Theatrical renovation and social criticism in the post-war plays of Enrique Jardiel Poncela.
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Schirding, Elizabeth D.
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Literary critics have long recognized Enrique Jardiel Poncela (1901-1952) as a precursor to the Theater of the Absurd, but many discount his works, asserting that they provide nothing more than ridiculous word games and hilarious character types. Critics have not concentrated on the satirical and existential elements present beneath the seemingly-innocent façade of the nonsensical. Two of his productions in particular, Eloísa está debajo de un almendro (1940) and Los ladrones somos gente honrada (1941), provide harsh criticism of the postwar experience, although Spanish critics have never acknowledged the connections. This work attempts to fill in the gaps left by most contemporary scholars. Whether or not intentional on the part of the playwright, these two plays subtly blame the Franco regime for the confusion and devastation which followed the outbreak of the Civil War (1936-1939). My research focuses upon Jardiel’s theatrical conceptions and analysis of these plays and their social implications.