The Theatre and Hispanic Life: Essays in Honour of Neale H. Taylor


97 pages
ISBN 0-88920-129-3




Edited by A.A. Borras
Reviewed by Kenrick E.A. Mose

Kenrick E.A. Mose is an associate professor of Spanish studies at the
University of



This volume in honour of Neale H. Tayler, president of Wilfrid Laurier University, includes five studies by colleagues on Professor Tayler’s area of interest: the Hispanic theatre.

Professor McCready, in “Spanish Drama and its Foreign Affiliates,” traces European influences on early Spanish theatre, showing that European literatures shared common human interests. Lope de Vega and Shakespeare are sometimes influenced by the same source. In the other direction, three Spanish Dons — Don Juan, Don Quijote, and Don Carlos, son of Philip Il — sprouted literary offshoots in many countries. McCready’s statement on the solidarity implied in the humanities and their uplifting quality is an appropriate conclusion.

In “Lope de Vega: Eternally Popular and Modern,” Professor Parker continues the theme of common human experience, attributing serious, modern psychological dimensions to Lope’s popular theatre. Parker shows that Lope’s plays reflected history, legend, and current events though, reasonably, he cannot be conclusive about their didactic impact.

“Reflections of Reality,” Professor Barclay’s essay on eighteenth and nineteenth century theatre, shows that in spite of French influences, the farces of Ramón de la Cruz mirrored the eighteenth century while Jovellanos and Quintana reflected negative aspects of their society. Turning to the nineteenth century, Barclay finds only sporadic contacts with reality until Tamayo y Bails and Lopez de Ayala illustrated with concern, but poor expression, society’s moral decay.

“Twentieth-Century Spanish Drama: In Defense of Liberty,” by Professor Borrás, shows Spanish drama persistently attacking the established order in spite of post-civil war censorship. After an introduction to early playwrights (Benavente, Valle-Inclan, Lorca), Borrás deals more convincingly with the theatre of exiles (Alberti, Salinas, Aub) who use original techniques to comment on man’s problems. Themes of social relevance are shown in the work of Buero Vallejo and Sastre. Borrás concludes that human values are at the base of Spain’s theatre in our century.

In the last article, “Ideology and Stagecraft in the Hispanic American Theatre of the 1960’s,” Professor Levy shows that the narrative boom of the sixties was attended by a similar development in the theatre. Using examples from Central and South America and the Caribbean, Levy presents a cogent introduction to a theatre whose main concern is human and social problems. He also indicates the variety of forms and effects used to convey problems.

A minor weakness of this volume is the tendency of some writers to stray on points of private enthusiasm, yet it conveys the vitality and long tradition of Hispanic theatre.


“The Theatre and Hispanic Life: Essays in Honour of Neale H. Taylor,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,