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School of Modern Languages and Cultures: Hispanic Studies

Staff in the Department of Hispanic Studies

Go to the MLAC staff pages.

Publication details for Dr Michael Thompson

2007 Performing Spanishness: History, Cultural Identity and Censorship in the Theatre of José María Rodríguez Méndez, Intellect, 224 pp.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Performing Spanishness delves into the theatre of Spanish
dramatist José María Rodríguez Méndez, one of the most significant
Spanish playwrights of the
twentieth century and an acerbic cultural commentator.
This book traces the development of Rodríguez Méndez’s work from the
hard times of the Franco dictatorship through the uncertainties of the
transition
to democracy. Rodríguez Méndez’s theatre is saturated by the socially
explosive concept of Spanishness, dramatized
as a dazzling range of popular performances of cultural identity
in various periods from the middle ages to the present. The author locates
this impression in Rodríguez Méndez’s interpretation of ‘machismo
español’ as a volatile, universal articulation
of Spanish identity charged with the dissident voice of popular
resistance
to constraining political and ideological structures.
The analysis of Rodríguez Méndez’s work from the late 1950s to the
mid-70s is enriched by detailed evidence from
censors’ reports, providing fascinating case studies of the
unpredictability of censorship under a dictatorial regime.