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  • Religion and Secular Theater in Golden Age Spain: Essays in Honor of Donald T. Dietz ed. by Susan Paun de García and Donald R. Larson
  • Michael J. McGrath
RELIGION AND SECULAR THEATER IN GOLDEN AGE SPAIN: ESSAYS IN HONOR OF DONALD T. DIETZ. Edited by Susan Paun de García and Donald R. Larson. Ibérica series. New York: Peter Lang, 2017; pp. 324.

In the introduction to Religion and Secular Theater in Golden Age Spain: Essays in Honor of Donald T. Dietz, editors Susan Paun de García and Donald Larson write that they and the other contributors hope that the essays are not only a fitting tribute to Donald Dietz’s remarkable career as a professor and scholar, “but also that they will constitute important contributions to the still-developing field of early modern theater” (9). This festschrift accomplishes these goals with a consummate blend of affection and scholarly acumen.

In the foreword, David Gitlitz fondly writes about his collaboration with Don as they and Matthew Stroud, Vern Williamsen, Franklin Smith, and Walker Reid established the foundation for the Golden Age Theater Symposium’s affiliation with the Siglo de Oro Spanish Theater Festival at the Chamizal National Memorial. In the first section of the book, Stroud informs readers of Don’s many contributions to comedia studies.

In honor of Don’s pioneering research on the auto sacramental, the second section of the volume focuses on three autos by Calderón de la Barca. In “Iluminación divina y luz natural de la razón en el auto y comedia de La vida es sueño,” Manuel Delgado Morales examines how Segismundo personifies Calderón’s understanding of moral and intellectual virtues. Margaret Greer then discusses, in “Manuscript Echoes,” the manner in which three relatively unknown manuscripts of the tale of Echo and Narcissus address early modern Catholic perspectives on human nature, culture, and religious devotion. In “El uso de la silva en el auto sacramental de Calderón,” Robert Lauer elucidates the many ways in which Calderón incorporates the silva in El tesoro escondido.

The six essays in the third section focus on how playwrights stage aspects of religion. Barbara Mujica’s “Allegories of Faith: Lope de Vega’s Two Extant Plays on Teresa de Ávila” and Dakin Matthews’s “Metatheatricality and Conversion in Lope’s Lo fingido verdadero” skillfully reveal, for example, the nuances of Lope’s dramaturgical strategy to cultivate admiratio and to inspire devotion. In “Staging Mysticism: Cañizares’s La más amada de Cristo, Santa Gertrudis la Magna,” Paun de García examines which aspects of Saint Gertrude’s life Cañizares chose to portray and the challenges of staging the saint’s visions and revelations. Isaac Benabu’s “Teoría y práctica sobre la construcción del héroe trágico en una comedia de asunto bíblico: Los cabellos de Absalón de Calderón” and Sharon Voros’s “Staging Allegory: The Four Virtues in María de San Alberto and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz” illustrate how staging can define the adaptation of religious stories. In “Dissimilar Signs of Faith in Calderón’s Theater of Intrigue,” David Hildner uncovers the numerous ways in which Calderón surreptitiously incorporates serious religious issues in Casa con dos puertas mala es de guardar.

In the fourth section, the contributors discuss staging secular theatre. Robert Johnston focuses on the technical aspects of staging a comedia in “The Dramatic Stagecraft of Calderón: Stage Movement and Proxemic Relations in El Alcalde de Zalamea.” In “Looking Back: Lope’s El marido más firme,” William Blue compares Lope’s theatrical version of the mythological story of Orpheus and Eurydice to a painting by Peter Paul Rubens titled “The Death of Eurydice.” In “Staging the Pavane: Dance as Metaphor in El desdén, con el desdén,” Larson relates how Carlos’s pursuit of Diana may be imagined as a courtly dance.

The focus shifts from discussing the performance of religious and secular theatre to its pedagogical implications in the fifth section. Valerie Hegstrom and Dale Pratt, in their essay “Mentoring Spanish Theater Performance and Service Learning: The BYU...


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