In this comparative study of English and Spanish drama, the author concerns himself with theatrical conventions, the social significance of drama, and audience-reception in the early modern court-cities of London and Madrid. The primary focus of this study is the drama of Shakespeare and some of his contemporaries, particularly Thomas Dekker, in England, and the peasant honor plays of Lope de Vega in Spain. In engaging with these works, the study explores the representation of social conflict in the public drama of the two countries, and highlights the polyphonic appeal that the drama held for the mixed audiences of the public theatres, a communal phenomenon in which discourses of class, gender and race intersected. The author pays sustained attention to the intersections between gender and ideologies of rank, and how these produced a range of political effects in the plays he explores; the study incorporates innovative work on the role of carnival structures and gender bonding in creating pan-class communities. CaÃ±adas provides not only literary analysis of individual plays, but also insight into the sociology of theatre as an institution.
'This work offers a valuable perspective for comparing English and Spanish theater during a period (ca. 1580-1630) of national definition for both countries… Professor CaÃ±adas discourses widely and wisely with many contemporary feminist scholars.' Renaissance Quarterly ’CaÃ±adas' analysis is thorough and nuanced, as well as theoretically cogent… CaÃ±adas, who is equally at home in both national literatures, also exhibits a welcome clarity of exposition and argument, making this book useful for nonexperts; that is, it could be read profitably by advanced undergraduates as well as graduate students, in either or both literatures, and his analysis of the scholarly trends in reading Shakespeare and Lope is well done.’ Sixteenth Century Journal
Contents: Introduction; Theater and society in early modern Madrid and London; The female role in the theaters of London and Madrid; The communal appeal of Thomas Dekker's The Shoemaker's Holiday; Rank, gender and honor in the peasant plays of Lope de Vega: a revaluation; Class, gender, and carnival: communal heroism in Fuente Ovejuna; Coda; Bibliography; Index.