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Spanish Drama of the Golden Age, 1562-1850
From the Comedia Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Library
Published by Primary Source Microfilm
Drama of the "Siglo de Oro" or Golden Age is Spain's most impressive literary achievement, paralleling and rivaling the dramatic literary activity begun by Shakespeare in England. This collection traces the development of this Spanish literary flowering from its beginnings with Lope de Vega in the last years of the 16th century to its end in the 17th century with Calderon de la Barca.
The experiments of the early 16th-century dramatists were largely unsuccessful, but they prepared the way for the comedia nueva, a synthesis of previously existing literary elements: epic poems, liturgical pageants and minstrel ballads. The primary synthesizer of these elements, and therefore a pre-eminent figure in the Golden Age, was Lope Felix de Vega Carpio (1562-1635). Lope de Vega established the comedia as the national drama and became undisputed master of the form.
Based on the Comedia Collection of the University of Pennsylvania Library, this major collection is composed of several smaller collections:
- The Hugo Albert Rennert Collection, focusing on Lope de Vega and including classical non-dramatic works by and about de Vega, which add to an understanding of the nature and scope of his dramatic output
- J.P. Wickersham Crawford Collection, which is particularly strong in the field of Golden Age Spanish poetry
- Joseph E. Gillet Collection, which contains a substantial number of comedias sueltas
- The University of Pennsylvania Library's 17th-century collections; the Comedias Nuevas Escogidas published between 1652 and 1704, and additional Comedias Sueltas. Volumes of plays by Calderon, Tirso de Molina, Agustin Moreto y Cabana, Perez de Montalvan and Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra were also taken from this collection. The University's collection also includes the Comedias Varias, binders' volumes of loose plays.
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