Edwin Stewart Atkins (Spanish & Portuguese) recently published an article in Bulletin of the Comediantes about “ambiguity, bias, and visual deceit” in the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega’s 1631 masterpiece El castigo sin venganza (Justice without Revenge). “I propose a new reading for the apparently minor character of Aurora and claim that she is actually central in affecting the play’s outcome and thematic ambiguity,” he says. In addition to a close reading of the play itself, he analyzes Lope’s main source – a story by Italian writer Matteo Bandello (c. 1480–1562), and the “tachaduras” (words crossed out in Lope’s manuscript revisions).
Atkins didn’t set out to be a scholar of Spanish literature. He was interested in Spanish culture and earned a master’s degree from Aalborg University (Denmark) in “Spanish Culture, Communication, and Globalization.” He also studied at the Official Language School of Madrid. But he didn’t take his first course in Spanish literature until about ten years after he graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in psychology.