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  • Del teatro a la novela: El ritual del disfraz en las Novelas Ejemplares de Cervantes by Eduardo Olid Guerrero
  • Michael J. McGrath (bio)
Eduardo Olid Guerrero. Del teatro a la novela: El ritual del disfraz en las Novelas Ejemplares de Cervantes. Alcalá de Henares: Universidad de Alcalá, Servicio de Publicaciones, 2015. 389 pp. ISBN: 978-84-16133-82-6.

Although Miguel de Cervantes's career as a playwright did not earn him the recognition he would later achieve with Don Quijote and the Novelas ejemplares, he did not abandon his aspirations entirely. In the prologue to Ocho comedias y entremeses nunca representados (1615), Cervantes reflects on his drama: "Torné a pasar los ojos por mis comedias, y por algunos entremeses [End Page 212] míos que con ellas estaban arrinconados, y vi no ser tan malas ni tan malos que no mereciesen salir de las tinieblas del ingenio de aquel autor a la luz de otros autores menos escrupulosos y más entendidos."1 In the years between the publication of La Numancia (1591), arguably Cervantes's most critically acclaimed play, and 1616, the year of his death, Cervantes blurred the line that separates the genre of prose from drama in his literature. Scholars, for the most part, have focused mainly on the theatrical elements in Don Quijote and the Novelas ejemplares. The novelist and essayist Azorín, for example, described Don Quijote as a "novela de un hombre de teatro," and poet and playwright José Bergamín asserts, "Cervantes hizo teatral la novela al no poder novelizer el teatro tanto y tan bien como lo hacía Lope de Vega."2 More recent scholarship includes Jill Syverson-Stork's Theatrical Aspects of the Novel: A Study of DON QUIXOTE (1986), Dale Wasserman's article "Don Quixote as Theatre" (1999), and Edward Friedman's "The Quixotic Template in Contemporary American Theatre" (2015), not to mention the different theatrical iterations of the novel, especially Man of La Mancha. Eduardo Olid Guerrero's Del teatro a la novela: el ritual del disfraz en las Novelas ejemplares de Cervantes, a book the author describes as a "producto de ese intercambio humano e ideológico entre cervantistas, hispanistas e historiadores de ambos lados del océano" (33), continues this rich tradition of Cervantine literary studies. He hypothesizes that the theatricality of the Novelas ejemplares can be attributed to sociological factors: "Cervantes escribe para un receptor que en aquella época está más formado como espectador que como lector. Por ello las herramientas discursivas y los recursos literarios que es capaz de identificar mejor son aquellos que provienen tanto de las ceremonias y eventos públicos, como del teatro, por ser este último el espectáculo que más repercusión mediática tenía en los siglos XVI y XVII" (21). Olid Guerrero demonstrates innovative and truly exceptional scholarship that centers on the Novelas ejemplares' "representación narrativa," "construcción espectacular," and "narrativa de lo espectacular" (21). [End Page 213]

Olid Guerrero's study consists of an introduction, six chapters in which he discusses the "construcción teatral" (17) of two novellas in each chapter, and a conclusion. In chapter 1, titled "Velos de locura y perversión en 'El licenciado Vidriera' y 'El celoso extremeño,'" he examines the role of public and private "camuflaje del ser" (42) as the means by which Cervantes uncovers the perverse nature of humanity and its impact on society. Olid Guerrero expands on this notion in subsequent chapters as well. In chapter 2, "El maquillaje del estupro en 'La fuerza de la sangre' y en 'La ilustre fregona,'" he proposes that the traditional concept of honor and honra is challenged by the belief that the sacrament of matrimony can masquerade and even mitigate the nobility's abhorrent treatment, which includes rape, of the members, especially women, of the lower class. In chapter 3, "Máscaras impuestas y voluntarias en 'La gitanilla' y en 'La española inglesa,'" Olid Guerrero elucidates the role of spatiality and mobility vis-a-vis the social and psychological development of characters (Preciosa and Isabel) that are kidnap victims who grow up without knowledge of their true identity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1943-3840
Print ISSN
0277-6995
Pages
pp. 212-215
Launched on MUSE
2018-02-20
Open Access
No
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