René Marqués Criticism - Essay

Frank Dauster (review date September 1960)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "New Plays by René Marqués," in Hispania, Vol. XLIII, No. 3, September, 1960, pp. 451-52.

[In the following review, Dauster provides a concise evaluation of La muerte no entrará en palacio, Un niño azul para esa sombra, and Los soles truncos.]

Under the title Teatro, José Luis González' Ediciones Arrecife has just published three plays by the distinguished Puerto Rican playwright, best known as author of La carreta. The plays included are La muerte no entrará en palacio, Un niño azul para esa sombra (Premio del Certamen de Teatro de 1958 del Ateneo Puertorriqueño) and Los soles truncos (included in the volume Teatro puertorriqueño published by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña to commemorate its Primer Festival de Teatro Puertorriqueño). All three are complex works representing the author's concern for the loss of traditional values, and Los soles truncos, particularly requires several readings before its various levels of meaning are fully apparent. All three plays make heavy demands on the actors and full use of music and lighting effects, as well as complex staging. The measure of Marqués' skill is his ability to use all these resources without falling into sheer stage trickery and effect.

La muerte no entrará en palacio is an attack on demagoguery, with obvious reference to political situations in Puerto Rico; its first act is strongest, while the second tends toward heavier emphasis on the political and less on the highly interesting personal relationships developed earlier. Los soles truncos is a symbolic drama of the clash between the heritage of the past and the realities of the present; it is a technical tour de force which does not lose sight of the individuals involved. For this writer, the best of the three is Un niño azul para esa sombra, a drama of a child caught in the struggle between dream and reality. Probably Marqués' best play, it is one of the best in Latin America.

Frank Dauster (essay date Spring 1964)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Theater of René Marqués," in Symposium, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, Spring, 1964, pp. 35-45.

[In the following essay, Dauster offers a balanced survey of Marqués's major dramatic works, giving particular attention to the development of theme and theatrical device.]

Among Puerto Rican dramatists today, René Marqués occupies a unique place. Although widely known for his naturalistic and intensely nationalistic La carreta, he has consistently devoted himself to experimenting with dramatic techniques. La carreta and Palm Sunday are his only dramas in an overtly realistic framework; they are neither his best nor his most typical work, which is...

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D. L. Shaw (essay date Fall 1968)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Rene Marques' La muerte no entrará en palacio: An Analysis," in Latin American Theatre Review, Vol. II, No. 1, Fall, 1968, pp. 31-38.

[In the following essay, Shaw examines elements of social protest and tragedy in La muerte no entrará en palacio.]

Since the origins of the theatre in Latin America, playwrights there have struggled to conciliate two major ideals: to interpret the reality of their native environment and to remain abreast of innovations in the European theatre. Among the works by contemporary dramatists included in Carlos Solórzano's El teatro hispanoamericano contemporáneo (1964) is the Puerto Rican René Marqués' fifth play...

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Charles M. Tatum (review date Winter 1977)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of The Docile Puerto Rican, translated by Barbara B. Aponte, in World Literature Today, Vol. LI, No. 1, Winter, 1977, p. 72.

[In the following review of The Docile Puerto Rican, Tatum praises the work for its historical and political insight.]

The Puerto Rican René Marqués is well known as a dramatist and prose fiction writer, but he has received little attention as an essayist. This volume of his essays thus constitutes a valuable contribution to our knowledge of this important Latin American writer as well as to our understanding of the Puerto Rican and his unique relationship to the United States.

In her introduction the translator wastes no time in going to the heart of Marqués's essays: the problem of the US's political, economic and cultural domination of Latin America in general and of Puerto Rico in particular. Throughout his literary career he has addressed himself to this relationship; in his popular play La carreta (1950) Marqués describes the cultural upheaval a jíbaro family undergoes when it emigrates from the Puerto Rican countryside to New York City. Long an exponent of Puerto Rican nationalism, in the essays included in this volume he expresses the urgency of retaining the Spanish language, of reviving and supporting interest in Puerto Rican folkways and traditions and, primarily, of resisting American efforts to dominate the island culturally.

Marqués shows himself to be a sensitive interpreter of his people's history, capable of tracing the dominant patterns of thought which reflect themselves in contemporary Puerto Rican politics and literature. A theme running throughout the essays which gives unity to the collection is that of the docile Puerto Rican who has been too quick to accept the official policies of his government, even when these policies clearly would run counter to the island's future best interests. Aponte has carefully chosen the essays to illustrate this idea of the islander's indifference and insensitivity to his own history. The lack of historical consciousness, warns Marqués, can mean the island's demise as a cultural entity and hasten a certain fate as a permanent colony of the United States.

The essays in [The Docile Puerto Rican] add to our understanding of how the United States is perceived by many respected Latin American intellectual leaders. We are given a glimpse of the dangers of cultural domination arising from our economic and political policies toward Latin America.

Carlos R. Hortas (essay date Spring-Summer 1980)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "René Marqués' La mirada: A Closer Look," in Latin American Literary Review, Vol. VIII, No. 16, Spring-Summer, 1980, pp. 196-212.

[In the following essay, Hortas examines mythological, Christian, and sexual metaphors in La mirada.]

René Marqués La mirada was published in an unexpurgated first edition in Puerto Rico in 1976, two years after Spanish censors had refused to grant it publication unless certain objectionable passages were either deleted or modified. The last major work of the widely acclaimed Puerto Rican writer before his death in 1979, La mirada has generally been dismissed by critics as an incoherent, disjointed piece of...

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Thomas Feeny (essay date May 1982)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Woman's Triumph Over Man in René Marqués's Theater," in Hispania, Vol. 65, No. 2, May, 1982, pp. 187-93.

[In the following essay, Feeny examines the portrayal of female superiority in Marqués' drama and several short stories, especially in the context of Puerto Rican social and political subservience.]

One particularly interesting and rather neglected aspect of the late René Marqués's writing is the unique concept of woman that pervades much of his work. In examining Marqués's dramas, short stories, novels and essays, a literary achievement covering over three decades, we find the author's portrayal of the female consistently presents her as far more...

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Bonnie Hildebrand Reynolds (essay date Fall 1983)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Coetaneity: A Sign of Crisis in Un niño azul para esa sombra." in Latin American Theater Review, Vol. 17, No. 1, Fall 1983, pp. 37-45.

[In the following essay, Reynolds discusses the chronological presentation and psychological effect of Un niño azul para esa sombra.]

René Marqués' play, Un niño azul para esa sombra, written in 1958, won the "Eugenio Fernández Garcia" theatre prize that same year in the Ateneo Puertorriqueño's Christmas Festival. This play, produced two years later during the Third Theatre Festival sponsored by the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, is, according to Frank Dauster, "probably Marqués' best play" and "one...

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Julia Ortiz Griffin (essay date Fall-Winter 1983)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Puerto Rican Woman in René Marqués' Drama," in Revista Chicano-Riqueña, Vol. XI, Nos. 3-4, Fall-Winter 1983, pp. 169-76.

[In the following essay, Griffin explores the female characters in Marqués's major dramatic works, particularly as they relate to the theme of national salvation.]

René Marqués is probably, after Hostos, the best known of all Puerto Rican authors, and certainly his country's leading playwright. Profoundly concerned with the problems of Puerto Rico, he made them the substance of his dramas. He saw these problems arising from the abandonment of cultural traditions and values, and traced them to the industrialization and modernization...

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Bonnie Hildebrand Reynolds (essay date 1985)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "La carreta: Virtual Space and Broken Rhythm," in Critica Hispánica, Vol. VII, No. 1, 1985, pp. 75-83.

[In the following essay, Reynolds examines the temporal movement, tempo, and use of lighting and scenery to create illusory space in La carreta.]

La carreta was the first of René Marqués' dramatic creations to bring him enthusiastic critical acclaim. Indeed, the well-respected critic María Teresa Babín has said that this play "is worthy of figuring among the best works of all of Latin American theatre." The fact that La carreta is one of the most-often performed of Marqués' works, speaks to its dramatic appeal and universality. The...

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Richard Callan (essay date Fall 1992)

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Marqués' La muerte no entrará en palacio and Dionysianism," in Latin American Theatre Review, Vol. 26, No. 1, Fall, 1992, pp. 43-53.

[In the following essay, Callan analyzes the mytho-psychological theme and symbolism of La muerte no entrará en palacio, drawing parallels with elements of Greek religion and drama.]

The protagonist don José, long-time governor of an island largely dependent on a foreign power, has grown rigid and dictatorial, forsaking his original goal of emancipation for the people. An attempt to overthrow him, inspired by the exiled revolutionary don Rodrigo, fails. The ruler's friend Teresias, José's wife Isabel, their...

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