Casos de honra : honouring clandestine contracts and Italian novelle in early modern English and Spanish drama
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This thesis argues that the popularity of the clandestine marriage plot in English and Spanish drama following the Reformation corresponds closely to developments and emerging conflicts in European matrimonial law. My title, ‘casos de honra,’ or ‘honour cases’, unites law and drama in a way that captures this argument. Taken from the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega’s El arte nuevo (1609), a treatise on his dramatic practice, the phrase has been understood as a description of the honour plots so common in Spanish Golden Age drama, but ‘casos’ [cases] has a further, and related, legal meaning. Casos de honra are cases touching honour, whether portrayed on stage or at law, a European rather than a strictly Spanish phenomenon, and clandestine marriages are one such example. I trace the genealogy of three casos de honra from their recognisable origins in Italian novelle, through Italian, French, Spanish, and English adaptations, until their final early modern manifestations on the English and Spanish stage. Their seeming differences, and often radical divergences in plot can be explained with reference to their distinct, but related, legal concerns.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2024-11-03
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 3rd November 2024
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