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El juramento ante Dios, y lealtad contra el amor

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


Jaime Cruz-Ortiz

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.
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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...

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