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Religious and Secular Theater in Golden Age Spain

Essays in Honor of Donald T. Dietz


Susan Paun de García and Donald R. Larson

The essays in this book honor the seminal contributions to the field of early modern Spanish drama of Donald T. Dietz, who has devoted his career to the promotion of classical theater, not just as dramatic poetry but as vibrant performance art. Written by a variety of respected scholars and never before published, the twenty-two essays, organized into six sections, present a wide variety of interests, approaches, and methodologies, including ideological and theological exegesis, poetic analysis, cultural studies, and semiotics of theater. The first section reviews Dietz’s impact on the field of Comedia studies, where he played a critical role in moving the discussion from page to stage. The next two sections explore facets of religious theater, including autos sacramentales and comedias de santos, as well as religious aspects of secular theater. Essays from the other sections explore questions of reading and of staging classical theater, in the original Spanish, in English translation, and in adaptation for the stage and for radio, as well as theoretical and practical approaches to the pedagogy of performance. Specialists and students within and across many disciplines—theater history, comparative performance studies, literary studies—will find this collection both useful and illuminating.

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Dissimilar Signs of Faith in Calderón’s Theater of Intrigue (David J. Hildner)



Dissimilar Signs of Faith in Calderón’s Theater of Intrigue

David J. Hildner

In a fascinating book on French Renaissance literature, Jan Miernowski has shown how the burning religious issues of post-medieval France appear in literary texts in unexpected ways, through what he calls signes dissimilaires. A prime example is found in his analysis of the Seventh Day of the novella collection Heptaméron by Queen Marguérite de Navarre. Miernowski’s aim is to point out how, in the most worldly moments of the narration, even in frankly bawdy scenes that remind one of Boccaccio and in which spiritual life seems notably absent, Marguérite’s text evokes these issues through images, speeches, and acts that appear to contradict or omit them. Among other scenes, she presents: (1) a wife who flees twice from her home to join her clerical lover and who spends a whole cold night hidden among the reeds of a pond; (2) a young female courtier who, thanks to a comical slip of the tongue, reveals to her fellow courtiers her affair with a gentleman of the court; (3) a bourgeois husband who is obliged to put on the dress and bonnet of his servant-girl to avoid his wife’s discovery of his infidelity. According to Miernowski, the author uses all these incidents to reinforce theological messages.

The goal of the present study is to carry out a similar analysis with a work of Pedro Calderón de la...

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