Crafting National Memory from News: Lope de Vega’s La nueva victoria de don Gonzalo de Córdoba

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On the eighth of October, 1622, Lope de Vega finished La nueva victoria de don Gonzalo de Córdoba. This comedia recounts a Spanish victory in the Battle of Fleurus, one of several military triumphs that encouraged hope and excitement during the early years of Philip IV’s reign. The battle had occurred in late August of 1622, and Lope’s play, written and staged scant weeks later, functioned as a type of journalistic dramatization of Fleurus for corral audiences. I argue that, in addition to its news-bearing utility, the play historicizes its content, moving it from a journalistic happening to an integral part of Spain’s larger historical narrative, broadening and enhancing the ways in which audiences conceived of Fleurus. To do so, La nueva victoria engages with historical consciousness in the form of ballads, chronicles, genealogies, and collective memory. Such strategies enable the play to portray the victory as an essential part of Spain’s story, as a recent event that logically evolved out of the past and promises to condition the future.



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