Lope de Vega

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Lope de Vega

full name Lope Felix de Vega Carpio. 1562--1635, Spanish dramatist, novelist, and poet. He established the classic form of Spanish drama and was a major influence on European, esp French, literature. Some 500 of his 1800 plays are extant
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Lope De Vega


(Lope Félix de Vega Carpio). Born Nov. 25, 1562, in Madrid; died there Aug. 27, 1635. Spanish dramatist, poet, and prose writer. Born into an artisan family Took holy orders in 1614.

Lope de Vega left an enormous literary legacy: more than 2,000 plays (approximately 500 published, of which approximately 200 are well known by name); more than 20 narrative poems; lyric verses; the pastoral novel Arcadia (1598); the picaresque novel The Pilgrim in His Own Country (1604); the novel in dialogue form La Dorotea (1632), about the noble society of Madrid; and short stories (1624). In a verse treatise The New Art of Writing Comedy in Our Time (1609), Lope de Vega formulated the most important principles of Spanish Renaissance drama.

A large group of Lope de Vega’s plays consist of sociopolitical dramas taken from Spanish and foreign history (for example, the play about the False Dmitrii The Muscovite Archduke, 1617). While criticizing the “tyrannical perversion” of royal power in the plays The Blood of Innocence (1623), Star of Seville (1623), and Punishment Without Vengeance (published in 1635), Lope de Vega at the same time expressed the Utopian dream of an ideal sovereign acting on behalf of the people and in the name of the popular good. Such are the heroes of the plays Count Fernan Gonzáles and the Liberation of Castille (1625), King Bamba (1604), and others. In the plays The Judges of Castille (1618), The Valorous Pedro Carbonero of Cordoba (1603; published in 1620), The Famous Asturians (published before 1618), and others, historical chronicle is transformed into popular-heroic drama, its center occupied by the theme of the peasants’ resistance to feudal violence. In the plays The Mayor of Lalamea (written before 1610), Peribáñes and the Commendator of Ocaña (about 1609; published in 1614), and especially in Fuente Ovejuna (1612—13; published in 1619) Lope de Vega proclaims the peoples’ right to take vengeance on the feudal lords and notes the peasants’ sense of human dignity and justice.

Love comedies predominate in Lope de Vega’s dramaturgy: they include The Peasant Girl From Getafe (published in 1620), The Gardener’s Dog (written between 1613 and 1618; published in 1618), Girl With a Pitcher (written before 1627; published in 1646), The Dance Teacher (1593), and Slave of Her Beloved (circa 1625; published in 1647), which are typical comedies of intrigue; although psychological motivation is reduced to a minimum, it does not exclude variety in the psychological characterization of the dramatis personae. Lope de Vega’s poetics combine the comic with the sublime and the prosaic with the poetic phenomena of life. A synthesis of the commonplace and the sublime is also characteristic of his poetic style, which drew upon popular poetic speech.

Lope de Vega’s plays are classical models of Spanish popular drama of the Renaissance and were imitated by the dramatists of different generations. Lope de Vega influenced the later development of the dramatic art of Spain and Western Europe. His plays are produced in the theaters of many countries of the world. In Russia, Lope de Vega’s plays began to appear in translation during the second half of the 19th century.


Obras, vols. 1-15. Edited by La Real Academia Española. Madrid, 1890-1913.
Obras, new edition, vols. 1-13. Edited by La Real Academia Española. Madrid, 1916-30.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch. v 6 tt. Moscow, 1962-65.
Novelly. Moscow-Leningrad, 1960.


Petrov, D. K. Ocherki bytovogo teatra Lope de Vega. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Plavskin, Z. Lope de Vega. Leningrad-Moscow, 1960.
Uzin, V. S. Obshchestvennaia problematika dramaturgii Servantesa i Lope de Vega. Moscow, 1963.
Balashov, N. I. “Lope de Vega i problematika ispanskoi dramy XVII veka na vostochnoslavianskie temy.” Izvestiia AN SSSR. OLIa, 1963, vol. 22, issue 1, pp. 3-18.
Lope de Vega: Bibliografila russkikh perevodov i kriticheskoi literatury na russkom iazyke. Moscow, 1962.
Vossler, K. Lope de Vega und sein Zeitalter. Munich, 1932.
Morley, S. G., and C. Bruerton. The Chronology of L. de Vega’s Comedias. New York, 1940.
Menéndez y Pelayo, M. Estudios sobre el teatro de L. de Vega, vols. 1-6. Madrid, 1949.
Correa Calderón, E., and F. Lázaro. Lope de Vega y su época, vols. 1-2. Salamanca [1961].
Simón Díaz, J., and J. de José Prades. Ensayo una bibliografía de las obras y artículos sobre la vida y escritos de L. de Vega C. Madrid, 1955.
Simón Díaz, J., and J. de José Pradés. Lope de Vega: Nuevos estudios. Madrid, 1961.
Entrambasaguas y Peña, J. de. Estudios sobre L. de Vega, 2nd ed., vols. 1-2. Madrid, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.