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La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936) by Federico…
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La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936) (original 1935; edition 1998)

by Federico García Lorca

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619815,730 (3.63)15
Member:martin.castillo
Title:La Casa de Bernarda Alba (1936)
Authors:Federico García Lorca (Author)
Info:Ediciones Catedra S.A. (1998), Edición: 30, Paperback, 208 páginas
Collections:teatro, Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico García Lorca (1935)

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Bernarda Alba, es una mujer de la época, que tras haber enviudado por segunda vez a los 60 años, decide vivir los próximos ocho años en el más riguroso luto, arrastrando con ella a sus cinco hijas, las cuales no podrán casarse. Una de ellas, Adela, decidirá rebelarse contra su madre y encontrar el amor aun estado encerrada en casa. ( )
  cristinabj | Oct 27, 2013 |
Uma das melhores peças de Lorca, linda, símbolo da Espanha fascista, católica, tradicional.
Vi A Casa de Bernarda Alba encenada pela Companía de Ballet Flamenco Antônio Canalles. Homens interpretavam essa peça em que não há homens, e os diálogos eram quase completamente substituídos pela dança. Senti falta das palavras de García Lorca, mas estranhamente o espírito da peça estava intacto. ( )
  JuliaBoechat | Mar 30, 2013 |
I concluded my trip through the works of Federico García Lorca with Yerma, and since I never wrote a review for La casa de Bernarda Alba, which I read a few months ago, I'm bundling the two together. They, along with Bodas de sangre, are often considered Lorca's "Trilogy of Rural Tragedies" (I'm actually not sure about that nomenclature...maybe that's what they call them, maybe not), but that consideration is problematic because many scholars don't consider the play to be a tragedy, but rather a drama. I returned my copy of the play to the library so I don't quite remember the argument made in the introductory study to the Cátedra edition (which was a really informative piece of criticism, my memory lapses notwithstanding), so I suppose I'll just move on. But if you want to think of those three plays as a trilogy, you should look to that edition for an argument against such a consideration. The two plays I read do share a lot in common: a rural setting, a female title character, unrequited desires and oppressive home environments. They also have their differences, most notably with respect to theatrical aspects of space and time: the action in Bernarda Alba is confined to the home of the title character, and the action takes place in a relatively condensed period of time; Yerma, on the other hand, wanders into the public spaces of her rural home and the story jumps forward in time on a couple of occasions, moving a total of around three years into the future from beginning to end.

Bernarda Alba, subtitled "Drama of women in the villages of Spain," deals with life in the title character's home in the time of mourning following the death of her second husband. She is all about following the 8 years of imposed mourning with all due strictness, but the rigidity of her rules clashes with the burgeoning desires of her five daughters. The youngest, Adela, is especially rebellious. She puts on a green dress at a time when she shouldn't be wearing anything but black. She also pines for Pepe el Romano, but he's decided that he'd rather marry Angustias, the eldest daughtor and the inheritor of the first husband's estate. She's sickly and frigid, and her sisters don't quite think it's fair that she's going to be the one getting married. Pepe remains absent throughout the play, which is comprised of only female characters. I think this adds a lot to the tension that builds and builds inside the house. The oppressive home life of the five daughters is also accentuated by the enclosed space in which the whole play takes place. I think during mourning you're not even supposed to open the windows, and certain scenes take place in the middle of the day and during the late afternoon. If you've ever been in a home with no central air during these times of day, during the heat of the summer, you know how uncomfortable it is. I can only imagine what it must feel like to see yourself stuck in that rigorous confinement for eight years of mourning. Over the course of the play Bernarda's rigidity clashes with her daughters' inability to live such an austere and penitent existence. She wants to keep everything and everyone bottled up in her home, under her control and away from the prying eyes of her neighbors. Things get more and more intense as the play goes on, right up to the dramatic ending where the whole Pepe el Romano situation comes to a head.

Yerma, like Bernarda, is a woman who's very concerned with honor. She is also very unhappy because she's been married for two years and hasn't become pregnant. She wants a child more than anything else, and at the beginning of the play she still holds on to the faint hope that she'll be able to conceive. Her husband, Juan, works hard and amasses wealth in the form of livestock and rural property. He's not as concerned as Yerma by the whole childless situation, and he tries to convince her to go ahead and get used to things the way they are, or maybe adopt a child that isn't hers. He doesn't, however, want her to leave the house much at all. He's concerned about what the people might say and how the rumor mill might get rolling if she wanders around the countryside. She, on the other hand, can't deal with life in an empty home. The passion has gone out of their relationship, and Yerma's cold and bitter married life contrasts with moments she shares with Victor, her former teenage sweetheart who lives nearby and isn't quite the rural businessman that Juan is. Juan eventually brings in some reinforcements (his unmarried sisters) to keep their eyes on Yerma as he works out in the countryside with the herds. She spends the play steadily losing hope that she'll ever have a child while pursuing a handful of different means of altering her barren fortune. Yermo/a, by the way, means "barren" in Spanish...it's also a good idea to watch for when her name is actually pronounced by one of the characters in the play, because it's easy not to realize that as you read a book where you see the name "Yerma" multiple times every page. Anyway, this play also ends explosively, with the frustration of Yerma finally bubbling over.

It was really nice to read these at the end of a few months devoted to reading Lorca's poetry and theater. I read them after reading some of the more experimental works he wrote while in New York, Poeta en Nueva York and El público. It seems to me that his time in the city was both exhilarating for him as an artist and eye-opening to him as a person and as a Spaniard. He'd tasted success and was probably surprised by how famous he was becoming, and he was willing to push boundaries and take risks in his work; maybe he felt free to worry less about whether he would be understood, since he'd attained the understanding and affection of an audience with Romancero gitano. I had a hard time working through his poetry from New York, but when I begun unraveling individual poems and figuring out at least a portion of his "hechos poéticos," they were really neat and I felt like I came to understand more about how he thought as an artist. No matter what they were about, the poems seemed to be about him; they felt like very personal and direct expressions of who he was at that time. I remembered reading Suites and reading his letters from the years when he was "becoming" a poet, and I thought that the sort of poetry he wrote in New York was rather true to his youthful aspirations. On the other hand, I think maybe being away from his country helped him understand how much he shared with the people of Spain, and when he came back and started doing the whole popular theater thing with "La barranca," his work started to veer back toward forms that could be more easily understood by a greater number of people, perhaps more specifically his Spanish people. I mean, you have to fight through a play like El público, and even when you're done you wonder if you really understood more than a small portion of what he was saying. These plays are simpler in a way. They're good stories. You could represent them on a stage anywhere in the world and they'd be enjoyed by a wide variety of audiences. They're still challenging in the way they weave different poetic symbols into works of theater, and they're a blast to read when you're familiar with Lorca's poetry because you get to see how he incorporates the same elements of the countryside that have formed such an important part of his poetry into a different, narrative form.

Lorca wrote Yerma in 1934 and La casa de Bernarda Alba in 1936, finishing it months before his death. It's really sad that he died so young. The other day I was listening to some jazz music from the 60s, a McCoy Tyner album, and I started thinking how much Lorca would have loved jazz music if he'd survived to hear some of the musicians who were best able to explore the expressive possibilities of jazz music and improvisation in the 40s through 60s. He was so concerned with "pure" expression, and I think some of the music being made in those years would have really inspired him, especially considering his background as a pianist. He was the type of guy who seemed capable of constant innovation, sort of the opposite of a one-trick pony, and I wonder what he would have done had he not been killed at such a young age. ( )
2 vote msjohns615 | Jan 2, 2012 |
:o cuantos sentimientos envuelve toda esta obra,.. una muerte trágica, y la madre no parece tener remordimiento alguno. Tanta es la pasión que ciega cualquier otro sentido? ( )
  mesalina | Mar 12, 2010 |
This is an incredible play, and it is hard to imagine that it was written so long ago, for it has an everlasting effect... It deals with culture, bitterness, love, loss, tragedy and family.
It is above all a book about the great expectations a young girl has with life, and how her mother and sisters destroy them. It is a sad tale, but it is written in such a powerful way that you simply cannot put the book down without finishing it.

Es un libro conmovedor que hable de la cultura, la familia, la tragedia, la separacion y el amor...
Los personajes son muy reales, crudos y a veces muy crueles.
Habla sobre una joven y sus suenos, asi como las consecuencias de sonar y de querer lograr mas de lo que se esperado.
Es una historia triste y tragica pero escrita y manejada de una manera incomparable por un escritor brillante.
2 vote McDonaldTait | Mar 28, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0413724700, Paperback)

Bernarda Alba is a widow, and her five daughters are incarcerated in mourning along with her. One by one they make a bid for freedom, with tragic consequences. Lorca's tale depicts the repression of women within Catholic Spain in the years before the war.

Edited with invaluable student notes - a must for students of Spanish drama

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:40:33 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Bernarda Alba, widow of two marriages, is an uncompromising character that does not allow the separation minimum orders. The action begins on the day of the funeral of Bernarda's second husband: After the parade of the neighboring town, the mother tells his daughters that lasts eight years mourning not enter the house or the street the wind.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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