Subject Stages: Marriage, Theatre and the Law in Early Modern Spain
Published: April 2010© 2010
240 Pages, 6.31 x 9.43 x 0.85 in, 9 halftones
In early modern Spain, the strict definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman of Catholic faith for the sole purpose of procreation became a key strategy in the production of Spain's version of empire, the Universal Catholic Monarchy. María M. Carrión argues that popular Spanish theatre questioned this marital prescription by staging subjects that were strictly regulated or prohibited by the crown. Theatre audiences in Spain saw different representations of marriage: women arguing in court against marital violence, queens and noblewomen delaying or refusing imposed marriages, and queer subjects articulating radical critiques of sex and gender policing.
Subject Stages argues that the discourses and practices of marital legislation, litigation, and theatrics informed each other during this period in ways that still have a critical bearing on contemporary events in Spain, such as the legalization of divorce in 1978 and of same-sex marriage in 2005. Carrión's comprehensive and clear analysis pulls back the facade of the 'happily ever after' marriage plot on stage to reveal the inner workings of the legal, economic, political, and social networks that mainstream theatre was able to critique.
List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
- Marital Law and Order in Early Modern Spain
- Marriage Scenes in the Archives
- The Birth of the Comedia and the Bride Onstage
- Foundational Violence and the Drama of Honour
- Punishing Illicit Desire
- Woman in Breeches
Coda: The Musical Chairs of Divorce
'The façade of the "happily ever after" marriage plot as it is represented in theatrical performances of early modern Spain conceals nuanced cultural commentary on the social and legal functions of matrimony. Subject Stages, María M. Carrión's compelling examination of theatrical productions, canonical literary works, and other cultural texts, is an original and important analysis of the interrelation of law, theatre, and the institution of marriage.' Sherry Velasco, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Southern California
Carrión’s is an excellent study, which sheds light on a topic that has to this point been overlooked even though it is central to many of the most important themes and plays of the Comedia.’ Peter E. Thompson, Renaissance Quarterly: vol 64:01:2011