Lorca's Female Iconographies
in “Eros con bastón”
Wake Forest University
Eros con bastón” (Eros with a Cane) is the eighth of eleven sections in Lorca's Canciones 1921–1924, a book which reflects a most relevant period in the poet's life and artistic career, spent mostly at the Residencia de Estudiantes.1 “Eros with a Cane” is particularly interesting for two reasons: it is a masterful display of Lorca's use of wit and parodic humor—the Andalusian guasa [joking]—as the rhetorical device for a sophisticated game of intertextuality with entrenched attitudes and well-known female prototypes in Spanish popular iconography; and it is one of Lorca's most ingenious articulations of new aesthetic concerns occupying plastic artists and poets of the twenties. In that sense, “Eros with a Cane” exemplifies the search of the new art for iconicity devoid of the anecdotal, for the predominance of the visual in the line of Gongorine aesthetics, and for the modernist technique of distancing as the means to deal with personal and artistic issues of profound import for the poet.
María Moliner's dictionary describes guasa as the irony, sarcasm, or mockery in a statement. Estar de guasa implies a desire to joke, not to take the topic at hand seriously, and guasearse describes a type of joking devoid of acrimony. Written in the atmosphere of the Madrid Residencia de Estudiantes, Songs is filled with humorist allusions to private jokes among friends. The dedications of sections and poems of the book to various friends or children of friends echo Buñuel's memories of the Residencia as a time filled with a mixture of drinking bouts, brothels, jazz, pranks, and long conversations about profound aesthetic issues.2 More than in any other book, Ian Gibson finds in Songs the “ludic spirit” characteristic of the residentes and the expression of “the cheerful, playful, and mocking aspect” of Lorca's personality. Gibson goes even further by placing the artistic value of