The Comedia as Casuistry


ACLS Fellowship Program


Modern & Classical Languages

Named Award

ACLS/Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Junior Faculty Fellow named award


This project is a book-length study of casuistry or case morality as the foundation for a poetics of seventeenth-century Spanish comedias. Casuistical dialogue was a concern, even an obsession, of Spanish playwrights during the seventeenth century, many of whom were educated by Jesuit casuists. The purpose of the project is to recover the Derridian trace of foundational discourses informing these plays through the study of confessional manuals. The book will be organized after the model of the confessional manuals themselves: five chapters, each devoted to the specific sins of adultery, murder, theft, false witness, and incest. The real-life solutions to specific moral dilemmas as recommended by confessors will be contrasted with fictional solutions presented by the playwrights.