«Entra el editor y dice»: ecdótica y acotaciones teatrales (siglos XVI y XVII)

Lectura online en pdf de «Entra el editor y dice»: ecdótica y acotaciones teatrales (siglos XVI y XVII)

La edición de las didascalias escénicas es uno de los pasos más delicados de la labor del crítico textual, sobre todo en el caso de las acotaciones del teatro de los siglos XVI y XVII, cuyos textos nos han llegado de manera azarosa en versiones manipuladas por compañías de actores. Este volumen aborda la ecdótica de las didascalias desde distintas perspectivas: la semiótica, la estemmática, la transmisión manuscrita e impresa, la evolución de la escritura dramatúrgica, la historia del teatro, la praxis editorial pasada y presente, la traducción y la mirada comparatista hacia textos del Siglo de Oro español y los teatros nacionales inglés, francés, portugués y holandés.

a cura di
Luigi Giuliani
Università degli Studi di Perugia, Italia
Victoria Pineda
Universidad de Extremadura, España

Copiado de la página web: http://edizionicafoscari.unive.it/it/edizioni/libri/978-88-6969-305-2/

Medalla de oro a la Red del Patrimonio Teatral Clásico Español (TC/12)

El proyecto de Investigación TC/12 (Red del Patrimonio Teatral Clásico Español), coordinado por el profesor Joan Oleza, recibirá la medalla de oro de la Academia de las Artes Escénicas. El acto de concesión de la medalla, que será organizado conjuntamente por la Academia, el Ayuntamiento de Murcia y la Universidad de Murcia, tendrá lugar el lunes 26 de febrero de 2018.

Es una buena ocasión para hacer referencia nuevamente a algunos de los resultados del proyecto y de otros proyectos relacionados:

25 years translating the theatre of the Spanish Golden Age

In 2009, David Johnston, Queen’s University Belfast, set out the reasons why it is only in the last fifteen years that the English-speaking world has shown any sustained interest in the plays of the Spanish Golden Age and discussed ways in which the translator may approach the plays of the Spanish Golden Age (read full article).

In 2015 David Johnston published Translating the Theatre of the Spanish Golden Age: A Story of Chance and Transformation. See below the review of this book by Robin Kello (appeared in Diversifying the Classics webpage):

David Johnston’s Translating the Theatre of the Spanish Golden Age: A Story of Chance and Transformation is a delicious mixture: it is at once a memoir of a life in the theatre, a treatise on translation, an introduction to Spanish Golden Age drama, and a meditation on the value and power of art. Rejecting the fantasy of the perfect conversion from one language and time to another, Johnston defines his craft as an “act of writing forward,” of bringing the rich playtexts of the past into present contexts (11). The string that ties together the varied elements of this slim volume is the idea that contemporary audiences may respond to these plays as much as the audiences of early modern Spain, and that they deserve to performed again, to be heard in the idiom of today, and most of all, to be seen.

The story of Johnston’s own conversion from theatre lover and student of the Spanish language to award-winning translator begins with an explosion. Taking a book down from the Queen’s University library stacks, Johnston feels the reverberations of a bomb from nearby Dublin Road. In his lucid, fast-moving prose, he describes the chance and transformation that follows: “A four-story building had disappeared from the skyline and a stunned and bewildered flock of dark starlings was still spinning in the air in front of a huge pall of grey smoke and brick-dust. I looked down at the book in my hand. A battered Spanish edition of Calderón’s Life’s a Dream” (6). In the collision of 1635 Madrid and 1974 Belfast, the poetic illusion and the stark reality of the leveled building, and the echoes of authoritarianism that united them in Johnston’s consciousness, the translator found his vocation.

The rewards of that inspiration are evident throughout the book, as Johnston peppers his story with his own marvelous English renderings of the original Spanish. Adept at both comic and tragic tones, he illustrates the vibrant character and contemporary relevance of these plays by providing examples of his process and its products. Unlike more conservative translators, he argues that the use of profanity is sometimes necessary to shock the audience. He thus translates Laurencia’s monologue from Lope’s Fuenteovejuna, in which she condemns the cowardice of the village men, to convey the force of her rage: “You call yourselves men? Go and fuck / each other, then finish your sewing! / Cowards! Sheep! Hide behind your women / . . . we’ll dress you in scarves and skirts. / and powder your white cheeks with rouge” (43). Through Johnston’s words, the reader can feel Laurencia’s torment and fury.

Johnston brings a translator’s sensitivity to not only the language of these characters but the larger social dynamics they portray onstage, rejecting the idea that these works unequivocally reinforce orthodox, Catholic, patriarchal values. In his account of Fuenteovejuna, “its depiction of the outer excesses of authoritarian abuse, its recognition of the causes, if not the validity, of revolutionary action, and its positioning of women as both the victims of, and, in the final analysis, the prime movers against sexual violence,” still resonates today (55). The theater offers a space for a culture, whether 17th-century Spain or the current United States, to simultaneously perform and examine itself. The social inequalities and anxieties over authority that dominate our public conversation are also at the center of these vital early modern plays. Drama does not merely reflect, but instead foregrounds a proliferation of voices and interpretations.

Toward the end of his story, Johnston remarks that the book will be a success if it inspires others to translate. As part of the Diversifying the Classics project at UCLA, I’m grateful to have Johnston as model and motivation, but the audience for this book is far broader than aspiring translators of dramatic texts. It may be especially valuable for those in the theater, but this wonderful story of chance and is transformation is a rare gift for anyone interested in the conversation between Spanish and English, past and present, politics and art.

Robin Kello.

Translating classic Spanish drama into English: work in progress yet

Eric Bentley, critic and editor, and Roy Campbell, poet and translator

Eric Bentley, born in September 14, 1916, is a British-born American critic, playwright, singer, editor and translator. He is still one of the most respected theatre critic in America, and is also recognized by his role as having introduced the English-speaking theatre to the works of Bertolt Brech and other classic writers from Italy, Germany, Spain, and France.

The Classic Theatre serie was started in 1958 and planned in four volumes: v. 1. Six Italian plays. – v. 2. Five German plays. – v. 3. Six Spanish plays. – v. 4. Six French plays.

Volume 3 of the Classic theatre under title Six Spanish plays was published in 1959 with six plays of the ‘Spanish drama of the golden age’ translated into English by Roy Campbell for BBC: The siege of Numantia / Miguel de Cervantes – Fuente Ovejuna / Lope de Vega – The trickster of Seville and his guest of stone / Tirso de Molina – Life is a dream / Calderón de la Barca – Celestina / Fernando de Rojas – Love after death / Calderón de la Barca.

In 1985 a new edition was published under the title: Life Is a Dream and Other Spanish Classics (1985)– last two plays of the 1959 edition were not included.

Very unfortunately, Roy Campbell died in a car accident near Setúbal, Portugal, on Easter Monday, 1957, when a car driven by his wife hit a tree. At the time of his death, he was 55 years old and was working upon translations of 16th- and 17th-century Spanish plays. Although only the rough drafts were completed, Campbell’s work was posthumously edited for publication by Eric Bentley in 1959.

Roy Campbell was a real character of his own: a poet who counted George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, T S Eliot, Evelyn Waugh, J R R Tolkien and C S Lewis among his friends. He was Afrikaner, British, catholic, pro-Franco, translator of Spanish drama and poetry (Lorca, Cervantes, Lope, Calderón, St John of the Cross…) into English, sergeant during the Second World War, BBC journalist for many years. His live reflects a personal scale version of shaken twenty century. It is highly recommendable to know more of his biography here.

To approach Roy Campbell’s translator spirit, it is worth to have a look at Campbell’s verse commemorating Lorca’s death. He wrote:

Not only did he lose his life
By shots assassinated:
But with a hammer and a knife
Was after that—translated.

ca. 1946, UK — The South African poet, journalist and producer, Roy Campbell (1901-1957), ca. 1946. — Image by © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

This same warning on literature translations is identified in Bentley’s edition of Campbell’s plays. In the foreword of the 1959 edition, Bentley revels  something really surprising: the Spanish Golden Age plays have been awfully translated into English. He says:

“Probably there is no body of World Literature so little known to the world as the classic Spanish drama. This is not entirely the world’s fault, for few of the translations are readable, let alone impressive. The only collection of Lope de Vega ever published in English it, it seems, Four Plays, in English versions by John Garret Underhill. I defy anyone to read it through. In the nineteenth century Denis Florence MacCarthy spent many years of his life translating Calderón. In trying to reproduce the sound of the Spanish, he effectively prevented himself from writing English. Edward Fitzgerald had much greater success with Calderón, but went to the other extreme of excessive freedom. For a while the effect must have seemed to be one of brilliance: today one is depressed by the persistent feeling that one is reading Victorian poetry of the second class. In ranging pretty widely over the field of Spanish classics in English, I found most enjoyable a volume entitled Three Comedies from the Spanish, published anonymously in London in 1807 and known to be the work of Lord Holland. Unfortunately, Lord Holland did not choose to include a single major play.

What was needed, I thought, was fresh air, such as flooded into the translated Greek drama a generation ago when Cocteau and Yeats applied themselves to it. I got hold of some translations which Roy Campbell had recently made for the B.B.C. Third Programme. Fuente Ovejuna and The Trickster of Seville, flat and even absurd in the earlier translations I had read, came alive. Campbell was in love with old Spain and was one of the few poets writing English in our day who had a touch of bravado, a vein of bravura. Even qualities I had disliked in certain poems of his own were turned to account in the translations. And he also had a straightforward lyrical gift, invaluable for the rendering of Lope’s tenderness and charm. When Roy Campbell came to America for a lecture tour in the autumn of 1955, Jason Epstein and I arranged with him to bring out the B.B.C. translations—plus a couple we ourselves commissioned—in this country.

Campbell was killed, with all the sudden, sprawling violence of Spanish life and literature, some 18 months later. The translations were done, but, as they were not revised, let alone polished and fully prepared for the press, the responsibility devolved upon me of editing manuscripts without being able to consult their author. Should research students ever compare the manuscripts with the texts here published, some of them will wish, I imagine, that I had meddled more, others will conclude that I have already meddled too much. The task being impossible, the solutions found were at best partial and questionable. But in human affairs this is not an unusual situation.

The book remains largely Roy Campbell’s, but it is rounded out by a version of one of the few Spanish classics that has received a truly classic translation into English. In the circumstances under which this volume was prepared, I would not have wished to mix Campbell’s work with that of other moderns, but I think he would have enjoyed proximity to the Mabbe version of La Celestina. “As Greek tragedy,” says Moratín, “was composed from the crumbs that fell from Homer’s table, so the Spanish drama owed its earliest forms to La Celestina.” James Mabbe’s work, in turn, rendering Rojas in the English of Shakespeare and the King James Bible, stands as a model and a challenge to all subsequent translators of the Spanish classics.

The volumes of the present series represent only a small selection from an enormous repertoire. There will always be a case against the particular selection made, and there will always be a case against the particular translations used. I am very willing to concede that such a volume as the present one is only a beginning, if my critics will grant that it is a beginning. “Spanish drama of the golden age” has been a phrase only, referring to we knew not what. If this volume communicates something of the spirit of that drama to modem readers (and, who knows? also to theatre audiences) it will have succeeded where many worthy efforts in the past have failed. In any event I shall not be ashamed to have played even a modest part in the enterprise.”

In 2016, Eric Bentley was interviewed by Rob Weinert-Kendt, the editor-in-chief of American TheatreHere is the introduction to the mentioned article. (Read the full article)

Eric Bentley has not gone soft. But at age 99, the British-born critic who wrote The Playwright as Thinker and introduced the English-speaking theatre to the works of Bertolt Brecht—among an eventful career’s worth of noteworthy achievements—has well earned the right to be circumspect about his body of work, about the art form he greatly influenced if never personally mastered, and about the cultural health of the nation he’s called home since becoming a citizen in 1948. And so, as he sat in a plush leather chair for an interview last December in the study of his home on Riverside Dr., with a view of a Joan of Arc memorial statue that one of his idols, George Bernard Shaw, might have appreciated, Bentley alternated between dispatching ready answers to questions he’s been asked hundreds of times and taking the time to think through philosophical and aesthetic quandaries he’s still, after all these years, wrestling with.

It is that wrestling—his rancor-free but nevertheless uncompromising lifelong tangle with ideas, both as expressed through the theatre and outside it—that keeps a reader returning with interest and pleasure to Bentley’s work. Though he was only a proper critic, in the sense of being employed to review current theatrical offerings on a regular deadline, for a handful of years in the late 1940s and early ’50s (for The New Republic and The Nation), in his major books and essays he brought a sharp, systematic mind and exacting if wide-ranging taste to a task few had taken up before him, and nearly none have since, outside the halls of academia: fashioning a long-viewed yet fine-grained critical history of Western drama up to the present day.

Alas, that “present day” more or less stopped at mid-century; though he considered himself an ally of many ’60s liberation movements, in particular gay rights (he himself came out near the end of that decade), he wrote precious little about the theatre of that time, let alone after. His health currently renders him unable to travel outside his home; even so, there remain intervening decades of substantive theatre (Shepard, Sondheim, Churchill, Kane, Kushner, assorted Wilsons, Mamet, Vogel, Nottage, etc.) about which he has been effectively silent. He has spent some of the intervening decades teaching, as well as writing his own plays, which include Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?, Lord Alfred’s Lover, and Round Two.

Still, the shadow of his seminal collections—which include What Is Theatre?, In Search of Theatre, and The Life of the Drama—continues to hang over what passes for critical discourse today, and it would be a grave mistake to consign his books to history, or to the timeworn aesthetic and political arguments from which they sprung. As with the greatest critics, it is not Bentley’s judgments but his insights that make him most valuable, though these can be hard to untangle, of course. And it is probably the case that without his peremptorily contrarian temperament, which put him so regularly at odds with major figures of his day, Bentley might never have teased out the contradictions and complexities of playwrights he admired as well as the ones he didn’t.

He lionized Pirandello, for instance, and championed Ibsen, but few of their admirers have ever written so frankly or comprehensively about those dramatists’ shortcomings as well. Bentley brought a similarly rounded view to writers that interested him but he mostly didn’t care for, including Miller and O’Neill.

Nothing demonstrates what might be thought of as Bentley’s critical integrity so well as his dealings with Brecht. This was the one figure, apart from Shaw, that Bentley most admired and on which he pinned his hopes for the future of the theatre, and the admiration was reportedly mutual. But when Brecht rather hamfistedly insisted on Bentley’s political fealty to his brand of Eastern bloc Communism, Bentley bluntly declined. As an anti-Soviet leftist with seemingly equal disdain for hardline Marxists and softheaded Western liberals, Bentley quite literally made enemies right and left—but mostly left.

The occasion for our meeting was the aftermath of a centennial celebration at Town Hall, organized by soprano Karyn Levitt, who recently released the album Eric Bentley’s Brecht-Eisler Songbook. Bentley had watched the event—which was hosted by a former mentee and housemate, Michael Riedel (yes, that Michael Riedel), and featured tributes from various luminaries (including Kushner)—from home via livestream. Below are excerts from our conversation.

(Read the full article)

Jose Zorrilla, author of Don Juan Tenorio, was born 200 years ago in Valladolid

Jose Zorrilla was born 200 years ago in Valladolid on Feb 21st, 1817. He was educated by the Jesuits at the Real Seminario de Nobles in Madrid, wrote verses when he was twelve, became an enthusiastic admirer of Walter Scott and Chateaubriand, and took part in the school performances of plays by Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca.

In 1833 he was sent to study law at the University of Toledo, but after a year of idleness, he fled to Madrid, where he horrified the friends of his absolutist father by making violent speeches and by founding a newspaper which was promptly suppressed by the government. He narrowly escaped transportation to the Philippines, and passed the next few years in poverty.

The suicide of popular writer Mariano José de Larra, at age 29, brought Zorrilla into notice. His elegiac poem, read at Larra’s funeral in February 1837, introduced him to the leading men of letters. In 1837 he published a book of verses, mostly imitations of Alphonse de Lamartine and Victor Hugo, which was so favourably received that he printed six more volumes within three years.

After collaborating with Antonio García Gutiérrez on the play Juán Dondolo (1839) Zorrilla began his individual career as a dramatist with Cada cual con su razón (1840), and during the next five years he wrote twenty-two plays, many of them extremely successful. His Cantos del trovador (1841), a collection of national legends written in verse, made Zorilla second only to José de Espronceda in popular esteem in XVI century.

National legends also supply the themes of his dramas, which Zorilla often constructed by adapting older plays that had fallen out of fashion. For example, in El Zapatero y el Rey he recasts El montanés Juan Pascual by Juan de la Hoz y Mota; in La mejor Talon la espada he borrows from Agustín Moreto y Cavana’s Travesuras del estudiante Pantoja.

His famous play Don Juan Tenorio is a combination of elements from Tirso de Molina’s Burlador de Sevilla and from Alexandre Dumas, père’s Don Juan de Marana (which itself derives from Les Âmes du purgatoire by Prosper Mérimée). However, plays like Sancho García, El Rey loco, and El Alcalde Ronquillo are much more original. He considered his last play, Traidor, inconfeso y mártir (1845) his best play.

Upon the death of his mother in 1847 Zorrilla left Spain, resided for a while at Bordeaux, and settled in Paris, where his incomplete poem Granada was published in 1852. In a fit of depression, he emigrated to America three years later, hoping, he claimed, that yellow fever or smallpox would kill him. During eleven years in Mexico he wrote very little. He returned to Spain in 1866, to find himself half-forgotten and considered old-fashioned.

Friends helped Zorilla obtain a small post, but the republican minister later abolished it. He was always poor, especially for the 12 years after 1871. The publication of his autobiography, Recuerdos del tiempo viejo in 1880, did nothing to alleviate his poverty. Though his plays were still being performed, he received no money from them.

Finally, in his old age, critics began to reappraise his work, and brought him new fame. He received a pension of 30,000 reales, a gold medal of honor from the Spanish Academy, and, in 1889, the title of National Laureate. He died in Madrid on 23 January 1893.

In his early years, Zorrilla was known as an extraordinarily fast writer. He claimed he wrote El Caballo del Rey Don Sancho in three weeks, and that he put together El Puñal del Godo in two days. This may account for some of the technical faults—redundancy and verbosity—in his works. His plays often appeal to Spanish patriotic pride, and actors and audiences have enjoyed his effective dramaturgy.

Don Juan Tenorio is his best-known work. A new English verse translation with parallel Spanish text, translated by N. K. Mayberry and A. S. Kline, is available at this link.

Poetry in translation is the name of a great web in which it is possible to find many titles in different languages. For examples, Spanish poetry is here: http://www.poetryintranslation.com/index.html#Spanish.

Don Juan Tenorio is available in many languages:

More information:

  1. An interesting study of The Don Juan Legend in Literature, by Samuel M. Waxman, published in 1908 in The Journal of American Folklore, Volume 21, is available here.
  2. 2011 Catalogue of an exhibition in Valladolid.
  3. Works by or about Jose Zorrilla at Internet Archive and here.
  4. Play in Youtube:

La colección Teatro Antiguo Español del Centro de Estudios Históricos

La extraordinaria obra del Centro de Estudios Históricos (1910), dirigido por Ramón Menéndez Pidal, forma parte de los mejores esfuerzos por el estudio del patrimonio cultural español.

La Junta para la Ampliación de Estudios creó el Centro de Estudios Históricos con el objetivo de impulsar los estudios humanísticos en nuestro país y, desde 1910 a 1919, se consolidó como alternativa en materia de investigación y también de innovación de los sistemas de enseñanza.

En materia de publicaciones, la actividad que se desarrolló en la nueva institución fue muy fecunda, con colecciones emblemáticas como Teatro Antiguo Español, Clásicos Castellanos y la Biblioteca Literaria del Estudiante.

En las páginas preliminares del primer volumen de la colección Teatro Antiguo Español, advierte Menéndez Pidal:


“El Centro de Estudios Históricos se propone editar, en la medida que le sea posible, obras dramáticas de los siglos XVI y XVII que por un interés de cualquier clase merezcan no permanecer inéditas o ser publicadas de nuevo.

En estos últimos tiempos no faltan en España ediciones de nuestro teatro clásico que, en general. siguen los métodos que implantó la Biblioteca de Autores Españoles. Se atiende, sobre todo, en esas publicaciones a la numerosidad de las obras sacadas a luz, y se descuida manifiestamente la exactitud del texto; júzgase la exactitud como cosa tan de segundo orden, que los trabajos de copia e impresión hasta suelen encomendarse a auxiliares, quienes. a destajo, corrigen y alteran, consciente o inconscientemente, la letra y el sentido del original; de esa suerte la edición queda poco útil para cualquier trabajo científico.

Tal criterio tiene cierta justificación en el propósito de vulgarizar el conocimiento de nuestro antiguo teatro, para lo cual se moderniza desde luego la ortografía y a veces el lenguaje mismo de las obras publicadas. Pero lo lastimoso es que la apetecida vulgarización no se logra, ya que es de todos sabido que, actualmente, y a pesar de esas numerosas ediciones, el público conoce tan sólo un insignificante número de comedlas, sea por el reducidísimo papel que el estudio de nuestros antiguos autores desempeña en la formación de la juventud, sea por la gran distancia que media entre los ideales del drama antiguo español y los modernos, imposible de ser salvada espontáneamente. Nuestro público está de tal modo alejado de las comedias clásicas, que desde hace mucho tiempo se viene juzgando que para la representación es indispensable hacer un arreglo del texto de aquellas comedias más conocidas que aún logran ser llevadas a la escena. Y claro es que respecto a las obras de segundo orden, que fueron ya abandonadas por el público español desde hace siglos, no puede aspirarse a restablecer de pronto una tradición tan hondamente interrumpida, ni confiar que los lectores modernos las reciban como materia literaria actual por el solo hecho de presentárselas con ortografía modernizada. La empresa de dotar a las generaciones modernas de gusto y de capacidad para la lectura de las producciones literarias de los siglos XVI y XVII es empeño harto más complicado, que sólo podrá obtenerse por caminos menos directos y fáciles, ajenos en gran parte al dominio especial de la Filología.

Desde luego debe comprenderse que lo que más contribuirá a divulgar el teatro antiguo entre el público son las ediciones de obras verdaderamente importantes, acompañadas de aquellos estudios que son imprescindibles para guiar al profano en la comprensión de arcaísmos, de idea y de idioma, de los cuales vive nuestro público tan ignorante que por lo general hasta niega su existencia. Y en cuanto a las obras de valor secundario, que merecidamente quedaron inéditas en su tiempo, es un error pretender vulgarizarlas, pues faltándoles en general un valor estético permanente, no interesan más que a la Historia.

Dadas estas condiciones, lo oportuno será no aspirar ilusoriamente a difundir las obras inéditas de nuestra escena entre el público más general, a quien estorba cualquier ortografía extraña, sino publicarlas al círculo más reducido, que está preparado para recibirlas y que es en definitiva el que las ha de buscar y leer.

Según esto, las comedias que editemos saldrán con un texto fijado con el rigor que permitan las fuentes de que se disponga. Mantendremos la grafía de los originales antiguos que sirvan de base a la edición, pues sin este respeto fundamental no puede haber la exactitud necesaria para la crítica del texto. únicamente no se conservará la confusión antigua de la v y la u, y se usará siempre aquélla cuando sea consonante, y ésta cuando vocal. La acentuación y puntuación se pondrán también según el uso moderno.

El texto no llevará al pie de página más que notas de carácter paleográfico. En forma de Notas y observaciones finales figurarán después todas aquellas ilustraciones que el editor haya juzgado necesarias; las observaciones de historia literaria precederán a las notas aclaratorias de voces y frases. En fin, respecto de la métrica, aunque la obra no se crea merecedora de un estudio especial, llevará por lo menos un resumen de la versificación, hecho según un patrón uniforme que facilite cualquier examen comparativo. ”

Los textos publicados en la colección Teatro Antiguo Español fueron nueve:

  1. Luis Vélez de Guevara: La serrana de la Vera, edición de R. Menéndez Pidal y María Goyri, 1916
  2. Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, Cada cual lo que le toca y La viña de Nabot, por Américo Castro, 1917
  3. Luis Vélez de Guevara: El rey en su imaginación, por J. Gómez Ocerín, 1920
  4. Lope de Vega: El cuerdo loco por José F. Montesinos, 1922
  5. Lope de Vega: La corona merecida, por José F. Montesinos, 1923
  6. Lope de Vega: El Marqués de las Navas, por José F. Montesinos, 1925
  7. Lope de Vega: El cordobés valeroso: Pedro Carbonero, por José F. Montesinos, 1929
  8. Lope de Vega: Barlaan y Josafat, por José F. Montesinos, 1935
  9. Lope de Vega: Santiago El Verde, por Ruth A. Oppenheimer, 1940

*Nota: los volúmenes 6 a 9 no los he encontrado todavía en Internet, por lo que no aparecen sus enlaces, si bien he incorporado enlaces a otras ediciones en las portadas que figuran a continuación.

Particularmente, incluiría una obra más del propio Centro de Estudios Históricos, editada en 1922:

Estos son los diez volúmenes y sus enlaces para su lectura online:
Teatro Antiguo Español I
Teatro Antiguo Español II
Teatro Antiguo Español III
Teatro Antiguo Español IV
Teatro Antiguo Español V
Teatro Antiguo Español VI
Teatro Antiguo Español VII
Teatro Antiguo Español VIII
Teatro Antiguo Español IX
Teatro Antiguo Español X

Spanish Classical Theater in Britain and North America

Mis amigos de la Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Ricardo Serrano y Alfredo Hermenegildo, grandes hispanistas, han llamado incansablemente la atención sobre  “la ignorancia casi total que del corpus teatral [del Siglo de Oro] hacen gala, consciente o inconscientemente, los repertorios, tratados y estudios teóricos sobre el fenómeno dramático de la llamada cultura occidental” (ver este enlace a un artículo sobre el tema de Alfredo Hermenegildo y este otro de Ricardo Serrano).

Gracias a su labor, parece que desde finales de los años 90, hay un cambio de tendencia, como veremos enseguida, que va haciendo que poco a poco los dramaturgos españoles vayan siendo cada vez más tenidos en cuenta a nivel internacional.

Reproduzco a continuación este gran artículo de José M. Ruano (University of Ottawa), en inglés, aparecido en Romance Quaterly, winter 2005, Vol. 52, Nº 1. Puede leerse también en español, como parte de las actas del Congreso Internacional sobre Proyección y Significados del Teatro Clásico Español, Homenaje a Alfredo Hermenegildo y Francisco Ruiz Ramón, Madrid, mayo de 2003, de muy recomendable lectura.

Spanish Classical Theater in Britain and North America

José María Ruano de la Haza, 2005

In his History of the Theatre in Europe, John Allen begins the five pages allotted to Spanish classical theater by declaring that “the Spanish people have not on the whole been distinguished for their contribution to European drama” (140). More recently, Oxford University Press pub- lished a four-volume history of the American theater from 1869 to 2000 (Bordman; Hischak), in which, as one would expect, Shakespeare’s presence is pervasive. The authors also mention with some frequency seventeenth-century French playwrights, especially Molière (thirty-seven occasions), and the Italian Goldoni (nine occasions). By contrast, there is not a single allusion in the 2,000-plus pages of the series to Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, or Calderón. The same pertains to Eric Bentley’s popular What Is Theater? Whatever theater may be, seventeenthcentury Spaniards do not seem to have contributed to it, for they do not appear in his book. Nor do they figure in Richard Southern’s The Seven Ages of the Theatre, which deals not only with English, French, and Italian drama, but also Tibetan, Chinese, and Indian. These are not isolated cases of theatrical history’s neglect of Spanish drama. Alfredo Hermenegildo remarks on “la ignorancia casi total que del corpus teatral [del Siglo de Oro] hacen gala, consciente o inconsciente, los repertorios, tratados y estudios teóricos sobre el fenómeno dramático de la llamada cultura occidental” (5). Harold Bloom, for example, excludes Spanish dramatists from his Western Canon. A canonical author is one whose influence in Western culture is incontestable; in Bloom’s perspective Spanish dramatists of the Golden Age are not influential.

In recent years, thanks mainly to the effort of some British hispanists, the drama of Lope de Vega, Tirso de Molina, and Calderón is receiving some recognition, at least in theater histories published in Britain. The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre, for example, contains a thirty-page article by Victor Dixon on Spanish classical theater, practically the same number of pages allotted in this collective volume to sixteenthand seventeenth-century French and Italian drama (Brown). The Cambridge Guide to Theatre mentions Spain’s “rich contribution to world drama” (Banham 911). But it is worth noting that the descriptive word is “contribution,” rather than “influential,” as the Italian Renaissance theater is considered to be, or “transcendent,” as the theater of Corneille, Racine, and Molière is deemed to be. The sad fact is, as Melveena McKendrick points out in her Theatre in Spain, that “the dramatic genius of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spain is virtually unrecognized outside the circle of Hispanic studies” (270).1 This is especially true of North America. In the foreword to a collective volume entitled Comedias del Siglo de Oro and Shakespeare, Bruce Wardropper laments that “the extraordinary quantitative florescence of drama under the Spanish Habsburgs has indeed been strangely neglected by cultivated readers and theatergoers in the United States” (11). It is significant that the section devoted to British and North American scholarship on Spanish classical theater in the Actas de la I Conferencia Internacional “Hacia un Nuevo Humanismo” includes only articles on playhouses, theatrical companies, staging, and sources (Bernardo Ares 1289–1380) and none on the plays themselves.

Until recently Spanish classical theater has also been largely absent from British and North American playhouses. According to McKendrick, when Calderón’s El alcalde de Zalamea, translated by Adrian Mitchell, opened in London’s National Theatre in 1981 British theater critics “hailed the discovery of a remarkable ‘new’ dramatist” (270). After that date, which marked the third centenary of the “new” dramatist’s death, an increasing number of Spanish classical plays by Calderón and others were translated and performed in Britain and the United States. However, apart from the handful of pieces staged by the National Theatre of London and the Royal Shakespeare Company of Stratford-upon-Avon, most of the productions were performed at university theaters, small theaters, and at theater festivals, such as El Chamizal in Texas.2 Furthermore, most of the plays were adapted, since as Dawn Smith remarked, “para establecer contacto con sus respectivos públicos, los traductores y/o directores [. . .] utilizaron estrategias diferentes. Adrian Mitchell y Michael Bogdanov impusieron su propia ideología a los textos de Calderón” (309). One such ideological adaptation of a key play in the Spanish classical repertoire was produced in New York City in 2000. The New York Times critic D. J. R. Bruckner reviewed it: “[T]he audience is caught in the dream, in which a parade of bondage, rape, torture, mutilation, murder, treason and civil war, accompanied by the music and rhythms of flamenco, arouses the uneasy laughter of confusion” (n.p.). Specialists may have some difficulty in recognizing in this description Calderón’s La vida es sueño. Despite the flamenco, Bruckner’s verdict on Calderón was that he is

a superb poet with deep psychological insights, [who] explored astonishingly modern concerns: an intellectual elite manipulating nature, determinism undermining free will, child abuse producing criminality, men subjugating women. His play should translate easily into captivating present-day theater. (n.p.)

In the critic’s estimation, the New York production unfortunately left a great deal to be desired, since it seemed to have turned the play into a soap opera.

Another adaptation was produced by the Fundación Bilingüe para las Artes de Los Angeles. That group announced for its 2004 season a play entitled Los clásicos . . . enredos, which was advertised as an amalgam of four comedies, each by a different dramatist: Calderón’s La dama duende, Lope de Vega’s El anzuelo de Fenisa, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz’s Los empeños de una casa, and Ruiz de Alarcón’s La verdad sospechosa.3 The English equivalent would be, I suppose, a production based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Ben Jonson’s Volpone, Thomas Middleton’s A Trick to Catch the Old One, and Thomas Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday.

My article attempts to analyze the reasons behind Britain and North America’s general lack of interest in a theater that in its day rivaled, if not surpassed, in importance and influence the theater of Shakespeare and Molière. Is it a question of prejudice, a by-product of the Black Legend, a lack of understanding, or is it simply that the theater of Lope de Vega, Tirso, and Calderón does not measure up, according to present standards, to that of their English and French contemporaries?

Initially, prejudice does not seem to be the cause of neglect, for it does not apply to other areas of Spanish culture. Is it possible to imagine a history of art without a mention of Velázquez, Goya, and Picasso? In 2003 The New York Times headlined an article on the Metropolitan Museum “Manet and Velázquez” exhibition with “The Masters of the French Masters Were Spanish.” Its author, Michael Kimmelman, considers Velázquez “the greatest painter who ever lived” and mentions that after seeing his paintings, Manet allegedly said that “he didn’t know why anyone even bothered to paint” (n.p.). Cervantes, who is placed by Bloom at the center of the Western canon with Shakespeare, occupies a similar position in the British and North American intellectual world, as attested by the two recent translations of Don Quixote (Rutherford; Grossman).

Perhaps the best way to begin the search for an answer is with the book Spanish Influence on English Literature, published in London in 1905. Its author, Martin Hume, was a corresponding member of the Spanish Royal Academy and the Royal Academy of History as well as extension lecturer in Spanish at the University of London. In his last two chapters, which deal with Spanish influence on English dramatists, Hume alludes to “the vivid dramatic instinct of the Spanish race,” which he is able to detect even in the surviving fragment of the Auto de los Reyes Magos (246). For Hume, Elizabethan and Spanish drama were similar in that they both “broke with the classical tradition, and adopted a modern and more colloquial presentation”; however, “in most other points they were dissimilar, because the national character is dissimilar”:

Reverie and speculation, cogitation with oneself, musing on things seen, are the natural bent of the English nature. An Englishman wants to get at the springs that turn the human wheels of life round; he wants to understand the works, to sound the reasons for action. The Spaniards, like most semi-Latin peoples, care little for that. They wish to see and participate in the movement itself; to talk, to enjoy the surface of things whilst they may: in short, to follow the story, to weep with the afflicted heroine, to see themselves reflected in the unselfish bravery of the hero, to laugh at the buffoon, and to curse the villain. (254–55)

Today, we would dismiss Hume’s racial arguments without a second thought. But critics appear to generally acknowledge that he was to some extent right in believing Shakespeare’s theater to be somehow more profound than, for example, Lope de Vega’s. What precisely makes it more profound? Most commentators immediately point to the complexity and humanity of Shakespeare’s characters. Bloom, for example, argues that Shakespeare’s characters are individualized: “no other writer, before or since, gives us a stronger illusion that each character speaks with a different voice from the others”; furthermore, “Shakespeare so opens his characters to multiple perspectives that they become analytical instruments for judging you” (Western Canon 60). In a later book on Shakespeare, Bloom attributes to him “the invention of the human.” In a section titled “Shakespeare’s Universalism,” he claims that in his book, “Shakespeare’s originality in the representation of character will be demonstrated throughout, as will the extent to which we all of us were, to a shocking degree, pragmatically reinvented by Shakespeare” (Shakespeare 17).

Bloom is not alone in emphasizing the importance of characterization in Shakespeare’s theater; he is the last in a long and illustrious line of Shakespearean scholars that reaches back to John Dryden. Recently, Leslie O’Dell published a book titled Shakespearean Characterization: A Guide for Actors and Students. I do not believe it will be possible to find a similar title in the extensive bibliography on Spanish Golden Age drama. Why? Because for the great majority of specialists in the field—and I include in this category actors and theater directors inand outside Spain—characters in Spanish classical drama are stereotypes, abstractions, and personified qualities, rather than true, rounded dramatic figures. This belief goes back at least 150 years to 1855, when George Ticknor, first professor of French and Spanish at Harvard, proclaimed that one of the fundamental principles in the theater of Lope de Vega,

which may be considered as running through the whole of his full-length plays [is] that of making all other interests subordinate to the interest of the story. Thus, the characters are a matter evidently of inferior moment with him; so that the idea of exhibiting a single passion giving a consistent direction to all the energies of a strong will, as in the case of Richard the Third, or, as in the case of Macbeth [. . .] does not occur in the whole range of his dramas. (222–23)

His categorical assertion seems to have been based on his reading of at most a dozen plays, one of which, La estrella de Sevilla, we now know not to have been written by Lope de Vega. Ticknor does not mention, and appears not to have read, masterpieces like El perro del hortelano, Peribáñez, and El caballero de Olmedo.

Exactly half a century later, in 1905, Hume further fueled the myth that the characters in Spanish classical plays are stereotypes. He wrote that the characters in La estrella de Sevilla (also wrongly attributed by him to Lope de Vega) “are ticketed unmistakably with their characteristics the moment they appear on the stage, and they are invariable throughout” (259). Spanish classical characters, according to Hume, do not develop because “this needs introspection, patient thought and study on the part of the author, which neither Lope nor Calderón [. . .] could give, or indeed their public desired” (260). The same applies to the graciosos: “There is no differentiation of them. They are all turned out of the same mould, and from the beginning of the play to the end, whatever happens, they never change” (263). What a difference in characterization, laments the former professor of the University of London, when compared to Shakespeare’s comic figures, let alone his Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello!

A third and far more damaging contribution to this myth of characterization was made half a century later, when Alexander Parker published The Approach to the Spanish Drama of the Golden Age in 1957. The distinguished hispanist and former professor of the Universities of London, Pittsburgh, Austin (Texas), West Indies, and Edinburgh read Spanish Golden Age plays far better than did his predecessors, but he also relegated the playwrights’ character-drawing to the lowest rung of the dramatic ladder by subordinating it to action, theme, unity, and moral purpose. The nearly universal adoption of Parker’s “approach” by a generation of British and North American students in the sixties and early seventies contributed to the perpetuation of the myth. With some notable exceptions (Dixon, Lope de Vega, Characterization; Evans), Parker’s ideas on the Spanish Golden Age’s relative lack of emphasis on dramatic characterization are still general currency among hispanists and theater professionals. For example, in a recently published Diccionario de la comedia del Siglo de Oro, one of its editors, Frank Casa, concludes in “Caracterización” that “el personaje autónomo es un concepto caro a la literatura moderna pero de poca utilidad dramática para el teatro clásico” (40). Why? Because the all-important theme of the play demands that the dramatic character “cumpla la función que la obra le exija y las características que exhibe no pueden alejarle del papel que le corresponde en ella” (40). But if an actor is assigned a role even before rehearsals begin, that character cannot surprise the audience with its individuality, humanity, or originality. He or she will be subordinate to the exigencies of the plot, to the illustration of some aspect of the theme, to the fate assigned by dramatic convention, and will fail to give the spectators the illusion that they are seeing a real person on stage. If Casa is right, then Spanish classical drama is indeed a theater of puppets, of actors wearing invisible masks, of abstractions speaking in verse. In short, it is not real theater, and its irrelevance in today’s world should surprise no one.

It should be evident by now that if critics as well as actors and theater directors are convinced of the impossibility of extracting an ounce of humanity out of Spanish classical characters, the plays of Lope, Tirso, and Calderón will become a theater of ideas, of intellectualisms—a religious sermon or a circus performance. The plays will have to be adapted, modernized, altered, pruned, or transformed, and they will appear strange, grotesque, and/or an extension of the tourist’s Spain: Segismundo as a bullfighter, Peribáñez as a flamenco singer, Marta la piadosa in gypsy dress. Why should Spanish classical theater be given such treatment? A possible explanation is that Ticknor, Hume, and Parker are right; that is to say, that there are not, aside perhaps from Don Juan, true characters in Spanish seventeenth-century drama. One may even argue that the reason for this anomaly lies in the fact that, unlike Shakespeare and Molière, no Spanish playwright, with the exception of Andrés de Claramonte, was an actor or a director of his own company. But is it plausible that such a creative, diverse, and popular theater could have succeeded in attracting audiences for well over four centuries without lifelike characters? Are not characters the essence of drama? Or put another way, is it possible to communicate emotions of fear, pain, shame, pride, honor, revenge, love, and despair through puppetlike characters?

Two years ago, in the pages of the Times Literary Supplement, Jonathan Thacker dreamt of the day when “Lope, Calderón and Tirso are mentioned in the same breath with Shakespeare, Racine, Molière, Chekhov, Brecht, Ibsen, or the other acknowledged giants of European theatre;” but he cautioned that “it will take the sustained testing of their works on European stages for this to come about” (5). Thacker suggests a number of reasons for the neglect suffered by the Spanish classical theater, among them the sheer volume of plays written during the period and the fact that Golden Age dramatists “became associated with the forces of conservatism in twentieth-century Spain” (6). But I believe that there is another, perhaps more powerful, reason: the scarce attention that both hispanists and theater professionals have paid to characterization. It is true that, as Stephen Orgel says, characters “are not people, they are elements of a linguistic structure, lines in a drama, and more basically, words on a page” (8). Yet, audiences continue to identify with many of them. Hamlet, Othello, Don Juan, and Molière’s misanthrope are true dramatic characters in the sense that audiences recognize their own humanity in them. Until Segismundo, Peribáñez, Pedro Crespo, and Doña ángela are perceived in a similar way, it will be impossible for Spanish classical theater to transcend the narrow confines of university classrooms. Yet, in the last twenty years, the great majority of academic articles, doctoral dissertations, and books on Spanish Golden Age drama published in English—the only publications that may succeed in attracting the attention of North American and British theater professionals—has shaken off the Parkerian shackles only to follow the tenets of poststructuralism, psychoanalysm, postmodernism, Marxism, deconstructionism, and other “isms.” These theories often use (and abuse) the text as a pretext to address issues that, although possibly of great import to the contemporary world, have little to contribute to Bloom’s invention of the human. Spanish classical theater has become for many not an object of study, but a means to analyze, often anachronistically, today’s world. I would say that the scholarship of Spanish Golden Age drama has jumped from the scholasticism of the thematicstructural approach—an approach that believes that reason alone can explain all without resorting to observation and experimentation, that is to say, to the staging of plays—to the mannerism and baroquism of poststructuralist and post-modernist approaches. In the process, it has skipped the humanism of the Renaissance, an important stage during which scholars perhaps might have succeeded in placing the characters created by Lope, Tirso, and Calderón where they belong, at the center of the dramatic universe, next to those created by Shakespeare, Molière, Ibsen, and Chekhov. Golden Age drama is not likely to be appreciated, or staged, because of its “scholastic” or “baroque” features; its significance, if any, will be found in its humanity, which is afterall what brings audiences to playhouses. English literature specialists may now analyze the baroque aspects of Shakespeare’s theater because others already have established its human values. They now may suggest controversially that Caliban is a new Spartacus who rebels against Prospero’s colonial tyranny because there exists a long and distinguished critical tradition—from Dryden and Dr. Johnson to Auden, Browning, and others—that studied him as an authentic dramatic character—half a wild man, half a sea beast, but one with, as Bloom argues, legitimate pathos (Shakespeare 665). Shakespeare’s drama, already established as significant, can withstand such assault, but Spain’s classical drama, which is still in search of credentials in the British and North American theater world, runs the risk of becoming a mere jumble of words and images poorly understood and badly acted on a stage. Golden Age characters have been transmogrified into abstractions, signs, and aberrations before they were given the opportunity to inform us of their humanity. Segismundo, critics say, is a New Man, a bourgeois individualist, a Christian prince, a Machiavellian prince, a politician that institutes universal suffrage, an abstraction, a myth (Ruano, “Introducción” 69); but he never seems to be an authentic dramatic character. But is it credible that a culture that has given the world Celestina, Lazarillo, and Don Quixote, and paintings as realistic as those of Velázquez, Zurbarán, Murillo, and Ribera, could deprive the characters of its most popular artistic manifestation of their humanity? Does Spanish art offer realism and humanism in all except the theater?

Fortunately, it is now possible to explode the myth of Spanish classical theater. Jesús Puente’s bravura performance as Pedro Crespo in José Luis Alonso’s 1988 production of El alcalde de Zalamea, Carlos Hipólito’s Don García in Pilar Miró’s La verdad sospechosa (1991), and Emma Suárez as Diana and Carmelo Gómez as Teodoro in Pilar Miró’s 1995 film version of El perro del hortelano—to mention but four memorable performances in the last two decades—should suffice to show that at least some of Spain’s classical characters (and there are many more) can be infused by the right actors with enough psychological depth and complexity to take their place alongside some of the greatest creations in world drama.4 What do these performances have in common? The fact that actors as well as directors approached the text believing in the truth of the characters and therefore managed to portray them as genuine human beings. In general, however, the lack of serious study generates not rounded characters, but stereotypes and circus performers, as attested by the tendency of so many modern actors to execute a pirouette, or to leap, fall down, crawl, stand on their heads, sing flamenco, laugh or scream while reciting the verses of Lope, Tirso, and Calderón, to the increasing confusion of an audience who cannot believe what it sees on stage because it clearly does not correspond to what it hears.

To what do we owe this method of acting? Probably to the widespread belief, encouraged by some scholars both in Spain and outside Spain, that Golden Age drama is more interested in themes, religion, kingship, and ideology than in human nature; that it is a theater of ideas rather than characters. As these performers do not really understand what the text says nor what motivates the characters, they resort to the hackneyed tricks of an actor, often a poor imitation of commedia dell’arte “business.”

It is not, nor should it be, the critic’s job to tell an actor or a theater director how to create a character. But this does not imply that the critic has nothing to contribute. As Francisco Ruiz Ramón points out, actors as well as directors often complain, and with reason, that scholars do not deal with matters that are truly of interest to them:

¿Cómo funciona realmente el texto en la escena? ¿Cómo solucionar física, materialmente los problemas del texto? ¿Cómo conciliar el texto clásico y las convenciones actorales del siglo XVII [. . .] con la tradición (o falta de tradición) actoral actual? [. . .] ¿Qué hacer o cómo hacer con el verso?” (144)

These are essential questions to which I would add: How many valid interpretations are there of what a particular character says and does? Are there dramatically interesting ways to play characters on stage without falling into anachronisms or betraying the text? What should one look for in the text so as to be able to get under the skin of a character? How can one make a modern audience understand and identify with a seventeenth-century character?

Through a close analysis of the text, and with the help of linguistic, historical, ideological, literary, and theatrical knowledge, scholars will be able to offer actors and directors a whole gamut of interpretations, meanings, possibilities, contexts, potentialities, and perspectives, not all of them readily apparent to the nonspecialist.5 Bloom does not hesitate to give more or less controversial interpretations of the whole Shakespearean gallery of characters, to criticize Ralph Fiennes’s recent Hamlet, or to applaud his all-time favorite, John Gielguld’s. He does not shy away from writing pages and pages about Hamlet and Falstaff, his favorite characters, whom he considers not just real people, but characters more real than average human beings. Shakespeare is important, says Bloom, because he teaches us to understand human nature, and he does this through his characters, for “the representation of human character and personality remains always the supreme literary value, whether in drama, lyric, or narrative” (Shakespeare 413). If this supreme literary value is denied to Spanish classical characters, the plays in which they appear will inevitably have little or no impact in contemporary Western culture.

University of Ottawa 


1. Checking with http://www.amazon.com, I found that the bestseller among Spanish plays is Calderón’s Life Is a Dream, ranked 1,234,865 overall. Compare this with Shakespeare’s bestseller, Hamlet, ranked 5,541, or more significantly, since it is also a translation, with Molière’s Misanthrope, ranked 54,605.

2. Among the most important productions over the last twenty years are the following plays: (by Calderón) Life Is a Dream, translated and adapted by Adrian Mitchell and John Barton, and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1983; The Great Theater of the World, also translated by Mitchell and performed in 1984; The Painter of His Dishonour, translated by David Johnston and Laurence Boswell and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company at The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, in July 1995; and The Phantom Lady, English version by Matthew Stroud, performed in 2000 at Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas; (by Lope de Vega) The Dog in the Manger, translated by Victor Dixon and performed in Trinity College, Dublin, in 1986; The Knight from Olmedo, translated and adapted by David Johnston and performed at Gate Theater in 1991; In Love but Discreet, translated by Vern Williamsen and performed at El Chamizal, Texas, in 1986; Fuenteovejuna, translated and adapted by Mitchell and performed at the Royal National Theatre, London, in 1989; and The Incomparable Doña Ana (La gallarda toledana), translated by Harvey Erdman and performed at El Chamizal Festival in 1991; (by Tirso de Molina) The Balconies of Madrid, translated by Kenneth Stackhouse and performed at El Chamizal in 1994; The Joker of Seville, translated and adapted by Derek Walcott and performed in Toronto by students in 1984; The Last Days of Don Juan, another version of El burlador de Sevilla, translated and adapted by Nick Dear and performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1990; Damned for Despair, translated and adapted by Laurence Boswell and Jonathan Thacker and performed at the Gate Theatre in London in 1991; Don Gil of the Green Breeches, translated and adapted by Laurence Boswell, Jonathan Thacker, and Deirdre McKenna and performed at the Gate Theatre in London in 1990; The Rape of Tamar, translated by Paul Whitworth and performed in London in 1992 as well as in the Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival, California, in 1994; The Outcast in Court (El vergonzoso en palacio), translated by Harley Erdman and performed at El Chamizal in 1993. North American audiences also were able to see Mira de Amescua’s Gambler’s House, translated by Vern Williamsen and performed at the Chamizal Festival in 1990; and Ruiz de Alarcón’s Love’s True Lies (La verdad sospechosa), translated by Kenneth Stackhouse and performed at El Chamizal in 1995. See the Web page of the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater (http://www.wordpress.comedias.org) and Smith 299–309.

3. See its Web site: http://www.bfatheater.org/pages/calendar.htm (broken kink)

4. Unfortunately, only the film of El perro del hortelano (The Dog in the Manger), with subtitles from the English translation by Victor Dixon, has reached British and North American audiences.

5. I have attempted something of the sort in several articles: see Ruano “Teoría,” “Pedro Crespo,” and “Tirso a escena.”


Allen, John. A History of the Theatre in Europe. London: Heinemann, 1983.
Banham, Martin, ed. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988.
Bentley, Eric. What Is Theater? A Query in Chronicle Form. London: Dobson, 1957.
Bernardo Ares, José Manuel, ed. El hispanismo anglonorteamericano: aportaciones, problemas y perspectivas sobre Historia, Arte y Literatura españolas (siglos XVI–XVIII). Actas de la I Conferencia Internacional “Hacia un Nuevo Humanismo.”Córdoba: Publicaciones Caja Sur, 2001.
Bloom, Harold. Shakespeare. The Invention of the Human. New York: Riverhead, 1998.
—. The Western Canon. The Books and School of the Ages. New York: Riverhead, 1994. Bordman, Gerald. American Theater: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1869–1914. New York: Oxford UP, 1994.
—. American Theater: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1914–1930. New York: Oxford UP, 1995.
—. American Theater: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1930–1969. New York: Oxford UP, 1996.
Brown, John Russell, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995.
Bruckner, D. J. R. “When Life is Not a Dream but an Unending Nightmare.” The New York Times 14 Oct. 1999.
Casa, Frank. “Caracterización.” Diccionario de la comedia del Siglo de Oro. Ed. F. Casa, L. García Lorenzo, and G. Vega García-Luengos. Madrid: Castalia, 2002. 39–40.
Dixon, Victor. “Un actor se prepara: Un comediante del Siglo de Oro ante un texto (El castigo sin venganza).” Actor y técnica de representación del teatro clásico español. Ed. J. M. Díez Borque. London: Tamesis, 1989. 55–74.
—. Characterization in the Comedia of Seventeenth-Century Spain. Manchester: Department of Spanish and Portuguese, 1994.
—. “Spanish Renaissance Theatre.” The Oxford Illustrated History of Theatre. Ed. J. R. Brown. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995. 142–72.
—, trans. Lope de Vega. The Dog in the Manger (El perro del hortelano). Ottawa: Dove- house, 1990.
Evans, Peter. “Peribáñez and Ways of Looking at Golden-Age Dramatic Characters.” Romanic Review 74 (1983): 136–51.
Grossman, Edith, trans. Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote. New York: Harper Collins, 2003.
Hermenegildo, Alfredo. “Capricho español: ¿dónde están los ‘innumerables dramaturgos’?” Lazarillo. Revista literaria y cultural 2 (1992): 5–8.
Hischak, Thomas S. American Theater: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969–2000. New York: Oxford UP, 2001.
Hume, Martin. Spanish Influence on English Literature. London: Eveleigh Nash, 1905.
Kimmelman, Michael. “The Masters of the French Masters Were Spanish.” The New York Times 7 Mar. 2003.
McKendrick, Melveena. Theatre in Spain: 1490–1700. Cambridge, Cambridge UP, 1989.
O’Dell, Leslie. Shakespearean Characterization: A Guide for Actors and Students. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2002.
Orgel, Stephen. The Authentic Shakespeare. New York: Routledge, 2002.
Parker, Alexander. The Approach to the Spanish Drama of the Golden Age. London: Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Councils, 1957.
Ruano de la Haza, José María. “Introducción bibliográfica y crítica.” Pedro Calderón de la Barca. La vida es sueño. Madrid: Castalia, 2000. 7–73.
—. “Pedro Crespo.” Calderón en la Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico. Ed. J. M. Díez Borque. Cuadernos de Teatro Clásico 15 (2001): 217–30.
—. “Teoría y praxis del personaje teatral áureo: Pedro Crespo, Peribáñez y Rosaura.” El escritor y la escena V. Ed. Y. Campbell. Mexico: Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, 1997. 19–35.
—. “Tirso a escena: la construcción del personaje de Don Melchor en La celosa de sí misma.” Tirso de Molina en la Compañía Nacional de Teatro Clásico. Ed. Ignacio Arellano. Cuadernos de Teatro Clásico 18 (2004): 175–91.
Ruiz Ramón, Francisco. “Sobre la construcción del personaje teatral clásico: del texto a la escena.” Actor y técnica de representación del teatro clásico español. Ed. José María Díez Borque. London: Tamesis, 1989. 143–53.
Rutherford. John, trans. Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha. London: Penguin, 2000.
Smith, Dawn. “El teatro clásico español en Inglaterra en los últimos quince años.” La puesta en escena del teatro clásico. Ed. J. Ruano de la Haza. Cuadernos de Teatro Clásico 8 (1995): 299–309.
Southern, Richard. The Seven Ages of the Theatre. London: Faber and Faber, 1962.
Thacker, Jonathan. “Glory of a Theatre without Rules.” The Times Literary Supplement 12 July 2002: 5–6.
Ticknor, George. History of Spanish Literature. New Edition. London: John Murray, 1855. Wardropper, Bruce. “Foreword.” Comedias del Siglo de Oro and Shakespeare. Ed. S. L. Fischer. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell UP. 11–15.

Colección Clásicos Castellanos

Desde finales del siglo XIX hasta los años treinta del siglo XX, el panorama editorial que presentaba Madrid experimentaba un importante y considerable auge. Ello fue debido, en parte, a la acción modernizadora de la Institución Libre de Enseñanza y la Junta para Ampliación de Estudios, y de ésta el Centro de Estudios Históricos que, presidido por Ramón Menéndez Pidal, emprendía aventuras editoriales basada en el rigor científico.

De entre los muchos proyectos editoriales emanados del Centro de Estudios Históricos, hoy vamos a tratar de la colección Clásicos Castellanos. Se trata de ediciones de obras de la Literatura española, publicadas entre 1910 y 1935, realizadas con la metodología y el rigor filológico del Centro de Estudios Históricos, puesto que los responsables de estas ediciones son eminentes filólogos formados en este organismo institucionista y colaboradores asiduos de éste. No en vano, la escuela pidalina forma filólogos que son al mismo tiempo historiadores y críticos literarios.

El proyecto fue comenzado por dos discípulos de Menéndez Pidal, considerados como la mano izquierda y derecha del maestro: Américo Castro y Tomás Navarro Tomás. Ambos tuvieron como propósito iniciar una importante empresa editorial: la creación de una «biblioteca» de textos clásicos españoles, publicándolos según el criterio y rigor filológico aprendido directamente del magisterio de Menéndez Pidal.

La editorial desde la cual se iba a publicar esta colección estaría respaldada por una empresa ya consolidada, la publicación hemerográfica La Lectura (Revista de Ciencias y de Artes) (1901-1920), tribuna de opinión de un determinado sector de jóvenes liberales y para-institucionalistas desde cuyas páginas expresaban sus ideas sobre cuestiones de reciente actualidad. Fue su director el gijonés Francisco Acebal (1866-1933), hombre formado en la Institución Libre de Enseñanza en la que se distinguió como uno de los más talentosos y entusiastas continuadores; por su constante relación con Giner de los Ríos, y particularmente con José Castillejo, colaboró con asiduidad en la Junta para Ampliación de Estudios, en la que desempeñó el cargo de vicesecretario. Los jefes de redacción de La Lectura fueron el diplomático Julián Juderías, de 1913 a 1917, y el pedagogo Domingo Barnés, de 1918 a 1920, miembro de la denominada «segunda promoción» de institucionistas o también «hijos de Giner». El proyecto de La Lectura quedaba enmarcada por dos ambiciosas empresas culturales, la predecesora La España Moderna (1889-1914) y por la Revista de Occidente (1923); las tres tras crear, primera- mente, una revista, generaron de forma dependiente de ésta una editorial.

En palabras del propio Tomás Navarro Tomás: ‘El plan era que Castro y yo, que aún no habíamos hecho oposiciones ni ganado plaza, nos dedicáramos plenamente a ir dando cada uno dos o tres volúmenes anuales para la colección. La idea respecto a la selección de obras y autores, tipo de comentario en notas y prólogos y hasta tamaño de libro y clase de papel se fue madurando en las reuniones nocturnas que celebrábamos con Acebal, en su casa de la calle de Lista cerca del paseo de la Castellana, Felipe Clemente de Velasco que era el propietario de La Lectura, Américo Castro y yo’.

Impresos en papel pluma, los libros ofrecían una estimable combinación de erudición filológica y divulgación textual. Este empeño editorial se anunciaba en una hoja suelta, un boletín informativo, en el que se detallaban los propósitos de esta «biblioteca» de obras clásicas de la Literatura española: ‘mediante ediciones de moderna traza que sumen estos tres esenciales elementos: perfección técnica, esmero material y extraordinaria baratura’.

Al emprender esta publicación se proponían no sólo difundir nuestra riqueza literaria en volúmenes de formato moderno, como ya era usual y corriente en países como Francia, Inglaterra, Alemania o Italia; sino que estos textos se convirtieran en ediciones claras, correctas, con una precisión y conciencia filológicas. Era la explicación y «praxis» de los objetivos aprendidos por una generación en el Centro de Estudios Históricos alrededor de don Ramón Menéndez Pidal. La novedad que presentaba esta colección de Clásicos Castellanos consistía más en la forma de realizar el trabajo (fijación del texto, anotaciones e introducciones) que en el hecho de publicar determinadas obras. En el citado boletín de información se expresa la declaración de principios editoriales y de propósitos filológicos:

LOS TEXTOS de nuestra Biblioteca será reproducción de ediciones princeps y, siempre que sea posible, de los manuscritos originales, inspirándose, en lo que concierne a la ortografía de los autores más antiguos, en un escrupuloso criterio que armonice el respeto debido a las últimas investigaciones críticas y filológicas con la facilidad y aún la conformidad de la lectura para todos.

LAS NOTAS puestas al pie de cada página tienden a aclarar, con la parquedad y sencillez posible, las dificultades de mayor bulto que ofrezca el texto. Se servirán estas Notas de ejemplos sacados del vocabulario del mismo autor, o de un autor del mismo tiempo, para comentar filológica o literalmente el pasaje difícil o la frase obscura. En otro caso se recurrirá a la explicación meramente histórica.

LAS INTRODUCCIONES que acompañarán a cada obra han de estar asimismo encaminadas a la difusión de nuestras joyas literarias y comprenderán, por consiguiente, con mucha sobriedad, las más esenciales noticias sobre la vida y las obras de cada autor. En los casos en que el interés de los problemas suscitados lo aconsejara o lo impusiera, la Introducción será, no sólo el esbozo bibliográfico, sino, además, estudio de la significación del autor, o de la obra, considerados en relación con su tiempo.

La sucesiva publicación de obras clásicas, iniciada por Tomás Navarro Tomás y Américo Castro, comportó por cuestiones profesionales y personales de éstos la colaboración de otros filólogos formados directamente por Menendez Pidal o dependientes de otras secciones del Centro: el propio don Ramón, Federico de Onís, el escritor director teatral Cipriano de Rivas Cherif, Vicente García de Diego, el dialectólogo Matías Martínez de Burgos, Gómez Ocerín, Samuel Gilí Gaya, valioso colaborador de Navarro Tomás, el tempranamente malogrado por la muerte Antonio García Solalinde, José Moreno Villa poeta y creador y colaborador en la sección de Arqueología, Pedro Salinas poeta-profe- sor, el investigador literario José Fernández Montesinos, Manuel Azaña futuro presidente de la Segunda República Española.

A esta nómina se fueron añadiendo, por la necesidad imperativa que tenía la editorial de seguir con la publicación de los anunciados títulos «en preparación», una serie de figuras del mundo literario español e hispanoamericano, eruditos de diversa formación investigadora, críticos, historiadores y profesores extranjeros que continuaron sui generis la colección de Clásicos Castellanos: Víctor Said Armesto, Narciso Alonso Cortés, Federico Ruíz Morcuende, Ramón M. Tenreiro, José R. Lomba y Pedraja, J. Domínguez Bordona, José M. Salaverría, Francisco Rodríguez Marín, que aportaba la apostilla prestigiosa «de la Real Academia Española», el jesuíta secularizado Julio Cejador y Frauca, Agustín Millares Cario, paleógrafo, el erudito Pedro Sáinz Rodríguez, el historiador Ángel Valbuena Prat, Agustín Cortina, profesor argentino, el escritor mejicano Alfonso Reyes, el presbítero José M. Aguado y el agustino P. Félix García. Ello comportó, además, una nueva idea de «obra clásica», ya que por tal no solamente eran considerados los textos de la época medieval, los de los Siglos de Oro y los del período ilustrado de nuestra literatura, sino que a lo largo de los ciento cinco volúmenes publicados, progresivamente y sin muestra de ruptura, bajo esta concepción nueva fueron apareciendo obras del período final del Romanticismo y de la época última del siglo xx, de autores contemporáneos ya consagrados, ya «clásicos».

El texto anterior está extractado de ‘PROPÓSITOS FILOLÓGICOS DE LA COLECCIÓN CLÁSICOS CASTELLANOS DE LA EDITORIAL LA LECTURA (1910-1935)‘, Antonio Marco García, Universidad de Barcelona, ponencia en el X Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas (Barcelona, agosto de 1989).

Puede verse una ‘Biografía de La Lectura (1901-1920)‘ de Luis S. Granjel, en el número 272, páginas 306-314, de Febrero de 1973 de la revista Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos.

Enlace a la Colección Clásicos Castellanos 50.

Actrices de los Siglos de Oro

Se encuentra disponible online la versión digital de la tesis doctoral leída y defendida por Mimma De Salvo en la Universitat de València en septiembre de 2006, revisada en su versión en línea (© 2008 Midesa s.r.l.): La mujer en la práctica escénica de los Siglos de Oro: la búsqueda de un espacio profesional. 

Dice la misma autora en otra comunicación disponible también online y titulada Mujeres en escena: las primeras damas en el teatro español de los Siglos de Oro:

‘Entre los testimonios que celebran a las primeras actrices del teatro clásico por su talento en el oficio recordamos, en primer lugar, el de Cristóbal Suárez de Figueroa que, en su Plaza universal de todas ciencias y artes, elogiaba a un grupo de hombres y mujeres del teatro español que, a su juicio, eran o habían sido “insignes” en la profesión. Entre las “mugeres” que valoraba como “prodigiosas en representacion” nombraba a Ana de Velasco, Mariana Paez, Mariana Ortiz, Mariana Vaca, Geronima de Salzedo difuntas. De las que oy viuen, Iuana de Villalua, Mariflores, Micaela de Luxan, Ana Muñoz, Iusepa Vaca, Geronima de Burgos, Polonia Perez, Maria de los Angeles, Maria de Morales, sin otras q[ue] por breuedad no pongo. En esta conformidad se puede dezir, ser dignas de toda loa las personas q[ue] c[on] honesto proceder se muestran insignes en semejante profesion.

A los elogios de Figueroa se suman los que otros coetáneos dedican en sus escritos a éstas y otras actrices pioneras del teatro clásico. Así recordamos las alabanzas que Rojas Villandrando dedicaba en su Viaje entretenido a la actriz Ana Muñoz celebrándola como buena profesional de las tablas: “que lo que es bueno, y tan bueno, / siempre tiene su quilate”. Las mismas apreciaciones generales las encontramos en la Genealogía origen y noticias de los comediantes de España, en la que se elogia a Francisca Baltasara, la conocida Baltasara, como actriz “muy zelebre en las tablas”, mientras que Lope de Vega, al publicar La viuda valenciana en la Parte XIV de sus comedias (1620), evocaba el estreno de la obra halagando a Mariana Vaca como una de sus mayores intérpretes: “representóla Mariana Baca, única en acción y en entender los versos”.

Como Mariana Vaca, muchas de estas primeras actrices, así como las que estuvieron en activo a lo largo del siglo XVII, fueron celebradas por los dramaturgos de la época por la manera de representar algunas de sus piezas teatrales de las que muy a menudo eran destinatarias principales. Tal fue el caso también de Jusepa Vaca, actriz para la que Luis Vélez de Guevara compuso La Serrana de la Vera y Lope de Vega Las almenas de Toro (“representola Morales, y hizo la gallarda Iusepa Baca à doña Eluira”). El Fénix igualmente elogiaría a esta actriz como intérprete de otra de sus obras, La mocedad de Roldán, recordándola en particular en la dedicatoria a Don Francisco Diego de Zayas por su “gallardo talle en habito de hombre” y por ser “la vnica representante […] digna desta memoria, por lo que ha honrado las comedias con la gracia de su accion, y la singularidad de su exemplo…”.’

Merece la pena leer los trabajos de Mimma De Salvo. Enhorabuena también por su esfuerzo en hacerlos disponibles en versión digital abierta.

Biblioteca Digital Artelope: leer online a Lope de Vega

El proyecto Artelope, dirigido por el profesor Joan Oleza, de la Universidad de Valencia, y en el que interviene un conjunto de 20 investigadores, procedentes de diversas universidades europeas, hispanoamericanas y españolas, persigue la creación de un corpus fundamental del patrimonio literario español: el teatro de Lope de Vega.

El objetivo principal es la sistematización en un formato electrónico de base de datos capaz de suministrar a los estudiosos y profesionales del teatro el inmenso conjunto de las obras de Lope (o atribuidas) en un formato manejable para la investigación y para la consulta.

Uno de los resultados de mayor interés, por lo que supone de hacer disponible en Internet esta parte del patrimonio cultural en español, es la Biblioteca Digital Artelope.

El proyecto lleva desarrollándose a lo largo de muchos años. En la actualidad, la colección cuenta con 98 ediciones digitales disponibles, con incorporaciones paulatinas a medida que los investigadores van publicando nuevas obras.

Esta es la lista de obras disponibles a fecha 26 de junio de 2013 y sus enlaces para leer online:



























































































Enhorabuena a todos los investigadores de Artelope y muchos ánimos para continuar con esta gran labor que permite aumentar la presencia de contenidos culturales en español en Internet y facilita el desarrollo de herramientas de estudio para profesionales y aficionados al teatro de los siglos de oro.