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Characterization in the Aquilana by Bartolome de Torres Naharro Nankivell, Simon F.

Abstract

The Aquilana is the last of the eight known plays by Bartolomé de Torres Naharro, a Spanish playwright resident in Italy between 1510 and 1520. The characterization in the Aquilana represents the most advanced part of his work and brings to the stage for the first time the full range of his own created society, from the king to the gardener. It is possible to examine this range from an internal view and compare the Aquilana's strengths and weaknesses with the products of other Spanish playwrights living between 1490 and 1560. The texts selected have been the plays edited by J.E. Gillet, the earlier edition by M. Menéndez y Pelayo and the extant undated suelta of the Aquilana. The characters in the Aquilana have been examined with reference to the plays by Torres Naharro, to the society amid which they were written and to their literary counterparts by other authors. This allows some scope for the evaluation of Torres Naharro as a comic writer and for the influence of his collected works, the Propalladia, on other writers up to the time of the Golden Age. While not directly borrowing from Torres Naharro, later playwrights such as Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina employed very similar characters and dialogue as well as similar situations. While tempting, it has not been possible to go further than to compare certain features of the Aquilana with corresponding ones in a few of the best-known of the Golden Age such as EI Burlador de Sevilla and Fuente Ovejuna. What emerges from a comparison of his plays with those of his contemporaries and those of the Golden Age is that after 1525 no comic playwright until the time of Lope de Rueda managed to surpass the dramatic achievements of Torres Naharro.

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