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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

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Publication details for Dr Melanie Henry

Henry, Melanie (2013). The Signifying Self: Cervantine Drama as Counter-Perspective Aesthetic. Modern Humanities Research Association.

Author(s) from Durham


The Signifying Self: Cervantine Drama as Counter-Perspective Aesthetic offers a comprehensive analysis of all eight of Cervantes's Ocho comedias (published 1615), moving beyond conventional anti-Lope approaches to Cervantine dramatic practise in order to identify what, indeed, his theatre promotes. Considered on its own aesthetic terms, but also taking into account ontological and socio-cultural concerns, this study compels a re-assessment of Cervantes's drama and conflates any monolithic interpretations which do not allow for the textual interplay of contradictory and conflicting discourses which inform it. Cervantes's complex and polyvalent representation of freedom underpins such an approach; a concept which is considered to be a leitmotif of Cervantes's work but which has received scant attention with regards to his theatre. Investigation of this topic reveals not only Cervantes's rejection of established theatrical convention, but his preoccupation with the difficult relationship between the individual and the early modern Spanish world. Cervantes's comedias emerge as a counter-perspective to dominant contemporary Spanish ideologies and more orthodox artistic imaginings. Ultimately, The Signifying Self seeks to recuperate the Ocho comedias as a significant part of the Cervantine, and Golden-Age, canon and will be of interest and benefit to those scholars who work on Cervantes and indeed on early modern Spanish theatre in general.