Historiographic and Iconographic Crypto-Narratives in Lope de Vega’s El niño inocente de la Guardia
When considering the representation of Judaism in the comedias of Lope de Vega, one play often cited is El niño inocente de la Guardia given the perceptible Anti-Semitism pervading the work. I suggest in this article that critics have ignored two crucial elements when studying the play as a whole and its treatment of Jews in particular: first, how Toledo is represented as the ideal Christian city and second how this representation impacts both Old Christians and conversos. Toward this end, I propose that in El niño inocente de la Guardia the conflict between Judaism and Christianity transforms from being a purely historiographical and exegetical debate in the first act to an iconographic one in Acts II and III. To prove these arguments, I examine how certain characters Judaize or perform Judaism on stage. In the process of Judaizing, certain “crypto-narratives,” or readings only perceptible to certain spectators depending on their religious frame of reference can be seen. By looking at the plays of Lope de Vega through this lens, this study introduces a new methodology with which we can examine how Judaism and Christianity as performed phenomena in Early Modern Spain.
This article is published as Nemiroff, J.; Historiographic and Iconographic Crypto-Narratives in Lope de Vega’s El niño inocente de la Guardia (1598-1603), eHumanista/Conversos. 2017(5); 329-351. Posted with permission.