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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Spring 2009

SPN 391 • Identity and the Comedia

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47460 TH
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
UTC 1.316

Course Description

Recent scholarship in Golden Age Drama has shown that, far from the conservative, monolithic, and conventional genre it appears to be on the surface, the Spanish comedia represents a rich diversity of themes and dramatic structures that defy easy categorization and classification. Whereas Alexander Parker's "Approach" to Spanish drama and Eric Bentleys focus on universality attempted to assert what Matthew Stroud refers to as a grand unified theory describing the genre as a whole, it has become increasingly clear that individual comedias are as different from one another in important respects as they are similar. This course will approach Spanish Golden Age Drama as a genre of both structural and thematic diversity, in which the tensions between the individual and society, and between self and other, are addressed through a performative process that requires participation and affirmation from a theatrical audience. In this view, the corral de comedias becomes a microcosm of Spanish society, not only passively viewing, but also contributing actively to its own comprehension of early modern society and the identity of the individual (both majority and marginalized voices) and the nation in their changing social contexts.

Grading Policy

Class meetings will be organized around active discussion and student participation. The first part of each meeting will concentrate on the dissemination of theory and background information through a brief lecture, leaving the remaining time for textual analysis and discussion. Every week, students will be responsible for textual readings as well as theoretical or critical works deemed pertinent to that week's topic. Each student will prepare at least one oral report on a critical work during the semester and will follow-up with a brief written analysis. At the conclusion of the course, students will be required to write a paper of between 15 and 25 pages that analyzes one or more of the plays studied or other works by these dramatists.


Miguel de Cervantes, Numancia, Pedro de Urdemalas Lope de Vega, Arte nuevo de hacer comedias, Fuenteovejuna, El perro del hortelano, El castigo sin venganza, La boda entre dos maridos Tirso de Molina, El burlador de Sevilla, El condenado por desconfiado Angela de Azevedo, El muerto disimulado Ana Caro, Valor, agravio y mujer, El Conde Partinuplés Juan Ruiz de Alarcón, La verdad sospechosa Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Los empeños de una casa Calderón, La vida es sueño, El médico de su honra Maria de Zayas, La traición en la amistad Pertinent secondary readings will also be assigned, including foundational critical works by Castro, Parker, Dunn, Jones, Díez Borque, Maravall, and Wardropper, as well as recent critical approaches to performance theory and identity in the comedia.


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