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Ana Caro de Mallén

Ana Caro de Mallén Ana Caro de Mallén[6†]

Ana Caro de Mallén was a poet and playwright of the Spanish Golden Age[1†]. She was one of the few women writers of the 17th century[1†][2†]. Ana María Caro de Mallén y Torres, as she was fully known, was believed to be born between 1590 and 1600[1†][2†]. She was adopted by Gabriel Caro de Mallén and Ana María de Torres[1†][2†]. Many assumed she was Don Juan Caro de Mallén y Soto’s sister, and that she was born in either Granada or Seville[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Ana María Caro de Mallén y Torres, one of the few women writers of the 17th century, was believed to be born between 1590 and 1600[1†][3†]. She was born as a morisco slave and was adopted by Gabriel Caro de Mallén and Ana María de Torres[1†][3†]. Many assumed she was Don Juan Caro de Mallén y Soto’s sister, and that she was born in either Granada or Seville[1†][3†].

In Seville, she began writing poetry and competing in poetry contests[1†]. Ana Caro’s poetry reflects her society. It also demonstrated a close coalition between her and the monarchy[1†].

After exploring Caro’s personal life and contextualizing her situation as a female cultural producer within early modern Europe, this study presents new readings of her plays and an examination of her relaciones in order to reveal Caro’s consistent, albeit subtle, challenge to the patriarchal structures so deeply ingrained in the Spain of her day[4†].

Career Development and Achievements

Ana Caro de Mallén’s career took off when she published poetry and studies on festivals and cultural activities in 1628[1†][2†][3†]. When she published Contexto de las reales fiestas madrilenas del Buen Retiro in 1637, she had already moved to Madrid[1†][2†][3†]. Many of her male counterparts, including Juan de Matos Fragoso and Luis Vélez de Guevara, recognized her works[1†][2†]. Caro was also a close friend of novelist Maria de Zaya[1†][2†]. Caro made money from her poetry and plays, transcending her to one of the first professional female writers[1†][2†][4†].

Ana Caro wrote two religious plays (autos sacramentales) and several entremeses, which are short interlude plays performed between acts of comedias[1†][2†]. A loa sacramental and Coloquio entre dos are two of her entremeses that have survived[1†]. El conde partinuplés[1†] and Valor, agravio y mujer (Courage, Betrayal, and a Woman Scorned)[1†] are the only two full-length plays by Caro de Mallén that are still known today[1†].

In Valor, agravio y mujer, Leonor, a noblewoman, cross-dresses as a man to regain her honor after being deceived by Don Juan, an arrogant nobleman from Cordova[1†]. The play introduces readers to Leonor and Don Juan’s discretions and Leonor’s decision to disguise herself as “Leonardo” to defend her own honor despite societal norms[1†].

First Publication of Her Main Works

Ana Caro de Mallén was a prolific writer, and her works were recognized by her contemporaries[1†][2†]. She wrote primarily comedias, autos sacramentales, and relaciones[1†][4†]. Since she received monetary compensation for her "autos sacramentales" and "relaciones", Caro is arguably one of the first female professional writers to appear in Spain as well as in Europe as a whole[1†][4†].

Here are some of her main works:

Analysis and Evaluation

Ana Caro de Mallén’s works are a reflection of the social and political realities of 17th-century Spain[1†][3†]. Her plays often revolve around themes of revenge, honor, intrigue, and love triangles[1†][3†]. Through her comedic plays, she made insightful comments on these realities[1†][3†].

In her play “Valor, agravio y mujer (Courage, Betrayal, and a Woman Scorned)”, the protagonist Leonor cross-dresses as a man to regain her honor after being deceived by Don Juan, an arrogant nobleman from Cordova[1†]. This play diverges from the typical comedia, particularly in the role of the gracioso as a male friend to Leonor[1†][4†].

Her other full-length play, “El conde Partinuplés”, uses the “invisible-mistress” plot, which can be seen as a parody of certain elements of the typical “wife-murder” drama[1†][4†].

Caro’s works consistently highlight the dilemmas, frustrations, hopes, and aspirations of her female characters[1†][4†]. In her relaciones, Caro does not refrain from commenting on the qualities of good leadership, the economic crisis in Spain, and the political tensions between Spain and countries such as France and Portugal[1†][4†]. In this way, Caro succeeds in inserting her voice into a public sphere that often cultivated women’s silence[1†][4†].

Although not a feminist in the modern sense of the word, Caro is certainly partial in her stance toward women[1†][4†]. Her plays and relaciones subtly challenge the patriarchal structures so deeply ingrained in the Spain of her day[1†][4†].

Personal Life

Ana María Caro de Mallén y Torres, one of the few women writers of the 17th century, was believed to be born between 1590 and 1600[1†][4†]. She was adopted by Gabriel Caro de Mallén and Ana María de Torres[1†][4†]. Many assumed she was Don Juan Caro de Mallén y Soto’s sister, and that she was born in either Granada or Seville[1†][4†].

Ana Caro’s personal life is not well-documented, which is common for women of her time[1†][4†]. However, her works provide some insight into her life and the society in which she lived[1†][4†]. She was a close friend of novelist Maria de Zayas[1†], and her poetry reflects her society and also demonstrated a close coalition between her and the monarchy[1†].

Caro appears to have died of the plague between 1645 and 1660[1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Ana Caro de Mallén left a significant mark on the Spanish Golden Age with her poetry and plays[1†]. She is recognized as one of the first professional female writers in Spain, and arguably in Europe as a whole[1†][4†]. Her works consistently highlight the dilemmas, frustrations, hopes, and aspirations of her female characters[1†][4†]. In her relaciones, Caro does not refrain from commenting on the qualities of good leadership, the economic crisis in Spain, and the political tensions between Spain and countries such as France and Portugal[1†][4†].

Caro’s plays, particularly “Valor, agravio y mujer” (Courage, Betrayal, and a Woman Scorned) and “El conde Partinuplés”, are still known today[1†]. These works not only entertain but also subtly challenge the patriarchal structures of her time[1†][4†]. Through her writings, Caro succeeded in inserting her voice into a public sphere that often cultivated women’s silence[1†][4†].

Despite the challenges she faced as a woman in a male-dominated society, Ana Caro de Mallén’s legacy continues to inspire and influence modern literature[1†][4†]. Her life and works serve as a testament to her courage and determination, proving that even in the face of adversity, one can still make a significant impact[1†][4†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Ana Caro de Mallén [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (Spanish) - Ana Caro de Mallén [website] - link
  3. Kiddle Encyclopedia - Ana Caro de Mallén Facts for Kids [website] - link
  4. Boston University OpenBU - Speaking out from within: Ana Caro and her role as a woman writer in seventeenth-century Spain [website] - link
  5. Goodreads - Author: Ana Caro de Mallén (Author of Valor, agravio y mujer) [website] - link
  6. Biblioteca Nacional de España - Caro de Mallén, Ana [website] - link
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