Gil Vicente c. 1465-c. 1536
Portuguese playwright, poet, and actor.
Considered Portugal's first dramatist, Gil Vicente wrote more than forty plays, seventeen of them in Portuguese, and the remainder in Spanish or a combination of the two languages. Most often intended as entertainment at royal celebrations or feast days, the plays cover a wide variety of categories from devotional works and allegories to farces, romantic comedies, and fantasies. Since he typically served not just as author, but also as actor, stage manager, and director of his works, Vicente is often called the founder of the Portuguese theatre.
Vicente was born around 1465 in Portugal, possibly in the province of Beira or in the town of Guimaraes. Nothing is known of his early life, and the details of his later years are vague at best. He began producing and acting in plays for the Portuguese Court in 1502 and did so until his death in 1536; during those years he resided in various cities: Lisbon, Almeirim, Thomar, Coimbra, and Evora. There is no evidence that he ever traveled outside Portugal. Early in the sixteenth century he became the official poet for King Manuel and the official goldsmith of the king's sister, Queen Lianor. According to contemporary public records, from 1503-06 Vicente worked on the Belém monstrance, crafted from the first gold brought to Portugal from the east. He was elected to the Guild of Twenty-Four in 1512, and was appointed Master of the Mint in 1513; at some point in his life he also served on the Lisbon Town Council. Vicente was married twice, first (c. 1484-86), to Branca Bezerra, by whom he had two sons; and after her death in 1514, to Melicia Rodrigues, by whom he had three more children, a son and two daughters. He survived the plague of 1525 and the Lisbon earthquake of 1531, and died of unknown causes around 1536, possibly in Evora.
Most of Vicente's plays were commissioned by the royal family to mark a birth, a marriage, or a death, and are generally divided into three categories: religious or devotional works, comedies, and satires. Within the first category, the pastoral Auto da Sibila Casandra (1513) is one of the more famous pieces, as are the morality plays collectively known as the Barcas, including Auto da Barca do Inferno (1516), Auto da Barca do Purgatório (1518), and Auto da Barca da Glória (1519). All three are allegories on the fates of individual souls of various social classes. Comédia do Viúvo (1514?), Comédia da Rubena (1521), and Dom Duardos (1522) are considered the finest examples of Vicente's romantic comedies. Most of Vicente's plays contain elements of satire. His favorite target was unquestionably the abuses of the clergy. In Comédia de Rubena, for example, an abbot's daughter is impregnated by a priest, and when the baby is born, a witch suggests that she might borrow a cradle from any of the local friars or priests since they all have children in violation of their vows of celibacy. The intense anticlericalism evident in the play made it the target of censors and earned it a place on the Index Expurgatorio of 1624. However, a wide range of other topics, from the limited freedom enjoyed by women to the corruption within the legal system, were also addressed in his satirical work. Vicente himself classified most of his satirical plays as farces, including Auto da India (1509?), dealing with the effects of the discovery of India on life in Portugal, and Farsa do Velho da Horta (1512), which ridicules an elderly married man's lustful designs on a young girl.
One of the most remarkable features of Vicente's work is his use of the vernacular or the combination, within individual plays, of both Spanish and Portuguese, often employed to delineate social class; characters of high rank speak Spanish whereas peasants converse in Portuguese. An exception is Quem tem farelos? (1508?), which features two servants—one speaking Spanish, the other Portuguese—discussing the shortcomings and foibles of their respective masters.
Although Vicente originally made his name as an artist and goldsmith, once at Court he quickly became famous as a poet and playwright. His works were apparently popular with the common people as well as at Court. Aubrey F. G. Bell maintains that “Vicente was recognized as one of the great dramatists of his day,” and suggests that Shakespeare may have been influenced by his work. Jack Horace Parker claims that given the hostility and contempt most of his contemporaries felt for the clergy, Vicente's strident anticlericalism assured the popularity of his work not only among the people, but with the royal family as well. The demands of King Manuel I and King John III on Vicente's work have been explored by Constantine Christopher Stathatos, who takes issue with modern critics who fault Vicente for failing to embrace the neo-classical conventions generally associated with the Renaissance. According to Stathatos, Vicente may have considered neo-classicism inappropriate for plays written for royal entertainment, or he may have preferred his own artistic vision. “At any rate,” argues Stathatos, “we should not censure Vicente because he failed to conform to the dictates of a voice which, for one reason or other, did not appeal to him.” J. H. Parker agrees that Vicente's rejection of the new Renaissance theatrical style was deliberate, but at the same time acknowledges that his reputation with later generations of scholars has probably suffered because his work was so thoroughly grounded in medievalism. Nonetheless, many modern critics suggest that Vicente was constantly experimenting with form and that he broke new ground in introducing character-types and themes to the stage. The title character of Auto da Sibila Casandra. for example, has been noted by feminist scholars for her refusal to marry not because she wishes to reject a particular suitor, but because she objects to the institution of marriage itself. Jack E. Tomlins argues that Vicente incorporated elements from Portugal's age of exploration into his work, maintaining that, in the farces Auto da India and Auto da Fama (1521-26), “Gil Vicente has likely given to the modern world the first literary reflection of India outside the Portuguese chronicles themselves.” Scholars also point to his contrasting representations of the upper class and the peasantry, defined not only by the opposition between Spanish and Portuguese, but also by the contrast between high culture references in the dialogue of aristocratic characters and the popular culture references in the dialogue of the lower class. According to Ronald Sousa, Vicente's representation of the shepherds in Auto da Fé (1510) wherein he employs “‘concrete’ diction; nonlinear, periphrasis-filled language; use of proverb, set phrase, and anecdote; ‘popular’ song—adds up to a bundle that is being presented as different from upper-class culture …” René Pedro Garay examines Vicente's “thematic blending of upper and lower or middle class individuals” in the Comédia do Viúvo, suggesting that this element appears in other Vicentine works as well. “It reflects,” according to Garay, “a preoccupation with two economic levels that Gil Vicente … wanted to harmonize.” Today Vicente's work is still so thoroughly associated with the Portuguese national theatre that his plays, particularly Auto da India, continue to be staged frequently in his native land and are part of the country's secondary school curriculum.
Visitacão, or Monólogo do Vaqueiro (play) 1502
Quem tem farelos? (play) 1508?
Auto da India (play) 1509?
Auto da Fé (play) 1510
Farsa do Velho da Horta (play) 1512
Auto da Sibila Casandra (play) 1513
Comédia do Viúvo (play) 1514?
Auto da Festa (play) 1515
Auto da Barca do Inferno (play) 1516
Auto dos Quatro Tempos (play) 1516
Auto da Alma (play) 1518
Auto da Barca do Purgatório (play) 1518
Auto da Barca da Glória (play) 1519
Comédia da Rubena (play) 1521
Cortes de Júpiter (play) 1521
Auto da Fama (play) 1521-26
Dom Duardos (play) 1522
Farsa de Inês Pereira (play) 1523
Fragoa d'Amor (play) 1524
Auto da Feira (play) 1528
Triunfo do Inverno (play) 1528 or 1529
Auto de Mofina Mendes (play) 1534
Floresta de Enganos (play) 1536
Copilaçam de todalas obras (plays) 1562
Obras 3 vols. (plays, poetry) 1907-14
Obras completas 6 vols....
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SOURCE: Bell, Aubrey F. G. “Gil Vicente (c. 1465-1536?).” In Gil Vicente, pp. 3-64. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1921.
[In the following excerpt, Bell offers an overview of Vicente's career as a dramatist.]
Goldsmith, musician, actor, dramatist, lyric poet, Gil Vicente is one of the most interesting figures of the sixteenth century. Although the first half of his life was spent in the fifteenth century, we know nothing of him till seven years after the accession (1495) of King Manuel (1469-1521) and three years after the return of Vasco da Gama from his famous voyage to India (1497-9). Portugal for the next quarter of a century was in some measure the centre of Europe. The golden fruit of the tree planted by Prince Henry the Navigator (1394-1460) and watered by King João II (1481-95) fell into the lap of ‘the most fortunate Emanuel’. Lisbon became an El Dorado thronged with foreign travellers and ambassadors, Jews, negroes, and Portuguese provincials in search of fortune. The visible sign of this desired fortune was the King, who was the chief trader with India and the gold mine from which all hoped to obtain a nugget or two. The lowest of his subjects, even the humblest peasant, began to dream of serving the King, at home or in India. King Manuel not only reigned over a million or two of Portuguese, but was the sovereign of an ever-expanding empire in two...
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SOURCE: Parker, Jack Horace. “The Farces and the Comedies.” In Gil Vicente, pp. 73-98. New York: Twayne, 1967.
[In the following excerpt, Parker provides an overview of Vicente's major farces and comedies.]
When in the 1508-1509 period Gil Vicente turned back with vigor from his goldsmith's activities to theater, and entered the realm of farce and comedy in general, he was entering a genre in which he would be very prolific and very successful. From the first of his farces, Who Has Bran? (Quem Tem Farelos?) and The Play of India (Auto da India), of a realistic nature, to the final Vicentine play, The Forest of Deceits (Floresta de Enganos) of 1536, which is “comedy” of a fantastic nature, this type of play would constitute a major contribution to Court entertainment and to the enrichment of the theatrical tradition.
Certainly Gil Vicente did not simply draw farce and comedy from a hat, and present it to his audience. As has been indicated in a previous chapter, there were forerunners of the comic genre in the Portuguese Middle Ages and even in Gil Vicente's own time; and Gil Vicente was a keen observer of literary and live phenomena. He made good use of all that had been before him and of all that was around him, and his outstanding talent stood him in good stead in many realms of artistic endeavor; farce and comedy being...
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SOURCE: Hart, Thomas R. “The Dramatic Unity of Gil Vicente's Comédia de Rubena.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 46, no. 2 (April, 1969): 97-108.
[In the following essay, Hart refutes the common critical opinion that Vicente's first romantic comedy lacks unity.]
Many readers of Gil Vicente's Comédia de Rubena would doubtless agree with the play's most recent editor, Giuseppe Tavani, that ‘la sua struttura è inconsistente, assolutamente priva di unità; l'azione è frammentaria e contravviene, si direbbe quasi programmaticamente, alle unità di tempo, di luogo e di svolgimento.’1 In particular, ‘la terza scena [potrebbe] essere considerata un autonomo Auto de Cismena’ (15).
Tavani suggests several possible reasons for the play's lack of unity. One is that Rubena, performed in 1521, is Vicente's first attempt at a romantic comedy, a kind of play he was soon afterwards to undertake with such happy results in the Comedia del viudo and in Don Duardos. Another is that in Rubena Vicente for the first time divides his play into acts (cenas), a practice perhaps suggested to him by the division into jornadas found in the plays of Torres Naharro (14-15). But no explanation seems really necessary, since Tavani insists that the same lack of unity is to be found throughout Vicente's theatre: ‘ciascun testo...
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SOURCE: Lihani, John. “Personal Elements in Gil Vicente's Auto Pastoril Castellano.” Hispanic Review 37, no. 2 (April, 1969): 297-303.
[In the following essay, Lihani explores the influence of Lucas Fernández on Vicente's playAuto Pastoril Castellano.]
To answer the enigma of how the influence of Lucas Fernández (1474-1542), the Spanish dramatist of the school of Juan del Encina, reached Gil Vicente (1465?-1537?) in the latter's early days as a dramatist in the Portuguese court, we can have recourse to the evidence presented by the works of Gil Vicente himself. We recall that Lucas Fernández's first Comedia (c. 1496), a marriage play, was a direct source for Gil Vicente's Auto pastoril castellano (1502).1 Gil Vicente admitted knowledge of Lucas Fernández's works years later in a letter to King John III of Portugal (reigned 1521-1557) in which he spoke of Os livros das obras que escritas vi. This letter was subsequently included in a preface to the Copilaçam (1562) of his works. In the letter, he mentions merely the edition of the Farsas y églogas which was published in 1514 in Salamanca, and makes no reference to his knowledge of the works in manuscript form.
So little is known of the lives of these two dramatists, that it has been maintained that Lucas Fernández never sallied forth from his native Salamanca,2...
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SOURCE: Stathatos, Constantine Christopher. Introduction to A Critical Edition with Introduction and Notes of Gil Vicente's Floresta de Enganos, pp. 9-63. Chapel Hill, N.C.: The University of North Carolina Press, 1972.
[In the following excerpt, Stathatos discusses the textual and critical history of Floresta de Enganos.]
GIL VICENTE AND THE COURT
For thirty-four years and under the patronage of two successive kings, Manuel I (1495-1521) and John III (1521-1557), Gil Vicente served as purveyor of entertainment for the Portuguese Court. His was not an age of art for art's sake.1 His entire dramatic career, initiated with the Monólogo do vaqueiro (1502) and concluded with the Floresta de Enganos (1536), was guided by the need to please his patrons. All his plays were written for the Court, and many were expressly designed to celebrate particular festivals. It remains uncertain, however, to what extent the dramatist had to subordinate his art to prescribed requirements. Even if he had to, this was not incompatible with Renaissance practices. Though for a modern dramatist writing to order is not at all the same as writing to please oneself,2 some Renaissance artists seem not to have felt that patronage violated their creative spirit: Michelangelo considered beneficial the pressure exerted on him by Giulio de' Medici;3 Ben Jonson never...
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SOURCE: Moseley, William W. “‘O Rei do Mar’: Portugal, the Sea, and Gil Vicente.” Luso-Brazilian Review 11, no. 1 (summer, 1974): 98-104.
[In the following essay, Moseley examines Vicente's interest in the sea—an interest shared by his countrymen in the age of Portuguese exploration.]
One of the salient characteristics of the work of Gil Vicente is its variety and range of themes. Whatever may have been his place of birth and early life, a genuine popular flavor pervades much of his production. But his plays probably owe their existence to the influence of the royal court which inspired and nurtured their writing and staging. In the royal household Gil Vicente became imbued with the courtly attitudes and preoccupations of the period, and these enlarged his range of themes. Among those of far more than passing interest to the court and to Gil Vicente were Portuguese maritime exploration and expansion. Although Prince Henry's death in 1460 occurred about the time of the playwright's birth (ca. 1465), the impetus of Henry's program of voyages of discovery and exploration continued to be felt to the end of the century. In the fourteen years preceding Gil Vicente's first known production, Bartolomeu Dias had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, Vasco da Gama had reached India, and Cabral had landed in Brazil.
Gil Vicente's productive period began in 1502 and lasted until about 1536. He...
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SOURCE: Parker, J. H. “Medievalism in Gil Vicente.”1 In Studies in Honor of Gerald E. Wade, edited by Sylvia Bowman, and others, pp. 179-86. Madrid: José Porrúa Turanzas, S. A., 1979.
[In the following excerpt, Parker contends that Vicente's work displays none of the features of Renaissance drama and is, in fact, firmly rooted in the medieval tradition.]
There has been a good deal of discussion in recent years as to whether Gil Vicente was completely «medieval» or whether he stood at the threshold of the new, the Renaissance, which during his lifetime was slowly entering Portugal under Italian influence. Sá de Miranda, it is to be remembered, was the main proponent of the new school of poetry, replacing the trovas de medida velha with the versos de medida nova through his imitation of Dante, Petrarch and other Italian Greats.
The competent Portuguese critic António José Saraiva declared in 1942 in Gil Vicente e o fin do teatro medieval2 that Gil Vicente was intimately linked with what preceded him, and not with what was to come after (except in the sense that his influence was considerable on the later Spanish Comedia especially, and on later poetry of a popular nature in the Iberian Peninsula). Saraiva modified this rigid position to some extent in later years, in his História da cultura em Portugal3, for...
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SOURCE: Hart, Thomas R. “Characterization: Casandra.” In Gil Vicente: Casandra and Don Duardos, pp. 49-63. London England: Grant & Cutler, 1981.
[In the following excerpt, Hart maintains that in the play Casandra Vicente privileges character development over plot events.]
A. A. Parker has observed that the Spanish comedia of the seventeenth century is “essentially a drama of action and not of characterization … The plot and not the characters is the primary thing” (7, 3-4). Our two early sixteenth-century plays by Gil Vicente work rather differently. Dámaso Alonso has contrasted the “lenta matización psicológica” in Vicente's treatment of Don Duardos and Flérida with “los cambios bruscos e infundamentados del teatro de Lope”, suggesting that “aquí, en la expresión, por matices sumamente delicados y pequeños, de las variaciones de un alma es donde está el mayor valor dramático de la Tragicomedia” (1, 26). The “lenta matización psicológica” which Alonso finds in Don Duardos is perhaps unique to that play. It may have something to do with the sheer length of the text—more than 2,000 lines—which was perhaps written to be read rather than performed before an audience.1 But in Casandra, too, though in a rather different way, character is more important than action. The action arises out of the character of...
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SOURCE: McGinniss, Cheryl Folkins. “The Dance: A Metamorphic Symbol in Gil Vicente's Auto de la sibila Casandra.” Hispanic Review 52, no. 2 (spring, 1984): 163-68.
[In the following essay, McGinniss discusses Vicente's use of dance to signal changes in scene and characterization in Auto de la sibila Casandra.]
An outstanding feature of the Vicentine theater is the dance, with which, it has been felt, the dramatist beautifies his work. The element of dance interpolation, however, surpasses mere theatrical ornamentation and contributes more specifically to the structural and conceptual coherence of the work.1 In effect, Vicente's Auto de la sibila Casandra is composed within a choreographic architecture, and the execution of dance is repeatedly and consistently rooted to a process of metamorphosis.2 That is to say, changes from contemporary to biblical action, from the pastoral to the courtly, from the impertinent to the moral are all confirmed by the performance of a dance. These changes or metamorphoses of scene and characterization would not be made apparent to the medieval audience if it were not for the incorporation of dance, which becomes, in essence, the symbolic indicator of a process of transfiguration—a visual means by which a metamorphosis may be observed and therefore understood.
In the play's introductory unit, the conflict between...
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SOURCE: Tomlins, Jack E. “Gil Vicente's Vision of India and Its Ironic Echo in Camões's ‘Velho do Restelo’.” In Empire in Transition: The Portuguese World in the Time of Camões, edited by Alfred Hower and Richard A. Preto-Rodas, pp. 170-76. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1985.
[In the following excerpt, Tomlins discusses how the conquest of India affected Vicente's writing.]
Gil Vicente has likely given to the modern world the first literary reflection of India outside the Portuguese chronicles themselves, which—owing to their very nature—came to light after the poet-playwright's death, generally conceded to have occurred in the year 1536. The specific mention of the conquest of India and of its effects on the metrópole is to be found in two farces, so denominated by the goldsmith's son, Luís Vicente, in his cavalier categorization of his father's theatrical pieces in the Copilaçam de todalas obras de Gil Vicente of 1562.1 The farces bore the titles Farsa chamada Auto da Índia and Farsa chamada Auto da Fama. The first title has the distinction of being Gil Vicente's earliest preserved farce (1509), and the second holds special interest in that it is, in reality, a farce-allegory and dates from 1520 (and not 1510, as Luís Vicente erroneously surmised).2 The eleven-year separation of dates of composition and presentation at...
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SOURCE: Sousa, Ronald. “‘Vos outros tambem cantai por vosso uso acostumado’: Representation of the Popular in Gil Vicente.” In Literature among Discourses: The Spanish Golden Age, edited by Wlad Godzich and Nicholas Spadaccini, pp. 116-31. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.
[In the following excerpt, Sousa examines Vicente's depictions of both upper-class characters and peasants, as well as the language peculiar to both groups.]
The words of my title—“Vos outros tambem cantai por vosso uso acostumado” (You too sing, according to your custom)—are said by Fé (Faith), the representation of Christian belief, to the shepherds Bras and Benito at the end of Gil Vicente's Auto da Fé (Play of the Faith).1 The play, a slight one of some 330 lines, was presented to the court of the Portuguese king Manuel after that court had celebrated Christmas matins in the year 1510.2 Like much of Vicente's early “pastoral-religious” theater, it is in the very strictest of senses occasional: much as had been the case with his first play (Visitação, or Monólogo do Vaqueiro (Visitation, or The Herdsman's Monologue), of 1502, the central concept of Auto da Fé is the two peasants' appearance at the palace chapel where matins had just been said and festive celebration of Christmas is beginning. What is done with that dramatic...
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SOURCE: Garay, René Pedro. “The Comédia do Viúvo.” In Gil Vicente and the Development of the Comedia, pp. 173-216. Chapel Hill: North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 1988.
[In the following excerpt, Garay studies the structure of the Comédia do Viúvo, maintaining that the play functioned as a means of conveying ideology rather than as merely entertainment.]
Gil Vicente's Comédia do Viúvo has received the most varied aesthetic opinions from Vicentine scholars. Most of these opinions censure the dramatic piece, but none, to my knowledge, has dealt in any significant depth with the structure of the Comédia itself. This, of course, would be the first logical step in assessing its aesthetic value, both historically (as a genre) and as an artistic example of the Portuguese dramatist's genius.
Among those that believe in the artistic merit of the Comédia do Viúvo stands Thomas Hart who notes that “… a la mayor parte de los lectores, la Comedia del viudo les parece dos acciones distintas, muy torpemente ligadas entre sí. Tal interpretación, sin embargo, no me parece muy acertada” (xxxvii).
This critic begins his explication of the Comédia's significance with a very brief outline of the plot and, in so doing, renders an interesting interpretation of its meaning, marred only by the...
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SOURCE: Suárez, José I. “The Basic Characteristics of the Menippean Satire and Their Application to Vicentine Comedy.” In The Carnival Stage: Vicentine Comedy within the Serio-Comic Mode, pp. 73-153. Rutherford N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1993.
[In the following excerpt, Suárez examines the carnivalesque elements in Vicente's plays that conform to the generic characteristics of ancient Menippean comedy.]
In his study on Dostoevsky, Bakhtin lists fourteen characteristics as basic to the ancient Menippea. The purpose of this chapter is to clarify the relationship between this genre and the plays of Gil Vicente by exemplifying each characteristic as found in the Portuguese playwright's works. At times, slight alterations must be made in the definitions of certain characteristics since the Menippea, a most flexible genre, continued its evolution in its postantiquity phase and through the time of Gil Vicente (the waning of the Middle Ages).
Analysis of the Menippean genre in Vicentine comedy exposes the elements of carnivalization in many of the plays, as expected in the Menippea, a thoroughly carnivalized genre. However, carnivalization in Gil Vicente's plays cannot be attributed solely to the Menippea; it has another important direct source: the medieval carnival, a direct descendant of the ancient seasonal festivals such as the Saturnalia. In Master Gil the Menippea...
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SOURCE: Ferreira, Ana Paula. “Intersecting Historical Performances: Gil Vicente's Auto da India.” Gestos: Teoria y Practica del Teatro Hispanico 9, no. 17 (April, 1994): 99-113.
[In the following essay, Ferreira applies the principles of postmodern literary criticism to Vicente's play.]
There is more work in interpreting interpretations than in interpreting things; and more books about books than any other subject; we do nothing but write glosses on one another.
In “The Classical Heritage of Modern Drama: The Case of Postmodern Theater,” Patrice Pavis argues that, with the advent of postmodernism, classical and modern dramatic texts “have both been emptied of meaning, or at least of any immediate mimetic meaning, of a signified already there, readily expressed on the stage.” This being so, then, “[a]ny search for the text's sociohistorical dimension, for its inscription in past or present history, is forbidden or at least delayed as long as possible: let her/him who can fictionalize!” (59) Such an appeal to the interpretative freedom of the reader/spectator, on whose imagination seems to rest entirely the production of meaning, is not so much directed at erasing or bypassing the thorny issue of referentiality as it is directed at its pluralization and simultaneous textualization or, if...
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SOURCE: Suárez, José I. “Characterization of the Elderly in Vicentine Drama.” South Atlantic Review 62, no. 1 (winter, 1997): 34-42.
[In the following essay, Suárez traces the way Vicente represented old people in his dramas; for the most part, the elderly are comic figures derided for their foolish and lecherous behavior.]
Literary characterization of the elderly may be traced to the oral tradition. By the age of Homer, conflict between young and old was already common in Greek mythology. Uranus's children castrated him and one, Cronus, so hated his own offspring that he devoured them. Zeus, god of gods, attacked and conquered his father Cronus and the Giants, his father's half brothers. In the Iliad, however, depiction of the old is characterized more by veneration than by conflict. Achilles honors aging Nestor by awarding him the fifth prize in the funeral events both because of his age and because of his past deeds and wisdom.
Nevertheless, if the intent of epic poetry is to sing the praises of a race, that of comedy is to instruct and to edify through satire. Readers are unlikely to identify with epic heroes whose rigidity, sententiousness, and often superhuman attributes render them alter egos of the poet; comedic characters, on the other hand, exhibit human traits with which spectators can identify. It is noteworthy that Aristophanes, whose plays are the only...
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SOURCE: Lappin, Anthony. “Introduction to the Auto da Barca do Inferno.” In Gil Vicente: Three Discovery Plays, edited and translated by Anthony Lappin, pp. 1-23. Warminster England: Aris & Phillips Ltd., 1997.
[In the following excerpt, Lappin discusses Auto da Barca do Inferno and explains its importance in any attempt to understand Vicente's early career.]
LIFE AND WORKS OF GIL VICENTE
Gil Vicente found remarkable professional success throughout his life. One might conceive of his career as that of a proficient social climber. Born to a goldsmith father, Martim Vicente, in Guimarães, most probably between 1465 and 1470, Gil reached the leading positions in his own trade through royal patronage and, after his death, left his children in advantageous positions at court.1
Vicente, in his professional capacity as a goldsmith, was commissioned by Manuel I (r. 1495-1521) in 1503 to produce a monstrance for the monastery of the Jerónimos in Belém with the first gold that Vasco da Gama had brought back from India. The task would seem to have taken Vicente three years.2 Before 1509, Vicente had entered the service of Queen Lianor, Manuel's sister and widow of John II, as her goldsmith. He continued in this post beyond 1513, although it is not known when he left her service. It was presumably during this period of service...
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Stathatos, Constantin C. A Gil Vicente Bibliography (1975-1995): With a Supplement for 1940-1975, pp. Bethlehem Penn.: Lehigh University Press, 1997. 187 p.
Comprehensive list of editions, translations, and modern critical studies of Vicente's work.
Stathatos, Constantin C. “Gil Vicente Studies (1985-1990).” Luso-Brazilian Review 29, no. 2 (winter, 1992): 99-111.
Annotated list of editions and critical studies of Vicente's work for the years 1985-1990.
Hamilton-Faria, Hope. “Satiric Style.” In The Farces of Gil Vicente: A Study in the Stylistics of Satire, pp. 97-124. Madrid Spain: Plaza Mayor, 1976.
Discusses the satiric devices and figures of speech employed by Vicente in his farces.
Hart, Thomas R. “Poetry and Politics in Gil Vicente's Theatre.” In Studies in Portuguese Literature and History in Honour of Luís de Sousa Rebelo, edited by Helder Macedo, pp. 53-61. London England: Tamesis Books, 1992.
Explores the differences between Vicente's festival plays and the English court masques of Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones.
———. “The Unity of Gil Vicente's Auto da Mofina Mendes.” In Studies in Honor of Bruce W. Wardropper, edited by Dian Fox, Harry...
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