Dramatic and Theatrical Censorship of Sixteenth-Century New Spain
This work investigates the censorship of género chico dramas, pieces which were commonly used as a conversional and didactic tool in New Spain during the first decades of colonial rule. These small theatrical representations and dramatic texts are particularly insightful to the censorial policies as developed and implemented by the ecclesiastical and viceregal authorities of New Spain. The official and personal anti-theatrical and anti-dramatic dictates, as enforced in part by Archbishop Juan de Zumàrraga and the New World Inquisition, relied heavily upon the ideals of mimesis, education, and concern for subversion of the state. Because the works generally included the use of Nahuatl, the language of the newly conquered natives of the Anahuac valley, and were performed by the Indians without Spanish supervision, they feared potential insertion of indigenous elements. Along with the hybridized qualities found in many of the pieces, this work also looks at the criticism of viceregal policies as one more reason for censoring these works and reprimanding their authors, with examples taken from the works of Hernán González de Eslava, Juan Pérez Ramírez, and Cristóbal de Llerena.
“As Breining so clearly demonstrates, the meanings of theatrical performance have always been at the center of debates about how societies and their cultural institutions – including religions, educational systems and political life – should function in the everyday lives of citizens, subjects or slaves ... The author’s book focuses on the intense and intensely contradictory struggle for the souls and hearts of the newly conquered native populations ... his choice to focus on the role of small theatrical works, the género chico, in the great debates on theater’s role in the process of colonization further demonstrates how even small performance events on ordinary and seemingly insignificant stages can and do have resonance in larger political arenas far from the site of their initial impact.” – Dr. Catherine Connor, Department of Romance Languages, University of Vermont – Burlington
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ISBN10: 0-7734-7004-2 ISBN13: 978-0-7734-7004-0