedding blood. Moreto and Rojas have little or nothing to contribute to this assembly of gruesome exhibits» (p. 68 of Golden Age Drama in Spain). Ziomek writes: «Es grato descubrir . . . que algunos dramaturgos famosos del Siglo de Oro se esforzaron por evitar en lo posible el derramamiento de sangre» (p. 49). Though he does not mention Moreto, Ziomek has found Rojas to make a contribution of a different order: «Rojas intenta una crítica social, de la que se sirve para explorar las debilidades e inconstancias humanas» (p. 55). According to Ziomek, Rojas is no less than «uno de los creadores de lo grotesco,» and examples are given from Los trabajos de Tobías to show how the grotesque can be used to produce laughter in circumstances that might otherwise lead to disgust (ibid.). Some of Ziomek's conclusions are thoughtprovoking and, therefore, debatable, such as the following observation on Calderón: En una sociedad española de signo tan individualista, la familia constituye una célula importantísima basada en el sentido de honor. Sin embargo, la intención de los poetas del Barroco es dar una imagen grotesca de la mujer por su carácter inconstante, en tanto que al hombre lo presentan empleando su valentía contra el sexo débil en vez de acreditarla en el campo de batalla. Hombre y mujer quedan, pues, desplazados de sus verdaderos papeles, (p. 54) Ziomek's reading of Cervantes (whom he inexplicably calls «El gran manchego» on p. 124) leads to some questionable conclusions. He sees as grotesque Don Quijote's mistaking of windmills for giants, as though the attack upon the windmills...


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