To Embody the Marvelous
148 pages
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148 pages
English

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Description

In its exploration of puppetry and animation as the performative media of choice for mastering the art of illusion, To Embody the Marvelous engages with early modern notions of wonder in religious, artistic, and social contexts.

From jointed, wood-carved figures of Christ, saintly marionettes that performed hagiographical dramas, experimental puppets and automata in Cervantes' Don Quixote, and the mechanical sets around which playwright Calderón de la Barca devised secular magic shows to deconstruct superstitions, these historical and fictional artifacts reenvisioned religious, artistic, and social notions that led early modern society to critically wrestle with enchantment and disenchantment.

The use of animated performance objects in Spanish theatrical contexts during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries became one of the most effective pedagogical means to engage with civil society. Regardless of social strata, readers and spectators alike were caught up in a paradigm shift wherein belief systems were increasingly governed by reason—even though the discursive primacy of supernatural doxa and Christian wonder remained firmly entrenched. Thanks to their potential for motion, religious and profane puppets, automata, and mechanical stage props deployed a rationalized sense of wonder that illustrates the relationship between faith and reason, reevaluates the boundaries of fiction in art and entertainment cultures, acknowledges the rise of science and technology, and questions normative authority.
Introduction: Stages of Animation

Chapter 1: Mechanics of Reductionism

Chapter 2: Matters of God
 
Chapter 3: Articulating Saintliness

Chapter 4: Unruly Puppets

Chapter 5: Technologies of Wonder

Chapter 6: Trapdoors to Desengaño

Conclusion: When Statues Move

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Publié par
Date de parution 15 juillet 2021
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780826501813
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 10 Mo

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TO EMBODY THE MARVELOUS
To Embody the Marvelous
The Making of Illusions in Early Modern Spain
Esther Fernández
VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY PRESS
Nashville, Tennessee
Copyright 2021 Vanderbilt University Press
All rights reserved
First printing 2021
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Fernández, Esther, 1975- author.
Title: To embody the marvelous : the making of illusions in early modern Spain / Esther Fernández.
Description: Nashville : Vanderbilt University Press, 2021. | Includes bibliographical references and index.
Identifiers: LCCN 2021005718 (print) | LCCN 2021005719 (ebook) | ISBN 9780826501806 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780826501790 (paperback) | ISBN 9780826501813 (epub) | ISBN 9780826501820 (pdf)
Subjects: LCSH: Puppet theater—Spain—History—16th century. | Puppet theater—Spain—History—17th century. | Illusion (Philosophy) | Wonder (Philosophy)
Classification: LCC PN1978.S7 F47 2021 (print) | LCC PN1978.S7 (ebook) | DDC 791.5/30946—dc23
LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021005718
LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2021005719
For Amelia, Ángel, and Chris
Die Dinge sind alle nicht so faßbar und sagbar, als man uns meistens glauben machen möchte; die meisten Ereignisse sind unsagbar, vollziehen sich in einem Raume, den nie ein Wort betreten hat, und unsagbarer als alle sind die Kunst-Werke, geheimnisvolle Existenzen, deren Leben neben dem unseren, das vergeht, dauert.
RAINER MARIA RILKE, Briefe an einen jungen Dichter ( Letters to a Young Poet ), 1903
CONTENTS
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
INTRODUCTION. Stages of Animation
1. Mechanics of Reductionism
2. Matters of God
3. Articulating Saintliness
4. Unruly Puppets
5. Technologies of Wonder
6. Trapdoors to Desengaño
CONCLUSION. When Statues Move
Notes
Bibliography
Index
ILLUSTRATIONS
ILLUSTRATION 1. Technical sketch of the magrana .
0.1 John Derian Company store shop window, East Village, New York.
1.1 Contemporary reproduction model of a retablo mecánico .
1.2 Animated nativity of Belén de Nuestra Señora de los Reyes de Laguardia , Álava (Spain) .
1.3 The Tarasca , Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real (Spain) .
1.4 Gigantes y cabezudos , Alcázar de San Juan, Ciudad Real (Spain). Photograph by Jesús Caballero, courtesy of La Máquina Real.
1.5 Contemporary reproduction model of a Tutilimundi .
1.6 Contemporary reproduction model of a Tutilimundi .
1.7 Contemporary reproduction model of a Tutilimundi .
2.1 Articulations in elbows using metallic hinges. Cristo de los Gascones . Iglesia de los Santos Justo y Pastor, Segovia (Spain) .
2.2 La función del desenclavo by “El mudo Neira” (1722) .
2.3 Contemporary Depositio ceremony in Astorga, León (Spain) .
2.4 Contemporary Depositio ceremony in Astorga, León (Spain) .
2.5 Contemporary Depositio ceremony in Astorga, León (Spain) .
2.6 Contemporary Depositio ceremony in Astorga, León (Spain) .
2.7 Contemporary Depositio ceremony in Astorga, León (Spain) .
2.8 Contemporary Depositio ceremony in Astorga, León (Spain) .
2.9 Contemporary Depositio ceremony in Astorga, León (Spain) .
2.10 Promotional poster for Misterio del Cristo de los Gascones .
2.11 Cristo de los Gascones in reclining position. Iglesia de los Santos Justo y Pastor , Segovia (Spain) .
2.12 Planctus Mariae (Lament of Mary). Misterio del Cristo de los Gascones .
2.13 Christ interacting with one of the musicians. Misterio del Cristo de los Gascones .
2.14 Judas betraying Jesus. Misterio del Cristo de los Gascones .
2.15 Christ in transcendence. Misterio del Cristo de los Gascones .
3.1 Automaton figure of a monk, South Germany or Spain, ca. 1560.
3.2 Automaton figure of a monk, South Germany or Spain, ca. 1560.
3.3 Building process of the retablo for El esclavo del demonio .
3.4 Built-in stage ( retablo ) for El esclavo del demonio .
3.5 Puppets onstage during a performance of El esclavo del demonio .
3.6 Contemporary puppeteers manipulating stick puppets from beneath the retablo during a rehearsal of El esclavo del demonio .
3.7 Sculpted puppet body for El esclavo del demonio .
3.8 Sculpted puppet heads for El esclavo del demonio .
3.9 Puppet cast for El esclavo del demonio .
3.10 Angelio, devil figure in El esclavo del demonio .
3.11 Set for the house in El esclavo del demonio .
3.12 Set for the town in El esclavo del demonio .
3.13 Michael Landy, Saint Jerome , 2012.
4.1 Contemporary reproduction of Master Pedro’s puppet show set.
4.2 Don Quixote interrupting the young interpreter.
4.3 Soloists in El retablo de Maese Pedro .
4.4 El retablo de Maese Pedro .
4.5 El retablo de Maese Pedro .
4.6 Opening scene of El retablo de Maese Pedro .
5.1 Don Quixote and Sancho flying on Clavileño.
5.2 Don Quixote and Sancho “fly” with the fireworks inside Clavileño.
5.3 The panacousticon (speaking-trumpet) in Athanasius Kircher’s Musurgia Universalis .
5.4 A woodblock engraving from The Honorable Historie of Frier Bacon, and Frier Bongay .
5.5 Exitazo Tournée Roca (Big success Roca tour) promotional poster, 1900–1910.
5.6 La dama de la fortuna .
6.1 La dama duende (2000) .
6.2 La dama duende (2017) .
6.3 Caricature by Julio Cebrián.
6.4 El galán fantasma (1981) .
6.5 Julia in the garden. El galán fantasma (2010) .
6.6 Astolfo crossing the tunnel in El galán fantasma (2010) .
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I CAN TRACE the origin of this book to the summer of 2009. I started thinking about it right after returning from a performance of Antonio Mira de Amescua’s El esclavo del demonio (The devil’s slave, 1612), directed by Jesús Caballero, at the Almagro International Classical Theatre Festival in Spain. What was unique about this production was that Caballero used an entire cast of puppets to stage a hagiographical drama. Before seeing Caballero’s adaptation, when I thought about marionettes in relation to early modern Spanish culture, the only referent that came to mind was Miguel de Cervantes’s iconic episodes of Master Pedro’s puppet show in the second part of Don Quijote de la Mancha (2.25–2.26; Don Quixote , 1615). That year, after returning from my Almagro trip, my mind kept going back to the marionette production of El esclavo . The manipulation, the clothing, the set, and the special effects were exquisitely realistic and, simultaneously, magical in their miniaturized dimensions.
I contacted Caballero in the fall and asked him if I could visit his workshop to interview him about the process of designing and building the marionettes. After the semester ended, I went back to Spain and headed to Cuenca where the company is headquartered. I didn’t know what to expect from that trip as it would be my very first time working with puppetry, and I was not familiar with Mira de Amescua’s works from any prior research endeavors. At the same time, I could not suppress my curiosity to know more about the artistry involved in creating an entire comedia de santos (saint play) for the small stage.
Puppets are uncanny by nature, but I don’t think I ever understood what an uncanny experience really felt like until I saw the severed wooden head of a devil smirking at me from Caballero’s workbench. I remember the effort that it took for me to overcome such a disquieting emotion and resume my interview as if nothing had happened. The last thing I wanted was to raise the suspicions of my newly acquainted interviewee that the very sight of his marionettes troubled me. However, I could not remain nonplussed, and these beings upended not just my response to Caballero’s artistry but also my research agenda to the point that I decided to put aside another project to step into the unknown field of early modern puppetry, as if an intellectual spell had been cast upon me.
My original idea for this new inquiry was to follow in the footsteps of John E. Varey’s influential book Historia de los títeres en España (Desde sus orígenes hasta mediados del siglo XVIII) (1957) and broaden the section on early modernity. I spent several years researching different puppet traditions around the world, reading theoretical treatises on puppetry across history, finding references of marionettes in the literature of the period, interviewing puppeteers, and attending as many shows as I could. With three other friends, I even co-founded a puppet troupe that specializes in performing early modern Hispanic fiction for younger audiences.
Yet, as the reader will have noticed from the title of this book, my original plans to study marionette theater in the most traditional and historical sense did not come to fruition as expected. And, once again, another peculiar puppet encounter was to blame! I was living in New York at the time, and, on one of my walks in Lower Manhattan, I saw an intriguing pupo figure in the shop window of a vintage dealer’s establishment in the East Village (see Figure 0.1 ). My friend found the pupo awkwardly amusing and suggested that I take a picture. Afterward, as I stared at the photograph of the displaced, motionless marionette, the same bewilderment that I felt when I contemplated that devil’s

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