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Prismatic Reflections on Spanish Golden Age Theater

Essays in Honor of Matthew D. Stroud


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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Stages of Passing: Identity and Performance in the Comedia


AMY R. WILLIAMSEN University of North Carolina Greensboro

Tales about passing—stories of attempted transformation across lines of social identity categories—have been analyzed largely for what they can teach us about the workings of race or gender in the United States. The term is usually associated with the tensions between phenotype and racial categories in the post-Civil War US, as represented, for instance, in Nella Larsen’s 1929 novel, Passing. More recently, Judith Butler, Nadine Ehlers and others have theorized passing and its relationship to the performativity of identity. Useful as it is for an understanding of individual subjectivity, current US-based work on passing inevitably constrains and even predetermines the possible theoretical models of passing and its representations. Sean McDaniel and Joyce Tolliver’s forthcoming book, Writing Counterfeit Subjects: The Representation of Passing in Spain, suggests that passing stories arise at times of anxiety about changes in the reliability of certain social categories for determining social meaning and individual identity.1 They demonstrate that “passing tales are powerful: not only is tension created by the imminent possibility that the pass will be exposed, but the examination of how passing acts are represented and received reveals the contours and power of the social categories that are transgressed” (“Introduction”). Their work reveals that it is not a cultural universal that race is the fundamental category determining social station and privilege; in cultures such as that of 17th-century Spain, religion as an identity category takes on a crucial role. Even in...

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