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“The Atlantic Metropolis: Ships and Seafarers in Lope de Vega’s El Arenal de Sevilla.”

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Professor Carl Wise
Assistant at the Department of Hispanic Studies
College of Charleston
Gilbert Hall Room 303

Professor Carl Wise, Assistant at the Department of Hispanic Studies at the College of Charleston. He is a UGA PhD graduate. He has published on Spanish Early Modern literature with a particular interest on the theatre of Lope de Vega and this literature’s transatlantic facet.

His lecture is titled: “The Atlantic Metropolis: Ships and Seafarers in Lope de Vega’s El Arenal de Sevilla.” Thursday, November 11, 4:00pm to 5:00pm; Gilbert Hall Room 303. Masks strongly encouraged. 

Abstract: Lope de Vega dramatizes Seville’s maritime culture in El Arenal de Sevilla, an early comedia urbana composed in 1603 while the playwright was residing in the Indies Fleet’s port city. Set amid the ships docked along the Guadalquivir River, the seemingly chaotic play presents rapid sequences of side plots and frenzied scene changes which critics have long considered as chaotic, and even bordering on incoherent. When viewed through the lenses of Seville’s bustling seaport and mass maritime transit, however, the chaotic plot twists reveal a poetic coherence tied to Seville’s stature as “queen of the seas,” and the theme of constant motion around Arenal banks and the hectic attention to the Indies Fleet define the play’s metropolitan space as a boundless convergence of oceangoing travelers and goods. Moreover, Lope’s characters merge their poetic descriptions of the Indies Fleet with the physical site of the riverbank, suggesting that the Arenal, and by extension Seville, is itself like a ship that can transport is its inhabitants anywhere.    

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