Deyermond convincingly argues that, in contrast to other critics' analyses, the poem actually manifests a binary structure in which the first half leads the listener to sympathize with the Moors while, in the second part, one sees that such sympathy was misguided when the treason of the Moors is revealed. The structure is significant, according to Deyermond, because its use to effect a radical change of readers' sympathies in a tragic or serious context was not common in medieval literature. Two studies in the volume deal with cancionero poetry.
Clarke especially concentrates on the seven serpents section of the poem and concludes that the poet was probably upbraiding the nobles for allowing the Catholic Church and the political situation in Castile to become seriously eroded by the 's. Other studies in the collection concentrate on oral transmission of traditional texts and their impact on written texts. He affirms that all versions of the Mary the Egyptian legend are the works of clerics and that vestiges of orality in the texts should not be construed as juglaresque.
John E. Manuel da Costa Fontes deals with two Portuguese folk tales which are still alive in the oral tradition and which, he concludes, were also known by Fernando de Rojas and by Cervantes. The collection's two editors, E. Michael Gerli and Harvey L Sharrer, make significant contributions to the book. The intended audience exerts as much power upon the form and authority of the narrative as the very poet himself Such a statement is still true today. Ann L.
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Mackenzie pays particular attention to two key preoccupations of the Calderonian dramatists, recasting and collaboration. Mackenzie defends such recastings against those who see them as symptoms of these playwrights' lack of originality. Indeed, the Calderonian playwrights never chose masterpieces from Lope's period.
The third chapter on collaboration is even more significant. Critics have all but ignored the Calderonian dramatists' penchant for writing plays in collaboration, considering these comedias unworthy of commentary. Plays were often written by three authors, each penning one of the acts. There could be as few as two authors or as many as nine as in La menor Luna africana. It may be that this progression allowed these playwrights to produce texts that had an amazing similarity in style and a strong unity of action.
Mackenzie also points out that these collaborative plays are seldom refundiciones , so that the two most common techniques of the period were most often kept separate. Chapters are dedicated to specific types of plays produced during this period. Characterization is often poor. On the other hand, the Calderonian playwrights excelled in creating comedias de enredo.
Mackenzie notes that a decree from the Council of Castille ordering that plots for the theater should not be invented, but be based on history or hagiography, may account for the large number of historical plays written by Calderonian dramatists.
Although only twenty per cent are based on foreign history, many of these works are particularly engaging. Coello's El conde de Sex is a prime example of this type, while El rey Enrique el Enfermo , attributed by Mackenzie to Rojas Zorrilla is a good example of works based on Spanish history. Although one may have wished for a more extensive treatment of each of the different types of plays mentioned by Mackenzie in this chapter, it certainly provides an introduction to the issues and problems confronting a critic who wishes to study these works.
The concluding chapter outlines the causes of theatrical decadence and their characteristics. Two key errors are detected by Mackenzie in these playwrights: sensationalism be it psychological, stylistic, didactic or in staging and conventionalism. Many of the errors, she notes, derive not only from religious or political sources, but also from the influence exercised by the public who attended these plays. A number of interesting examples of the public's influence are provided by Mackenzie. Madrid: Alianza Editoral, Memorias reviewed in Hispania , Or, to use his own analogy, at almost the moment philosophers discovered the new continent of human life in the non-biological sense they turned their backs on it rather than explore it.
For centuries philosophers have considered the human person as a variety of things, as one kind of being among other beings. Now we can recognize human life as another form, a distinct form, of reality, irreducible to other forms because of its freedom.
As a synthesis of Marias's own philosophical thinking for over half a century, this book is a rarity. Seldomly do philosophers pause to recapitulate or integrate their previous books. The first is his theory of human life on earth, any and each human person, while the second is his theory of a particular form of social life. Each synthesizes his previous works on its theme and acts as a source for elaboration in further studies. Particularly interesting to me at this point in my own teaching and research is Marias's use of Ortega's distinction between ideas and creencias , for the distinction throws more light on many misunderstandings in history and on the origin and continuation of various social conflicts than does any other theory of which I am aware.
Unos pocos son realmente comentarios de textos. This volume represents a welcome addition to two expanding bodies of textual material: literature by women writers and dramatic works by Latin American playwrights, two areas of growing interest to scholars and professors both here and abroad.