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Thursday, January 30, 2014 (read 929 times)

Lope de Vega Manuscript Discovered

by Tyson

A Syracuse professor has stumbled upon a lost literary gem assumed to have disappeared from the world forever sometime after its creation four centuries ago.

The Spanish Golden Age

Alejandro García Reidy came across a 1614 document which indicated that a theatre company had purchased a play entitled Mujeres y criados (Women and servants) by Lope de Vega, one of Spain’s most celebrated writers from the country’s opulent Golden Age. De Vega himself also listed the play in a 1618 edition of his El peregrine en su patria. The whereabouts of the play however have long stumped experts, until now.

García Reidy took a look in the National Library and found a manuscript listed by the same name. He promptly requested to see the document and soon a librarian was removing the historic, handwritten literary work from a shelf, where it had silently sat swaddled in dust and mystery since around the 19th century. García Reidy, a member of the Lope de Vega research group PROLOPE, then went about analyzing the document to determine that it was indeed authentic.

The work is clearly de Vega at his best, a lively tale of entanglement penned during the highlight of the writer’s illustrious career. His signature treatment of topics such as honor and social hierarchy along with an unmistakable poetic meter confirmed the authenticity of the piece. 

The play tells the tale of a pair of sisters, their suitors, and another couple of suitors who make their way into the story to provide comedic courtship that will likely delight audiences this fall when the antique missing manuscript is expected to come to life on stage. Garcia Reidy himself insists that today’s audiences will find the play greatly appealing despite its great age, particularly given its types of comedic scenes that are still popular with modern theatre goers. Gredos publishing expects to release the play this spring.

Although discoveries of this type often earn skeptic criticism, this find seems quite convincing and is expected to be widely accepted as a genuine Lope de Vega piece.

The literature of Lope de Vega

Garcia Reidy’s unexpected archeological dig has unearthed one more masterpiece to add to Lope de Vega’s extensive catalog of work - a seemingly endless treasure trove of sonnets, plays, and novels. The sheer volume of de Vega’s work earned him the nick name el Monstruo de la Naturaleza (the monster of nature) from Don Quixote author Miguel de Cervantes. He wrote some 1,800 plays, the most notable of which include El perro de hortlelano (The Dog in the Manger), El maestro de danzar (The Dancing Master). He was Spain’s first full time professional playwright and he is often considered Spain’s greatest playwright.   

Anyone interested in exploring Spain’s rich literary tradition is highly recommended to check out de Vega’s inspired oeuvre of classic works to get caught up in the intense artistic passion that helped make up a golden age of belle-lettres. 

Keywords: miguel de cervantes,lope de vega,spanish literature,spanish authors,spanish golden age

Posted In: Culture


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