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Reviews113 The ponencias are summarized by Marc Vitse; he comments on the difficulty of formulating generalizations for material so varied. He remarks on the findings of some of the speakers that the theater was an enemy of the Establishment, while others had reached the opposite conclusion. One recalls that it was J.A. Maravall who some years ago stated that the Comedia was propaganda for the social, religious and political status quo; the affirmation induced students of the genre to investigate the matter with increased interest. It is perhaps surprising that Maravall is mentioned only by Maria Grazia Profeti. It is perhaps even more surprising that there is no mention of Bergson's classic Le Rire although ten of the thirteen ponencias were written by French scholars. To repeat, Risa y sociedad is stimulating, provocative and informative , deserving of an appreciative acceptance by students of the Comedia. Gerald E. Wade University of Tennessee MUJICA, BARBARA L. Calderón's Characters: An Existential Point of View. Barcelona: Pulvill-Editor, 1980. Paper. 350 pp. The purpose of Professor Mujica's stimulating book is to suggest that Calderón was in a sense a precursor of the modern existentialist playwrights and novelists, in particular, Sartre. Like those writers, Calderón «created characters faced with situations of great complexity to which they, as individuals free and responsible for their acts, must react. It is through the choices they make and the consequent acts they perform that these characters define themselves-as tyrants, as heroes, as men of honor, as individauls worthy of salvation or damnation » (p. 305). In her existential orientation to six Calderonian dramas of different genres-La gran Cenobio, La dama duende, A secreto agravio, secreta venganza, La vida es sueño, El mágico prodigioso , and La estatua de Prometeo--Mujica relies on a variety of texts by pre-existentialist and existentialist writers, ranging from Nietzsche and Sartre to Rollo May. She also refers to writers who might be considered peripheral to the movement, such as Franz Kafka, whose works illustrate the themes of alienation and absurdity in the modern world. In addition, she examines Calderonian 114Bulletin ofthe Comediantes characters within the moral and philosophical context of the seventeenth century, drawing principally on Francisco Suárez's Disputaciones metafísicas. Mujica is careful to point to some of the obvious limitations of a modern existentialist approach to Calderonian drama, as for example, the fundamentally different views of faith and reason held by Calderón on the one hand and the existentialists on the other. Following are some examples of the ways in which Mujica juxtaposes dramatic analysis and existentialist thought in considering the plays. In La gran Cenobio, Aureliano and Cenobia are taken to represent the polarity between the tyrant dominated by a fixed view of the world and the benevolent ruler who chooses to confront each situation as it arises and avoids becoming a victim of her own fantasies and biases. To the extent that Aureliano is repeatedly swayed by appearances , Mujica concludes that he may be seen as a precursor of the«inauthentic» type of character represented by Lucien in Sartre's L'Enfance d'un chef. The central theme of La dama duende is thought to be the quest for freedom and self-realization, developed dramatically through Doña Angela's maneuvering to escape the vigilance of her brothers. Sartre's term en situation is applied to Doña Angela's dilemma, to express the idea that an individual is confronted with circumstances that force him to make a choice. Faced with the requirements of the honor code, Doña Angela is free to accept them or to rebel against them. For Mujica, the real problem-Dona Angela's liberty-remains unsolved at the end of the play. Marriage is merely a conventional ending, and there is some speculation as to whether Doña Angela will be happy once she is married or again crave freedom, thereby causing Don Manuel to replace her brothers as the guardian of the prison of the dama duende. One wonders, however, whether such conjecture is beyond the scope of the text. Don Lope's conflict in A secreto agravio, secreta venganza is...


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pp. 113-115
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