«This book attempts to lay a stubborn ghost. The ghost I refer to is the critical notion, long maintained both inside and outside Spain, that the great playwrights of the Golden Age never produced tragedy. I have never been persuaded of this view myself, but persuading myself on the one hand and persuading other people are two very different things. The essays newly written here represent a final effort on my part not merely to establish the real existence of Spanish tragic drama – which critical opinion in recent times seems more readily disposed to accept – but also to spell out in detail the answers to a far more intransigent conundrum: how did Spanish tragedy function in its own right as indigenous genre – modified by the affective substance of Aristotle’s Poetics – in order to achieve the tragic effect? The task before us, therefore, may be said to be twofold: 1) to draw up a corpus of early seventeenth-century dramas from the pens of Lope de Vega, Vélez de Guevara, Tirso de Molina, Calderón de la Barca and others which may with confidence be classified in the tragic category, and 2) to show step by step how this tragic corpus functioned according to Spanish rules and aesthetic conventions of its own, enabling us thereby to arrive – at last – at a definition of the genre.» Henry W. Sullivan, Preface.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Preface & Acknowledgments
1. Prolegomena: Classical Spanish Tragedy Across the Centuries
Some Problems of Spanish Tragedy — Spanish Experiments in Tragedy During the Sixteenth Century — The Influence of Seneca — Guarini’s Pastor Fido and the Controversy Over Spanish Tragicomedy — Lope’s Arte nuevo de hacer comedias (1609) — Resistance to Italian Renaissance neo-Aristotelianism in Spain — The Peninsular Embrace of Aristotle & the Meaning of the Spanish Term Comedia — The Eighteenth-Century Penetration of Franco-Italian Neo-Classicism into Spain — The Critical Revolution in Germany — German Romanticism & the Opinions of the Idealist Philosophers on Spanish Tragedy — Schopenhauer & Calderón — The School of Hegel — Calderón’s European Reception in the Later Nineteenth Century — England — Spain — Germany — The Revival of the Baroque — The British Calderón School — The État de la Question — Conclusion
2. Genus sui generis: This Tragedy is Written in the Spanish Style
The Spanish Style — Act Division & Farcical Interludes — Meter — Music & Dance — Tackling the Amphibology of El castigo sin venganza — The Story of the Tragedy — Did Lope’s Amphibology Get His Play Closed Down? — What Exactly Did Aurora See in the Mirror? — What Exactly Did the Duke Overhear? — The Looking-Glass, the Untamed Beast & Fire Out of Control — Who is the Tragic Hero of El castigo sin venganza? — Conclusion
3. Kronos versus Oedipus: Inversion of the Father-Son Conflict & Golden-Age Uxoricide
Spain and the Oedipus Legend — Spain and the Kronos Complex — Mortgage of the Spanish Future
4. Hamartia: Fatal Flaw of Character or Fatal Error of Judgment?
Definition of Hamartia — Spanish Translations of Hamartia — Hamartia in Vélez de Guevara’s Reinar después de morir — Hamartia in Lope de Vega’s El caballero de Olmedo — Conclusion
5. Moira Christiana? The Spanish Quarrels on Grace and Free Will in the Corrales
The Relation Between Freedom and Necessity — The Reformation — The Position of the Spanish Dramatists — The Dialectic of Desire and Law in Golden-Age Drama
6. Catharsis Christiana? Pity & Fear in Spanish Tragedy
The Case Against Christian Tragedy — Theological or Secular Tragedy in Spain? — Ekplexis, Baroque Wonder and Christian Catharsis — Conclusion
7. Epilogos: General Conclusion
The Baroque, Six Formal Principles of Spanish Tragedy & Heinrich Wölfflin’s Principles of Art History — Anagnorisis
Appendix A: Index of Tragic Dramas Listed Alphabetically by Individual Author
Appendix B: Summary of Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannos
The Background to the Tragedy — The Tragedy of Oedipus Tyrannus
Bibliography of Works Cited
Henry W. Sullivan is Emeritus Professor of Spanish & Portuguese at Tulane University (New Orleans). His areas of interest include Peninsular Spanish literature, Golden Age theater and the novel. He is the author of Calderón in the German Lands and Low Countries: His Reception and Influence, 1654–1980 (1983), translated into Spanish (1998) and German (2017). He also has written The Beatles With Lacan: Rock 'n' Roll as Requiem for the Modern Age (1995).
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