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La moza de cántaro   By: (1562-1635)

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( Docteur de l'Université de Grenoble ) Professor of Romance Languages in West Virginia University





The vast number of the works of Lope de Vega renders the task of selecting one of them as an appropriate text for publication very difficult, and it is only after having examined a large number of the works of the great poet that the editor has chosen La Moza de Cántaro , not only because it is one of the author's most interesting comedies, but also because it stands forth prominently in the field in which he is preëminent the interpretation of Spanish life and character. It too is one of the few plays of the poet which have continued down to recent times in the favor of the Spanish theater going public, perhaps in the end the most trustworthy critic. Written in Lope's more mature years, at the time of his greatest activity, and probably corrected or rewritten seven years later, this play contains few of the inaccuracies and obscure passages so common to many of his works, reveals to us much of interest in Spanish daily life and in a way reflects the condition of the Spanish capital during the reign of Philip IV, which certainly was one of the most brilliant in the history of the kingdom.

The text has been taken completely, without any omissions or modifications, from the Hartzenbusch collection of Comedias Escogidas de Lope de Vega published in the Biblioteca de Autores Españoles and, where it varies from other texts with which it has been compared, the variation is noted. The accentuation has been changed freely to conform with present usage, translations have been suggested for passages of more than ordinary difficulty and full notes given on proper names and on passages that suggest historical or other connection. Literary comparisons have been made occasionally and modern forms or equivalents for archaic words and expressions have been given, but usually these have been limited to words not found in the better class of dictionaries commonly used in the study of such works.

The editor is especially indebted to Sr. D. Eugenio Fernández for aid in the interpretation of several passages and in the correction of accentuation, to Professor J. D. M. Ford for valuable suggestions, and to Sr. D. Manuel Saavedra Martínez, Professor in the Escuela Normal de Salamanca, for information not easily accessible.

M. S.




The family of Lope de Vega Carpio was one of high rank, if not noble, and had a manor house in the mountain regions of northwestern Spain. Of his parents we know nothing more than the scanty mention the poet has given them in his works. It would seem that they lived a while at least in Madrid, where the future prince of Spanish dramatists was born, November 25, 1562. Of his childhood and early youth we have no definite knowledge, but it appears that his parents died when he was very young and that he lived some time with his uncle, Don Miguel del Carpio.

From his own utterances and those of his friend and biographer, Montalvan, we know that genius developed early with him and that he dictated verses to his schoolmates before he was able to write. In school he was particularly brilliant and showed remarkable aptitude in the study of Latin, rhetoric, and literature. These school days were interrupted once by a truant flight to the north of Spain, but at Astorga, near the ancestral estate of Vega, Lope, weary of the hardships of travel, turned back to Madrid.

Soon after he left the Colegio de los Teatinos, at about the age of fourteen, Lope entered the service of Don Jerónimo Manrique, Bishop of Ávila, who took so great an interest in him that he sent him to the famous University of Alcalá de Henares, where he seems to have spent from his sixteenth to his twentieth year and on leaving to have received his bachelor's degree... Continue reading book >>

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