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Reviews403 Charles Ganelin and Howard Mancing, eds. The Golden Age Comedia: Text, Theory, and Performance. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University Press, 1994. Pp. ? + 422. $44.00 This rich collection, honoring the prominent Spanish Golden Age scholar Vera Williamsen, presents two groups of thirteen essays each under two headings: "Textual Studies" and "Theory and Performance Studies." There is a little imbalance in favor of Lope de Vega and his school, a reflection of his popularity among American Hispanists. A perusal ofthis well-organized and articulatedmiscellany shouldbe most helpful to young scholars and also to those working in other literatures who may want to know the current state of research in this field. The initial essay, by Dian Fox, convincingly argues that our understanding of the tragic nature of El caballero de Olmedo is enhanced through knowledge of its historical context and the poetic tradition of the play's sources. The ballad reproduced on pages 18-21 is very helpful and intriguing. Next Susan N. McCreary, studying Lope's Las paces de los reyes, suggests a certain parallel between Adam's innocence, fall, and rehabilitation and the career of the protagonist (King Alfonso VIII) from childhood to moral fall to redeemed adulthood. The use of such biblical paradigms is quite frequent in the art of this deeply religious period. Then Matthew Stroud concentrates on rivalry and violence in Lope's El castigo sin venganza, which is studied in terms of René Girard's pioneering Violence and the Sacred, which here provides a new and very useful perspective on a difficult work. We find an excellent close reading of a short poem (16 lines) with serious implications for interpretation of character in Constance Rose's essay on El burlador's Tisbea, a good example of the significance of seemingly innocent poetic passages skillfully handled. Frederick A. de Armas concentrates on El secreto en la mujer by Claramonte, a minor but very interesting dramatist, and his use ofthe poison-remedy opposition (pharmakon), which appears frequently in this author. One weak point: the letter t has a prophetic value, to which Lelio alludes in lines 370-75. It is the tao or thau (Ezekiel 9.4-6, Apocalypse 9.4), in the shape of a cross, a sign of redemption and final reconciliation with the father. The study of the "diverse economy" in Entre bobos anda el juego is William R. Blue's elegant, concise contribution—a convincing demonstration of the usefulness of economic tiieory in literary criticism and a celebration ofthe impressive craft of Rojas Zorrilla. Two sonnets in La dama duende, by Calderón, are explained by Margaret R. Greer in the historical context of women's place in society and tiieir precarious economic situation, thereby giving the poems a richer meaning and greater relevance in the structure of the play. David H. Heiple satisfactorily proves that two of Calderón's sacramental plays, El santo rey don Fernando I and //, offer enough internal evidence to be considered adaptations of a previously written 404Comparative Drama three-act comedia. Surprisingly, however, no record has been found to document the original play. Susana Hernández Araico, whose essay enhances our respect for Calderón's integrity, reveals how independent was Calderón's creative mind even under enormous pressure by important persons. The "grammar" of honor in Calderón, specifically the meaning of "fineza" in Fineza contrafineza, is discussed by Thomas A. O'Connor, who thus adds significantly to recent studies of the complex concept of honor in Spanish society and literature. Teresa S. Soufas studies the unconventionality ofMaría de Zaya's only play, La traición en la amistad, and challenges through certain feminist principles "the very notion of a canonical tradition" (p. 160n). On this play, see also V. H. Oakley's analysis in the Summer 1994 issue of the Bulletin ofthe Comediantes (pp. 59-70). Through careful observation of the verse forms and ideas, Michael McGaha successfully establishes the fact that Francisco de Villegas, author of six plays and collaborator in writing five more, is in reality one of the two pseudonyms used by Antonio Enríquez Gómez. Of special interest is McGaha's analysis of versification as a tool...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 403-405
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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