'Pues tanto se esconde': Elusion at (inter)play in Ana Caro's El conde Partinuplés

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El conde Partinuplés (first published 1653) is one of only two extant plays written by the Sevillan poet/dramatist Ana Caro Mallén de Soto (‘la décima musa sevillana’). Despite McKendrick's dismissal of the play as ‘extremely bad’, it has been the object of substantial critical scrutiny since the 1970s, impelled in great part by the production of modern editions (Luna and Delgado) and by Kaminsky's bio-biographical study (1973). Two responses have dominated: analysis of the play's imaginative reconceptualization of source material (most notably the Classical myth of Cupid and Psyche as contained in Apuleius and transmitted via the anonymous French chivalric romance Portonopeus de Blois; and more contemporary models, such as Calderón's La vida es sueño); discussions of the play from a gender/feminist perspective. There is some inevitable entanglement in these approaches, areas of ideological concurrence, but also of contradiction. This article will offer a critical synthesis of these lines of enquiry around an analysis of the play's patterns of non-identical repetition and, following Hubert's theory of ‘double movement’, will move beyond these to consider the generative and potentially transcendent nature of the interplay of inscription (text) and transcription (interpretive performance). A subversive strategy of elusion underpins this interference, a dynamic, mobile frame within which ‘envidia’ (‘celos’) functions as a prominent dramatic catalyst, directed outwards, and mobilized both as a potent catalyst for the female dramatist's artistic creativity and as an antagonistic interrogation of broader socio-cultural forms of inequality. The play's (new) marvellous versions and inversions expand the functions of the sign beyond Renaissance resemblance and repetition, challenging its promotion of unity and stable identity, and opening up an interactive space between the represented (world/product) and the representing (stage/process). The power of authorities, as figured in/through the dramatic and rhetorical devices of the play, is self-consciously precarious, but it is this very anxious articulation that challenges the very authority of power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)203-222
Number of pages20
JournalBulletin of Spanish Studies: Hispanic Studies and Researches on Spain, Portugal and Latin America
Issue number8-10
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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