Lope de Vega, in the dedicatoria to La campana de Aragón, included in the Parte XV de las Comedias, famously pondered historical drama as an effective means to “renovar la fama desde los teatros a las memorias de las gentes” (qtd. in Case 203–04). Due to its eminent ability to make history come alive before the eyes of the audience, the emerging historical drama was certainly the most popular instance of what may be termed the contemporary obsession with history, and thus the most important aesthetic vehicle for the formation of collective memory and cultural identity during this crucial period of nascent European nation states. Examining the case of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s juxtaposition of orthodox Catholic religious practice and parallel Amerindian rites in La aurora en Copacabana, the present essay proposes a novel approach to his often misunderstood play about the military and religious conquest of Inca Peru, introducing the concept of “historical mimesis” to describe the universal or philosophical, plausible but not veristic, creative and performative staging of history.


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pp. 47-67
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