Early Modern Exchanges


The Spanish Comedias: The Intersecting Identities of Queens / Problematic Status in Dutch Republic

23 October 2019, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

MREMS comedias

Please join the Medieval, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies (MREMS) seminar for two talks about the Spanish comedias. Tim Vergeer joins us from the University of Leiden to discuss his research about the reception of the comedias nuevas in the Dutch Republic, whilst Victoria Rasbridge (UCL)presents the beginnings of her PhD research regarding the depiction of Queens in these theatrical works.

This event is free.

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Early Modern Exchanges


Foster Court 235
Malet Place
United Kingdom

The Problematic Status of the Spanish Comedias de Santos / Divinas in the Dutch Republic

Tim Vergeer, PhD Researcher Early-Modern Literature in European Perspective, Universiteit Leiden

In the past few years, the Dutch research team ONSTAGE has shown how the Spanish comedia nueva was more popular than Dutch home-grown plays in the Dutch Republic. Among these popular plays, especially the comedia de capa y espada is easy to recognize. However, one small group of translated comedias nuevas does not fit the standard explanation of Spanish plays as more spectacular, vibrant, and exciting: Those are the so-called comedias de santos / divinas. As religious plays from a Catholic nation, they should not have been translated in Dutch nor staged in the Dutch Republic, which was presumed to be a Protestant nation. Despite this, the play Hester (1659) was immensely popular—an adaptation of Lope’s La hermosa Ester (1610). During my talk, I want to explore and discuss why these seemingly Catholic plays could become as successful as any other Spanish play to eventually give a fuller explanation to the popularity of the Spanish comedia nueva in the Low Countries. 

Ruling the Body or the Body Ruled? The Intersecting Identities of Queens in the Comedia 

Victoria Rasbridge, PhD Researcher, Spanish, UCL.

The Golden Age comedia, a privileged place for ideological negotiation, repeatedly draws upon female figures of authority and examples of feminine rule. The extensive and varied theatrical representations of female rule illuminate the problematic paradox of the early modern queen, whose gender demanded subordination but whose hierarchical position necessitated authority. My research examines the comedia’s depiction of the queen’s dynastically essential yet generically unstable role, uncovering tensions and intersections within her political, personal and social identities.

Talks will be followed by drinks and discussion.