Pedro Calderón de la Barca Life Is a Dream

ISBN 13: 9781406932010

9781406932010: Life Is a Dream
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The death of Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681) marked the end of Spain's Golden Age of literary and artistic excellence, and his immense popularity and mastery of Spanish drama has earned him notoriety as the national dramatist of Spain. Although he came from a family of lower nobility, his theater is often associated with the royal court, as he presented many plays in the palace of Philip IV. His best known work, "Life Is a Dream", borrows material from several other sources and transforms it into a masterful philosophical drama. The story of King Basil of Poland and his son, Segismund, is a complex and improbable plot featuring themes of the awakened sleeper, Christian grace, pagan superstition, and the popular Spanish theme of God's grace revealing nobility. This play has been translated and performed in many different languages, and it remains an unquestioned masterpiece of world theater.

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About the Author:

Pedro Calderon de la Barca was born in Madrid, January 17, 1600, of good family. He was educated at the Jesuit College in Madrid and at the University of Salamanca; and a doubtful tradition says that he began to write plays at the age of thirteen. His literary activity was interrupted for ten years, 1625-1635, by military service in Italy and the Low Countries, and again for a year or more in Catalonia. In 1637 he became a Knight of the Order of Santiago, and in 1651 he entered the priesthood, rising to the dignity of Superior of the Brotherhood of San Pedro in Madrid. He held various offices in the court of Philip IV, who rewarded his services with pensions, and had his plays produced with great splendor. He died May 5, 1681. At the time when Calderon began to compose for the stage, the Spanish drama was at its height. Lope de Vega, the most prolific and, with Calderon, the greatest, of Spanish dramatists, was still alive; and by his applause gave encouragement to the beginner whose fame was to rival his own. The national type of drama which Lope had established was maintained in its essential characteristics by Calderon, and he produced abundant specimens of all its varieties. Of regular plays he has left a hundred and twenty; of "Autos Sacramentales," the peculiar Spanish allegorical development of the medieval mystery, we have seventy-three; besides a considerable number of farces.

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