El juramento ante Dios, y lealtad contra el amor

A Modern and Critical Edition- Edited by Jaime Cruz-Ortiz

by Jaime Cruz-Ortiz (Author)
©2014 Monographs XVI, 246 Pages
Series: Ibérica, Volume 43


Lusitanian playwrights who wrote comedias during and after the Dual Monarchy (1580–1640), when the Portuguese and Spanish thrones were united under Habsburg rule, continue to be largely unexplored. This edition highlights the contributions of one of this group’s most successful and celebrated members, Jacinto Cordeiro. It describes the sparse critical attention that Cordeiro has received as well as his life, literary career, and historical context. Most importantly, it provides a modern critical edition of Cordeiro’s most enduring play, El juramento ante Dios, y lealtad contra el amor, based on a collation of the twenty-one extant witnesses that comprise its textual tradition. Additionally, it includes an in-depth account of the transmission of the play with a stemma that documents the genealogical relationships between extant versions. It also provides an analysis of how Juramento may have been performed for seventeenth-century theatergoers, based on stage directions and performance cues written into the dialogue. In short, this edition introduces modern readers to both Jacinto Cordeiro, a bilingual author who successfully competed in a second language with the giants of Spain’s Golden Age, and El juramento ante Dios, a play whose popularity lasted two centuries.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Abbreviations
  • A Name to be Forgotten: Towards a Biography of Jacinto Cordeiro
  • An Overview of Cordeiro’s Work
  • The Spanish Comedia in Portugal
  • Notes on the Staging of Jacinto Cordeiro’s El juramento ante Dios, y lealtad contra el amor
  • Methodology
  • Copy-Text
  • Textual Transmission
  • Editorial Criteria
  • Versification
  • Jornada Primera
  • Jornada Segunda
  • Jornada Tercera
  • Appendix A
  • Appendix B
  • Bibliography
  • Series Index

| ix →

I was first introduced to Jacinto Cordeiro’s work as a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma. The introduction came by way of a class project designed by Dr. A. Robert Lauer in which each student was given photocopies of one of Cordeiro’s comedias and tasked with transcribing it; modernizing its spelling; documenting its versification; and, finally, writing an essay about how Cordeiro follows and/or deviates from the suggestions provided in Lope de Vega’s Arte nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo (1609). It was, to say the least, a daunting assignment, one that would change the course of my studies, and subsequently, my career.

As an aspiring poet of Puerto Rican descent, my literary interests revolved around the themes present in my own life and work: code-switching, transculturation, hybridity, and liminality. So, naturally, much of my graduate studies had centered on Afro-Caribbean and Latino literature. Needless to say, I was surprised to find a kindred spirit in Cordeiro. He is an author whose life, career, and legacy were built in-between languages, literary traditions, and countries, a condition with which any bilingual author can identify. For those of us who live and write from within that uneasy limbo between taxonomical, linguistic, and ethnic categories, Cordeiro is both our precursor and contemporary.

In addition to his value to scholars interested in the themes mentioned above, Cordeiro’s work reveals a gap in our knowledge of Golden Age Theater. We know very little about the Portuguese playwrights that wrote comedias before, during, and after the short-lived union of their country with Spain under the Dual Monarchy (1580-1640). Despite the unfavorable assessment that many critics have given Cordeiro, he was, by all accounts, one of the most successful, prolific, and renowned members of this group. In fact, his popularity amongst Lisboan theatergoers lasted about a century and a half. At the very least, Cordeiro has a lot to teach us about theatrical tastes in both the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. ← ix | x →

Our discussion has to begin with the confusion about what to call this Lusitanian poet. Iacinto Cordeiro, his given name, appears in many of the works published during his lifetime. Still, its Castilian equivalent, Jacinto Cordero, appears on the title pages of many suelta and partes editions. Evidently, publishers distributed his work under any combination of Iacinto/Jacinto and Cordeiro/Cordero.1 Cordeiro adds to this confusion by having signed his name Jacinto Cordero2 in a surviving autograph manuscript. This Castilianized last name allowed him to court a wider Hispanophone audience, and has become an emblem of his hybrid identity. I refer to him as Jacinto, the standard modernization of his first name in both Portuguese and Castilian, and Cordeiro, his original surname. This is, by now, a common practice amongst the few critics who study him. Still, we have to ask why he chose to suppress the Portuguese diphthong in his last name. Was it just a marketing decision, as I suggest above? Or was it also an attempt to downplay his Lusitanian heritage and, in essence, Castilianize his identity? Since Cordeiro spent most of his career celebrating Portugal’s contributions to the Dual Monarchy, the second option seem less likely. In any case, he did not employ either of the last names consistently, meaning modern editors and critics can use the original in good conscience.

As this name confusion demonstrates, Cordeiro’s relationship with Castile and Castilian letters was complicated and, at times, conflicted. He articulated his identity in a foreign tongue and thrived at a time when Lusitanian playwrights had to compete in a second language with the work of Spain’s greatest dramatists. Additionally, Cordeiro’s casting of Lusitanian subjects according to Castilian artistic modes anticipates modern discussions of hybridity. In other words, literary theory has finally caught up to Jacinto Cordeiro, and we now have the apparatus to evaluate, understand, and appreciate his work. To remedy in part the unavailability of his plays, this edition presents a modernized3 version of Cordeiro’s most widely circulated and celebrated ← x | xi → offering, El juramento ante Dios, y lealtad contra el amor, which is complemented with introductory studies about his life, literary career, and historical context. Additionally, I include a description of the methodology and critical apparatus used to arrive at this edition and a thorough analysis of the history of the transmission of the text. The only study dedicated to Juramento, Christophe González’s commented summary of the play, highlights the need for this edition. González and Herzig4 base their analysis on a witness that appears late in the history of the transmission of the play.5 Unfortunately, this means that various alterations and omissions not introduced by Cordeiro inform their analysis. For example, eighteenth-century editions call the play’s gracioso Perelo instead of the original Perilo. Cordeiro’s use of an uncommon poetic verse caused an editor to rewrite an entire section in the third act.6 This alteration is passed on in the version used by González and Herzig, thereby contaminating their line count and their analysis of versification. Missing lines that appear in earlier versions further hinder their total count. The witness that they consulted has 2,698 lines. This edition contains 2,735. Furthermore, their study could have benefited from the corrected readings, and philological notes presented here. In other words, I hope to provide a reliable, approachable, and critically sound edition upon which critics can base future studies.

1 Several variations of his name even appear in the same collection, Próspera e aduersa fortuna de Duarte Pacheco (1621), whose title page refers to its author as Jacinto Cordeiro while the individual plays that it contains list him as Iacinto Cordero. Silva a el Rei Nosso Senhor (1641) presents another combination: Iacinto Cordeiro. We can attribute many of these permutations to the natural orthographic fluctuations of seventeenthcentury Iberia. Still, the change of Cordeiro to Cordero is an obvious attempt to Castilianize his surname.

2 El mayor trance de honor, held by the Biblioteca Nacional Madrid (MS. 185).

3 By modernized, I mean that the orthography has generally been normalized and updated.

4 González collaborated with Corine Herzig on “Una comedia olvidada...”

5 This version is labeled S in the section entitled “Textual Transmission.” It was published in Seville by the widow of Francisco Leefdael.

6 See the section entitled “Textual Transmission” for details.

| xiii →

I would like to express my gratitude to the friends, colleagues, and mentors whose help and words of encouragement have carried me throughout this process. Among the people to whom I am eternally grateful is Robert Lauer, who first introduced me to Spanish literature, the comedia, and Cordeiro’s work, and who has guided this project from conception to completion. I am also thankful for the support and mentorship of my former Chair William Griffin and my colleague and friend Robert Simon.

Additionally, I am grateful to Kennesaw State University, and particularly to the College of Humanities and Social Science’s Manuscript Completion Program (MCP) for giving me the resources needed to finish this book. I offer a special thanks to the MCP’s spring 2013 participants, Debarati Sen, Nicole Martin, Jennifer Dickey, and Aaron Levy, for listening and helping me stay the course.

Finally, I would like to show my appreciation for the members of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater for fostering my own research and theater studies in general. Their kind words, suggestions, and critiques have been indispensable.

Grateful acknowledgment is hereby made to Comedia Performance for permission to use the following copyrighted material:

Cruz-Ortiz, Jaime. “Notes on the Staging of Jacinto Cordeiro’s El juramento ante Dios, y lealtad contra el amor.” Comedia Performance 9.1 (2012): 65-101.

| xv →

| 1 →

Despite the efforts of Heitor Martins,7 Christophe González,8 Giancarlo Depretis,9 Raymond MacCurdy,10 and others,11 the lion’s share of Jacinto Cordeiro’s ← 1 | 2 → work still belongs to that massive corpus of well-documented12 but unedited comedias. Charles Aubrun estimated that Iberian authors penned some ten thousand plays in this genre, of which the majority remains untouched by modern editors (9). Many are deservedly relegated to obscurity; others do not lack merit, and fail only in soaring to the heights of the genre’s greatest offerings; and some are remarkable, but neglected. For the contemporary critic, even the worst comedia can be revelatory of the nuances of the genre, the concerns of its time, and the tastes of its public. In other words, the uncovering of lost plays and all but forgotten authors like Cordeiro presents us with a vast underexplored territory that is, nevertheless, littered with its own pitfalls and hazards.

One of these is that we often know much more about the plays themselves than about the people who wrote them. The paucity of surviving details about an unheralded author’s life can make the construction of a biography nearly impossible. It tempts one to fill in the empty spaces with conjecture, or to unquestionably repeat accounts that may be faulty, but that have nonetheless endured for centuries. Confronted with the scarce and cursory nature of available sources, many critics commit the error of in turn treating these authors superficially and hastily. Despite Cordeiro being one of Lusitania’s most successful comedia authors, accounts of his life and work exhibit all of these pitfalls. The bio-bibliographies, literary histories, critical essays, dictionary and encyclopedia entries, and wide variety of miscellaneous references to Cordeiro are emblematic of the sketchy, inconsistent, random, and often contradictory sources that confront a critic attempting to piece together the biography of a seventeenth-century segundón.

Until the 1960s, the only work done on Cordeiro appeared in bio-bibliographies. The first was Nicolás Antonio’s Bibliotheca Hispana Nova, a monumental catalogue published posthumously in 1787 and 1788, over a hundred years after Antonio’s death. His entry for Cordeiro, although brief, should be revealing considering that Antonio wrote it while Cordeiro was still alive or shortly thereafter. Instead, what we have is a snippet that mentions only a poem that is interesting to literary historians, but seems to have had little impact in its own time: ← 2 | 3 →

HYACINTHUS CORDEIRO, Lusitanus poeta, scripsit: Laurel de Apolo Lusitano: ad exemplum Lauri Apollinis Lupi a Vega Carpio, ejus demque argumenti, hoc est, de laudibus Portugalliae regni & gentis poetarum. (613)


XVI, 246
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (May)
life literary career historical context
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 246 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Jaime Cruz-Ortiz (Author)

Jaime Cruz-Ortiz received his MA from the University of Iowa and his PhD in Spanish literature with an emphasis on the Golden Age from the University of Oklahoma. His publications include several previous articles on Jacinto Cordeiro, and translation work on Federico García Lorca. He is currently Assistant Professor of Spanish at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.


Title: El juramento ante Dios, y lealtad contra el amor
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