Jacinto Benavente y Martínez’s theater combines new forms and themes with a chronicler’s account of the society in which he lived. His followers and imitators include Manuel Linares Rivas, Gregorio Martínez Sierra and María Martínez Sierra, and theÁlvarez Quintero brothers, Serafín and Joaquín.
Scholars and critics have divided Benavente’s work into four major categories: psychological dramas, social satires, rural plays, and fantastic plays. In his comprehensive study of Benavente, critic Marcelino C. Peñuelas distributes the plays as follows: twenty-seven satiric plays, twenty-three psychological plays, three rural plays, and seven fantasy plays. In addition to these major groupings there are, in Peñuelas’s reckoning, eleven comic plays, six sentimental plays, thirty-five miscellaneous works, forty-nine short plays, and eleven translations and adaptations, all written during Benavente’s active years as a playwright. Critic Eleanor Maxwell Dial limits Benavente’s plays to three categories: psychological plays (including rural dramas and character studies), social satires, and plays based on imaginary tales. Other critics tend to group Benavente’s plays by chronological periods; in this case, the year normally cited as the turning point in Benavente’s creativity is 1930.
By 1931 Benavente had already written his most important dramas; his work was becoming increasingly repetitious and uninteresting, lacking originality...
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