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Between History and Fiction

The Early Modern Spanish Siege Play

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Tracy Crowe Morey

This study explores a number of early modern comedias that deal with historical siege or military episodes in the history of the Iberian peoples. Cervantes’s La Numancia, Lope de Vega’s El asalto de Mastrique and his lesser known La nueva victoria de don Gonzalo de Córdoba, Calderón de la Barca’s El sitio de Bredá, and Vélez de Guevara’s El Hércules de Ocaña are key texts examined here. Taking the distinction between history and fiction in Neo-Aristotelian literary theory as a point of departure, this book considers the intellectual and historical conditions that affect the ways in which early modern dramatists interpret historical events according to their own literary and ideological purposes. The interplay of history and fiction demonstrates uses and discontents of legitimizing fiction in the early modern period. Parallel themes of epic and siege intermingled with romance and carnivalesque humour, provide alternative perspectives to early modern representations of empire and war on the Spanish stage.

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