El muerto disimulado / Presumed Dead
Ângela de Azevedo
Edition by Valerie Hegstrom, Translation by Catherine Larson, Introduction and Notes by V. Hegstrom and C. Larson
Although the playwright penned her work in Spanish, the Portuguese Azevedo set the action in Lisbon, creating in the process an abundance of multicultural allusions that enrich the text’s baroque quality. The story unfolds as a cross between a jilted-lover scenario and a whodunit murder mystery. A woman laments her departed lover, a sister cross-dresses to avenge her murdered brother, a man duels with his cousin over lost honor, and before long, the dead man turns up as a ghost, or a bar maid, or a female peddler. Questions about identity abound in the witty El muerto disimulado / Presumed Dead. The transnational nature of this clever comedy complicates meanings, often producing bilingual wordplay that underscores the self-conscious, gender-bending, ludic character of the play and of theater in general. Azevedo highlights her ability to cross linguistic and geographic borders in the early modern period, as she simultaneously works within and offers a challenge to the dominant tradition of the Spanish Comedia.
Catherine Larson is Professor Emerita in Spanish at Indiana University, U.S.
Valerie Hegstrom is Associate Professor in Spanish & Comparative Literature and Coordinator of Women’s Studies at Brigham Young University, U.S.
Size: 210 × 147 mm
2 B&W illustrations
Publication: January 25, 2018
Series: Aris & Phillips Hispanic Classics