Lope de Vega – Spanish author
Lope de Vega was Spain’s greatest dramatist. He was one of the most productive writers of the Renaissance and produced works in nearly every literary style of his time. Cervantes called him Nature’s mental colossus. Lope de Vega was able not only to amuse the viewer, he also expanded his horizons, telling about the historical past, the life of other nations – distant Russia and overseas America. He forced people to think about the destiny of their homeland, the miserable existence of the peasant.
Lope Felix de Vega Carpio was born on December 12, 1562 in Madrid. Lope was a well-educated man and by age 5 he could read Latin as well as his native language, Castilian. He wrote his first play at age 12.
He had a love affair with Elena Osorio, which lasted 4 years. They parted in 1587 when he distributed scurrilous verse about her and was imprisoned and banished from Madrid for 8 years. Lope abducted Isabel de Urbina, daughter of a distinguished Madrid family. Soon separated, they were married by proxy. He and Isabel went to live in Valencia, where Isabel died in 1594.
He dated Micaela de Lujan, who bore him several children.
In 1598 Lope married Juana de Guardo, daughter of a meat and fish wholesaler. In 1613 Juana died in childbirth.
He also had love affairs with Jeronima de Burgos in 1613; Lucia de Salcedo in 1616; and Marta de Nevares in 1617.
He died on August 27, 1635.
The number of Lope’s plays has been estimated to be from 700 to 2,200. At least 314 his plays have survived. A large number of his plays were based on saints’ lives and dramatic stories from ancient tradition. His La Arcadia, published in 1598, was the last major Spanish pastoral novel.
His comedies The Dog in the Manger, The Girl with the Jug, Dance Teacher, The Widow from Valencia are still popular today. The secret of this recognition is not only in the amusing plot, skillful and ridiculous situations, but also in the humanistic interpretation of events and characters.