From: Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America
11.1 (1991): 61-86.
Copyright © 1991, The Cervantes Society of America
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|In an era when the novel reigns supreme, almost all the remaining genres are to a greater or lesser extent novelized.|
ere Cervantes' entremeses bad theatre? If not, why were they perceived by both the writer and his contemporaries to be more suitable for reading than theatrical representation? Such questions have surrounded the interludes since their initial rejection (alongside eight full-length plays) by unnamed autores de comedias in the early 1600's. While it is certain that Cervantes' theatre was judged inadequate for the seventeenth-century stage, it remains to be seen exactly how his entremeses departed from the theatrical standards of the time or what it was precisely in these plays that made them unacceptable. Critical evaluations of these elusive
1 M. M.
Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination, ed. M. Holquist (Austin: U of Texas,
P, 1981) 5.
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texts have shown them to be much more complex than performed
entremeses, but have not examined in detail the internal mechanisms
responsible for their intricacy.2 Nevertheless,
the reconsideration of the interludes in light of recent theoretical approaches,
including Bakhtin's theory of the novel and novelized genres, reveals that
Cervantes' extensive use of novelistic elements in his drama may have rendered
his entremeses unperformable within the context of contemporaneous
theatrical production. Moreover, the novelization characteristic
of Cervantes' theatrical work may also provide an important key to understanding
his plays' release as texts for reading.
When Cervantes published his Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos, nunca representados in 1615, he essentially readdressed his unperformed drama to a reading public. The appearance of dramatic work in print was not an entirely unusual practice in the time; plays were frequently published (more often than not without the direct intervention of the dramatist) after their success had been proven on the stage. These collections, often plagued with inaccuracies and revisions, provided the means to extend the commercial windfalls of the seventeenth-century Spanish theatre beyond the lucrative business of public performance to include the reading market as well.3 Cervantes' collection, however, stands as a unique example in that his plays had not been influenced by the process of interpretation and revision by actors and directors which accompanies any theatrical production.
2 In 1915,
Armando Cotarelo y Valledor mentioned novelistic influences in the drama
of Cervantes (El teatro de Cervantes [Madrid: Revista de Archivos,
Bibliotecas y Museos, 1915] 47-49), but did not define them precisely.
Américo Castro described Cervantes' drama as inferior
and excessively ironic (El pensamiento de Cervantes [Madrid: Hernando,
1925] 50-55), but likewise failed to be more specific. While recent scholarly
studies of individual entremeses (by Patricia Kenworthy, Bruce Wardropper,
Stainslav Zimic, and others) have focused on thematic constructs, exemplarity,
and characterization, the approach of Nicholas Spadaccini comes closest to
defining the plays' novelistic complexities. Spadaccini, however, writes
of their reception as reading texts, and does not analyze the plays in terms
of their theatricality. See his Writing for Reading: Cervantes's Aesthetics
of Reception in the Entremeses, Critical Essays on Cervantes,
ed. R. El Saffar (Boston: Hall, 1986) 162-175.
3 Don W. Cruickshank attributes some inaccuracies in printed Golden Age dramatic texts to the lack of financial incentive. See The Editing of Spanish Golden-Age Plays from Early Printed Versions, Editing the Comedia, ed. F. P. Casa and M. D. McGaha (Ann Arbor: Michigan Romance Studies, 1985) 54.
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Only after his comedias and entremeses had been deemed
inappropriate for the stage did he sell his scripts to a bookseller with
the intention of releasing them for the reading public. Apparently Cervantes
retained control over the content of his collection until its publication,
presumably submitting his authoritative version to the printer as if it had
been a collection of short stories. In addition, he was able to draft a prologue
as an explanation of his plays' appearance in print and to direct the reader's
understanding of the dramatic texts that followed. The printed volume of
his comedias and entremeses, therefore, cannot be classified
along with the published collections of commercially successful plays (like
those of Lope de Vega, for example), but rather pertains to a new practice
of publishing drama based on its value as readable literature, as a dramatic
form which has been redefined for initial consumption by a reading
In his prologue, Cervantes relates the roundabout manner in which his plays reached the press, thus beginning the debate over their allegedly problematic theatricality:
Algunos años ha que volví yo a mi antigua ociosidad, y pensando que aún duraban los siglos donde corrían mis alabanzas, volví a componer algunas comedias; pero no hallé pájaros en los nidos de antaño; quiero decir que no hallé autor que me las pidiese, puesto que sabían que las tenía, y así las arrinconé en un cofre y las consagré al perpetuo silencio. En esta sazón me dijo un librero que él me las comprara si un autor de título no le hubiera dicho que de mi prosa se podía esperar mucho, pero del verso nada. . . . Torné a pasar los ojos por mis comedias y por algunos entremeses míos que con ellas estaban arrinconados, y vi no ser tan malas ni tan malos que no mereciesen salir de las tinieblas del ingenio de aquel autor a la luz de otros autores menos escrupulosos y más entendidos. Aburríme y vendíselas a tal librero, que las ha puesto en la estampa como aquí las ofrece.4
Clearly, Cervantes had originally intended his plays to be performed on the stage and, therefore, conceived each work initially with this end in mind. Only after being rejected by the autores de comedias of whom he speaks did he consider presenting them to the public through a different medium in printed form. The prologue conveys the frustration Cervantes must have felt as a dramatist, but it is tempered with the understanding
Entremeses, ed. N. Spadaccini (Madrid: Cátedra, 1985) 93-94.
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that he was respected for his non-dramatic work, which may have inspired
him consequently to consider the release of his drama exclusively in print.
In the Adjunta al Parnaso, a fictionalized Cervantes (interestingly in the neo-dramatic form of dialogue) provides additional reasons for the redirection of the unperformed works to a reading public. Citing the necessity of an educated reader's undivided attention, the fictionalized dramatist (Miguel) offers the following explanation:
MIGUEL. Seis [comedias] tengo, con otros seis entremeses. PANCRACIO. Pues, por qué no se representa? MIGUEL. Porque ni los autores me buscan ni yo les voy a buscar a ellos. PANCRACIO. No deben de saber que vuesa merced las tiene. MIGUEL. Sí saben; pero como tienen sus poetas paniaguados y les va bien con ellos, no buscan pan de trastrigo. Pero yo pienso darlas a la estampa, para que se vea de espacio lo que pasa apriesa, y se disimula, o no se entiende, cuando las representan. Y las comedias tienen sus sazones y tiempos, como los cantares.5
This passage anticipates the same sentiments Cervantes would express one year later in his prologue. In contrast with the latter, however, the disillusioned dramatist here justifies the redirection of his drama by referring to and, in effect, acknowledging the internal complexity of his plays. For Cervantes, releasing his plays in print would afford the attentive reader the opportunity to understand lo que pasa apriesa, y se disimula, o no se entiende, cuando las representan. Certainly, Cervantes himself believed there to be more to his comedias and interludes than their entertainment value to a theatrical audience. He must have thought his dramatic work, if not in demand for theatrical representation, would be suitable as a form of privatized, even didactic, entertainment for a discriminating reader. Yet this must not prevent us from reading these works as pieces of theatre composed originally for the stage. The reader must bear in mind that Cervantes admits he had his comedias and entremeses (or at least six of each) already written before he decided to publish them, and that his decision to print them (not to write them) is
Poesías completas, I: Viaje al Parnaso y Adjunta al
Parnaso, ed. V. Gaos (Madrid: Castalia, 1973) 183.
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based on his desire to direct his plays to a more attentive and discerning
audience.6 Any discussion of Cervantes' interludes
must therefore begin with the fact that they are in essence works of theatre,
conceived in accordance with certain dramatic principles and conventions,
and they must be analyzed as such.
This rather curious occurrence, the publishing of plays before they had fulfilled their artistic potential in performance, has led generations of scholars to underestimate the rich theatricality of Cervantes' interludes. The failure of Cervantes' entremeses in their theatrical context leads to an obvious, but puzzling, question: why were his interludes not performed during his lifetime? Cervantes was recognized for his literary talent even in his own day, and today's reader certainly understands his genius. Nonetheless, Cervantes' mastery of literary prose and its conventions may, in fact, be partially responsible for the alleged theatrical inadequacy of his dramatic work. The writing of what we now call literature (writing for a reading public) is by definition substantially different from composition for the stage, where a number of complex semiotic systems are simultaneously at work. While the writer of prose fiction can (and, indeed, must) create a fictional world with verbal imagery and narrative style, the dramatist will also consider the languages of physical gesture and movement, voice quality, spatial relationships, and music, to name but a few. The dramatic text must be conceived with all of these elements in mind, since each one is an essential component which contributes as much to the overall understanding of the work as does the written text. Keir Elam reminds us:
Literary critics have usually implicitly or explicitly assumed the priority of the written play over the performance, the latter being more often than not described as a realization (actual or potential) of the former. The written text constrains the performance in obvious ways . Since, chronologically, the writing of the play precedes any given performance, it might appear quite legitimate to suppose the simple priority of the one over the other . But it is equally legitimate to claim
does not say las escribí. . . but rather
yo pienso darlas a la estampa para que se vea de espacio lo
que pasa apriesa. . . The frequently-cited passage from the
Adjunta al Parnaso thus explains why Cervantes sought to print
his unperformed plays, but not why he originally wrote them. Indeed, nowhere
in his extant writings does Cervantes suggest that his plays were conceived
and composed for any purpose other than theatrical production.
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that it is the performance, or at least a possible model performance, that constrains the dramatic text in its very articulation [and that] the dramatic text is radically conditioned by its performability. The written text, in other words, is determined by its very need for stage contextualization, and indicates throughout its allegiance to the physical conditions of performance, above all to the actor's body and its ability to materialize discourse within the space of the stage.7
As an aspiring dramatist, Cervantes most certainly understood the demands
and practical restrictions placed on the written text by the intended
performance, but his instincts as a novelist also affected the character
of his drama. This is not to suggest that he in some way ignored the
extra-literary dramatic codes while writing his drama, but rather that his
highly developed sense of novelistic discourse may have overwhelmed the
theatrical concerns of the interlude, at least in the eyes of the potential
producers who rejected his plays. There undoubtedly was something about
Cervantes' interludes which set them apart from the performed
entremeses of the time, something which at first brought about their
rejection for theatrical purposes, and simultaneously made them suitable
for release in printed form. The differentiating factor, as we shall see,
was their overt reliance upon novelistic elements.
Clear, simple distinctions between the novelistic and the theatrical are not easily made, especially today, when the aims and thematic concerns of each frequently overlap. Theatricality, as Elam suggests, can be defined by the need for stage contextualization, while the novel relies entirely on the written word for imaginative interpretation by a reader. Contrasts between the novelistic discourse and dramatic composition thus usually emphasize the fact that drama is a plastic, representational art, while prose narrative is a written art form. Each genre is also defined by its relationship to its audience: theatre-goers expect temporal, audio-visual entertainment while readers enjoy the more detailed private contemplation of the intricacies of the story or novel. Aside from such broadly-based generic differences, however, there evidently existed in the seventeenth century practical distinctions between theatre and novelistic prose which, perhaps, were more noticeable than those commonly observed
Elam, The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama (London: Methuen, 1980)
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today. The commercial success of Lope de Vega in effect defined a specific
set of guidelines for Spanish theatre, requiring relatively simple actions,
and presenting characters as the subordinated agents of
plot.8 Any definition of character in the
comedia is limited to those qualities that are necessary and relevant
to the exposition of plot events. Thus Fuenteovejuna's Comendador
is narrowly-defined as a patently vile and dishonourable personage in order
to make possible and justifiable his violent demise later in the work. Still,
such subordination of character to plot does not require that each character
be completely two-dimensional and devoid of internal conflict. Rather, the
implication is that characterization in Golden Age drama typically serves
to advance the plot. Conversely, novelistic prose examines the character
as an individual and endows plot action with psychological and socio-historical
relevance, the plot often serving to elucidate the complexities of character
and its position in society.
In addition, the comedia's plot consists of a carefully-constructed sequence of events, linked together by dramatic causality, which, once discovered, reveals the thematic meaning of the work as a whole. The full-length play thus ends with the restoration of a previously-disrupted order, often employing poetic justice to punish those responsible for the initial disturbance. In the entremés, we see a further reduction of this neatly-composed formulaic style, necessitated by its situation between the acts of the comedia. As will be discussed later, characters are drawn almost exclusively according to stereotypical stock-figures, plots consist of one singular action, and the elucidation of thematic meaning is almost non-existent. In contrast, novelistic prose is not regularly constrained by formulaic structure. It is a freer, more flexible form that often explores the internal conflicts of its characters and favors the discussion of complex themes and issues. Novelistic prose is often characterized by thematic indeterminacy and openness, which requires the thoughtful collaboration of the reader for closure. These, precisely, are the elements that Cervantes developed not only in his prose works, but also in his drama, allowing his dramatic texts to execute some of the more profound aims of the novel, while still remaining, essentially, works of theatre.
Parker defined the formulaic structure of the comedia nueva in terms
of the relationship between character, plot, and theme. See The Approach
to the Spanish Drama of the Golden Age, Diamante, 6 (London: Hispanic
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Cervantes is best known (and justifiably so) as the father of the modern novel, who refashioned prose writing to such an extent that future generations of novelists would continue to follow his leads. Don Quijote and the Novelas ejemplares show his interest in experimentation and the exploration of the unlimited possibilities of narrative fiction. Nevertheless, Cervantes' drama sometimes has been called excessively traditional, especially when compared to Lope de Vega, whose comedia nueva virtually redefined both the production and reception of the dramatic arts in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain.9 While Lope, in his Arte Nuevo de hacer comedias, openly admits a disregard for Aristotle's precepts (and, indeed, for many classical artistic concerns) seemingly in order to cater to the tastes of an undiscriminating mass public, Cervantes continues defending the artistic integrity of more traditional drama, and explicitly defies Lope's position in a number of his own writings, including the Quijote.10 The resulting literary polemic has fostered a prevalent and perhaps too convenient impression that Cervantes and Lope were in complete disagreement concerning the value of contemporary dramatic conventions, and that Cervantes the classicist refused to accept Lope's innovations, continuing to reject them in his own theatrical works.11 Contrary to such reductionist critical
scholars (among them Castro [49-55]) and editors of anthologies (Linton Lomas
Barrett, Five Centuries of Spanish Literature [New York: Harper and
Row, 1962] 199) have repeatedly dismissed Cervantes' drama as
classical and therefore subject to failure in a market dominated
by Lope's innovative comedia. Cervantes did indeed write plays which
were relatively classical in nature (i.e. La Numancia) during his
early period of dramatic composition, prior to Lope's success as a dramatist.
Cervantes later abandoned his neo-Aristotelian style and actually adopted
that of the comedia nueva. His comedias and entremeses
pertain to this second period of dramaturgy.
10 See Chapters 47-48 (Canon of Toledo episodes) in Part One of the Quijote.
11 Such attitudes (see note #9) have persisted. As recently as 1969, for example, Edwin Honig described Cervantes as always on the outside of literary society and lagging behind its fashions in his On the Interludes of Cervantes, Cervantes: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Lowry Nelson Jr. (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1969) 153. Current scholarship in the field is breaking away from this mold. See Patricia Kenworthy, La ilusión dramática en los entremeses de Cervantes, Cervantes: su obra y su mundo, ed. M. Criado de Val (Madrid: 1981) 235-38; Bruce Wardropper, [p. 69] Cervantes' Theory of the Drama, Modern Philology 52.4 (1955): 217-251; Jean Canavaggio, Cervantes Dramaturge: un théâter à naître (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1977), and Spadaccini.
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opinion, however, Cervantes' dramatic creations are not entirely neo-Aristotelian
works whose traditional conservatism made them necessarily obsolete before
they could reach the stage. Much in the same way he redefines the novella
and creates the modern novel, Cervantes also attempts a change in the
seventeenth-century conception of drama in Spain, but in a manner far different
from Lope de Vega. Cervantes, in short, brings many of the thematic and
structural characteristics of prose narrative to the composition of his
In his theatrical works as in his novels, Cervantes turns his critical eye inward in order to reconsider the mechanisms of plot, character, and theme: the mythos, ethos, and dianoia of Aristotelian tradition. As a result of changes in these internal components, Cervantes' interludes resemble works of prose fiction in certain ways and depart radically from the accepted drama of the time. William S. Jack asserts:
they belong in some measure to the dialogued story of which Cervantes showed himself to be so complete a master in the Coloquio de los perros. It will be recalled that in speaking of one of his comedies, Cervantes says that it was found larga en los razonamientos. The same thing can be said of his entremeses. In this, he stands at the opposite pole from [Lope de] Rueda, but also it may be to some extent because of this that he could be the master who first really brought the form into literature of the highest class.12
Pointing to the relationship between Cervantes' interludes and the dialogued story, Jack confirms the innovative manner in which Cervantes composed his plays, adding a novelistic depth of plot, theme, and character. The elevation of the lowly entremés, deeply rooted in the traditions of popular culture and theatrical representation, to the level of literature13 is precisely the effect created by the publication of Cervantes' dramatic works. What
S. Jack, The Early Entremés in Spain: The Rise of a Dramatic Form
(Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1923) 125.
13 While Jack's phrase literature of the highest class is clearly prejudiced toward the elite canon, it does signal the initial marginalization of the entremés and that Cervantes' works are understood as having some canonic, literary value beyond their theatricality.
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was once primarily intended for a mass public is given an additional life
as privatized entertainment for the educated reader. This is not to say that
the interludes are more similar to novels in dialogue than to theatre, but
rather that their novelistic elements include a greater development of the
sketchy plots and character-types normally found in conventional interludes.
Patricia Kenworthy has observed: Just as Cervantes extends the boundaries
of the form of the genre by including 'novelistic' passages, he extends the
limits of subject matter available for dramatic
treatment.14 Thus, the presence of
novelistic elements in Cervantes' interludes not only allows the plays to
function as reading material, but also effects changes in their
As could be expected, Cervantes builds upon the popular foundation of the entremés by expanding its range of dramatic possibilities. To the traditional cast of rustic farmers, ruffians, sacristans, and barbers, he adds middle-class mayors, judges, doctors, merchants, and cleverly ingenious women to transform the stage into what Eugenio Asensio has called a procesión de deformidades sociales15 constituted by characters from nearly all social positions. He then places these figures in original situations which extend far beyond the boundaries of the conventional entremés. The malmaridada of traditional lore is now asking for a divorce, an impossibility in Cervantes' Spain (El juez de los divorcios). The beautiful women of the courtly love tradition are transformed into prostitutes, their male counterparts into pimps (El rufián viudo). The exploration of the activity of the urban marketplace suggests a burgeoning middle class which reflects Spain's belated but imminent acceptance of the capitalist system (La guarda cuidadosa and El vizcaíno fingido). In short, Cervantes, fuses the popular, theatrical form of the traditional entremés and the more thematically profound composition of character and plot found in prose narrative. His characters are more complex and individualized,16 his situations suggest possible psychological interpretations, and his thematic content invites socio-historical analysis. Such intricacies, common in
Kenworthy, The Entremeses of Cervantes: The Dramaturgy of Illusion,
Diss., U. of Arizona, 1976, 12.
15 Eugenio Asensio, Itinerario del entremés: desde Lope de Rueda a Quiñones de Benavente (Madrid: Gredos, 1971) 80.
16 Cervantes himself acknowledges the interiorization of character in his plays, writing in his prologue fui el primero que representase las imaginaciones y los pensamientos escondidos del alma (Entremeses 92).
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twentieth-century short drama, but typically characteristic of prose literature
in Cervantes' time, were entirely absent from the conventional
entremés performed between the acts of the
In his insightful chapter titled El entremés, fecundado por la novela, Asensio plainly states, Cervantes remoza el entremés importando en su campo temas y técnicas de la novela.17 That Cervantes redefined the entremés by bringing to the theatre his masterful hand as a novelist is a sentiment shared by nearly all who have commented on his interludes. Jill Syverson-Stork sees Cervantes' dual life as dramatist and novelist affecting both his dramatic and non-dramatic work, observing of the former, Cervantes' primary attention to characterization and the desire to expose his nation's problematical present may well have been the most important causes of his failure as a dramatist his plays do tend towards the novelistic.18 Such novelistic elements may be particularly visible in the brief entremés, where temporal restrictions which demand a short, simple action may be incompatible with any depth of character or theme. It seems Cervantes the dramatist was never far removed from Cervantes the novelist, and his proficiency in the creation of prose fiction helped to enrich his dramatic production as well, in effect making a critical literary form out of a previously rough dramatic diversion.
Mikhail Bakhtin (cited above) argues that it is not at all uncommon for a work of drama to display certain characteristics of the novel. Indeed, he asserts that such novelization is almost unavoidable in any period in which the novel becomes a primary focus of literature. Consequently, aspects of novelization can begin to manifest themselves in other genres anytime after the appearance of the modern novel, but they do not reach a significant level of importance or canonical recognition until much later. This novelization is not due to any superiority of one genre over the other, but rather to the measure of plasticity inherent in the conception and execution of the novel. For Bakhtin, the novel defies canonization; instead it functions as a working literary influence which affects all forms of literature and the manner in which their verbal imagery is composed. Novelization, therefore, can be seen as a liberating process
18 Jill Syverson-Stork, Theatrical Aspects of the Novel: A Study of Don Quixote (Valencia: Albatros, 1986) 9.
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which gives new life to an old form. It is an enrichment of a different genre, in this case drama, which opens up new possibilities, and not an elimination or replacement of its systems and codes. In his essay Epic and Novel Bakhtin states:
The novelization of literature does not imply attaching to already completed genres a generic canon that is alien to them, not theirs. The novel, after all, has no canon of its own. It is, by its very nature, not canonic. It is plasticity itself. It is a genre that is ever questing, ever examining itself and subjecting its established forms to review. Such, indeed, is the only possibility open to a genre that structures itself in a zone of direct contact with developing reality. Therefore, the novelization of other genres does not imply their subjection to an alien generic canon; on the contrary, novelization implies their liberation from all that serves as a brake on their unique development, from all that would change them along with the novel into some sort of stylization of forms that have outlived themselves.19
This idea of the novel representing an essence which seems unavoidably to
permeate all types of literature is fundamental to the examination of the
process of novelization in the time of Cervantes. Following Bakhtin's line
of reasoning, one can conclude that the same historical, social, and
psychological conditions which constituted and affected Cervantes' environment
during the writing of the Quijote were also present during the composition
of his drama. The same attitudes and thought processes that formed Cervantes'
creative genius should logically influence both his prose and theatrical
texts. It follows that since Cervantes was one of the first to master novelistic
discourse in his prose writing, and, indeed, introduced the western world
to the modern novel, his drama would also display a certain novelistic quality.
Cervantes' interludes are not weakened, but rather strengthened by this
occurrence; as some of the earliest examples of novelized drama, his interludes
can be seen as being ahead of their time.
If the novelization of Cervantes' drama, therefore, is not entirely unexpected or surprising, what effect, precisely, does this process have on his plays? Bakhtin list a series of modifications which we can expect to encounter in any novelized genre:
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[Novelized genres] become more free and flexible, their language renews itself by incorporating extraliterary heteroglossia and the novelistic layers of literary language, they become dialogized, permeated with laughter, irony, humor, elements of self-parody and finally this is the most important thing the novel inserts into these other genres an indeterminacy, a certain semantic openendedness, a living contact with unfinished, still-evolving contemporary reality (the openended present).20
At first glance, these attributes of novelized literature may not seem entirely
unusual; in fact, they may appear quite ordinary regarding their application
to drama. Most modern drama displays all of these characteristics in some
way. But although novelized drama is the norm in the twentieth century, it
was only beginning to take root in Cervantes' time. A permanent shift toward
novelization in the mainstream short drama would not come at all in the
seventeenth century. In Cervantes' interludes, however, we can easily see
a number of concrete examples of these qualities.
Heteroglossia is visible in Cervantes' entremeses, just as it is present in the Quijote. Furthermore, the concepts of heteroglossia and dialogism presented by Bakhtin are absolutely related to the famous perspectivism which Américo Castro and Leo Spitzer, among others, have seen as a fundamental characteristic of Cervantes' works.21 All problems are dialogized and given perspective from which no single view of reality can be accepted as the entire truth, often by the simultaneous presentation of conflicting philosophies and language styles. The problematic ambivalence of language manifests itself most overtly in La elección de los acaldes de Daganzo through the comments of the rustic councilmen who argue about correct and appropriate speech
21 Bakhtin defines dialogism as a crossing of two languages, attitudes, or styles which results in a dialogue between points of view (see Bakhtin 76). Heteroglossia describes the potential coexistence of many meanings or nuances within one word, phrase, or language, depending on its social or linguistic context (Bakhtin 272). For a detailed discussion of perspectivism, see Castro 68-109 and Leo Spitzer, Linguistic Perspectivism in the Don Quijote, reprinted in Leo Spitzer: Representative Essays, ed. A. K. Forcione, H. Lindenberger, and M. Sutherland (Standford: Stanford UP, 1988) 225-271.
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and how it affects our perception of truth. Additionally, language is used
to deceive in El vizcaíno fingido (whose trickster-protagonist
employs a stylized Basque dialect), La cueva de Salamanca (through
the character of the wife who must convince her husband of her devotion,
although she has none), and El viejo celoso (in which a woman's verbal
expression of truth fools the jealous old man). In El retablo de las
maravillas the power of the artistic word is shown not only to be capable
of manipulating the characters on the stage, but also of deceiving the
theatre-going (or reading) public, much in the same way the Maese Pedro episode
in Don Quijote breaks through the borders of fiction to incorporate
the reader as well.22 The increasingly illusory
world of El retablo's play-within-a-play allows us to confuse the
more verisimilar fiction of its framework play with reality itself, mirroring
the characters' own relationship with the drama they are watching. As in
Cervantes' prose creations, truth is rendered subjective in the interludes
by the dramatist's novelistic and dialogic stance. Multiplicity of language
styles is, of course, common in the interlude as a genre, but the fact that
Cervantes problematizes language is an important feature related to the process
of novelization. Cervantes is not content with the mere presentation of polyglot
language in the entremés as empirical reality; he explores
the limits and philosophical ramifications of language in his drama in a
manner not unlike the presentation of language in the Quijote.
In pursuing Bakhtin's claim that humor and irony permeate the novelized text, one must proceed with caution, bearing in mind that the entremés as a genre itself capitalizes on the maximization of laughter and the comic. In the interludes of Cervantes, however, humor is indeed made ironic, and the above-mentioned elements of self-parody do enter the scene. Such irony in Cervantes' entremeses seems to be a characteristic quality which distinguishes his drama from more mainstream plays.23 The most overt examples are El retablo de las maravillas, La cueva de Salamanca, and El vizcaíno fingido, three plays of deception in which the audience maintains a full awareness of the dramatic
George Haley, The Narrator in Don Quijote: Maese Pedro's Puppet
Show, Critical Essays on Cervantes, ed. R. El Saffar (Boston:
Hall, 1986) 94-110.
23 For Castro (53), Cervantes no podía competir con el Monstruo de la Naturaleza no por deficiencia de fantasía, sino por carencia de lirismo y exceso de ironía y de crítica.
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trickery taking place on stage, while the characters themselves remain in ignorance. Such irony generates much of the humor in these works; the audience or reader can laugh at the foolishness of the characters as they walk readily into their respective traps, seeming at once to be both gullible and deserving of their impending fate. Furthermore, this broad-based ironic humor allows Cervantes to engage in satirical self-deprecation. In El retablo de las maravillas, the charlatan Chirinos gives the Governor a lengthy speech on the vices of poets, and particularly dramatist, and La guarda cuidadosa has as its protagonist a foolish soldier-poet frequently identified as a semi-autobiographical figure of Cervantes himself.24 Juan Luis Alborg sees the presence of such satirical wit as the principal factor differentiating Cervantes' entremeses from their prototypes, the pasos of Rueda:
[La] agudeza satírica . . . bajo la aparente intranscendencia del juguete cómico, apunta también a muchos aspectos de la vida social, a prejuicios y rutinas, a veces a espinosos problemas, a conflictos de clases, y a todo género de hipocresías, intereses y egoísmos humanos. A diferencia de los pasos de Rueda, la gracia no es en las piezas de Cervantes de mera situación cómica, sino de sátira intencionada, lanzada contra ridículas debilidades o costumbres y corruptelas de las gentes de su tiempo.25
The satirical criticism of seventeenth-century Spanish institutions, prejudices,
and hypocrisy is precisely the innovative brand of analytical profundity
which sets Cervantes' interludes apart from the traditional
entremés, and which is certainly more characteristic of prose
fiction (as exemplified in the time by Cervantes' own Don Quijote)
than of the teatro menor.
Most important, as Bakhtin has suggested, is the openendedness of novelized literature. Cervantes' interludes, much more so than mainstream interludes, take place in the openended present of which Bakhtin speaks. The results of the election in La elección de los alcaldes de Daganzo are postponed until the following day. The resolution of the student's deception of the nearly-cuckolded Pancracio in La cueva de Salamanca is never shown. The consequences of Lorenza's adultery in El viejo celoso
Stanislav Zimic, La biografía satírica en La guarda
cuidadosa de Cervantes, Segismundo XV (1981): 95-149 and
Luciano García Lorenzo, Experiencia vital y testimonio
literario, Anales Cervantinos 1 (1951): 73-109.
25 Juan Luis Alborg, La producción dramática de Cervantes Historia de la literatura española, 4 vols. (Madrid: Gredos, 1967) 2: 71.
|76||CORY A. REED||Cervantes|
are left unexplored. In contrast, looking at some performed entremeses
of the time somewhat similar in theme to those of Cervantes, we see a tendency
to conclude on a note of thematic closure. La sacristía de
Mocejón (anonymous) resolves an election, ending the interlude
in the celebration of the chosen sacristan, and in the Entremés
de un viejo que es casado con una mujer moza (anonymous), adultery is
concealed, the deception of the old man reaches a well-defined and climactic
conclusion, and the play concludes on a self-congratulatory note by those
who have successfully fooled the jealous old
man.26 Furthermore, the openness of the
Cervantine interlude was not to be incorporated in the subsequent development
of the género chico. Later in the seventeenth century, the
stylized works of Quiñones de Benavente would come to define the
conventional entremés by their strict adherence to contemporary
theatrical demands requiring single actions, one setting, and complete closure
which ensured and perhaps, reinforced their subordinate relationship
to the comedia. His version of El retablo de las maravillas
not only significantly reduces the scope of the Cervantine work (five characters
and two secular apparitions, as opposed to Cervantes' eleven
personages and six visions of socially and religiously symbolic importance),
but also avoids entirely Cervantes' chaotic ending of beatings and thrashings,
opting instead for a traditionally closed conclusion which includes a celebratory
song and dance. In addition, Quiñones de Benavente's work does not
address the problematic themes of blood purity and racial intolerance which
Cervantes leaves unresolved in the audience's mind and demanding
The structural and thematic open-endedness of Cervantes' interludes is thus entirely unique within the short drama of his
interludes may be found in Emilio Cotarelo y Mori's Colección de
entremeses, loas, bailes, jácaras y mojigangas desde fines del siglo
XVI a mediados del XVII, 2 vols. NBAE 17-18 (Madrid: 1911), the former
on pp. 60-62, and the latter, pp. 62-65.
27 Benavente's retablo is only invisible to cuckolds, and simply in order to make them the butt of a funny joke, not to present cuckoldry as a social problem or to expose hypocrisy, as in Cervantes' version. It should be noted that Quiñones de Benavente (1593-1651) was not exactly a contemporary of Cervantes, having begun his writing career in his early 20's around the time of Cervantes' death. He is frequently credited with being a prolific writer of entremeses in a stylized verse form which often appeared to reduce the interlude to a sort of commedia in embryo. See Hannah E. Bergman, Luis Quiñones de Benavente (New York: Twayne, 1972)14.
|11.1 (1991)||Cervantes and the Novelization of Drama||77|
time and is consistent with the novelistic indeterminacy frequently expressed
in his prose works. It is due in part to this irresolution that the interludes
invite the intellectually contemplative analysis to which Cervantes referred
when he suggested reasons for redirecting his drama toward the discerning
reader. The open-endedness of Cervantes' interludes require the collaboration
of the reader/audience in order to make sense out of the plays' thematic
indeterminacy. These plays often leave the reader or spectator in a state
of suspense, which can only be resolved by a thoughtful analysis of the works
after they have concluded. In short, the thematic concerns of Cervantes'
entremeses frequently extend beyond the structural framework of the
plays themselves, and requires the active participation of the reader to
provide closure. This open-endedness contrasts directly with the traditional
entremés, whose location between the acts of a comedia
required a closed conclusion that rendered its simple plot readily comprehensible
to a passive audience and easily forgettable by the beginning of the
play's second act.
Since the interlude is generally a drama of action and the novel is frequently devoted to the presentation of character, the function of character in Cervantes' interludes also provides a glimpse into his process of novelization. Asensio notes the importance of the two-dimensionality of character in the traditional entremés, calling it a comedy of figuras, not of true characters, but of stock types more closely resembling the mechanical puppets displayed in the traveling retablos of the time.28 Of Cervantes, however, Asensio claims, Pinta no entes de una pieza lo que llamo figuras sino seres con una sombra de complejidad, con una alternancia de sentimientos que con intención moderna tendríamos la tentación de llamar caracteres.29 These characters are not the faceless stereotypes of the traditional interlude, but are based on realistic, probable situations which could happen in everyday life. They have individual names (Leonarda, Lorenza, Pancracio, Cristina, Ortigosa, etc.), instead of being denoted by the generic terms bobo, rufián, or sacristán and, although directly descended from the traditional stock-types of the entremés, they are put into individual circumstances which require often unique and original solutions. Amelia Agostini Bonelli de Del Río claims:
29 Asensio 101.
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Lo que es en Lope de Rueda simplemente un rufián fanfarrón y pretencioso, adquiere en Cervantes mayor desarrollo y cualidades que le diferencian de los demás rufianes. . . . En Lope de Rueda nos reímos de una burla o de un tipo cómico, pero raros son los personajes que se quedan en la memoria, porque el que es pillo es pillo y nada más; se les mira desde un solo punto de vista. De ahí su falta de flexibilidad. Con los de Cervantes pasa lo contrario.30
Cervantes' entremeses, consequently, make frequent use of the individualized character and not the type of the traditional interlude, or, perhaps more accurately, Cervantes individualizes the types themselves, transforming them into characters. For example, Cañizares in El viejo celoso is a character drawn from the novella tradition (and particularly reminiscent of Cervantes' own Carrizales in El celoso extremeño), and the vizcaíno in El vizcaíno fingido is not the stereotyped Basque of unintelligible speech, but rather an impostor a Castilian who imitates the stereotypical Basque (an entremés stock-type) and uses stylized speech as a deception. As in Cervantes' other works, the simple base of the entremés tradition is problematized, encrusted with layers of artifice which establish each character's individuality on the stage. Another example is El juez de los divorcios, in which Cervantes presents the male characters as types (vejete, soldado, cirujano, and ganapán) and the females as individualized characters (Mariana, Guiomar, Aldonza de Minjaca) who literally attempt to break out of the confines of their dramatic situation by asking for divorce. In La elección de los alcaldes de Daganzo, characters are individualized to the extent that their names reflect personal qualities (Estornudo, Panduro, Humillos, Pedro Rana), each of which is a slightly differentiated version of the stock-type of the fool. Even when Cervantes chooses to include traditional, stereotyped characters in his works, he modifies them slightly, often using the type as an agent of novelistic theme. In El retablo de las maravillas, for example, he links the names and personalities of the characters (Juan Castrado, Teresa Repolla, Juana Macha, etc.) to the play's thematic concerns of illegitimacy and limpieza de sangre, thus providing a continual, comic reiteration of the characters' anxieties.31
Agostini Bonelli de Del Río, El teatro cómico de
Cervantes Boletín de la Real Academia Española
44 (1964): 277-78.
31 See Mauricio Molho's chapter El retablo de las maravillas in Cervantes: raíces folklóricas (Madrid: Gredos, 1976).
|11.1 (1991)||Cervantes and the Novelization of Drama||79|
In brief, Cervantes bases his characters on
the two-dimensional types of the interlude tradition, but he
novelizes them along with the other elements of his drama. He
enlarges his cast (up to fourteen characters in one play, in comparison with
Lope de Rueda's maximum of six)32 and he
places them into a series of plots, subplots, and frequent scene changes,
which seems far removed from the simple plot and single scene of the traditional
entremés. His characters, situations, and themes are just as
vivid and fascinating in his drama as they are in his novels and short stories,
and perhaps this is why his interludes were not seen as performable in 1615.
While novelistic profundity is commonplace in today's drama (particularly
in one-act play), Cervantes' novelized entremeses, with their many
layers of textual complexities, may have been too intricate to function in
a position subordinate to the then still un-novelized
comedia without overwhelming it.
The appearance of novelistic elements in the composition of the interludes of Cervantes inevitably leads to a comparison between the short, one-act entremés and its equally brief prose counterpart: the novella. Indeed, a case can be made for regarding the two as sister genres in light of the unique manner in which Cervantes redefines them both, and considering how these two short literary forms are each related to a larger form, the comedia or the novel. Cervantes' novelization of the interlude thus creates an analogous relationship not applicable to the traditional entremés: the novella is to the novel as the entremés is to the comedia. If the novella and the interlude as understood by Cervantes are so closely related, then it logically follows that the master of the Spanish novella would also have much to contribute to the realm of short drama. Novelization and the subsequent redefinition of drama as a purely readable literary work implies a change in both the literary and the theatrical horizon of expectations which must have been met with a certain element of curiosity. Yet the examination of Cervantes' perceived relationship between the novella and the interlude reveals not only the alteration of the role of the dramatic work, but corresponding changes in the novella as well.
Río 275. Theatrical companies of the time employed between eight and
sixteen actors, according to N. D. Shergold, A History of the Spanish
Stage (Oxford: Clarendon, 1967) 505, 510. The large number of roles in
Cervantes' interludes may have been impractical for smaller companies,
contributing to their perceived theatrical inadequacy.
|80||CORY A. REED||Cervantes|
The most obvious similarity between the interlude
and the novella is their structural brevity. Both forms are, by definition,
short. The practical necessity of brevity in the interlude is, of course,
a temporal concern. Since the interlude was a form of entertainment presented
during the intermission of the comedia, concentration of the dramatic
action into ten minutes or less was an understood prerequisite for the
composition of an entremés. This alone may be one of the primary
reasons the autores de comedias rejected Cervantes' interludes, as
his interludes tend to be, on the average, three times the length of contemporary
entremeses. Brevity in the novella, by contrast, seems to be a stylistic
concern of the genre, not a practical problem defined by its position within
another form of representation.
Length alone, however, does not justify drawing parallels between the two genres; the analogous relationship depends on each form's interaction with another, longer form. Certainly the entremés exists as a counterpoint to the comedia in performance, and this relationship has inspired some to view the interlude as a dominated genre, subordinated by the comedia, but also sustained by it.33 Any examination of the traditional interlude must therefore bear in mind its relationship to the comedia and to the theatrical spectacle as a whole of which it is part. The novella, however, does not normally interact with the novel in any fundamental way. Yet in Cervantes, we find examples of a complete reversal of the dependence of the entremés and the independence of the novella. The publication of his collected interludes at the end of the volume, separated from the text of his comedias and removed from the theatrical performance, extracts the interlude from its essential context, treating it more like a short story. Similarly, Cervantes inserts a completed novella, El curioso impertinente, in the middle of the text of his novel, Don Quijote, much in the same way the entremés is embedded between the acts of the comedia.34 In a sense, Cervantes at time requires his interludes to act like novellas and his novellas to act like interludes.
Grazia Profeti, Condensación y desplazamiento: la comicidad
y los géneros menores en el teatro español del Siglo de Oro,
Los géneros menores en el teatro español del siglo de oro
(Jornadas de Almagro 1987), ed. L. García Lorenzo (Madrid: Ministerio
de Cultura, 1988) 33-46.
34 The intercalated novel, of course, is not a creation of Cervantes, but was employed in Guzmán de Alfarache and other works published prior to 1605.
|11.1 (1991)||Cervantes and the Novelization of Drama||81|
For Cervantes, the entremés seems to be the novella
of drama a brief dramatic form in which a single thematic issue can
be explored in depth.
If Cervantes was able to recognize structural and functional similarities in the interlude and the prose short story, then the publication of his entremeses must have helped this perception to be seen by others as well. Furthermore, the very act of printing his interludes creates an entirely new possibility for their reception which otherwise would have been impossible: the differentiation between a first and second (or subsequent) reading of the text. As Hans Robert Jauss points out, the second reading of a text allows for a more detailed analysis of meaning:
From now on, the reader will seek and establish the still unfulfilled significance retrospectively, through a new reading, from the perspective of the fulfilled form, in a return from the end to the beginning, from the whole to the particular. Whatever initially resisted understanding manifests itself in the questions that the first going-through has left open. In answering them, one may expect that from the particular elements of significance in various respects still indeterminate a fulfilled whole may be established on the level of meaning.35
The idea of a meaningful, fulfilled whole is precisely one of the goals Cervantes intended to achieve by the publication of his dramatic works, as is evidenced by his above-mentioned comment pienso darlas a la estampa, para que se vea de espacio lo que pasa apriesa, y se disimula, o no se entiende, cuando las representan. While the dramatic representation only allows a superficial analysis of the interlude by the one-time spectator (and this is further complicated by the interlude being physically surrounded by the comedia), the reading public Cervantes hoped for would be able to join the whole and the particular in a more comprehensive second reading. Such constraints of performance do not normally present a problem for the conventional entremés in that it is superficial by nature and should not require a second reading. In addition, the theatre utilizes a variety of communicative systems which assist the spectator in making his
The Poetic Text within the Change of Horizons of Reading, Toward
an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. T. Bahti (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota
P, 1982) 145.
|82||CORY A. REED||Cervantes|
first-reading analysis of the play as comprehensive as possible.
The reading of the spectator is therefore different by definition
than the analysis of a reader. The information contained within the theatrical
piece must be understandable to the one-time theatre-goer, and a series of
redundant theatrical codes helps the audience to process the information
correctly. The sheer simplicity of the traditional entremés
assured this proper reception would occur.
Cervantes' interludes, in contrast, are more complex and indeterminate. The author's very mention of wanting (in fact, demanding) a second reading, or at least a contemplative first reading, signals that he felt their content was capable of withstanding more intense scrutiny than a purely theatrical reception could afford, and that such a reading may be necessary to provide closure. This seems to imply that Cervantes was aware of the novelistic qualities of his interludes, and that they might be well received as reading texts. Cervantes' publication expands the reception of his entremeses, shifting his audience to the reader, and away from theatre-going oyentes, for whom a second or third reading for retrospective analysis of the works is not possible. Moreover, publication allows the interludes to be examined separately, free from the restraints of their position within the comedia, so they can be seen for what they are individually. This is a critical difference regarding Cervantes' plays in comparison with novelized drama in general. Whereas most of the novelized drama written after Cervantes (particularly in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries) has remained in the theatre as texts for performance, Cervantes' drama made its first appearance in print, as a text for reading.
The redirection of his drama to the reading public may also explain, at least in part, why Cervantes' novelistic innovations did not influence the subsequent development of the teatro menor in Spain. The extent of Cervantes' influence on the dramatic form itself is limited to the borrowing of only his most basic of plot elements, and sometimes characters, by those who later worked the genre into its definitive form. Just as Quiñones de Benavente (mentioned above) eliminated the thought-provoking theme of blood purity and greatly reduced the metatheatrical scope of the internal drama in his version of El retablo de las maravillas, less is more seemed to be the prevalent rule of thumb for the commercially successful composition of entremeses in the seventeenth century. Imitations of El viejo celoso and La cueva de
|11.1 (1991)||Cervantes and the Novelization of Drama||83|
Salamanca were composed by other dramatists as well, but without the
novelistic baggage which was probably viewed as superfluous in
the context of theatrical performance. Cervantes' novelistic art was apparently
not well understood or appreciated in the numerous imitations and appropriations
of his drama. Ironically, despite these minor contributions to future
entremesistas, it was Cervantes' non-dramatic work which provided
the most sources for theatrical imitations by other dramatists in the seventeenth
century.36 Perhaps Cervantes' Comedias
y entremeses continued to be received as reading texts, just like his
prose work, throughout the remainder of the seventeenth century and therefore
did not influence dramatic composition any more than his other works of
By incorporating in his interludes the serious treatment of theme and interiorization of character generally associated with novelistic prose, Cervantes anticipated a movement which would not affect the performed drama of the canon for more than one hundred years after the appearance of his Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses. The resulting works display a level of thematic profundity and structural complexity radically innovative in their time, and fully modern even when judged by the standards of the twentieth century. Certainly, the characteristic elements of novelization in the entremeses do not approach the intricacy afforded the novel itself by its length and narrative style. In comparison with their counterparts in the novel, Cervantes' dramatic characters may seem more two-dimensional, his themes less fully developed, and his plots less involved. Yet, when compared with the traditional entremés, Cervantes' personages display additional dimensions, and his themes and plots seem highly developed. This is the effect of novelization; the conventional components of drama begin to take on qualities usually associated with the novelistic discourse without sacrificing their theatricality.
Cervantes may have succeeded in creating a new drama, departing from the constraints of conventional dramatic theory and practice, but while the modern reader or theatre-goer recognizes his ingenious innovations, they were evidently not appreciated in the seventeenth century. Here the question which opened this
Henri Recoules, Cervantes y Timoneda y los entremeses del siglo
XVII, Boletín de la Biblioteca Menéndez y Pelayo
48 (1972): 231-91.
|84||CORY A. REED||Cervantes|
study must again be addressed. Why was his drama not considered appropriate
for performance and rejected by the producers and directors of his time?
Certainly his entremeses may have been too complex to function as
mere intermission entertainment between the acts of the comedia. The
individualized characters, the overt satire of contemporary society, the
double-entendre of heteroglot language, and the labyrinthian games of structure
may have been excessively intricate for successful juxtaposition alongside
(or, more precisely, within) the traditionally dominant comedia. The
novelized interludes of Cervantes, in short, may have become too autonomous
to succeed as a form subordinate to the conventional full-length drama.
Yet the most complicated aspect of Cervantes' interludes is their novelistic open-endedness, a quality which in itself may have been responsible for their poor reception as performance-oriented scripts. As Alban Forcione points out, Cervantes was obsessed with the indeterminacy that characterizes all his greatest fiction, often refusing to endow his works with the rigid structure of definitive pronouncement.37 Indeterminacy seems to be a characteristic of his writing in general, not exclusively of his dramatic works. What, then, is so disturbing about the indeterminacy of Cervantes' interludes? The key distinction seems to be one of location, not some inherent problem with open-endedness in the genre of drama. Whereas open-endedness could conceivably conclude a theatrical performance (and, in effect, frequently does in modern drama), the irresolution of the entremés and its thought-provoking demands on the audience occur between two acts, in the middle of the performance. Since indeterminacy requires the collaboration of the audience to provide closure, this would be acceptable at the conclusion of a play, but would be problematic in the middle. Many comedias open their second acts with lengthy monologues which not only provide actors with the necessary time to change costumes, but also serve to reintegrate the audience into the plot of the play, after having been momentarily entertained by the entremés. It seems logical to assume that these monologues reflect the reality of an audience which needed to be reminded of
K. Forcione, Cervantes and the Humanist Vision (Princeton: Princeton
UP, 1982) 90-91.
|11.1 (1991)||Cervantes and the Novelization of Drama||85|
the comedia's action, even after having watched the closed, traditional
interlude. An open-ended entremés which left the audience to
contemplate its themes after its conclusion would be disastrously distracting
as intermission entertainment. In order for an entremés to
be effective in its context within the comedia, therefore, its thematic
scope would have to be limited and closed so that the audience could make
the rapid shift in attention to the comedia without leaving any loose
ends from the interlude untied.
The novelistic indeterminacy of the Cervantine interlude is thus perhaps too complex to allow the audience to redirect its attention to another work (already in progress) immediately following its conclusion. The single plots, stereotyped characters, lack of intricate themes, and closure in the traditional entremés ensured that it would entertain, but distract as little as possible when the moment came to focus on the full-length play's second act. Cervantes' interludes violate this essential simplicity, breaking the conventions which ensure their successful consumption by the mass audience. The novelization and resulting indeterminacy of the Cervantine interlude disrupt the spell of mass entertainment, causing unrest and anxiety instead of holding the audience together while they wait for the main play to resume. The open-endedness may also help explain why Cervantes' drama has enjoyed relative success in the twentieth century, when one-act plays are either performed as independent, autonomous works or nearly always followed by an intermission if a series of one-acts is presented as part of one program. What may have been perceived as bad theatre in the 1600's due to its unconventional open-endedness is quite acceptable by today's standards, which encourage indeterminacy as a method of inspiring critical reflection in the audience.
As some of the earliest examples of novelized drama, Cervantes' interludes could not function within the definitive constraints imposed on theatrical production by seventeenth-century dramatic conventions. Yet while the novelization of Cervantes' drama appears to have been at least partially responsible for their rejection as theatrical scripts, the adoption of a more novelistic stance allowed them to be viewed as potentially successful (and lucrative) texts for reading. The very fact that his once-marginal interludes are today considered part of the literary canon, while the traditional, once-successful entremés has
|86||CORY A. REED||Cervantes|
been marginalized, suggests that the dramatist brought complexities to the genre of short drama which are only now being understood and appreciated.
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