The Medieval Theater in Castile

By Charlotte Stern | Go to book overview

Part One Castile’s Lost heritage

1 MISSING PLAYS
IN A PRINT CULTURE

In Loa de la comedia (1603), Agustín de Rojas Villandrando enshrines the poet Juan del Encina (1468–1529?) as the father of the Spanish theater and possibly himself as Spain’s first drama historian.1 Yet Rojas’s assertion comes as a surprise since in the early seventeendi century Encina was virtually unknown as a playwright. Instead, the Salmantine dramatist’s reputation, or better still his notoriety, rested on his being perceived as a purveyor of nonsense, the object of the popular expression “son los disparates de Juan de la Encina” (“diese are Juan de la Encina’s nonsense verses”).2 So stigmatized was Encina that the seventeendi-century satirist Francisco de Quevedo felt obliged to eulogize him in Defensa de Epicuro (1633) as “un sacerdote docto y ejemplarísimo, cuerdo y pío como consta de sus obras impresas” (“a learned and most exemplary priest, wise and pious, as is apparent from his published works”).3 Yet Rojas’s declaration took hold, was repeated throughout the nineteenth and twentiedi centuries, and is cited even today by diose who would deny Castile a medieval dramatic heritage.4

1 Sánchez Escribano and Porqueras Mayo published the loa in Preceptiva dramática, 94–103. Rojas also states that the theater was born in 1492 with the performance of Encina’s earliest plays before the duke and duchess of Alba. This date was universally accepted until 1953 when J. Caso González argued for a different timetable (362–72); yet Juan C. Temprano’s appeal to biographical clues in Encina’s works strongly supports the earlier date (141–51).

2 Correas, 465. This characterization of Encina derives from his Disparates trobados included in his Cancionero, primera edición 1496, pp. lviiv-lviiir. For further discussion see Sullivan, 140.

3 Quoted by Iventosch, 102.

4 Rodrigo Méndez de Silva repeats these assertions in Catálogo real y genealó- gico de España (1639) (López Morales, Tradición, 27). Among modern historians

-1-

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The Medieval Theater in Castile
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Medieval & Renaissan Texts & Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Part One Castile's Lost Heritage 1
  • Part Two Other Sources of Tbc Medieval Chester 53
  • Part Three Literature as Performance 145
  • Part Four Post-Medieval Evidence 201
  • Part Five Working Hypotheses for Future Research 243
  • References Cited Index 279
  • References Cited 281
  • Index 313
  • Mrts 324
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