"Arte nuevo de hacer comedias and El mejor alcalde, el rey," by Lope de Vega, edited by Mark Groundland
Arte nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo is an essential tool to understanding where the Spanish comedia came from, its representation on the early modern Spanish stage, some of its key ingredients, and its reception by different sectors of Spanish society. It's Lope's formula for composing successful comedias for the seventeenth-century Spanish playhouse... sometimes not followed by Lope himself.
Lope de Vega composed El mejor alcalde, el rey sometime between 1620 and 1623. Set in twelfth-century Galicia, it describes the love between two peasants who want to marry (Sancho and Elvira), the abuse of power of a feudal lord, Don Tello, who delays the wedding for his own selfish desire for Elvira, and the justice of King Alfonso VII, who intercedes on behalf of the Galician peasants. It blends Lope’s poetic prowess with the powerful theme of honor and includes a mix of high and low characters and situations. The victimization of peasants at the hands of a brash nobleman and the intercession of a King to restore the peasants’ honor resemble two other comedias by Lope, Fuenteovejuna and Peribáñez y el comendador de Ocaña, as well as El alcalde de Zalamea by Calderón de la Barca.
In El mejor alcalde, el rey, readers will recognize many points that Lope recommends when composing a comedia, making it the perfect companion to Arte nuevo de hacer comedias en este tiempo.
ISBN 978-1-58977-097-8 (PB) $20