Classic Spanish Plays: Love, Violence, and (Poetic) Justice on the Early Modern Stage|
Spring 2021 not offered
COL 313, THEA 231|
From 1580 to 1680, Spanish playwrights created one of the great dramatic repertories of world literature, as inventive, varied, and influential as the classical Greek and Elizabethan-Jacobean English traditions. A distinguishing feature of this theatrical tradition is the unusual prominence it lent to actresses (and roles written for them), as well as to women in the paying audiences. This profit-driven popular entertainment of its day appealed to the learned and illiterate, to women and men, and to rich and poor alike. And the plays correspondingly mixed high and low characters, language, genres, and sources, with results regularly attacked by moralists. Vital, surprising, and ingenious, they exposed the creative tension between art and profit on a new scale, a tension that remains alive for us. We will examine five of the greatest of these plays by Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, and Tirso de Molina in a variety of genres and modes (history, epic, romantic comedy, tragedy, Islamic borderland, metatheater, parody, siege play, philosophical and theological drama), with their deft character portraits (the original Don Juan by Tirso; Calderón's "Spanish Hamlet" Segismundo; Lope's spitfire diva Diana, the Countess of Belflor; and Cervantes's border-crossing Catalina, the Ottoman sultan's Spanish queen) and their virtuoso dialogue, inventive plots, and dazzling metrical variety. We will look at the social conditions that enabled the Spanish stage to serve as a kind of civic forum, where conflicts between freedom and authority or desire and conformism could be acted out and the fears, hopes, dangers, and pleasures generated by conquest, urbanization, trade, shifting gender roles, social mobility, religious reform, regulation of matrimony and violence, and clashing intellectual and political ideals could be aired. We pay particular attention to the shaping influence of women on the professional stage (in contrast to England) and to performance spaces and traditions. Organized around the careful reading of five key play-texts in Spanish, together with historical, critical, and theoretical readings, this course assumes no familiarity with the texts, with Spanish history, or with literary analysis. However, an interest in engaging these wonderful plays closely, imaginatively, and historically is essential. There will be opportunities to pursue performance, adaptation, and translation.
This counts as a Theater Method course for the Theater Major.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (COL)(HISP)(RMST)(THEA)
Miguel de Cervantes, LA NUMANCIA, eds. Alison Caplan and Bryan Betancur. Newark, Delaware: LinguaText, 2010. ISBN: 978-1-58977-061-4.
Félix Lope de Vega, EL PERRO DEL HORTELANO, eds. Adrienne Lasker Martín and Esther Fernández Rodríguez. Newark, Delaware: LinguaText, 2011. ISBN: 978-1-58977-078-2.
Tirso de Molina, EL BURLADOR DE SEVILLA, ed. R. John McCaw. Newark, Delaware: LinguaText, 2003. ISBN: 1-58977-010-2.
Pedro Calderón de la Barca, LA VIDA ES SUEÑO (2nd ed.), ed. Vincent Martin. Newark, Delaware: LinguaText, 2006. ISBN: 1-58977-032-3.
Laura R. Bass and Margaret R. Greer, eds., APPROACHES TO TEACHING EARLY MODERN SPANISH DRAMA (MLA, 2006). ISBN-13: 978-0-87352-995-2.
A pdf of Miguel de Cervantes¿s LA GRAN SULTANA will be supplied through the course Moodle.
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Two short (3-5 pp.) papers, one short oral presentation (3-5pp. or 5-10 minutes), the recitation of 15 memorized lines from a play, and one longer final paper (7-10 pp.) constitute 70% of the grade. Preparation for class (including regular short response papers), attendance, and informed participation count for the other 30%.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
SPAN 231 is intended for students who have completed SPAN 221 or the equivalent. Students who have not done so should consult with the professor before pre-registering. An additional semester of upper-level Spanish beyond 221 (or the equivalent), taken earlier or concurrently, is recommended but NOT required. Readings, written assignments, and class discussions will be in Spanish. Only COL students may take this course CR/U.
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