Majesty and Humanity Kings and Their Doubles in the Political Drama of the Spanish Golden Age Alban K. Forcione

Publication date:
13 Feb 2009
Yale University Press
304 pages: 235 x 156 x 24mm
6 b-w illus.
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In the Golden Age of Spanish Theater, an age of highly dramatized coronations and regal spectacles, Alban Forcione has discovered a surprising but persistent preoccupation with the disrobing of the king. In both the celebrations of majesty and the enthrallment with its unveiling, he finds the chilling recesses in which a culture struggled to reconcile the public and the private, society and the individual, the monarch and the man. 


In brilliantly reinterpreting two of Lope de Vega’s plays, long regarded as conventional royalist propaganda, Forcione places his texts in the context of political and institutional history, philosophy, theology, and art history.  In so doing he shows how Spanish theater anticipated the decisive changes in human consciousness that characterized the ascendance of the absolutist state and its threat to the cultivation of individuality, authenticity, and humanity.

Alban K. Forcione is Walter S. Carpenter Jr. Professor of the Language, Literature, and Civilization of Spain Emeritus at Princeton University, and Morris A. and Alma Schapiro Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Emeritus at Columbia University. He lives in Princeton, NJ.

"An impressive, exciting work of criticism and scholarship."—David Quint, Yale University

“In its complex engagement with institutions of kingship, this massively original work enlightens readers on what it meant to be king of Spain from the Visigoths down to the Golden Age.”—Diana de Armas Wilson