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World Languages and Cultures

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When considering the representation of Judaism in the comedias of Lope de Vega, one play often cited is El Niño Inocente de la Guardia given the perceptible Anti-Semitism pervading the work. Generally speaking, critical discussion about this play can be divided into three broad camps. The first classic argument about the play comes from María Rosa Lida de Malkiel, who observes how Judaism and Christianity serve as polar opposites dramatically concluding: “El niño, total inocencia, por una parte, y los judíos, total culpa, por otra, llenan a la perfección los requisitos que no permiten la existencia de un héroe trágico. (Malkiel 1972, 98). Even though critics such as Lida de Malkiel highlight the fervent anti-Semitism of the play, Catherine Swietlicki and Andrew Herskovits provide more nuanced arguments about the representation of Jews. On the one hand, Herskovits demonstrates how Lope appropriates conventions of the comedia costumbrista to create more burlesque representations of Jews. Secondly, Swietlicki explores the dialogical vision existing in a series of Lope’s comedias among them: El Niño Inocente de la Guardia and Las paces de los reyes y judía de Toledo.1 Thirdly, in an effort to analyze other characteristics of Lope’s comedia, Anthony J. Herrell, explores certain artistic devices present in the play. In addition, Christophe Leclerc and Jacques Lezra have analyzed the magical elements of the play, the first from a religious point of view and the second from psychoanalytic and philosophical perspectives.


This article is published as Nemiroff, J.; Historiographic and Iconographic Crypto-Narratives in Lope de Vega’s El niño inocente de la Guardia (1598-1603), eHumanista/Conversos. 2017(5); 329-351. Posted with permission.

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