Spanish Comedy and Historical Contexts in the 1620s

Spanish Comedy and Historical Contexts in the 1620s

by William R. Blue
     
 

The common themes, poetic images, clever and complex plots, and frenetic action, costume changes, and disguise of seventeenth-century Spanish plays make these three hundred-year-old comedies surprisingly familiar to readers today. However, Spanish comedia was popular, commercial entertainment that had to hold its audience's attention. In this study William

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Overview

The common themes, poetic images, clever and complex plots, and frenetic action, costume changes, and disguise of seventeenth-century Spanish plays make these three hundred-year-old comedies surprisingly familiar to readers today. However, Spanish comedia was popular, commercial entertainment that had to hold its audience's attention. In this study William Blue reminds us of the importance of the historical context in understanding seventeenth-century Spanish plays.

The author covers twenty Spanish plays of the 1620s, a pivotal decade that saw a radical change in both the style and substance of government accompanied by new national and international orientations, changes in economic policies, demographic shifts, and a certain social mobility. By focusing precisely on the "local derails" that a contemporary audience would have immediately grasped, Blue shows what happens for today's audience if those details are seen as central rather than incidental to understanding the plays. He ultimately examines how the plays encourage a new and complex understanding of the self by presenting individuals in moments of decision and self-examination, always enmeshed in social relations as well as in the economic, legal, and other material conditions of life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“William Blue's study is based on wide reading within the abundant corpus of the comedia and major critical works on it, on substantial reading in the history of the period, and is amply supplemented and enriched by general theoretical works, from Althusser to Lacan and feminist criticism, as well as critical work on Shakespearean theatre. Blue's easy, almost conversational style should make his study accessible and enjoyable for undergraduates as well as for specialists in the comedia, and of interest to scholars interested in comparative approaches to theater and early modern history.”
—Margaret R. Greer, Princeton University

“This fine and rewarding study of twenty dramas includes the work of Lope, Tirso, Calderon, Alarcón, and Montalbán.”
Choice

“William R. Blue's latest book evokes, invokes and even provokes as it lays before the reader a felicitous weaving of contemporary theory and analysis of selected comedias from an important period in Spanish literary, cultural and historical life.”
Renaissance Quarterly

“This fine and rewarding study of twenty dramas includes the work of Lope, Tirso, Calderon, Alarcón, and Montalbán.”

Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271015460
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
10/07/1996
Series:
Studies in Romance Literatures
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)

Meet the Author

William R. Blue is Professor of Spanish at the University of Kansas. He is the author of The Development of Imagery in Calderon's "Comedias" (1983) and "Comedia": Art and History (1989)

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