Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

The Early Reception of Romeo and Juliet in Spain

Jennifer Ruiz-Morgan

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2022.37.05

Abstract

The tragic story of the star-crossed lovers of Verona was first presented to Spanish theatergoers during the early decades of the nineteenth century. During this period Shakespeare was largely unknown to the general public. The article examines the early reception of Shakespeare in Spain focusing on one iconic play, Romeo and Juliet, and its earliest adaptations: Dionisio Solís’s Julia y Romeo (1803) and Manuel Bernardino García Suelto’s Romeo y Julieta (1817). At a time when the Spanish public was captivated by the allure displayed by adaptations of Othello, this article argues that the adaptations of Romeo and Juliet composed by Solís and García Suelto also enjoyed popularity, as evidenced by their several revivals and the prestige of some of the actors and actresses who intervened in the productions. The article examines the historical, political and sociocultural factors that contributed to the composition and popularity of Julia y Romeo and Romeo y Julieta. Historical contextualization is combined with an analysis of the sources and main features of each adaptation. The article also offers a detailed account of the reception and performance history of both plays on the Spanish stage from 1803 to 1836. These neoclassical versions remain –up to this day– largely unknown texts, but they deserve close attention since both plays strongly contributed to the gradual dissemination of Shakespeare and his work in Spain.

Keywords

Shakespeare; Romeo and Juliet; nineteenth-century; reception; performance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2022.37.05

Copyright (c) 2022 Jennifer Ruiz-Morgan

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