Life's a Dream (La Vida es Sueno) / Edition 1

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A beautiful and haunting tale of love, betrayal, knowledge, and power, Life's a Dream (La vida es sueño, 1636) is the best known and most widely admired play of Catholic Europe's greatest dramatist, Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600-1681). Calderón's long life witnessed both the pinnacle and collapse of Spanish political power as well as the great flowering of Spanish classical literature. Michael Kidd's new prose translation renders Calderón's masterpiece into a transparent, modern American idiom that preserves the beauty and complexity of Calderón's Baroque Spanish. The result is a highly readable and adaptable text that is enhanced by a generous selection of supporting materials, including a thorough critical introduction and glossary.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A snappy, playable though poetic prose translation by Michael Kidd (Carleton College) of Calderón's famous La vida es sueño. That is arguably the best of the 500 plays that survive from this dramatist's alleged 2000 efforts. Moreover, the translation comes with excellent critical introduction, supporting materials, and a glossary. Life's a Dream . . . is the best choice for any university or other theater group that wants to stage this play. The fact that modern English prose cannot capture the florid fol-de-rol of early seventeenth-century Spanish is actually an advantage. The love story and the political implications emerge unscathed."
Chronique, Biliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

"Kidd advances the work of two often-exclusive camps of comediantes: scholarship and performance. ...[C]oming to this text from a background of experience in both the study and performance of Golden Age drama, this reviewer is inclined to join in the applause. For any working theater director, Kidd's introduction alone is a dream come true. As La Vida es Sueno is one of the foundational texts of the period, this important new translation marks its identity as a founding contribution to that burgeoning community."
Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

"This is a faithful, accurate, and eminently actable poetic prose translation of Calderón's masterpiece, which ingeniously resolves its many intricate linguistic and semantic puzzles."
José María Ruano de la Haza, University of Ottawa

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870817779
  • Publisher: University Press of Colorado
  • Publication date: 8/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Kidd is an associate professor at Augsburg College.

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Table of Contents

Preface xi
Introduction 1
1. Spain at the Turn of the Century (1600) 1
2. The Spanish Comedia 15
3. Calderon the Man: A Brief Chronology 20
4. Life's a Dream: Analysis and Interpretation 23
Translator's Notes 41
1. Dialect 41
2. Historicity 42
3. Medium: Verse vs. Prose 45
4. Scene Boundaries 50
5. Proper Names 54
6. Wordplay 60
7. Textual Variants and Obscurities 64
Suggestions for Directors 71
Selected Bibliography 77
1. Previous English Versions of La vida es sueno 77
2. Major Spanish Critical Editions of La vida es sueno 78
3. Poetry and Poetics 79
4. Linguistics and Translation Theory 79
5. Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Handbooks 80
6. Calderon's Life 80
7. Spain and Early Modern Europe: History, Religion, Culture 80
8. The Spanish Comedia and Life's a Dream: Context, Performance, Editing, Interpretation 82
Life's a Dream: A Prose Translation 89
Cast of Characters 90
Act 191
Scene 191
Scene 299
Act 2109
Scene 1109
Scene 2129
Act 3133
Scene 1133
Scene 2138
Scene 3142
Glossary 155
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