Pedro Calderón de la Barca, La vida es sueño

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Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681) is, alongside Lope de Vega (1562-1635), Spain’s most important classical playwright. The exact date of composition of

La vida es sueño

, often referred to as the “Spanish


”, remains subject to speculation, but we do know that the best-known of all


emerged during the first decade of Calderón’s writing career. Set in a fictional Polish court, the maturity of this philosophically dense meditation on human nature and the limits of free will belies the playwright’s relatively young age.

As J.E. Varey notes, although there are more modern editions of English than Spanish Early Modern plays, the reverse is true in terms of original manuscripts (1990: 100). This places the notion of the “original” work or romantic notions of authorial

2340 words

Citation: Wheeler, Duncan . "La vida es sueño". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 August 2011 [, accessed 15 June 2024.]

31969 La vida es sueño 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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