Benavente y Martínez, Jacinto

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Benavente y Martínez, Jacinto

Benavente y Martínez, Jacinto

(häthēn`tō bā'nävān`tā ē märtē`nĕth), 1866–1954, Spanish dramatist, b. Madrid. He was awarded the 1922 Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known play is Los intereses creados (1907, tr. Bonds of Interest, 1917), a farce written on the pattern of the Italian commedia dell'arte. In 1916 he wrote a second part to this play, La ciudad alegre y confiada [the gay and confident city]. La malquerida (1913, tr. The Passion Flower, 1920), on the Phaedra theme, was popular with the public and the critics. His plays fall into four classes: social satires, psychological dramas, children's plays, and allegorical-morality plays. He was at his best in sparkling satires of aristocratic and upper middle-class life.


See study by M. Peñuelas (tr. 1969).

Benavente y Martinez, Jacinto


Born Aug. 12, 1866, in Madrid; died there July 14, 1954. Spanish playwright.

Benavente wrote more than 150 plays in various styles—among them, everyday life, psychological, moral-philosophical, and symbolic. Critical appraisal of bourgeois-aristocratic society in such dramas as Well-Known People (1896) and The Meal of Wild Animals (1898) is combined with contempt for the people and a negation of their ability to act. Even in his best plays, which subject bourgeois self-interest to criticism, such as the comedies The Bonds of Interests (1907; Russian translation, 1919) and its continuation The Gay and Carefree City (1916), he limits himself to sermons on moral perfection. His moral-philosophical plays Mistress of the House (1908) and The Passion Flower (1913) are characterized by the same feature. During the 1940’s and 1950’s he wrote mostly entertaining comedies. In 1922 he received the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Obras completas, vols. 1–19. Madrid, 1947–51.


Lazaro, A. J. B. de su vida y de su obra. Madrid, [1925].
Sánchez, Estevan I. Jacinto B. y su teatro. . . . Barcelona, 1954.