- Purchase/rental options available:
This essay explores real and imagined upward mobility in Spanish Naples through a comparison of the Kingdom of Naples's archival record and Lope de Vega's El perro del hortelano (The Dog in the Manger), which was composed from 1613–1617. It contends that the study of the Siglo de Oro has casually marginalized Naples, the largest city of the Spanish Empire, treating it as an exotic background and emblematic site for commedia palatina—the theater of love in no place. The rapidly growing viceregal capital, in fact, provided an ideal setting for a play about social alchemy. Re-centering Naples sheds new light on long-forgotten ties, illuminating an imagined geography that runs counter to modern notions of political boundaries.