Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




The great literary movements affected Spanish drama less than that of any other country, though romanticism drew the public and stage closer. Realism and naturalism were slow in developing due to the "manifest incompatibility existing between the very spirit of the French realists and the Spanish national dramatic ideals."2 Spanish national drama deals in elemental passions, is poetic in situations, and magnificently conventional in tone; while its literary form is more important than its dramatic structure.2 French literature contains fine and subtle psychology, witty and ingenious, but is sometimes a little unsubstantial. Not universal theme but complex and involved feelings are characteristic. Spain has been slow to appreciate the modern French realistic play; indeed she has never adopted it in its original form. Attempts to imitate Ibsen3 and the foreign symbolism of Maeterlinck have been unsuccessful. The modern movement in the theatre starts at the end of the nineteenth century. Of all the writers the man most responsible for introducing modern drama, as we understand it in Europe, was Jacinto Benavente. No consideration of the modern theatre would be complete without a discussion of this interesting and brilliant dramatist. Wherever reforms have been accomplished, wherever barriers have been broken down, wherever new paths have been formed, he has been the leader.1 He is generally considered the greatest living dramatist in Spain, and worthy to rank with the best in any country. Of all the realistic dramatist of our time none is more realistic than Benavente.

New ideals of literature and art, the method of the modern dramatist, more refined, more serious in aim than of old -- these are some of his contributions to modern drama. He has reacted on the drama and compelled it to change its traditional conventions for modern stage technique. Benavente is to be the master builder of modern Spanish drama; at the same time he mirrors the society of his time, its virtues and vices.





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