During the years since his death, Federico García Lorca, Spain's best-known twentieth-century poet and playwright, has generally been considered a writer of tragedy. Three of his major plays are fatalistic stories of suffering and death, and his poetry is filled with dread. Yet most of Lorca's dramatic production consists of comedies and farces. Throughout his poetry and prose, as well as in his most somber plays, runs an undercurrent of humor—dark irony and satire—that is in no way contradictory to his tragic view of life. On the contrary, as Virginia Higginbotham demonstrates, through humor Lorca defines, intensifies, and tries to come to terms with what he sees as the essentially hopeless condition of humankind.
Although Lorca's comic moments and techniques have been discussed in isolated articles, the importance of humor has largely been ignored in the fundamental studies of his work. Higginbotham is concerned with Lorca's total output: lyric poetry, tragicomedies and farces, avant-garde prose and plays, puppet farces, and master plays. She describes Lorca's place in the mainstream of the Spanish theater and shows his relationship to some relevant non-Spanish dramatists. Furthermore, she discusses ways in which Lorca's work anticipates the modern theater of the absurd. The result is a comprehensive study of an important, but previously ignored, aspect of Lorca's work.
The Comic Spirit of Federico García Lorca includes a Lorca chronology and an extensive bibliography.
By Virginia Higginbotham
Virginia Higginbotham is Associate Professor Emeritus of Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of a number of articles on the dramatic work of Lorca.