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TRISTAN, SOSIAAND CENTURIO AS BURLESQUE FIGURES AmandaJ.A. Tozer University of Exeter The figures of Tristan and Sosia seem to have been confined to the marginalia oí Celestina studies, perhaps unsurprisingly, ifwe measure their contribution to the momentum of die plot from a quantitative standpoint. The figure ofCenturio, on the other hand, has received more detailed critical analysis, most notably by Maria Rosa Lida de Malkiel, because unlike the other characters he seems to have been conceived as an intrinsically comic figure created widi die sole object of exciting burlesque laughter, and also the carnivalesque laughter observed by Louise Fothergill-Payne as "a 'rire de fête', a shared joke and universal in that it mocks the world and its institutions" (32). In this article, I will analyse the functions of this rough-hewn trio, not in relation to their inferior status as secondary characters who spring forth with no apparent pre-history, that is to say, with none of the carefully constructed biographical background ofCelestina or Pármeno, but as textual evidence to support the possibility that Rojas may have intended to experiment widi literary and dramatic strategies such as fictional pseudo-narration and comic characterisation.1 1 The term 'fictional pseudo-narration' would have been a concept foreign to Rojas and other writers ofhis time. This term refers to the technique ofassigning conventional narrative functions to a fictional character within the text, as opposed to authorial intervention in the process ofnarrating events or the kind ofpseudo-autobiographical technique ofnarration that we find in Cárcel deAmor, for example. It is important to point at thisjuncture that I share Dorothy S. Several's view that Celestina is a novelistic text and not a work which was intended for the stage, despite the fact that the unprecedented value of 01 ality would have lent itselfto its transmission in performative terms as a text which was intended to be read aloud, as Proazn asserts in his final stanzas. For a detailed discussion oíCelestina in relation to the process ofnovelisation ofthe early Spanish novel, see Severin, Tragicomedy, chapters 1 and 2. La corónica 32.2 (Spring, 2004): 151-70 152Amanda JA. TozerLa coránica 32.2, 2004 Following the deaths of Celestina, Pármeno and Senipronio in Act XII, the world of servants, prostitutes and pimps begins to take centre stage: Areúsa and Elicia become avengers, Tristan and Sosia become fictional pseudo-narrators, and Centurio becomes an integral prop in the situation comedy developed in Acts XV, XVII and XVIII, tiiereby completing the burlesque picture with a sizeable helping of verbal incongruity and ridiculous exaggeration.2 The increased protagonism of die streetwise prostitutes, coupled with the introduction ofTristan, Sosia and Centurio is not necessary for the advancement of action, and the participation of these characters in some peripheral offshoots of the plot and laboured turns of discourse is presented in a haphazard and incongruous way. At die same time, Rojas creates a more overtly comedie brand of situational dialogue, reminiscent of interludes of Act I, which results in a marked downturn in die elevated style of die preceding twelve acts, but a heightened presence of comedy. What, might we ask, was his modus operandi in diverting the course of the continuation in such a comedie direction, if only temporarily? Is this stylistic change of trajectory emblematic of Rojas's inexperience as a self-confessed recreational writer, who was urged by a hungry audience to unexpectedly extend the work? Many Celestina critics have described die introduction of Tristan and Sosia, along with the "Tratado de Centurio", as a defining moment of creative rupture with the Comedia, because of temporal-spatial discrepancies, strucUiral defects in the plot, and a discernible change in style. But comparing the popularity of the Comedia widi that of the Tragicomedia is, of course, problematic because the latter eclipsed the former almost immediately, and no comparisons of the two were made until the modern era. James R. Stamm went as far as to state the following: We may suppose that die continuator is indulging a sense of comedy in setting up an elaborate structure ofintrigue in which Areúsa worms Sosia's secret from him by flattery...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 151-170
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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