Calderón's comedy Dar tiempo al tiempo revolves around questions of alleged unfaithfulness, disputed paternity, secret births, and the ensuing necessity to care for the baby. The motifs of pregnancy and birth supply the semantic raw material for jokes and figures of speech. They also dictate the unfolding of the plot in the sphere of servants. This essay closely analyzes textual elements related to secret birth and to the possible length of pregnancy in the serious work of Calderón (La devoción de la Cruz) and in his predecessor Tirso de Molina (Escarmientos para el cuerdo). It examines echoes of Madrid's everyday-life midwives, wet-nurses, and foundling homes on Calderón's stage and confronts the dramatic text with juridical documents of the time. Debates among jurists () and physicians () will be adduced, such as to understand the strong reactions cases of birth under extraordinary circumstances could trigger among Siglo de Oro spectators.


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pp. 93-115
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