Events in Modern Languages & Cultures
Professor Maria Delgado: María Guerrero: Creating or Performing the Literary?
Professor Maria Delgado of the School of English and Drama, Queen Mary, University of London [http://www.english.qmul.ac.uk/staff/delgado.html] will be giving a paper entitled 'María Guerrero: Creating or Performing the Literary?' on 5 December 2007 as part of the Modern Languages Seminar Series.
A seemingly endless list of actresses have worked with famous male playwrights, yet in the standard accounts few of these have risen beyond the hackneyed definition of muse. Thus we associate Harriet Bose with Strindberg, Olga Knipper with Chekhov, Duse with D¹Annunzio, and more recently Billie Whitelaw with Beckett, invariably prioritizing the playwright. Taking these problematic relationships as its starting point, this paper pays close attention to the work of the prolific and influential late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century actress María Guerrero (whose company regularly staged the work of Spain¹s two Nobel-Prizewinning playwrights José Echegaray and Jacinto Benavente). In mapping out the complex relationship enjoyed by Guerrero with playwrights, this paper argues for a recognition of the ways in which actresses have been integral to the shaping of Spanish theatre culture and the determining of Spanish intellectual history. Far from taking a passive and inherently less artistic role, Guerrero was part of a complex matrix of creativity which went beyond her public identity as a performer and into the realms of cultural collaboration and political intervention.
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