Imperial Stagings: Empire and Ideology in Transatlantic Theater of Early Modern Spain and the New World

Imperial Stagings: Empire and Ideology in Transatlantic Theater of Early Modern Spain and the New World

Imperial Stagings: Empire and Ideology in Transatlantic Theater of Early Modern Spain and the New World

Imperial Stagings: Empire and Ideology in Transatlantic Theater of Early Modern Spain and the New World

Synopsis

The promotion of state ideology was pervasive in early modern Spain and its New World colonies. One cultural medium affected, theater--the most popular and viable form of mass entertainment at the time--frequently played a role in the advancement of imperial rule. However, despite censorship and the state control of theaters, early modern dramatists also found novel and covert methods to criticize Spain's handling of its imperial affairs by proposing alternative solutions to the problems with which they dealt.

Imperial Stagings: Empire and Ideology in Transatlantic Theater of Early Modern Spain and the New World shows how the dramas of Lope de Vega, Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, Pedro Calderon de la Barca, and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz confronted the economic, legal, socio-political, and religious problems of Spain and its colonies. It studies how drama, a reciprocal transatlantic phenomenon, interacted with Spanish imperial ideology as it attempted to foster the creation of a national identity.

Excerpt

Ya tan alto principio, en tal jornada,
os muestra el fin de vuestro santo celo
y anuncia al mundo, para más consuelo,
un monarca, un imperio y una espada.

Hernando de Acuña,
Soneto al Rey nuestro Señor

An often-quoted poem from Spain’s Golden Age, Hernando de Acuña’s Soneto al Rey nuestro Señor is emblematic of Spain’s enterprising and imperial spirit during the early modern period. the sonnet depicts Charles I as holy shepherd of his Spanish congregation, anointed by God to extend the Christian faith beyond the boundaries of Iberia by divine will, diplomacy, or force. Acuña envisions Charles I as master of the world, engineer of a seaborne and land based power, and a heroic representative of Spain’s uni-

the epigraph is taken from José Manuel Blecua’s Poesía de la Edad de Oro (140–41), the remaining verses of the poem follow:

Ya el orbe de la tierra siente en parte,
y espera en todo vuestra monarquía,
conquistada por vos en justa guerra.
Que a quien ha dado Cristo su estandarte,
dará el segundo más dichoso día
en que, vencido el mar, venza la tierra.

Some argue that the sonnet was written in honor of Philip ii, not Charles I. See Christopher Maurer’s “Un monarca, un imperio, una espada: Juan Latino y el soneto de Hernando de Acuña sobre Lepanto.”

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