Breining, Daniel Books

Daniel Breining received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is currently Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Colonial literature is his primary field of research, with special interest in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century New Spanish drama. His publications include El “Otro” de Jacques Lacán en Como agua para chocolate de Laura Esquivel and Dramatic and Theatrical Censorship of Sixteen-Century New Spain.

Dramatic and Theatrical Censorship of Sixteenth-Century New Spain
2003 0-7734-7004-2
This work investigates the censorship of género chico dramas, pieces which were commonly used as a conversional and didactic tool in New Spain during the first decades of colonial rule. These small theatrical representations and dramatic texts are particularly insightful to the censorial policies as developed and implemented by the ecclesiastical and viceregal authorities of New Spain. The official and personal anti-theatrical and anti-dramatic dictates, as enforced in part by Archbishop Juan de Zumàrraga and the New World Inquisition, relied heavily upon the ideals of mimesis, education, and concern for subversion of the state. Because the works generally included the use of Nahuatl, the language of the newly conquered natives of the Anahuac valley, and were performed by the Indians without Spanish supervision, they feared potential insertion of indigenous elements. Along with the hybridized qualities found in many of the pieces, this work also looks at the criticism of viceregal policies as one more reason for censoring these works and reprimanding their authors, with examples taken from the works of Hernán González de Eslava, Juan Pérez Ramírez, and Cristóbal de Llerena.

Mexican Theater and Drama From the Conquest Through the Seventeenth Century
2007 0-7734-5355-5
The purpose of this annotated bibliography is to bring together under one title a diverse collection of works along with critical commentary that deal with the first centuries of colonial Mexican theater and drama. Shortly after the fall of the Aztec capital Tenochtitlán in 1521, the Spanish conquerors deemed it necessary to instruct the large indigenous populations and to quickly convert them to Catholicism. This task fell principally on the newly arrived religious orders, the first being the Franciscans who set foot in New Spain in 1523. Because of the linguistic barriers encountered by the clerics, there was a need to exemplify the Christian faith that did not rely so heavily on simple verbal instruction. Theater and dramatic performances proved to be the ideal format. The majority of the plays in this collection were written starting with the third decade of the sixteenth century and then concluding with pieces coming towards the end of the 1600s. Studies that center on these plays are mostly modern works stemming from the late 1800s and continue up to the publication of this bibliography. In addition to these dramatic works, the reader will find the more important and prevalent pre-Hispanic plays along with studies focusing on this native genre and the far reaching importance of theatrical performance to the Indian population of central Mexico prior to the arrival of the European. Along with native dramatic works propagating indigenous religious beliefs and the Christian plays of conversion, there are many ancillary studies that deal with performance practices and theatrical sites. One part of this category is the inclusion of works concerning the architectural properties of performance locales, and especially the open air chapel, which the early religious orders depended upon heavily and used extensively in central New Spain for conversional and didactic dramas. This annotated bibliography concludes with an extensive index allowing quick access to its contents further assisting the investigator in additional research.

Western Cultural Symbols in Latin American and Chicano Literature: An Historical and Semiotic Analysis
2010 0-7734-1301-4
This book explains the fundamentals of semiotic theory (the study of signs), and applies it to more than twenty works by a dozen Latin American and Mexican American authors. Using a post-modernist interpretation of signs, Breining makes the point that there exists a relationship of the privileged and disenfranchised within Latin America and Chicano literature. Covering a span of more than five hundred years, from pre-Hispanic times to the late twentieth century, Breining demonstrates how the signs found with the literature of each period of Latin American history, define social interactions, cultural anomalies, and political situations.