José López Pinillos and the early Spanish social theater: the theme of caciquismo in El pantano, Esclavitud, and La tierra Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Alexander, Martha
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
  • This dissertation studies three plays by pre-Civil War Spanish playwright, José López Pinillos, that deal with caciquismo: El pantano (1913); Esclavitud (1918), and La tierra (1921). This study considers these plays through the lens of Naturalism, melodrama, the honor play, and the grotesque to show how he harnessed these popular theatrical conventions and the grotesque aesthetic to communicate his condemnation of caciquismo as a national problem and a practice that is unjust toward the economically disadvantaged and as the root of Andalusia's social problems of his time. The first part provides the context for these social plays by López Pinillos. It describes his life and times, his career as journalist, the popular theatrical conventions of his period, plus his own involvement with these and his penchant for the grotesque. Subsequent chapters discuss each of the selected plays. The chapter on El pantano discusses how, through Naturalism and the grotesque, this play shows caciquismo as a backward practice that has made rural Andalusia into an environment that is harmful to its inhabitants. The chapter about Esclavitud shows how this play uses the honor play, melodrama, and the grotesque to show caciquismo as an abuse of power that especially affects the poor. The chapter dedicated to La tierra demonstrates how López Pinillos manipulates melodramatic and highly grotesque elements to denounce the miserable conditions of poverty and exploitation under which vast populations of landless farm workers lived during that time. This study contributes to the body of knowledge about this playwright who was so popular among audiences and critics during his lifetime but who has received relatively little critical attention after his death. It also contributes to the study of the social theater of the pre- Civil War era, also an area of literature neglected by critics.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Romance Languages (Spanish)."
  • Polo de Bernabé, José Manuel
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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