Henry W. Sullivan, Tragic Drama in the Golden Age of Spain: Seven Essays on the Definition of a Genre, Kassel, Reichenberger (Estudios de Literatura 133), 2018; viii, 436 pp. Hardcover; 16,5 x 24 cm.; inglés.

ISBN: 978-3-944244-69-3  |  78,- €


This book undertakes a twofold task: 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.


Preface & Acknowledgments

  1. 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 

  1. 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 

  1. 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 

  1. 4. Hamartia: Fatal Flaw of Character or Fatal Error of Judgment?

Definition of Hamartia — Spanish Translations of HamartiaHamartia in Vélez de Guevara’s Reinar después de morirHamartia in Lope de Vega’s El caballero de Olmedo — Conclusion 

  1. 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 

  1. 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 

  1. 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



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La Casa di Lope