Esperpento Tradition in the Works of RamÓn De Valle InclÁn and Luis BuÑuel

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Valle-Inclán’s esperpentos are a particularly Spanish style of black comedy. This work analyses Valle-Inclán’s works, defines precisely what the term esperpento means, and what technique Valle-Inclán used to achieve his aesthetic. These techniques are demonstrated by examples from the plays themselves. The second part examines the manner in which Valle-Inclán’s esperpento blends with Buñuel’s surrealistic films, particularly Un Chien andalou, L’age d’or and Tierra Sin Pan. This book serves as a study of Spanish literature and film at the beginning of the 20th century, and as a demonstration of the great and often unacknowledged debt that the cinema owes to the theatre.


In this work, the author takes Buñuel, that most distinctive of Spanish directors, and sets out the influence of esperpento on his films. He does this through close analysis of the playwrights output, defining esperpento in the context of these plays and extracting the dramatic and linguistic devices that are employed to achieve it. He then examines the elements of this which have infiltrated the surrealist films of Buñuel. This is a detailed analysis of a very specific dramatic movement that sets out to portray the dark world of these two seminal figures from twentieth century Spanish drama and cinema.  British Bulletin of Publications on Latin America, the Caribbean, Portugal and Spain

Professor Almeidas accomplishment in this study of two artists seminal to our time is to draw us into a world from which we would just as soon escape, and make of it an exciting adventure. It is an engaging and spirited analysis of the ironic, a sympathetic and open-handed encounter with that which some might prefer to avoid. . . . Clarity in scholarship is comforting: it is restorative. . . . That is what this book displays.  Louis E. Roberts

It serves to introduce the work of a major Spanish dramatist, precursor to the Theatre of the Absurd as well as Artauds Theatre of Cruelty. Although other studies of Valle-Inclán already exist in English, Almeidas confrontation of the lesser-known Valle-Incláns dramatic technique with the cinematic themes and devices of the well-known Buñuel provides a useful perspective. The contribution of Valle-Incláns theatre to the development of Buñuels films should be of interest to both theatre as well as film critics and historians.  Marlene Gottlieb

Table of Contents

Table of Contents:
Foreword; Preface by Louis E. Roberts
1. Valle-Inclán and the Esperpento Tradition
2. Luis Buñuel: The View from the Other Shore
Notes to Chapter One; Notes to Chapter Two
Bibliography; Filmography; Index

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