Renaissance and Reformation Lope de Vega
by
Sidney Donnell
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 April 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195399301-0352

Introduction

Lope Félix de Vega Carpio (b. 1562–d. 1635) is one of Spain’s most celebrated and prolific writers. As a native and nearly lifelong resident of Madrid, he positioned himself at the very center of Imperial Spain’s cultural production. Spanish literati, in turn, acknowledged Lope de Vega’s prowess through a variety of epithets, which included Fénix de los ingenios (Phoenix of all creative geniuses), for his unique ability to stand out in a large field of true prodigies, and Monstruo de naturaleza (Wonder of nature), ostensibly for the sheer volume of his literary output. At times Lope felt ambivalent about writing for the theater; however, during his long literary career, he penned hundreds of polymetric plays (some four hundred extant), whose success on stage brought him fame and a relatively stable income. In addition to his accomplishments as a playwright, Lope was astonishingly productive in the other genres he cultivated, including lyric and epic poetry, pastoral novel, and short fiction. Over time, Lope’s notoriety and the accumulation of play titles (including hundreds of works spuriously attributed to him) have contributed to the popular misconception that he was sole founder of Spain’s national theater. In point of fact, numerous playwrights were responsible for the gradual emergence of an innovative dramatic formula, the comedia nueva (new drama/comedy), whose precepts Lope codified in a manifesto. His distinguished reputation as a dramatist is, nevertheless, indisputable. Today only two contemporaries—Tirso de Molina (b. 1579–d. 1648) and Pedro Calderón de la Barca (b. 1600–d. 1681)—are consistently elevated to Lope’s stature, especially in reference to the innovative three-act structure that became synonymous with the comedia nueva. Dozens of Lope’s plays continue to appeal to modern-day readers and playgoers, owing, in part, to his creation of a world in which performance and identity are frequently and often refreshingly at odds, and to the poet’s seemingly effortless ability to tell a good story in rhyming verse. Similarly, several books of Lope’s poetry and prose fiction are deeply admired, receiving both popular and scholarly attention. This article introduces readers to General Overviews, Reference Works, Texts and Commentaries, English Translations, Bibliographies, Biographies and Letters, Journals and Conference Proceedings, Criticism, and Lope’s location in Popular Culture. Therefore, the annotated bibliography presented here is selective, not comprehensive, as it is intended to guide preliminary research on this icon of Spain’s cultural production and very identity, both past and present.

General Overviews

Bergmann 1999 is a good starting point for those who are new to Lope de Vega or Renaissance studies. In similar fashion, Dixon 2004 provides a concise chapter-length introduction to the poet’s life and work. The edited volume Samson and Thacker 2008 is an exceptional companion, offering readers an in-depth introduction to Lope’s career and the numerous literary forms he mastered. As for the colossal task of successfully introducing readers to Lope’s drama, detailed general treatments are available in various chapters on Lope de Vega, including Thacker 2007, Profeti 2003, Arellano 1995, and McKendrick 1989. Treatments of Lope’s formative years, such as Oleza 1981, have the potential of bringing the whole of his long career into better view.

  • Arellano, Ignacio. Historia del teatro español del siglo XVII. Madrid: Cátedra, 1995.

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    The chapter on Lope de Vega (pp. 169–228) consists of a classification of Lope’s dramatic work, organized by historical plays, tragicomedies, tragedies, comic plays, and other subgenres. In Spanish.

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    • Bergmann, Emilie. “Vega Carpio, Lope Félix de.” In Encyclopedia of the Renaissance. Vol. 6. Edited by Paul F. Grendler, 220–223. New York: Scribner’s, 1999.

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      A brief, well-written introduction to Lope de Vega’s life and work.

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      • Dixon, Victor. “Lope Félix de Vega Carpio.” In The Cambridge History of Spanish Literature. Edited by David Thatcher Gies, 252–264. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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        For its brevity and scope, a superb essay-length overview of Lope de Vega’s life and work.

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        • McKendrick, Melveena. Theatre in Spain, 1490–1700. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

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          A formal introduction to the Spanish stage and principal dramatists of Spain’s “Golden Age.” The chapter on Lope de Vega (pp. 84–114) is essential reading.

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          • Oleza, Joan. “La propuesta teatral del primer Lope de Vega.” Cuadernos de Filología III: Literaturas, Análisis 1–2 (1981): 153–223.

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            Though not technically an overview, this commendable journal article on the Valencian stage and Lope’s development as a young dramatist in the late 16th century is an essential starting point for understanding the playwright’s longevity. In Spanish.

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            • Profeti, Maria Grazia. “Lope de Vega.” In Historia del teatro español. Vol. 1, De la Edad Media a los Siglos de Oro. Edited by Javier Huerta Calvo, Abraham Madroñal Durán, and Héctor Urzáiz Tortajada, 783–825. Madrid: Gredos, 2003.

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              An impeccable overview written in Spanish by a world-renowned authority on the theater of Lope de Vega. For a collection of essays in Italian by this prominent scholar, please see Nell’officina di Lope (Florence: Alinea, 1998).

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              • Samson, Alexander, and Jonathan Thacker. A Companion to Lope de Vega. Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis, 2008.

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                Highly recommended book-length overview of Lope’s life and work. Contributors to the volume provide a representative cross-section of themes and approaches to the study of Lope de Vega, with detailed analysis organized mainly by genre.

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                • Thacker, Jonathan. A Companion to Golden Age Theatre. Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis, 2007.

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                  Grounded in the history of the Spanish comedia (comedy/drama), this book also introduces readers to play performance and the interpretative field. The chapter on Lope de Vega (pp. 23–55) is a thorough overview, and Appendix 1 (pp. 179–185) provides a concise introduction to verse forms and poetic drama in Spanish. In English with Spanish quotations.

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                  Reference Works

                  General reference tools are fundamental to understanding the historical and linguistic specificity of Lope de Vega’s, and his generation’s, literary production; others are vital to comprehending the variety, quantity, and evolution of Lope’s legacy. Websites such as Lope de Vega (Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes) and Casa Museo Lope de Vega provide continually updated Internet resources, including useful lists of titles of plays, poetry collections, and other nondramatic works. Castillejo 2011 provides a worthwhile survey of four hundred plays attributed to Lope de Vega, and scholars continue to refer to the study Morley and Bruerton 1940, which addresses the chronology of Lope’s polymetric plays by identifying and comparing variations in verse patterns over time. Though not necessarily specific to Lope, guides to metrical structure or versification, such as Domínguez Caparrós 2014, explain the fundamentals of rhyme scheme, rhythm, and meter in Spanish. Lexical dictionaries specializing in early modern usage, such as the Diccionario de autoridades, are essential to understanding the Fénix in the original Spanish. Literary histories, including Huerta Calvo, et al. 2003 and Vitse 1988, are crucial to comprehending references to the cultural life of Imperial Spain. For their part, edited volumes such as Kallendorf 2014 help readers to situate specific research agendas about Lope within the broader field of theater studies and the early modern period. Finally, university-level instructors in need of materials for teaching the Spanish comedia should refer to Bass and Greer 2006. For additional reference tools, including guides to Spanish classical theater, please see the separate Oxford Bibliographies article in Renaissance and Reformation “Spanish Literature.”

                  • Bass, Laura R., and Margaret Rich Greer. Approaches to Teaching Early Modern Spanish Drama. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2006.

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                    Although the overall topic is teaching Spanish classical theater, parts of this edited volume help to situate Lope de Vega in the broader discussion of comedia studies. Contributors evaluate classroom materials and share pedagogical approaches.

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                    • Casa Museo Lope de Vega.

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                      Provides information about Lope’s life and work, including a brief biography and chronology, basic bibliographies, and a list of links to other relevant websites. The Casa Museo Lope de Vega (Lope de Vega House and Museum) is managed by the Comunidad de Madrid (Autonomous Regional Government of Madrid) and is owned by the Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy). In Spanish and English.

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                      • Castillejo, David. Spanish Classical Drama: A Classified Survey and Study of 1000 Plays by Lope de Vega, Guillén de Castro, Salas Barbadillo, Tirso de Molina, Mira de Amescua, Vélez de Guevara, Ruiz de Alarcón, Agustín Moreto, Calderón de la Barca, and Others. London: Oberon, 2011.

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                        Provides brief summaries of dramatic works, including four hundred plays attributed to Lope de Vega. The tome lists Lope’s plays by title, by manageability of dialogues and their potential appeal to theater audiences, by themes and styles in chronological order, and by plot. This is a compilation and translation of earlier publications in Spanish. See, for example: Castillejo’s Las cuatrocientas comedias de Lope: Catálogo crítico (Madrid: Teatro Español, 1984).

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                        • Diccionario de autoridades. Madrid: Real Academia Española.

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                          A valuable resource to unlocking the meaning of 17th-century terms used by Lope de Vega and his contemporaries. In fact, Lope holds a privileged place in this dictionary because many entries include examples of usage taken directly from his published work. See also Diccionario de autoridades (3 vols.), 1726, reprint, Madrid: Gredos (Real Academia Española), 1990.

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                          • Domínguez Caparrós, José. Métrica española. Madrid: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, 2014.

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                            The revised edition provides a thorough explanation of popular verse forms from Spain’s oral tradition, and of the stylized poetic structures that emerged during the Renaissance and Baroque periods.

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                            • Huerta Calvo, Javier, Abraham Madroñal Durán, and Héctor Urzáiz Tortajada, eds. Historia del teatro español. Vol. 1, De la Edad Media a los Siglos de Oro. Madrid: Gredos, 2003.

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                              Consists of brief articles on almost every aspect of the Spanish stage, from its origins in the medieval period through the end of the 17th century.

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                              • Kallendorf, Hilaire. A Companion to Early Modern Hispanic Theater. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2014.

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                                This edited volume gives readers a sense of the broad spectrum of interpretative stances that scholars take when approaching comedia studies, including Lope de Vega.

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                                • Lope de Vega. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes.

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                                  Allows readers to access online versions of Lope’s dramatic and nondramatic works, audio recordings of over two dozen sonnets by Lope, and a list of links to relevant websites. In Spanish with a main menu in English.

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                                  • Morley, Sylvanus Griswold, and Courtney Bruerton. The Chronology of Lope de Vega’s Comedias: With a discussion of doubtful attributions, the whole based on a study of his strophic versification. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1940.

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                                    The authors affix approximate dates to Lope’s plays by comparing variations in the types of verse the poet-dramatist used over his lengthy career. Verse forms also provide the basis for calling into question the authorship of hundreds of works that have been attributed to Lope.

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                                    • Vitse, Marc. Élements pour une théorie du théâtre espagnol du XVIIe siècle. Toulouse: France-Iberie Recherche, 1988.

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                                      One of the foundational introductions to 17th-century Spanish theater. In French.

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                                      Texts and Commentaries

                                      Much of Lope de Vega’s literary work has survived until the present day. Concentrating on the texts of Lope’s plays, Grupo de Investigación Prolope offers a practical online introduction to their transmission over time. Biblioteca Nacional de España provides digital access to manuscripts and first editions in its vast holdings. Additional subsections of this article are intended to direct readers in their exploration of more recent publications of Lope’s work in Spanish. These include modern scholarly editions, edited collections of Lope’s complete works, and student-friendly editions.

                                      Modern Standard Editions

                                      Although modern scholarly editions represent a tiny percentage of Lope de Vega’s immense literary corpus, the number of titles far exceeds the scope of this article. Editorial Crítica stands out for scholarly merit and reliability, publishing critical editions of a few of Lope’s most notable plays: Fuente Ovejuna (Vega 2001), Peribáñez y el comendador de Ocaña (Peribañez and the commander of Ocaña, Vega 2002), El castigo sin venganza (Punishment without revenge, Vega 2009). For its part, the highly esteemed Editorial Gredos released Vega 2014, the first modern edition of the rediscovered comedy Mujeres y criados (Women and servants). Readers in search of additional titles should familiarize themselves with the larger publishing houses that tend to release low-cost, academically oriented, standardized editions of Lope’s more canonical literary work. Cátedra distributes the widest range of titles and genres, including collections of Lope’s poetry: Corona trágica (Tragic crown), La Dragontea (Drake the pirate), Isidro (Isidore), Laurel de Apolo (The laurel of Apollo), Rimas humanas y divinas del licenciado Tomé de Burguillos (Rhymes, both secular and divine, by the Licenciate Tomé de Burguillos). Cátedra also publishes novelistic works: Arcadia (The Arcadia), La Dorotea (Dorotea), Pastores de Belén (Shepherds of Bethlehem). Cátedra and rival Castalia (Clásicos Castalia) print their respective editions of two additional works of prose fiction: Novelas a Marcia Leonarda (Novellas for Marcia Leonarda) and El peregrino en su patria (The pilgrim in his homeland). They also publish Lope’s theatrical manifesto Arte nuevo de hacer comedias (The new art of writing plays) and two dramas: El castigo sin venganza (Punishment without revenge) and El villano en su rincón (The peasant in his corner). Cátedra and rival Espasa (Austral: Colección Clásica) distribute comparable editions of the following well-known plays: La dama boba (The dim-witted lady); El mejor alcalde, el rey (The best mayor, the king); Peribáñez y el comendador de Ocaña (Peribañez and the commander of Ocaña). All three publishing houses—Cátedra, Castalia (Clásicos Castalia) and Espasa (Austral: Colección Clásica)—market competing editions of the same three canonical plays: El caballero de Olmedo (The knight from Olmedo), Fuente Ovejuna (Fuente Ovejuna), and El perro del hortelano (The dog in the manger). Scholarly editions of Lope’s works of prose and poetry are also cited in the corresponding sections of this same article under the subheadings Prose Fiction and Poetry.

                                      • Castalia (Clásicos Castalia).

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                                        Clásicos Castalia publishes a collection of Lope’s letters (Cartas) in addition to a long list of plays: El acero de Madrid (The steel of Madrid), Los locos de Valencia (Madness in Valencia), Servir a señor discreto (To serve a discreet master), La viuda valenciana (The Valencian widow). The edition of Fuente Ovejuna allows readers to compare Lope’s and Cristóbal de Monroy y Silva’s respective dramatizations of history. In Spanish.

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                                        • Cátedra.

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                                          Among its various editions of Lope’s plays, Cátedra also publishes Las bizarrías de Belisa (The gallantries of Belisa). In Spanish.

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                                          • Espasa (Austral: Colección Clásica).

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                                            A full assortment of canonical plays, including Lope’s La moza de cántaro (Pitcher girl). In Spanish.

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                                            • Vega, Lope de. Fuente Ovejuna. Edited by Donald McGrady. Barcelona: Crítica, 2001.

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                                              An exceptional critical edition based on the Docena parte de las comedias de Lope de Vega (1619) and subsequent variations of the same.

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                                              • Vega, Lope de. Peribáñez y el comendador de Ocaña. Edited by Donald McGrady, and Marco Presotto. Barcelona: Crítica, 2002.

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                                                A perfectly annotated edition of one of Lope’s famous tragicomedies.

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                                                • Vega, Lope de. El castigo sin venganza. Edited by Alejandro García Reidy. Barcelona: Crítica, 2009.

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                                                  A carefully rendered critical edition based on Lope’s original handwritten manuscript. This tragedy is one of Lope’s very finest theatrical works.

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                                                  • Vega, Lope de. Mujeres y criados. Edited by Alejandro García Reidy. Madrid: Gredos, 2014.

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                                                    The text of this play was thought to have been lost until García Reidy found a manuscript copy in the Biblioteca Nacional de España (National Library of Spain). The play’s reception has been astounding, and it has been successfully staged at the influential Teatro Español in Madrid.

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                                                    Editions of Complete Works

                                                    Publishing Lope de Vega’s complete works is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. Indeed, Vega 1946–1972 impresses readers with the sheer physical immensity of Lope’s oeuvre. Vega 1993–2008 embodies over fifteen years of work on the part of series editors and publisher Fundación José Antonio de Castro (formerly Editorial Turner). Vega 1997– represents the ambitious undertaking of members of the Grupo de Investigación Prolope and publisher Editorial Gredos to release critical editions of the plays in Lope’s Partes (volumes of collected works), which first started to appear in the early 17th century.

                                                    • Vega, Lope de. Obras de Lope de Vega. 33 vols. Madrid: Atlas, 1946–1972.

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                                                      This series is ubiquitous in academic libraries, but newer editions of Lope’s complete or selected works prove much more reliable.

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                                                      • Vega, Lope de. Obras completas de Lope de Vega. Madrid: Fundación José Antonio de Castro, 1993–2008.

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                                                        The series is organized by genre. Fifteen volumes by various editors are devoted to Comedias (Plays). Donald McGrady edited Prosa (Prose), which consists of three volumes. Antonio Carreño edited Poesía (Poetry), which is contained in six volumes.

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                                                        • Vega, Lope de. Comedias. Madrid: Gredos, 1997–.

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                                                          Grupo de Investigación Prolope plans to publish twenty-five volumes of plays. To date, the group has completed fifteen.

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                                                          Textbooks and Student-Friendly Editions

                                                          Teacher-scholars should heed the fact that university-level students of Spanish as a second language find it challenging—and sometimes overwhelming—to read early modern texts and the scholarly notes and commentary that are typically found in critical editions of the same. Didactic editions of Lope de Vega’s plays can benefit heritage learners and nonnative speakers in need of instructive footnotes and glosses (i.e., lexical, grammatical, rhetorical, and historical explanations). Mujica 2014 is an appropriate textbook for undergraduate classrooms in North America that devote themselves to the study of 16th- and 17th-century Spanish drama. Three of the fifteen plays in the collection are attributed to Lope, with annotated texts in Spanish and introductions in English. Cervantes & Co. and Manchester University Press (Hispanic Texts) market individual editions of Lope’s plays in Spanish with editorial comments in English, which certain students find less cumbersome than having to look up translations or definitions for annotations written in Spanish. Still others prefer bilingual editions, which, in book format, present facing-page translations. Liverpool University Press acquired Aris and Phillips, which specializes in these parallel translations. Although Biblioteca Didáctica Anaya and Castalia Didáctica target high school students in Spain, their respective publications support the maintenance of a Spanish-only language environment in undergraduate-level courses.

                                                          English Translations

                                                          Anthologies of European literature regularly privilege Lope de Vega’s position within the Western tradition. For instance, the editorial team of The Norton Anthology of Western Literature (Puchner, et al. 2014) chose to maintain Lope’s illustrious play Fuente Ovejuna among the writings of Montaigne, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Milton in the updated ninth edition. Oberon Books publishes outstanding English-language translations of Lope’s plays, several of which have been staged by prestigious professional companies, including the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Current scholarly trends have led to translations of less familiar work. Three of Lope’s plays about the Americas, for example, can be found in a single volume, Vega 2003, which holds appeal for researchers in the growing field of transatlantic studies. Excitement over the rediscovery of Mujeres y criados (Women and servants) has brought about its translation in the form of Vega 2016. Drama scholars often refer to Vega 1914 for a translation of Lope’s versified manifesto on playwriting, Arte nuevo de hacer comedias (The new art of writing plays); however, Vega 2000 is much more recent and also merits attention. Other selections of Lope’s poetry appear in translation, routinely in collected works and anthologies. In this regard, George, et al. 2016 offers translations of a few of Lope’s best-loved poems. It is rather rare, however, to find modern-day English-language renderings of Lope’s prose fiction. Nonetheless, Vega 1985 is considered an outstanding translation of La Dorotea, Lope’s novel written in dialogue.

                                                          • George, David, Paul Garner, and John Rutherford. The Spanish Golden Age Sonnet. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2016.

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                                                            This anthology contains a selection of over one hundred poems and critical commentary about Lope de Vega and other sonneteers: Íñigo López de Mendoza (Marquis of Santillana), Juan Boscán, Garcilaso de la Vega, Fernando de Herrera, Francisco de Aldana, Cervantes, Góngora, Quevedo, Calderón de la Barca, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.

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                                                            • Oberon Books.

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                                                              Translations of plays include: A Bond Honoured (La fianza satisfecha), The Dog in the Manger (El perro del hortelano), Fuente Ovejuna (Fuente Ovejuna), The Jewess of Toledo (Las paces de los reyes y judía de Toledo), Lady Boba (La dama boba), Lost in a Mirror (El castigo sin venganza), Madness in Valencia (Los locos de Valencia), Peribañez and the Comendador of Ocaña (Peribánez y el comendador de Ocaña).

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                                                              • Puchner, Martin, Suzanne Conklin Akbari, Wiebke Denecke, and Barbara Fuchs. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. 9th ed. Vol. 1. New York: W. W. Norton, 2014.

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                                                                While expanding the ninth edition to include a wider array of texts (e.g., the first picaresque novel, poems by Spanish mystics, texts from or about the New World), the editorial team replaced an earlier translation of Lope’s drama Fuente Ovejuna for one that might prove more appealing to today’s readers. For an individual edition of this same work, please see Gregary Joseph Racz’s translation, Fuenteovejuna (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010).

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                                                                • Vega, Lope de. The New Art of Writing Plays. Translated by W. T. Brewster, and Brander Matthews. New York: Printed for the Dramatic Museum of Columbia University, 1914.

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                                                                  This translation has been reprinted and is still in use.

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                                                                  • Vega, Lope de. La Dorotea. Translated and edited by Alan S. Trueblood, and Edwin Honig. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1985.

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                                                                    A solid translation of an intriguing novel, which Lope patterned on the late medieval or early Renaissance classic La Celestina.

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                                                                    • Vega, Lope de. The New Art of Writing Plays. Translated by Marvin Carlson. In Theatre, Theory, Theatre: The Major Critical Texts from Aristotle to Zeami and Soyinka and Havel. Edited by Daniel C. Gerould, 135–145. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2000.

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                                                                      The lively strophes in this translation capture the playfulness and wit of the original.

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                                                                      • Vega, Lope de. Translations of the American Plays of Lope de Vega: The Discovery of the New World, The Conquest of Araucania, Brazil Restored. Edited and translated by Kenneth A. Stackhouse. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen, 2003.

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                                                                        Topics of conquest and discovery did not draw large crowds to Spanish theaters during the early period. Today, however, these plays lend themselves well to courses and research on transatlantic perspectives.

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                                                                        • Vega, Lope de. Women and Servants. Translated by Barbara Fuchs. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2016.

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                                                                          The much-anticipated translation of Lope’s previously lost comedy Mujeres y criados.

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                                                                          Bibliographies

                                                                          Bibliographical research comes in different forms, posing diverse challenges to Lope scholars. First, Lope de Vega penned his impressively vast literary corpus approximately four centuries ago. Although traditional paper bibliographies are now less common than in the past, the book-length chapter Presotto, et al. 2010 impressively charts Lope’s literary corpus by genre. In addition, investigators are still recovering and authenticating primary texts. While researchers associated with Artelope continually update their online database with detailed descriptions and bibliographical information about every play ever attributed to Lope (including those of doubtful authorship), their counterparts at the Grupo de Investigación Prolope have brought to light plays by the Fénix that were previously unfamiliar to modern-day audiences and readers. Second, Lope as the subject of critical study represents an extremely long and growing list of scholarly writings. For research on Spanish literature and Lope de Vega, the MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB) is indispensable. Other database subscription services, such as Literature Online (LION) and Literature Resource Center, also provide easy and quick access to substantive bibliographies and hundreds of full-text articles of literary criticism related to Lope de Vega. Similarly, a simple keyword search (“Lope de Vega”) of the open-access digital archive of the Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes renders over 1,500 entries, many of which contain live links to texts by or about Lope in pdf or html format. Titles of other materials of bibliographic interest can be found in this same article under the subheading Reference Works.

                                                                          • Artelope: Base de datos y argumentos del teatro de Lope de Vega.

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                                                                            Sponsored by the Universitat de València since 2011, this research group’s website contains bibliographic data about all of Lope de Vega’s theatrical works, including those incorrectly attributed to him. The entry for each play contains information about the corresponding manuscript (if extant), editions (original and modern), a list of characters, a plot summary, and so on. The website also offers a full-text digital library with over one hundred play scripts. In Spanish.

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                                                                            • Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes.

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                                                                              Database hosted by the Universitat d’Alacant since 1999. Some documents in the digital archives are modern editions of Lope’s work; others are scanned reproductions of early modern editions. The database also provides readers with the opportunity to access critical studies. In Spanish.

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                                                                              • Grupo de Investigación Prolope.

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                                                                                Based at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona since 1989, the project publishes critical editions of Lope’s plays. A full list of the group’s editions and essays and other relevant bibliographies are continually updated on the Prolope website. In Spanish. (Welcome page available in English and other languages.)

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                                                                                • Literature Online (LION).

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                                                                                  Searchable archive provides links to literary criticism about Lope de Vega, including full-text journal articles. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                  • Literature Resource Center.

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                                                                                    Distributed by the Gale Group (Cengage Learning), this searchable archive provides access to a brief biography about Lope de Vega, a list of his principal works, and full-text critical essays and journal articles. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                    • MLA International Bibliography (MLAIB).

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                                                                                      The best gateway available for locating journal articles, books, websites, and other publications. The author-as-subject search “Lope de Vega” renders approximately 3,000 entries. Available online by subscription.

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                                                                                      • Presotto, Marco, Marcella Trambaioli, Marta Quesada, et al. “Lope de Vega Carpio, Félix.” In Diccionario filológico de literatura española, siglo XVII. 2 vols. Edited by Pablo Jauralde Pou, 743–886. Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 2010.

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                                                                                        Bio-bibliographical study of major authors from the 17th century. The extensive listings on Lope de Vega are organized by genre: prose works, published poetry, poetic manuscripts, letters, theater, minor dramatic works. In Spanish.

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                                                                                        Biographies and Letters

                                                                                        A long, colorful life and wide gaps in the historical record have posed challenges to biographers of Lope de Vega. Martínez and Vega 2011 is a comprehensive compilation of biographical and autobiographical materials. Arellano and Mata Induráin 2011 appeals to Lope enthusiasts. However, earlier biographies, including Castro and Rennert 1968 (based on Rennert 1904), are still relevant. Informed readers should refer to Lope’s letters, especially Vega 2013. In addition, the integration of historical research and meticulous discourse analysis has opened new windows onto Lope’s life and work. Ferrer Valls 2005 brings into closer view the poet’s mixed feelings about writing for the stage. The innovative monograph Wright 2001 convincingly portrays Lope’s ambitions at midlife by focusing on his epic poetry. The enlightening tome García Reidy 2013 takes aim at economic aspects and societal pressures that influenced Lope’s professional life and career as a dramatist.

                                                                                        • Arellano, Ignacio, and Carlos Mata Induráin. Vida y obra de Lope de Vega. Madrid: Homo Legens, 2011.

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                                                                                          For general information on Spain and the poet’s life and work. The data presented is consistent with that of earlier biographies, but the volume lacks footnotes and a comprehensive bibliography. In Spanish.

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                                                                                          • Castro, Américo, and Hugo Albert Rennert. Vida de Lope de Vega (1562–1634). Salamanca: Anaya, 1968.

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                                                                                            Consists of Castro’s somewhat free translation of Rennert 1904. In Spanish.

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                                                                                            • Ferrer Valls, Teresa. “‘Sustento, en fin, en lo que escribí’: Lope de Vega y el conflicto de la creación.” In Pigmalión o el amor por lo creado. Edited by Facundo Tomás and Isabel Justo, 99–112. Barcelona: Anthropos, 2005.

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                                                                                              Provocative book chapter revealing Lope’s love-hate relationship with writing for the theater. In Spanish.

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                                                                                              • García Reidy, Alejandro. Las musas rameras: Oficio dramático y conciencia profesional en Lope de Vega. Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2013.

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                                                                                                Highly recommended study on the evolving concept of authorship in the early modern period and how Lope de Vega perceived himself as a professional playwright. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                • Martínez, José Florencio, and Lope de Vega. Biografía de Lope de Vega, 1562–1635: Un friso literario del Siglo de Oro. Barcelona: PPU, 2011.

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                                                                                                  Impressive compendium of facts and quotations, but the volume lacks a critical eye toward interpreting different representations of events by different authors (including Lope) over time. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                  • Rennert, Hugo Albert. The Life of Lope de Vega (1562–1635). Glasgow: Gowans and Gray, 1904.

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                                                                                                    For its day, this scholar’s biography of Lope was groundbreaking.

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                                                                                                    • Vega, Lope de. Cartas. Edited by Donald McGrady. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2013.

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                                                                                                      An impeccably edited volume of Lope’s correspondence, primarily addressed to his benefactor, the sixth duke of Sessa. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                      • Wright, Elizabeth R. Pilgrimage to Patronage: Lope de Vega and the Court of Philip III, 1598–1621. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                        This highly recommended monograph makes useful connections between particular moments in history and the cultural life of Imperial Spain, and between Lope’s life and intellectual production. The scholarship on the poet’s attempts at social climbing is compelling.

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                                                                                                        Journals and Conference Proceedings

                                                                                                        The Anuario Lope de Vega is currently the only periodical of its type devoted exclusively to publishing scholarship on Lope de Vega. Upon occasion, leading journals focused on the study of Iberian literary production in the early modern period dedicate a special issue to Lope under the auspices of a guest editor. Johnston, et al. 2015 (Bulletin of the Comediantes), Raynié 2014 (Criticón), and Arata 2003 (Criticón) are representative samples. Alternatively, conference proceedings devoted to Lope appear in print with relative frequency. These publications are typically connected to the meetings of learned societies, such as the groups of drama scholars associated with Jornadas de Teatro Clásico Español 2015 and Asociación Internacional de Teatro Español y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro, et al. 2010. For additional titles of serial publications that regularly include peer-reviewed articles on Lope de Vega, please see the separate Oxford Bibliographies article in Renaissance and Reformation “Spanish Literature.”

                                                                                                        • Anuario Lope de Vega. 1995–.

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                                                                                                          Administered by the Grupo de Investigación Prolope and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, this peer-reviewed journal has been an online publication since 2011. The periodical publishes scholarly articles addressing questions of literary and cultural analysis related directly or indirectly to Lope de Vega. In Catalan, English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

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                                                                                                          • Arata, Stefano. Special Issue: “Estaba el jardin en flor. . .”: Homenaje a Stefano Arata. Criticón 87–89 (2003): 1–942.

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                                                                                                            Lope de Vega is the subject of more than a dozen articles in this very special issue of Criticón. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                            • Asociación Internacional de Teatro Español y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro, Germán Vega García-Luengos, and Héctor Urzáiz Tortajada. Cuatrocientos años del Arte nuevo de hacer comedias de Lope de Vega: Actas selectas del XIV Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Teatro Español y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro: Olmedo, 20 al 23 de julio de 2009. Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid, Secretariado de Publicaciones e Intercambio Editorial, 2010.

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                                                                                                              Founded in 1991, the Asociación Internacional de Teatro Español y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro (AITENSO) organizes academic conferences about 16th- and 17th-century theater from Spain and Spanish America. This edited volume contains essays from conference proceedings in recognition of the four-hundredth anniversary of Lope’s manifesto on playwriting, Arte nuevo de hacer comedias (The new art of writing plays). In Spanish.

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                                                                                                              • Johnston, David, Donald R. Larson, Susan Paun de García, and Jonathan Thacker, eds. Special Issue: The Comedia: Translation and Performance. Bulletin of the Comediantes 67.1 (2015): 1–166.

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                                                                                                                In 2013, Out of the Wings and the Association for Hispanic Classical Theater(AHCT) co-sponsored a symposium that centered around fresh translations of two plays by Lope de Vega and one by Tirso de Molina, all of which were performed by the Ustinov Studio (Theatre Royal, Bath, England). This issue of Bulletin of the Comediantes is mainly dedicated to questions of translation and performance related to works by Lope.

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                                                                                                                • Jornadas de Teatro Clásico Español. El último Lope (1618–1635) y la escena. [Cuenca]: Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, 2015.

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                                                                                                                  The Instituto Almagro de Teatro Clásico and the Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha host an academic symposium every summer that coincides with the Festival de Teatro Clásico de Almagro. Based on conference proceedings from 2013, the volume cited here sheds light on Lope’s later dramatic works and their staging. Earlier conferences devoted to Lope resulted in similar volumes, which appeared in 1996, 2003, and 2011. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                  • Raynié, Florence, ed. Special Issue: Lope sin fronteras. Criticón 122 (2014): 5–198.

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                                                                                                                    Issue of French-based journal Criticón dedicated to the life and work (especially poetry, prose, and drama) of Lope de Vega. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                    Criticism

                                                                                                                    With the exception of the picaresque novel, Lope de Vega tried his hand at almost every prevalent literary genre of his day. At present, however, there tends to be more scholarly activity surrounding Lope’s poetry and drama than his prose fiction. Among these three broad categories (prose fiction, poetry and drama), perhaps Lope’s comedias (plays) have generated the greatest controversy in recent decades; that said, heated debate is familiar to Lope scholars regardless of area of specialization. In the 19th and much of the 20th century, Hispanists generated an authoritative (and consistently sanitized) version of the Fénix as a pillar of Spain’s literary canon. This conservative image intensified during the Franco regime, which venerated Lope for his purported strict adherence to and uncritical support of church and state. In the 1970s and 1980s (toward the end of the right-wing dictatorship and during the post-Franco years), Marxist social historians reacted by dismissing Lope, especially his comedias, as part of the propagandistic arm of the Habsburg Empire. Although this arguably reductionist interpretation of the Spanish Baroque and its corresponding archetypal form of criticism are still influential, scholarship on Lope turned a corner in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Critical analysis—with an eye toward subject formation or identity studies (e.g., race, ethnicity, feminism, gender, sexuality)—reveals the complexities of Lope de Vega and his oeuvre. Given the abundance of secondary sources, the annotated bibliographies presented here are but a fraction of modern-day Lope criticism.

                                                                                                                    Prose Fiction

                                                                                                                    Like many authors of his day, Lope de Vega frequently turned to biblical or classical sources for inspiration when writing prose fiction. Collins 2013 explores the lofty relationship of ekphrastic structures and identity formation in the telling of Arcadia (1598), Lope’s early attempt at renovating pastoral romance. In contrast, the titular characters of the later novel Pastores de Belén (Shepherds of Bethlehem, 1611), as described in Vega 2010, take a relatively straightforward path toward the divine. Other works of prose fiction tend to defy generic classification, a dynamic that—either directly or indirectly—has kept Lope scholars occupied whenever form and content take unexpected somersaults. A poet, for example, is one of the protagonists of La Dorotea (1632), Lope’s well-known poetic prose drama (or novel written entirely in expressive dialogue). Such generic playfulness possibly accounts for why Trueblood 1974 is both a classic study of La Dorotea as prose fiction and a helpful introduction to students of balladry. The sense of playfulness conveyed in Lope’s telling of tales also motivated scholars in the 1980s and 1990s—informed by contemporary literary theory, including the concept of discursive formation—to draw parallels between early modern prose fiction and postmodern aesthetics. Brownlee 1981, in this regard, offers substantial insight into his collection of short fiction, Novelas a Marcia Leonarda (Novellas for Marcia Leonarda, 1624), whose tongue-in-cheek narrator, as Rabell 1992 contends, artfully defends—in the name of creative fiction writing—the mixing of what past critics would have deemed to be incompatible discourses. As a final case in point, Samson 2008 cogently argues that El peregrino en su patria (The pilgrim in his homeland, 1604) can be read as Lope’s unorthodox postmodern romp through Counter-Reformation orthodoxy.

                                                                                                                    • Brownlee, Marina Scordilis. The Poetics of Literary Theory: Lope de Vega’s Novelas a Marcia Leonarda and their Cervantine Context. Madrid: J. Porrúa Turanzas, 1981.

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                                                                                                                      Pioneering monograph that examines Lope’s manipulation of discursive practices and the impact of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s prose fiction.

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                                                                                                                      • Collins, Marsha S. “Artful Edifices and the Construction of Identity in Montemayor’s Diana and Lope’s Arcadia.” In Objects of Culture in the Literature of Imperial Spain. Edited by Mary E. Barnard and Frederick A. De Armas, 31–53. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                        This essay combines well with another in which the scholar describes Arcadia as an experimental work whose very eccentricities undermine resistance to change in pastoral as a genre. See: Collins’s “Lope’s Arcadia: A Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” Renaissance Quarterly 57.3 (2004): 882–907.

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                                                                                                                        • Rabell, Carmen. Lope de Vega: El arte nuevo de hacer “novellas.” London: Tamesis, 1992.

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                                                                                                                          Monograph underscoring that literary theory in Lope’s day embraced classical, ecclesiastical, and biblical discourses in defense of imaginative works of secular fiction.

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                                                                                                                          • Samson, Alexander. “Life’s Pilgrim: El peregrino en su patria.” In A Companion to Lope de Vega. Edited by Alexander Samson and Jonathan Thacker, 229–243. Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis, 2008.

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                                                                                                                            This brief study of El peregrino en su patria also serves as an introduction to Lope’s prose fiction.

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                                                                                                                            • Trueblood, Alan S. Experience and Artistic Expression in Lope de Vega: The Making of La Dorotea. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974.

                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.4159/harvard.9780674594401Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                              A monumental study. Apart from a thorough discussion of La Dorotea, there are informative chapters on Lope’s ballads and sonnets (pp. 48–85 and pp. 86–114, respectively).

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                                                                                                                              • Vega, Lope de. Pastores de Belén: Prosas y versos divinos. Edited by Antonio Carreño. Madrid: Cátedra, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                Sincere devotion is on display in this scholarly edition. The characters take a relatively straight path through the Old Testament to Bethlehem, where they witness the nativity of Jesus. Their long journey is rewarded through songs, including villancicos (carols) and Spanish lullabies.

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                                                                                                                                Poetry

                                                                                                                                Throughout his long career, Lope de Vega experimented with and mastered different genres and subgenres of literary expression. Applied to his abundant poetic output, Lope enjoyed moving from one extreme to another in terms of form (lyric and non-lyric) and content (secular and religious), which is apparent in Vega 2013. Early in his career, for instance, Lope wrote the somber epic La Dragontea (Drake the pirate, 1598), which Wright 2008 astutely argues served as a warning to Phillip III to protect the Spanish Empire’s possessions in the New World. In contrast, at the end of his career, Lope published the immensely entertaining burlesque epic poem La gatomaquía (The battle of the cats, 1634), which Simerka 2003 views as a parody of discursive celebrations of war and empire. Weber 2005, a landmark article, proposes that Lope’s real-life literary patron serves as the inscribed private reader of several devotional sonnets, making a strong case for Lope’s reliance on spiritual verse and his belated ordination into the priesthood as a way of admonishing his noble benefactor for a perceived lack of moral rectitude. While Grieve 1992 contrasts two major collections of sonnets by Lope at mid-career, Rimas (Lyric poetry, 1609) and Rimas sacras (Sacred lyric poetry, 1614), Torres 2008 deftly presents the final collection of this type, Las rimas humanas y divinas de Tomé de Burguillos (Rhymes, both secular and divine, by the Licenciate Tomé de Burguillos, 1634), which Lope published at the end of his career. In addition to a thorough review of critical approaches to Lope’s poetry, Sánchez Jiménez 2006 introduces readers to the convention of authorial self-consciousness in the early modern period. Through a close reading of one of Lope’s ponderous poetic epistles, Cuestión del honor debido a la poesía (Question of the honor owed to poetry, 1602), Brown 2009 examines the world of Renaissance poetics and how the Fénix establishes his authority as a poeta-philosophus. Similarly, Mascia 2005 looks at the construction of authority in Lope’s semi-autobiographic Égloga a Claudio (Eclogue to Claudio, c. 1631). Although Isidro: poema castellano (Isidore: A Castilian poem, 1599) is ostensibly a commemoration of Madrid’s patron saint in simple verse, Wright 1999 effectively argues that Lope’s penchant for self-writing undermines parts of this hagiography.

                                                                                                                                • Brown, Gary J. “Lope Defending Poetry vs. Lope Writing Poetry: The Conflicts of ‘donde habla amor puro.’” MLN 124.2 (2009): 350–371.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1353/mln.0.0129Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Introduces Renaissance poetics through a rich analysis of Lope’s oratorical defense of poetry, which Brown compares with Sidney’s Apology for Poetry (1595).

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                                                                                                                                  • Grieve, Patricia E. “Point and Counterpoint in Lope de Vega’s Rimas and Rimas sacras.” Hispanic Review 60.4 (1992): 413–434.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.2307/473426Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Astute analysis of intertextual exchange (that is, the conversations that take place) between Rimas 1609 and Rimas sacras 1614. The study is revealing of both Lope’s trajectory as a poet and his understanding of Renaissance poetics.

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                                                                                                                                    • Mascia, Mark J. “Constructing Authority in Lope de Vega’s Égloga a Claudio: Self-Referentiality, Literary Judgment, and Ethics.” Romance Notes 45.2 (2005): 181–191.

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                                                                                                                                      Detailed reading of one of the poet’s longer works (which is more epistle than eclogue), revealing Lope’s opinions on the art of writing poetry, disdain for the stylistic excesses of rival poet Luis de Góngora’s culteranismo, and his own status as a poet.

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                                                                                                                                      • Sánchez Jiménez, Antonio. Lope pintado por sí mismo: Mito e imagen del autor en la poesía de Lope de Vega Carpio. Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                        This insightful, well-written monograph provides a thorough review of different critical approaches to the interpretation of Lope’s poetic work while simultaneously interrogating assumptions about the poet’s sincerity as regards authorial self-fashioning. The scholar also offers an exceptional compilation of poems concentrating on Lope’s rise in popularity in the late 16th century. Please see Lope de Vega’s, Romances de juventud, edited by Antonio Sánchez Jiménez (Madrid: Cátedra, 2015).

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                                                                                                                                        • Simerka, Barbara. “‘War and Lechery’: La gatomaquía and the Burlesque Epic.” In Discourses of Empire: Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain. By Barbara Simerka, 161–180. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                          In addition to the chapter on Lope, the book in its entirety is an intelligent study of discourses that run counter to conquest and empire. This is significant because Simerka’s argument challenges the traditional assumption that Iberia’s cultural production was monolithic in its support of the Spanish Habsburgs and their imperial project.

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                                                                                                                                          • Torres, Isabel. “Interloping Lope: Transformation and Tomé de Burguillos.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies 85.3 (2008): 273–288.

                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/14753820802048174Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                            Excellent article that delves into how Lope writes against Lope; that is, how the mature poet contrasts his self-representation in Las rimas humanas y divinas de Tomé de Burguillos with earlier self-representations in other poetic works.

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                                                                                                                                            • Vega, Lope de. Poesía selecta. Edited by Antonio Carreño. Madrid: Cátedra, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                              First published in 1984 and last updated in 2013, this scholarly edition offers an ample selection of poems and commentary (some seven hundred pages). Lope’s poetry is organized into different periods and follows the trajectory of his personal life and career. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                              • Weber, Alison. “Lope de Vega’s Rimas Sacras: Conversion, Clientage, and the Performance of Masculinity.” PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 120.2 (2005): 404–421.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1632/003081205X52400Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Article explores Lope’s possible motivations for reproaching the duke of Sessa’s behavior by centering on the poet’s and his patron’s respective reputations.

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                                                                                                                                                • Wright, Elizabeth R. “Virtuous Labor, Courtly Laborer: Canonization and a Literary Career in Lope de Vega’s Isidro.” MLN 114.2 (1999): 223–240.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1353/mln.1999.0034Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  Study reveals that Isidro, though dedicated to Madrid’s patron saint, is also about the poet’s self-promotion.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Wright, Elizabeth R. “From Drake to Draque: An Elizabethan Hero with a Spanish Accent.” In Material and Symbolic Circulation between Spain and England, 1554–1604. Edited by Anne Cruz, 29–38. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                    Fascinating analysis of various accounts of Sir Francis Drake, including Lope’s epic about Drake’s life and death.

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                                                                                                                                                    Rivalry with Góngora

                                                                                                                                                    Recent scholarship on the bitter rivalry between Lope de Vega and Luis de Góngora (b. 1561–d. 1627), especially the published series of attacks and responses involving the poets and their respective followers, has cast new light on the lurid world of professional jealousy and Baroque poetics. Tubau 2007, González Barrera and López de Aguilar 2011, and Conde Parrado and Tubau 2015 add depth and specificity to today’s understanding of the literary polemic that pitted these poets against each other.

                                                                                                                                                    • Conde Parrado, Pedro, and Xavier Tubau. Expostulatio Spongiae: En defensa de Lope de Vega. Madrid: Gredos, 2015.

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                                                                                                                                                      Critical edition and analysis of the 1618 public defense of Lope’s private life and oeuvre. Text in Latin and corresponding translation and detailed study in Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                      • González Barrera, Julián, and Francisco López de Aguilar. Expostulatio Spongiae: Fuego cruzado en nombre de Lope. Kassell: Edition Reichenberger, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                        This is the first critical edition and complete translation of Expostulatio.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Tubau, Xavier. Una polémica literaria: Lope de Vega y Diego de Colmenares. Pamplona: Universidad de Navarra, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                          Critical edition and analysis of Lope de Vega’s attacks on Luis de Góngora’s New Poetry and Diego de Colmenares’ responses in defense of the same. The volume is a valuable resource for understanding Baroque poetics. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                          Arte nuevo de hacer comedias

                                                                                                                                                          For modern-day readers, it might seem odd that one of Lope de Vega’s best-known poetic works is also a manifesto on playwriting, Arte nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo (The new art of writing plays in this day and age), which was first published in 1609. Burningham 1998 and Thacker 2008 outline the significance of this didactic poem for scholars and students of the early modern stage. Vega 2006 is an up-to-date scholarly edition. Other editions can be found in this same article under the subheading English Translations.

                                                                                                                                                          • Burningham, Bruce R. “Barbarians at the Gates: The Invasive Discourse of Medieval Performance in Lope’s Arte Nuevo.” Theatre Journal 50.3 (1998): 289–302.

                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/tj.1998.0083Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                            This journal article does an admirable job of explaining the impact of classical precepts and European performance traditions on Lope’s drama theories.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Thacker, Jonathan. “The Arte nuevo de hacer comedias: Lope’s Dramatic Statement.” In A Companion to Lope de Vega. Edited by Alexander Samson and Jonathan Thacker, 109–118. Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                              Introduction to Lope’s theories on drama, with a thorough analysis of the poem’s multiple functions, including oratory and apology.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Vega, Lope de. Arte nuevo de hacer comedias. Edited by Enrique García Santo-Tomás. Madrid: Cátedra, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                Lope explains his method for writing polymetric plays. Changes in verse form correspond to shifts in mood or emotion in the storyline, or to the specific class background of characters. For example, sonnets are often reserved for soliloquies. Also, since all characters speak in rhyming verse, kings recite lines of nine or more syllables to distinguish themselves from menservants, who recite lines of eight or fewer syllables. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                                Drama

                                                                                                                                                                Perhaps it is still open to debate whether some of the great scholars of the 20th-century, including the social historian José Antonio Maravall (see Maravall 1986), were correct in reducing Lope de Vega to the mere role of monarchist propagandist. This prescriptive argument has nevertheless had a lasting impact on theater studies. Bass 2013 succinctly introduces several prominent academicians who currently embrace multiple interpretations of the comedia nueva (new drama/comedy), and who, thereby, reject the view that Lope and his contemporaries were mindless lackeys of a monolithic absolutist state. García Santo-Tomás 2000 and McKendrick 2000 are frequently cited as landmark studies that, for contrasting reasons, promote diverse theoretical approaches to Lope’s work as a dramatist; even so, Stern 1982 should be required reading for anyone trying to understand paradigms under which Lope scholars have labored. In this regard, one important area of academic interest over time has been the question of dramatic closure in the comedia nueva. Regueiro 1995, Connor 2000, Donnell 2003, and Carrión 2010 address the theatrical convention of concluding full-length plays with depictions of marriage celebrations and, more to the point, the literalist interpretation that these fictional endings (and the plays to which they are attached) were solely instruments of cultural control. Like Greer 2000, comedia scholars today are willing to interrogate the wisdom of imposing literal interpretations on Lope’s plays and on 16th- and 17th-century drama in general, but many of these same academicians resist attempts to explore Lope’s and the comedia’s subversive potential.

                                                                                                                                                                • Bass, Laura R. “Introduction.” In Special Issue: The Comedia and Cultural Control: The Legacy of José Antonio Maravall. Bulletin of the Comediantes 65.1 (2013): 1–13.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1353/boc.2013.0012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Concise introduction to a collection of essays about the impact social historian José Antonio Maravall has had on comedia studies.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Carrión, María M. Subject Stages: Marriage, Theatre, and the Law in Early Modern Spain. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                    This monograph on marriage draws on multiple examples of what generations of past scholars would have dismissed as disparate discourses and cultural artifacts. Among the book’s captivating arguments is a detailed study of Lope’s comedy El perro del hortelano (The dog in the manger).

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Connor, Catherine. “Marriage and Subversion in Comedia Endings: Problems in Art and Society.” In Gender, Identity, and Representation in Spain’s Golden Age. Edited by Anita K. Stoll and Dawn L. Smith, 23–46. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                      Though not exclusively about Lope de Vega, this essay provides a strong overview of the problem that generic closure poses to scholars of the comedia nueva.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Donnell, Sidney. Feminizing the Enemy: Imperial Spain, Transvestite Drama, and the Crisis of Masculinity. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                        In addition to a chapter-length study of a romantic comedy attributed to Lope, El paraíso de Laura y florestas del amor (Laura’s paradise and love’s forests) (pp. 161–184), a theoretical discussion of closure weaves its way through this monograph on gender and genre.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • García Santo-Tomás, Enrique. La creación del Fénix: Recepción crítica y formación canónica del teatro de Lope de Vega. Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                          This monograph traces the reception across the centuries of Lope’s artistic manifesto El arte nuevo de hacer comedias and his emblematic plays El perro del hortelano, El mejor alcalde, el rey, and Fuente Ovejuna. The author takes care to interrogate commonly held assumptions about the dramatist and his work. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Greer, Margaret. “A Tale of Three Cities: The Place of the Theater in Early Modern Madrid, Paris and London.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 77 (2000): 391–419.

                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/00074900051082626Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                            In this comparative analysis of the early modern stage, the renowned scholar acknowledges the potential of audiences to arrive at a plurality of valid interpretations when confronted with plays by Lope and his contemporaries.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Maravall, José Antonio. Culture of the Baroque: Analysis of a Historical Structure. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Though brilliant, this social history and compelling master narrative of the Spanish Baroque casts Lope de Vega and other writers as mere cogs in the Habsburg state apparatus. This is the English-language translation of the earlier edition in Spanish: La cultura del barroco: análisis de una estructura histórica (Barcelona: Ariel, 1975).

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                                                                                                                                                                              • McKendrick, Melveena. Playing the King: Lope de Vega and the Limits of Conformity. Woodbridge, UK: Tamesis, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                Treats political plays as informed critiques of kingship: La corona merecida (The well-deserved crown); El duque de Viseo (The duke of Viseo), La fe rompida (Broken faith), La fortuna merecida (Well-earned fortune), Porfiando vence amor (Love overcomes by persevering), El postrer godo de España (The last Goth of Spain), El príncipe despeñado (The fallen prince), Querer la propia desdicha (Desiring one’s own misfortune), El servir con mala estrella (Serving under a bad star).

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Regueiro, José M. “Textual Discontinuities and the Problems of Closure in the Spanish Drama of the Golden Age.” In Cultural Authority in Golden Age Spain. Edited by Marina S. Brownlee and Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, 28–50. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  Arguing against archetypal criticism, the essayist presents cogent textual analysis of plays with problematic marriages, including Lope’s El Arenal de Sevilla (The Arenal of Seville) and La ocasión perdida (The lost opportunity).

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Stern, Charlotte. “Lope de Vega, Propagandist?” Bulletin of the Comediantes 34.1 (1982): 1–36.

                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1353/boc.1982.0017Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                    Concise, highly relevant essay. Stern carefully outlines the arguments of prominent literary critics, theorists, and social historians, showing how their theories collapse when applied to Lope de Vega’s more elaborate plays.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    Gender and Sexuality

                                                                                                                                                                                    Literary criticism informed by feminism, psychoanalysis, gender theory, and sexuality studies has opened a window onto a more proto-feminist, gender-bending, and sex-positive understanding of Lope de Vega than previously considered. Rather than a niche within a broader field of research, scholars in gender and sexuality studies address what is potentially subversive about Lope as Monstruo de naturaleza (Freak of nature). Readers seeking essays on assorted topics related to gender or sexuality and Lope’s oeuvre should begin with McKendrick 1984, Soufas 1997, Vélez Quiñones 1999, Salvi 2005, Barlow 2013, and Carrión 2013. For lengthier studies, readers should refer to Yarbro-Bejarano 1994, Cartagena Calderón 2008, and González Ruiz 2009. For additional bibliography on gender and sexuality as related to interpretations of Lope de Vega, please refer to this same article under the subheading Drama.

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Barlow, Jennifer E. “Checkmate: The Gifting Game and Gender Performance Anxiety in Lope de Vega’s La Dorotea.” Hispanic Review 81.3 (2013): 245–262.

                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/hir.2013.0022Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                      Intelligent article on sexual politics, gender roles, and social mobility in Lope’s novel La Dorotea.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Carrión, María M. “The Balcony of the Chapín, or The Vain Architecture of Shoes in Early Modern Spain.” In Special Issue: Touching the Ground: Women’s Footwear in the Early Modern Hispanic World. Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 14.2 (2013): 143–158.

                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1080/14636204.2013.868242Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                        Stimulating article on women’s agency through an analysis of Lope’s comedy El perro del hortelano (The dog in the manger), sartorial codes, and an early modern version of the elevator shoe.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Cartagena Calderón, José Reinaldo. Masculinidades en obras: El drama de la hombría en la España imperial. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          Rewarding chapters on Lope’s Spanish Muslim drama, Los hechos de Garcilaso de la Vega (The exploits of Garcilaso de la Vega) (pp. 54–113), and his American plays, El Nuevo Mundo descubierto por Cristóbal Colón (The New World discovered by Christopher Columbus) and Arauco domado (The Araucans tamed) (pp. 114–189). In addition to a nuanced analysis of masculine types, the book regrettably reproduces archetypal criticism of Lope’s purported ultraconservatism. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • González Ruiz, Julio. Amistades peligrosas: El discurso homoerótico en el teatro de Lope de Vega. New York: Peter Lang, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Unique monograph on homoerotic discourse through close readings of three very entertaining comedies: La prueba de los ingenios (The test of wits), La boda entre dos maridos (The marriage between two husbands), and El mesón de la corte (The court’s inn). The point of departure is Lope’s highly suggestive letters to his patron, the duke of Sessa. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            • McKendrick, Melveena. “Celebration or Subversion?: Los comendadores de Córdoba Reconsidered.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 61.3 (1984): 352–360.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              Important essay on gender roles and masculine honor. McKendrick reads the excessive violence on display in Lope’s Los comendadores de Córdoba (The knights-commander of Cordoba) as satirical. In other words, the dramatist is undermining generic conventions while appearing to respect the same.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Salvi, Marcella. “The Queen’s Two Bodies: Sexual Politics in Lope de Vega’s La reina Juana de Nápoles.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 57.1 (2005): 45–59.

                                                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1353/boc.2005.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                Thoughtful journal article on Lope’s historical drama La reina Juana de Nápoles (Queen Juana of Naples). The essayist explores the ways in which men silence a woman once she assumes a position of power.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Soufas, Teresa S. “Writing Wives out of Golden Age Drama: Gender Ideology and Lope’s La dama boba.” In New Historicism and the Comedia: Poetics, Politics and Praxis. Edited by José A. Madrigal, 129–148. Boulder, CO: Society of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies, University of Colorado, 1997.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  Intriguing book chapter on Lope’s comedy La dama boba (The dim-witted lady) and the early modern codes of silence that the two female protagonists are supposed to observe.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Vélez Quiñones, Harry. Monstrous Displays: Representation and Perversion in Spanish Literature. New Orleans, LA: University Press of the South, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    Analyzes Lope’s tragedy El castigo sin venganza (Punishment without revenge) for sexual deviance, the bawdy comedy El rufián Castrucho (The ruffian Castrucho) for transvestite effects, and two comedias de salvajes (plays about savages)—Nacimiento de Ursón y Valentín (Birth of Ursón and Valentín) and El animal de Hungría (The animal of Hungary)—for alternative forms of desire. Queer readings take Spain’s favorite Monstruo to monstrously new heights (pp. 1–121).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Yarbro-Bejarano, Yvonne. Feminism and the Honor Plays of Lope de Vega. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      An early book-length feminist reading of Lope’s honor plays, in which the critic reveals both subversive moments and the very heterogeneity that many of her contemporaries tried to reject.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      “Race” and Ethnicity

                                                                                                                                                                                                      How did Lope de Vega and his contemporaries perceive “race”? Did Lope have a critique of racism? Or is his writing simply racist? In response, scholars assume different stances on Lope’s representations of race and ethnicity. As Sánchez Jiménez 2007 and Cowling 2015 demonstrate, the Fénix paid unequal attention to communities populating the New World by honoring some and disparaging (or simply ignoring) others based on their respective relationships to the Spanish Empire. Certainly, Fra Molinero 1995, Beusterien 2006, and Mescall 2011 are wholly justified in citing racial and ethnic biases in Lope’s portrayals of black Africans or Ottoman Turks. In contrast, Connor 1988, Burshatin 1992, Fuchs 2009, and Weissberger 2012 are astute to focus on Lope’s capacity to lend voice to Counter-Reformation Spain’s racialized others, especially Jews and Muslims. In this light, Lope as poet-novelist-dramatist assumed divergent viewpoints, both political and artistic, over an amazingly long and multifarious literary career. Researchers, therefore, should be wary of easy answers to this complex and well-warranted line of inquiry.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Beusterien, John. An Eye on Race: Perspectives from Theater in Imperial Spain. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Explores religious plays for anti-Semitism (El niño inocente de La Guardia [The innocent child of La Guardia] and Auto sacramental de la circuncisión y sangría de Cristo [Passion play of the circumcision and bloodletting of Christ]) (pp. 86–100), and racism (El prodigio de Etiopía [The prodigy of Ethiopia], El negro del mejor amo [The black man’s best master], El santo negro de Rosambuco [The black saint of Rosambuco]) (pp. 123–140).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Burshatin, Israel. “Playing the Moor: Parody and Performance in Lope de Vega’s El primer Fajardo.” PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 107.3 (1992): 566–581.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.2307/462762Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Groundbreaking journal article on Lope’s play El primer Fajardo (The first Fajardo), which is set during the so-called Christian Reconquest of the Iberian Peninsula. In a context in which cultural differences are impersonated, names are reassigned, and new identities are assumed and performed, the goal of eliminating the Christian community’s Muslim “other” is rendered absurd.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Connor, Catherine. “Lope’s Dialogic Imagination: Writing Other Voices of ‘Monolithic’ Spain.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 40.2 (1988): 205–226.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1353/boc.1988.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Journal article showing tension between the respective voices of the anti-Semitic Christian majority and its Jewish “other” in the plays El niño inocente de La Guardia (The innocent child of La Guardia) and Las paces de los reyes y judía de Toledo (The monarchs’ peace and the Jewess of Toledo).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Cowling, Erin Alice. “Sois de diablos: Portraying Indigenous Female Characters on the Golden Age Stage.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 67.2 (2015): 131–156.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1353/boc.2015.0022Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Journal article comparing Lope’s portrayals of indigenous women in his New World plays (El Nuevo Mundo descubierto por Cristóbal Colón [The New World discovered by Christopher Columbus] and Arauco domado [The Araucans tamed]) with those by other dramatists. The author divides the sample representations into three groups based on the type of othering obtained in each play.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Fra Molinero, Baltasar. La imagen de los negros en el teatro del Siglo de Oro. Mexico City and Madrid: Siglo Veintiuno Editores, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                In a metropole in which blackness was synonymous with slavery, this monograph indicts the institutional racism of Imperial Spain and the role Lope de Vega played in inventing and perpetuating cultural stereotypes on stage.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fuchs, Barbara. Exotic Nation: Maurophilia and the Construction of Early Modern Spain. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Remarkable monograph on the role “othering” played in early modern Spain’s construction of a national identity. Fuchs frames Lope de Vega’s balladry in the context of maurophilia (love of the Muslim “other”—pp. 74–87), explaining that the romancero morisco is a dialogic subgenre in which Lope willingly assumes the voice of “other” despite a political environment in which the patriotism of maurophiles was under attack.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Mescall, Anjela María. “Staging the Moor: Turks, Moriscos, and Antichrists in Lope de Vega’s El otomano famoso.” Renaissance Drama 39 (2011): 37–67.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A rediscovered play (El otomano famoso [The famous Ottoman]) attributed to the Fénix serves as evidence that Lope demonized Muslim communities, especially the Ottomans (Turks), because of the immediate threat they posed to Christian Spain.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Sánchez Jiménez, Antonio. “Raza, identidad y rebelión en los confines del Imperio hispánico: Los cimarrones de Santiago del Príncipe y La Dragontea 1598 de Lope de Vega.” Hispanic Review 75.2 (2007): 113–133.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1353/hir.2007.0012Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Journal article on significant digressions in the epic poem La Dragontea (Drake the pirate), in which Lope recognizes black fugitive slaves for their support of Imperial Spain in defeating Sir Francis Drake’s final incursion into modern-day Panama. In Spanish.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Weissberger, Barbara. “Blindness and Anti-Semitism in Lope’s El niño inocente de la Guardia.” In Conversos and Moriscos in Late Medieval Spain and Beyond. Vol. 2. The Morisco Issue. Edited by Kevin Ingram, 203–217. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        The sophisticated historical and discursive analysis in this book chapter reveals tremendous ambivalence about Jews and Conversos on the part of the playwright.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Popular Culture

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        It would be a mistake to separate Lope de Vega’s privileged place in Spain’s popular imaginary from his role in cultural production. Both can be understood as viable, overlapping threads in the construction of Castilian or Spanish national identity. In this light, Wheeler 2012 documents contemporary productions of early modern plays on stage, screen, and television, and in so doing reveals how Lope’s image in the 20th century was transformed from man of the people to yes-man of the totalitarian state. Subsequently, there was a decline in interest in Lope and Spanish classical drama during the twenty-year period following Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s death in 1975. Approaching the millennial eve, however, Miró 1995 —a lively screen adaptation of Lope’s romantic comedy El perro del hortelano (The dog in the manger)—became a critical and box-office success, which helped to introduce the dramatist to younger audiences and to present a revitalized image of Lope to older viewers. In spite of this significant change, there are still widely contrasting representations of this literary icon and his oeuvre. Although the feature-length biopic Lope (Waddington 2010) superficially glorifies the young titular hero’s womanizing, it also suggestively links Lope’s personal and professional conquests as lover and poet-dramatist to his intense desire for upward social mobility. Certainly, the mythologized version of the Fénix as unequivocal supporter of the Spanish Empire strikes back from time to time. Indeed, the second televised episode of the highly viewed fantasy series El Ministerio del Tiempo (The ministry of time; see Shaaff 2015) poses a fascinating—though uncritical—hypothetical question: What would Spain look like if Lope had died during the Spanish Armada’s failed invasion of England in 1588? The screenwriters did not try to answer the query. Spain without Lope de Vega is as unfathomable as England without William Shakespeare. Nevertheless, as Rueda Laffond and Coronado Ruiz 2016 explains, the episode’s portrayal of Lope as a young man—like the series as a whole—is imbued with essentialist and hegemonic messages about the nation. Ultimately, this conservative stance on Lope de Vega avoids addressing a much more fundamental (and polemical) modern-day question: What is Spain?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Miró, Pilar, dir. El perro del hortelano. Written by Lope de Vega, Pilar Miró, and Rafael Pérez Sierra. Madrid: Creativos Asociados de Radio Televisión (CARTEL), 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Pilar Miró’s dynamic adaptation serves as the standard by which subsequent feature-length film versions of early modern comedias (plays) are judged.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Rueda Laffond, José Carlos, and Carlota Coronado Ruiz. “Historical Science Fiction: From Television Memory to Transmedia Memory in El Ministerio del Tiempo.” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 17.1 (2016): 87–101.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/14636204.2015.1135601Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Journal article exploring what is both technically innovative and narratively retrograde about the television series El Ministerio del Tiempo. As to the latter point, the researchers argue that the series intensifies conservative social values in keeping with Spain’s governing party and the show’s producer, Televisión Española (TVE, Spain’s state-sponsored broadcaster).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Shaaff, Abigail, dir. “Tiempo de Gloria.” El Ministerio del Tiempo, Season 1, episode 2. Written by Javier Olivares and Pablo Olivares. Madrid: Televisión Española (TVE), 2 March 2015.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The premise of the series is that a ministry of the Spanish State, which has existed since the reign of Queen Isabel, sends secret agents back in time to battle mysterious figures who want to change the course of history. The relevant episode, “Tiempo de Gloria” (Time of glory), is set in Lisbon in 1588.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Waddington, Andrucha, dir. Lope. Written by Jordi Gasull and Ignacio del Moral. Madrid: Antena 3 Films, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Set in Madrid and Lisbon in the 1580s, this feature-length film depicts Lope’s love life and professional aspirations as a poet-dramatist. Like other popular representations, the youth is portrayed as a swashbuckling womanizer; however, the film also appears somewhat critical of Habsburg imperial expansion and destabilizes the modern-day notion that Lope was necessarily destined for greatness.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Wheeler, Duncan. Golden Age Drama in Contemporary Spain: The Comedia on Page, Stage and Screen. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Excellent monograph tracing the reception of the Spanish comedia (comedy/drama) in the 20th and early 21st centuries, with Lope de Vega as one of the book’s central protagonists. Chapter 2 (pp. 75–104) is devoted in its entirety to what is perhaps Lope’s most famous drama, Fuente Ovejuna, in Spain and abroad.

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