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BOOK REVIEWS GITLITZ, DAVID M. La estructura lírica de la comedia de Lope de Vega. Valencia: Albatros Hispanófila Ediciones, 1980. Paper. 206 pp. This book is an analysis of how Lope de Vega adapted techniques drawn from lyric and narrative poetry to impart a «poetic structure» to his plays. Professor Gitlitz devotes his first chapter to a survey of the pervasive nature of symbolic representation in Golden Age Spain. A few well chosen examples from the art, architecture, heraldry, court spectacles, autos sacramentales and emblem literature of the period serve to convince the reader that Lope's public was unusually well conditioned to respond sensitively to symbolism of all sorts and that the modern reader must cultivate a similar sensitivity if he is fully to appreciate Lope's dramatic art. Gitlitz then goes on to examine the functions performed by poetic techniques in Lope's theater, which he catalogues as: «embellecer, clarificar, amplificar, valorar, y estructurar .» However, these apparently distinct functions tend to blur and overlap when applied to the use of a specific technique in a given play and therefore do not offer a paradigm for the systematic study of the poetics of Lope's theater. This is no doubt why Gitlitz chooses instead to structure his work around the use of imagery to enhance characters, plots and themes, the general use of figurative language to create atmosphere (this is in fact what he means by valorar) and the use of lyric interludes. Following the example of Diego Marin in his Uso yfunción de la versificación dramática en Lope de Vega, Gitlitz selects twenty seven plays by Lope as a representative sample for his study. In each of five«genres» (hagiographical, pastoral, de capa y espada, novelescas and mythological) he chooses three plays for study-one from the early (pre-1600), one from the middle (circa 1610) and one from the late (post-1620) period of Lope's career. Only two pastoral plays are included , since Lope wrote none of these during the late period. Four 707 108Bulletin ofthe Comediantes historical-legendary plays are chosen from each period, since almost half of Lope's extant works belong to this category. The point of using a sample which is both chronologically and generically representative was of course to attempt to determine whether Lope's use of poetic devices varied according to the period or genre in which a play was written. The conclusion is that, except in the case of lyric interludes , most of the techniques appear in all the plays studied, and Lope's theater must therefore be considered «esencialmente lírico.» Given the method used, the conclusion could hardly have been otherwise , yet it fails to address the really important question of whether Lope attained greater «poetic coherence» in the plays belonging to a particular period or genre. The real problem with this book is that a great play is more than the sum of its parts and that «poetic coherence» is not quantifiably measurable. Gitlitz succeeds in showing that each of the techniques he is examining does indeed appear in some form in most of the twentyseven plays. In other words, he breaks down each play into its component parts and then composes long lists of examples of the use of a particular technique in many different plays. Obviously aware that his lists are inconclusive, he states: «No quiero dar la impresión de que todo lo que salió de la pluma de Lope esté cargado de coherencia lírica, ni tampoco de que aun cuando haya tal coherencia ésta salve a una comedia de la mediocridad» (p. 164; emphasis mine). However, in the following chapter he argues that Lope's masterpieces are those works in which he managed to construct an «estructura lírica» in which the poetic techniques «cooperan para imponer un sello de primera calidad.» How this «estructura lírica» differs from the«coherencia lírica» which was supposedly inadequate to save a play from mediocrity is not clear. The book's last two chapters are an attempt to make up for the deficiencies resulting from the method employed in the earlier part of the book. In these chapters...


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