Dr. Dr. Elizabeth A. Coscio is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Director of the Bilingual Journalism program at the University of St. Thomas in Houston. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Houston. She teaches Spanish applied language courses for business and mass media. Dr. Coscio created the first Spanish Heritage course at the University of St. Thomas.
2006 0-7734-5582-5 The fiery Spanish liberal journalist Félix Mexía authored two dramas not previously analyzed: No hay union con los tiranos morirá quien lo pretenda o sea la muerte de Riego y España entre cadenas and La Fayette en Monte Vernon. Their analysis provides an understanding of Mexía’s political exile in the United States, employing the context of their historical setting. The application of new Romantic theory to his works published during his American exile due to censorship reveals his hidden political allegory.
Political allegory mediated the return, not only to a chaotic nineteenth-century political period in Spain, but also to an idealized Spanish medieval felicity and to the heroic Greek and Roman Age by way of the American Revolution. Readers here have traditionally ignored the allegory by remaining on the historical surface of both plays. Mexía dedicated the first dramatic work as a historical tragedy to Guadalupe Victoria, the first president of Mexico, to elevate the martyr’s death of his Spanish hero, the revolutionary Rafael de Reigo y Nuñez, by detailing the final moments of Riego’s imprisonment. Writing La Fayette en Monte Vernon in the republican tradition of a Greco-Roman epic, Mexía refigured the Spanish guerilla fighter Francisco Javier Espoz y Mina as the patriot farmer George Washington. These dedications resulted from his denunciation of specific Spanish laws that shut down patriotic societies, disbanded the revolutionary national militia, and imprisoned popular heroes like Riego.
While Benito Pérez Galdós used Mexía as a fictional fanatical caricature of a whole generation of liberals in El terror de 1824 of the Episodios nacionales, Mexía himself anticipated that usage of his persona fifty years earlier in the nineteenth century by entering his own performances as a fictional friend to his historical protagonist heroes, Riego in one drama and La Fayette in the other drama. Both dramas feature a romantic first: an allegorized female as a political constitution. These readings make public Mexía’s political issues mediated through allegorical syntagmatic historical correspondences, referencing back to his own particular exile identity in neoclassic political discourse, thus qualifying the two dramas as part of a transnational revolutionary utopist genre, but not Romantic theatre.