Public Theatre in Golden Age Madrid and Tudor-Stuart London: Class, Gender, and Festive Community.Public Theatre in Golden Age Madrid and Tudor-Stuart London: Class, Gender, and Festive Community, by Ivan Canadas. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005. Pp. xiii + 233. Cloth $94.95.
Hispanists and Anglicists working in both areas of early modern studies look forward to new offerings in the relatively under-explored field of comparative Anglo-Hispanic literature. A careful perusal of Ivan Canadas's useful bibliography (twenty-four pages in length) draws attention to the need for further inquiry in this field and goes partway part·way
To a certain degree or distance; in part: partway to town; not even partway reasonable. to explain why Canadas's contribution falls short of its stated goal (more on this below). In his own words, Canadas proposes to extend "recent critical revisions of the comedia, and to demonstrate the hybrid relationship between different discourses, such as gender, race, and rank, in dramatic appeals to the audience, in addressing the theatrical cultures of both Madrid and London in the period (18) He argues that certain plays in England such as Thomas Dekker's city comedy The Shoemaker's Holiday and a selection of Lope de Vega's Spanish peasant dramas challenge or even supersede To obliterate, replace, make void, or useless.
Supersede means to take the place of, as by reason of superior worth or right. A recently enacted statute that repeals an older law is said to supersede the prior legislation. traditional aristocratic (or gender or racial) privilege through collective action and appeals to the audience's own hybrid interests in a festive and communal celebration of class identity.
Canadas's book evinces the fatigue of the dissertation writer. There is a template-like quality to the argument as carried from the brief introduction to the fifth chapter: in his hands, most texts under inspection are "hybrid" in their ideological tendencies, and, indeed, "subversive." Those not openly subversive prove "ambiguous." By the time Canadas finishes his discussion of any given drama, as in chapter 4 with Lope de Vega's El villano en su rincon (The Peasant in His Corner) the reader is likely to recognize that for Canadas the terms ambiguity, hybridity, and polyphony polyphony (pəlĭf`ənē), music whose texture is formed by the interweaving of several melodic lines. The lines are independent but sound together harmonically. are synonymous with synonymous with
adjective equivalent to, the same as, identical to, similar to, identified with, equal to, tantamount to, interchangeable with, one and the same as subversion. Similarly, in his discussion of Peribanez y el Comendador de Ocana, the eponymous peasant who slays the comendador or overlord o·ver·lord
1. A lord having power or supremacy over other lords.
2. One in a position of supremacy or domination over others.
o is eventually "honored as a noble'' (110, my emphasis). This conclusion seems incongruous with the celebration of the lower class that the author claims for this play, for in both instances, the monarch not the peasant gives closure to events surrounding the comendador's actions and the peasant retribution. Doing so, he consolidates his power in his own royal person. Similarly, Canadas argues in chapter 5 that the peasant uprising culminating in the murder of Fernan Gomez, due to that comendador's and other knights' and nobles' widespread rapine RAPINE, crim. law. This is almost indistinguishable from robbery. (q.v.) It is the felonious taking of another man's personal property, openly and by violence, against his will. The civilians define rapine to be the taking with violence, the movable property of another, with the in Lope's Fuente Ovejuna, effects "a revision of traditional aristocratic notions of heroism" based on the collective retributive re·trib·u·tive
Of, involving, or characterized by retribution; retributory.
Adj. 1. action of the united peasantry. Arguably, however, when King Fernando's inquest fails to produce a guilty creature because members of the entire collectivity endure the state's coercive measures (principally torture), the peasants have paid a high price for "the claims of the community as a whole to an ideal of common dignity" (139).
This heady "no end of subversion," then, is purchased at considerable cost, not only to the actual complexity of Lope's plays but also to the work of Dian Fox and various other Hispanists whom Canadas labels "neo-conservative" (108). He expends so much energy refuting other critics that the reader becomes distracted by that and the author's recourse to the fixed set of talking points regarding hybridity and subversion found in each successive chapter Canadas's discussion of "theatrical transvestism transvestism: see homosexuality.
dresses in women’s clothes to try to win discharge from the army. [Am. TV: M ° A ° S ° H in Terrace] ," for example, contains all the reflexes of what he associates with queer, cultural, and gender-inflected historicism his·tor·i·cism
1. A theory that events are determined or influenced by conditions and inherent processes beyond the control of humans.
2. A theory that stresses the significant influence of history as a criterion of value. but makes no new observation, breaks no new ground in either English or Hispanic studies. He asserts, to no one's surprise, that a complex of subject positions could well have resided in the individual (and in the plurality) of character types and audience members that the theater might bring together in the flux of the performative per·for·ma·tive
Relating to or being an utterance that peforms an act or creates a state of affairs by the fact of its being uttered under appropriate or conventional circumstances, as a justice of the peace uttering moment:
The subversion of patriarchal notions of gender suggests the specific influence of both female actors and female spectators in the theatrical culture. It points to the coexistence, from the perspective of the heterogeneous audience, of a range of positions regarding gender, as well as analogies evident in the dramatic conflict between aristocratic and humanist notions of human identity and conduct. By these means, the polyphonic The ability to play back some number of musical notes simultaneously. For example, 16-voice polyphony means a total of 16 notes, or waveforms, can be played concurrently. approach to rank and gender in the early modern theaters of both Madrid and London argues social contexts of uncertainty, anxiety, and flux, rather than the conditions of conservative, monolithic cultures .... Lastly, the dramatic motif and theatrical practice of crossdressing in both theaters provided another means to question identity, a complex web of practices in view of institutional differences between the all-male English theater and the Spanish stage, in which female actors played a leading role. (61)
Canadas is to be commended for his effort to bring together Spanish and English theatrical texts and social contexts, but the dialogic potential between the theater of Spain and England just does not resound in the pages of his book. And the juxtaposition of two texts from different cultures should pass the "merely adventitious ADVENTITIOUS, adventitius. From advenio; what comes incidentally; us adventitia bona, goods that, fall to a man otherwise than by inheritance; or adventitia dos, a dowry or portion given by some other friend beside the parent. " test for which neo-historicism is faulted, though this qualification applies not only to Canadas's book but to any practitioner tempted to throw in, somewhat randomly, Lope's X with Shakespeare's Y. The book's weaknesses are not altogether Canadas's own but reflect the absence of a quantum cross-disciplinary knowledge base among most literary critics. For this area deserves more attention and certainly more theorization the·o·rize
v. the·o·rized, the·o·riz·ing, the·o·riz·es
To formulate theories or a theory; speculate.
To propose a theory about. than it has received since Walter Cohen's 1985 groundbreaking Drama of a Nation: Public Theater in Renaissance England and Spain. Nor does the dearth of authentically dual-language studies available today help Canadas situate sit·u·ate
tr.v. sit·u·at·ed, sit·u·at·ing, sit·u·ates
1. To place in a certain spot or position; locate.
2. To place under particular circumstances or in a given condition.
adj. his own work in something like a "field."
A project of this nature might incorporate the rich possibilities of a play such as Thomas Middleton's satirical and wildly popular 1624 A Game at Chess A Game at Chess is a comic satirical play by Thomas Middleton, first staged in August 1624 by the King's Men at the Globe Theatre, and notable for its political content. . Written in the wake of Prince Charles's abortive abortive /abor·tive/ (ah-bor´tiv)
1. incompletely developed.
2. abortifacient (1).
3. cutting short the course of a disease.
1. efforts to woo the Infanta Infanta
laughs at the death of the little Dwarf who can no longer dance for her. [Br. Lit.: Oscar Wilde “The Birthday of the Infanta”]
See : Heartlessness Maria, the play rejects cultural hybridity, most notably in the equation of the marriage match with a plot to revconvert England to Catholicism. This text would seem but one apt choice for establishing a dialogic examination of "class, gender, and festive community" that truly mobilized the audience across class and gender lines while satirically aspersing the whole enterprise of the Spanish Match and James I's diplomacy. As popular art "made tonguetied by authority" this play was summarily forbidden by order of the king after its unprecedented nine-days' run.
While isolated work has emerged since the 1980s and Cohen's book, the groundbreaking Drama of a Nation: Public Theater in Renaissance England and Spain--of course John Loftis's Renaissance Drama in England and Spain: Topical Allusion and History Play (1981); the Fothergill-Paynes's essay collection, Parallel Lives: Spanish and English National Drama 1580-1680 (1991), as well as a smattering of dissertations and articles along the way--more work is needed to properly situate, historicize his·tor·i·cize
v. his·tor·i·cized, his·tor·i·ciz·ing, his·tor·i·ciz·es
To make or make appear historical.
To use historical details or materials. , and recognize the dialogic potential of both literatures together.