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Epic Performances from the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century$
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Fiona Macintosh, Justine McConnell, Stephen Harrison, and Claire Kenward

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198804215

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198804215.001.0001

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The Spectacle of Conquest

The Spectacle of Conquest

Epic Conflicts on the Seventeenth-Century Spanish Stage

(p.336) 23 The Spectacle of Conquest
Epic Performances from the Middle Ages into the Twenty-First Century

Imogen Choi

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how the comedias indianas of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, plays set in the Americas, engage with the Hispanic and ancient Roman epic traditions. The study focuses in particular on the popular cycle of poems inspired by the ongoing conflicts between settlers and indigenous Mapuche on the Chilean frontier of Arauco through an analysis of three early plays, Lope de Vega’s Arauco domado, Ricardo de Turia’s La bellígera española, and the multi-authored Algunas hazañas de las muchas de don García Hurtado de Mendoza. It is argued that the challenge of translating the epics into stage performance resulted in dramatic innovation. Reflecting the many voices and perspectives adopted by the epics concerning the controversial colonization of Chile, and incorporating significant echoes of Virgil and Lucan, the plays eclectically juxtapose competing traditions and accounts. Foregrounding and commenting on the performance of violence, they ostentatiously avoid dramatic and generic closure.

Keywords:   colonization, Golden Age Spain, Spanish theatre, Hispanic epic, Virgil, Lucan, Lope de Vega, Ricardo de Turia, Alonso de Ercilla, Pedro de Oña

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