Doña Clarines y Mañana de Sol by Serafín y Joaquín Álvarez Quintero


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Page 2

[Footnote B: In a letter to the _Heraldo de Madrid_. See

founded in Madrid, receives from them only its name; they have neither
financial nor managerial connection with it.]

The collaboration of the two brothers has excited wonder in many, for it
approximates to mutual thought. It is so intimate that it can hardly be
imagined possible in any but two persons who have been accustomed to
work and think together from childhood. Their intellectual harmony is so
perfect that on one occasion, as a test, the younger composed a
_copla_ of four lines; the first two were then given to the elder, who
completed the stanza with the identical words of his brother. Their method
of composition is described by them as a continuous conversation. They plan
their plays while walking out of doors, in the morning; thus they
discuss characters, outline the plot, division into acts and scenes, and
even dialog. When the whole and the details are well in mind, the actual

proceeds, and the latter comments or corrects. Details of style are
settled in the same viva voce way, better adapted to the drama than to
other forms of composition.


When we look over the whole work of these men, we are struck first by
their tremendous productivity. The elder of the brothers is now 44, but
it is 27 years since their first play was presented. Up to the latest
advices (Jan. 1, 1015), they have had performed 91 dramas, comedies,
farces and operettas, called by the various names of _comedias, juguetes

others. From 1900 to 1914 they averaged _5 estrenos_ a year, a record
which one knows not whether to commend or to reprove. The conditions of
the stage in Spain are such to-day that dramatists are spurred to turn
out novelties in order to earn a living. A popular hit may remain on the
boards for some time, but after its initial run is over, it is seldom
returned to the repertory. But it would be a mistake to ascribe to
commercial motives what is a trait of national genius. The race of Lope

characteristic phases, is the work of brilliant improvisers. That
exuberance of creation of which Lope de Vega was the perfect exemplar is

the Quinteros.

The enormous output of the Quintero brothers includes an equally
impressive variety. They have attempted almost every known kind of
comedy in prose (never in verse) from the screaming farce (_Las casas de

roughly divide the mass into plays short and plays long, or, in

or _sainete_ has as continuous and glorious a history as any literary
genre in Spain, including as it does the names of Lope de Rueda (16th

(18th) and Ricardo de la Vega (19th). The Quinteros maintain worthily a
tradition in which the great qualities are wit, concision and fidelity
to nature, and up to the present writing these short popular sketches
represent possibly the greatest perfection of their accomplishment. _El
ojito derecho_ (1897) is a classic of horse-trading, and only one of an
insurpassable series depicting Andalusian life among the lower classes.
The famous _El patio_ (1900) draws an enchanting picture of domestic
arrangements in a house in Seville.[D] _La buena sombra_, _El flechazo_,
_Los chorros del oro_, _Sangre gorda_ and very many others, which, like
those previously cited, are written in the Andalusian dialect, are
thumb-nail sketches caught in the streets and patios of Seville. But,
following the lead of Ricardo de la Vega, the Quinteros have woven a
thread of sentiment into their scenes from popular life, and thus given
them a relief and truthfulness which the _sainetistas_ of the earlier
centuries would have scorned to consider possible. _La pena_, _El
chiquillo_, _Nanita, nana_ are masterpieces, pure and simple, of sincere,
unexaggerated realism, and one knows not where to turn for a parallel,
unless to Dickens, who touched childhood with a hand more loving than
any other's.

[Footnote D: The authors define a _sainete_ as a form restricted to
one act, and depicting manners of the lower classes only. Hence _El
patio_ (in two acts), and the _pasos_ mentioned further on, are
not _sainetes_, for the characters are not taken from the laboring
classes. The term _cuadro de costumbres_ would perhaps cover them

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Fri 28th Feb 2020, 13:36