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Prismatic Reflections on Spanish Golden Age Theater

Essays in Honor of Matthew D. Stroud

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Edited By Gwyn E. Campbell and Amy R. Williamsen

This volume, organized in five major sections, honors the myriad scholarly contributions of Matthew D. Stroud to the field of Early Modern Spanish theater. Building upon Stroud’s seminal studies, each section of essays simultaneously claims and wrestles with aspects of the rich legacy generated by his explorations. The essays included in this volume consider the moral, ethical, and legal backdrop of uxoricide, explorations of the meaningful intersections of psychoanalytic theory and the comedia, and engage the topics of women, gender, and identity. They also bridge the gap between dramatist and actors and between page and stage as they consider everything from the physical demands on Early Modern actresses to the twenty-first-century performance possibilities of comedias. Moreover, these essays incorporate studies that transcend temporal, spatial, political, and cultural limits, continuing to push at the edges of traditional scholarship characteristic of Stroud’s pioneering research. Both scholars and students will find this cohesive, compelling collection of interest across a wide spectrum of disciplines from theater history to performance studies, from philosophy to queer studies.
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The Queen’s Dreams: Lope’s Representation of Queen Isabel I in El mejor mozo de España and El niño inocente de La Guardia

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BARBARA F. WEISSBERGER University of Minnesota, Emerita

Lope was clearly fascinated by the founding mother of the Spanish nation. In fourteen of his plays she is at least mentioned; in six of them she plays a major role.1 Until recently, however, only Fuenteovejuna has received extensive critical attention. In this essay I deal with a very effective dramatic element in two of the lesser-studied plays, El niño inocente de La Guardia [The Innocent Child of La Guardia] (written between1594 and 1597)2 and El mejor mozo de España [The Best Boy in Spain] (1611). Early in Act I, Scene One in each play, Isabel falls asleep and dreams. The Queen’s dreams materialize on stage, and in them a powerful allegorical or historical figure exhorts Isabel to unify and purify her kingdom by eliminating its religious and ethnic minorities. These staged dreams provide a window into the powerful ruler’s unconscious, as imagined by Lope, and empower her to act.

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