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  • Primer tomo de comedias. Volumen 1.3: Olimpa y Vireno, El señor don Juan de Austria, Los amantes de Teruel by Juan Pérez de Montalbán
  • Jonathan David Bradbury
Juan Pérez de Montalbán. Primer tomo de comedias. Volumen 1.3: Olimpa y Vireno, El señor don Juan de Austria, Los amantes de Teruel. Edición de Marcella Trambaioli, Roberta Alviti y Teresa Ferrer Valls. edition reichenberger, 2017. 466 pp.

this volume is the result of work conducted under the auspices of the Claudia Demattè-directed project Un dramaturgo madrileño recuperado: Juan Pérez de Montalbán; it is the third of four installments of critical editions of the twelve plays comprising Juan Pérez de Montalbán's Primer tomo de comedias of 1635, although this third volume contains, in fact, the final three plays of the original collection: Olimpa y Vireno, El señor don Juan de Austria, and Los amantes de Teruel, edited and introduced here, respectively, by Marcella Trambaioli, Roberta Alviti, and Teresa Ferrer Valls. The thematic and generic variety observable between these three comedias is emblematic of the diversity of the compositions in the Primer tomo as a whole, but the editors do a good job of adhering to a largely standard approach. Each of the plays garners a short introductory study of a similar sort, containing details of dating, sources, textual history, and reception, as well as a synopsis and analyses of the most salient literary aspects of the plays, including their metrical makeup. Additionally, each includes a critically established, definitive version of the text, with modernized orthography and punctuation and moderate annotations to clarify potential lexical difficulties and the most notable cultural and historical allusions. Each of the plays is followed by a list of textual variants, in which the admirable philological rigor of the volume is made explicit, and the book is concluded by an index to the footnotes and the combined bibliography referenced by the three editors.

The first comedia of the volume, Olimpa y Vireno, which appears tenth in the original Primer tomo, has a likely date of composition of 1632–33, and Trambaioli alludes to a performance at court in the autumn of the latter year, [End Page 323] testament to the piece's affinity to current palace tastes. The basis of the play is the well-known story of Olimpia and Bireno from the ninth, tenth, and eleventh cantos of Ariosto's Orlando furioso, although Trambaioli notes an important divergence from the Italian source material: Pérez de Montalbán makes his countess Olimpa the agent of her own vengeance, and the editor also remarks in a number of the play's footnotes on likely echoes of El burlador de Sevilla in the characterization of Vireno. The brief précis of the comedia and its protagonists is followed by Trambaioli's summary of the play's textual history, which, in the absence of a manuscript copy, autograph or otherwise, takes into account the 1635, 1638, and 1652 editions of the Primer tomo, the unauthorized Parte veinte y nueve de diferentes autores (Valencia, 1636), and seven contemporary sueltas; in constructing the stemma that illustrates this part of her introduction, Trambaioli hypothesizes that the lost source text on which the Parte veinte y nueve and the stand-alone publications ultimately depend was the work of a memorión. From the "Tabla métrica" with which the introduction concludes, we see that of the three plays in this volume, Olimpa y Vireno is the most metrically varied, in terms of the number of verse forms employed as well as in reference to their frequency and distribution relative to one other. The text of the comedia generates a couple of hundred notes, most of them short and necessary, and a number of them provide useful cross-references to other parts of the play. As Trambaioli indicates, this comedia, while clearly popular in its own day, has languished in obscurity for three centuries, and we can hope that its reappearance here prompts further consideration of what is a fascinating work.

El señor don Juan de Austria, the second play in this volume, treats the figure...


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