The Discourse of Courtly Love in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater

The Discourse of Courtly Love in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater

The Discourse of Courtly Love in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater

The Discourse of Courtly Love in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater

Synopsis

By engaging in dialogue the voices of both male and female writers who participated both in the broader courtly love tradition and in the theatrical production of early modern Spain, this book demonstrates that all representations of desire are gender-inflected.

Excerpt

Cuando he de escribir una comedia,
encierro los preceptos con seis llaves;
saco a Terencio y Plauto de mi estudio,
para que no me den voces (que suele
dar gritos la verdad en libros mudos),
y escribo por el arte que inventaron
los que el vulgar aplauso pretendieron,
porque, como las paga el vulgo, es justo
hablarle en necio para darle gusto.

—Lope de Vega, Arte nuevo de
hacer comedias en este tiempo

[when I want to write a comedy, I lock up the precepts with six keys; I take
Terence and Plautus out of my study, so they won’t speak to me (because
the truth in silent books tends to shout), and I write according to the art
invented by those who seek the applause of the crowd, because, since they
pay for it, it is right to speak simply in order to please them.]

No mode of cultural expression better reflects the COMPREhensive social and economic developments in Spanish society during the early modern period than the secular theater, where production reflected the demands of an emerging market of consumption rather than traditional modes of patronage. the crowds paying to attend performances at the newly constructed public theaters or corrales were socially and economically diverse, and as Donald Gilbert-Santamaría has shown, Lope de Vega pioneered a mode of dramatic representation indicative of “a new poetics commensurate with the demands of writing for an audience that pays.” According to the above citation from his Arte nuevo, the new “art” of the Comedia, defined by the tastes of its popular audience, must ignore the standards and precepts of the . . .

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