- Los amotinados de Flandes
With this edition, Desirée Pérez Fernández and C. George Peale make available to readers Luis Vélez de Guevara's Los amotinados de Flandes, a play that intertwines love and war when a woman successfully pursues an honorable Spanish captain, whose troops mutiny for lack of pay and eventually unite to defeat the enemy. This comedia is one of more than twenty-five of Vélez de Guevara's works in Juan de la Cuesta's "Ediciones críticas" series edited by William R. Manson and Peale, sometimes in collaboration with others. The Modern Language Association's Committee on Scholarly Editions has recognized these editors for high-quality editorial principles, text, and scholarly apparatus. Although lacking the MLA seal, this volume appears to follow similar editorial practices. Not widely studied, as evidenced by the dearth of sources in the MLA International Bibliography online and WorldCat, Los amotinados de Flandes is worth a look in this careful edition.
Part of her dissertation, Pérez Fernández's lengthy introduction (this is one of the longest volumes in Manson and Peale's series) is clearly written and thorough with ample references. Pérez Fernández discusses plays treating the Eighty Years' War, the plot of Los amotinados, the play's reception, historicity, historical and fictional characters, structure, date of composition, verse forms, and manuscript versions. Professors who utilize this volume in class might find it useful to provide basic biographical information about the author and a concise summary of the conflict in Flanders before beginning the introduction so that the context is clear before students read more specifically about plays that portray this war, the historical elements of this play, and the author's intention. The introduction is indexed for readers who want to consult only one section or who find the plot summary and character descriptions too extensive or detailed to read before the play.
A comparison of this edition with the University of Pennsylvania's microfilm of Los amotinados from the Quinta parte de comedias escogidas de los mejores ingenios de España (1653), which was mentioned by Pérez Fernández and most likely the only other primary source of Los amotinados in WorldCat, accentuates the readability of the new edition of the play, which [End Page 150] is attractively spaced in one column with fine type on ivory pages. Unlike the microfilm version, this volume includes numbered lines and references to textual divergences in four source manuscripts. Spot checks showed that the unobtrusive circles within the play that refer to linguistic and cultural notes at the end of the work are generally correctly numbered, and a final index lists words discussed by line number. An examination of the beginning pages of Act 1 indicated that variations in this microfilm version mostly correspond to the notes in the new edition.
As I turned off the microfilm reader and rubbed my eyes, words of appreciation for Pérez Fernández and Peale's work on Los amotinados de Flandes ran through my mind. Their efforts have provided a solid, economical (currently $17.95) edition of a play that was not widely available, along with ample introductory materials and notes compiled from many secondary sources and previous editions. Viewing early comedia manuscripts, or even microfilm versions, is illuminating because they reveal such details as layout, script, prefatory materials, and context created within a collection. Despite the typed representations of manuscripts instead of actual illustrations, this volume will be invaluable for nonspecialists seeking an accessible version of the play and for critics needing a reliable edition with critical apparatus to supplement manuscript copies. [End Page 151]