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Volume 52 / Humanities

LITERATURE: SPANISH AMERICA


Drama

GEORGE WOODYARD, Professor of Spanish, University of Kansas

THE NUMBER OF PLAYS published in this cycle is impressive and the quality is higher than before. There are new plays by known figures such as Carballido, Chocrón, Cossa, Dragún, Estorino, De la Parra, and Wolff. Also, the growing number of plays by women writers continues, an increase exemplified by authors such as Azcárate, Berman, Britton, Gambaro and Mosquera. Some plays still deal with purely sociopolitical issues, but the precentage is definitely decreasing in favor of more eclectic themes and approaches, including theater in exile (items bi 91001030 and bi 90004334), historical (items bi 89004049, bi 91001077, and bi 89004064), collective creations (items bi 91004731 and bi 89004073), and myth (items bi 89004050 and bi 89004076). Several excellent plays are written in a popular vein (items bi 90009124 and bi 90009132). Plays from under-represented regions such as El Salvador and Yucatán appear here, as do the individual works of many of the younger Mexicans such as Castillo, Liera, Schmidhuber, Urtusástegui, and others. Finally a voice long silent returns in this cycle, Antón Arrufat (item bi 90004337).

Critical activity continues to pick up with many monographs and article-length studies. It is reassuring to note that Latin American theater criticism has become increasingly more objective as scholars apply tested critical methodologies instead of resorting to the all-too-frequent subjective commentary encountered in the past. Two excellent new books by Meléndez (item bi 92016966) and Taylor (item bi 92017036) approach the Latin American theater in a comprehensive way, utilizing appropriate critical tools in order to make enlightened comments. Burgess (item bi 88002625) employs the same methodologies in studying the Mexican theater of the younger generation. To complement these mainstream studies there are a number of new publications with a more specific focus on a particular author such as Iván García (items bi 89004832), Cabrujas (item bi 89004038), Griselda Gambaro (item bi 90009131), and Luis Rafael Sánchez (item bi 90010354). From a nationalist point of view, the Argentine theater is the most studied, with many new publications that document the Rosas period (item bi 90009103) and with special emphasis on the 1910s-20s (item bi 91004696). The attention to modernism as a theatrical phenomenon is a curious addition (items bi 89004846 and bi 89016504). Colombia, Cuba and Chile also receive high marks for critical attention as does, surprisingly, the Dominican Republic. New histories of theater in Nicaragua (item bi 91004697) and Paraguay (item bi 91004701) are particulary welcome. An interesting item is Heidrun Adler's collection of essays by several authors designed as a handbook for a German audience, evidence of the growing appeal of Latin American theater in Europe (item bi 92017069). On the Iberian peninsula, the annual Cádiz festival of Latin American theater and the FITEI in Portugal constitute further proof of the Europeans' intense interest in Spanish American drama.


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