Comedias Sueltas Collection
Plays of the Spanish Golden Age were published in collection (parte) or separately (suelta). Comedias sueltas were published in Spain from the early 1600s to around 1850. The suelta (lit. “loose”) format consisted of a single play printed in a small pamphlet, although many were later bound into collected volumes. This collection consists of more than 160 items, mostly from the eighteenth century, and includes works by famous dramatists like Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
- Publication: circa 1700-1850
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Comedias sueltas are individual plays published in Spain from the early 1600s to around 1850. Spanish drama thrived in the seventeenth century and the country’s print history reflects this in the large number of comedias sueltas that were published at the time--a 2002 catalogue of the genre lists 10,000 titles.
Literary historians use what seem to be hyperboles in describing this time and place in print history, how these plays were written and printed for an “insatiable public,” how the period was “electrified” by “outstanding dramatists.” One scholar states: “While drama had been printed in Spain from as early as 1496, the huge volume of plays written, performed and published in the first half of the seventeenth century was on a wholly different scale to anything witnessed before. It was also unprecedented in a European context.”
This scale, however, has posed problems for researchers. While there are thousands of comedias sueltas in various collections all over the world, many have also been lost and many of the items that remain suffer from their popularity during their time. There are many pirated editions, cheap reproductions of original works, and items without print information. This is the reason collections of original copies of comedias sueltas are valuable--investigating them can allow scholars to reconstruct this important period in literary and print history.
This comedias sueltas collection consists of more than 160 items, mostly from the eighteenth century. It includes works by famous dramatists like Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca. It is one of the biggest collections of comedias sueltas in the United States and envisioned as a resource for research in and a deeper understanding of this period in literary and print history.
Cruickshank, Don. “Comedias sueltas: An Introduction.” Comedias Sueltas, https://comediassueltasusa.org/essays/comedias-sueltas-by-d-w-cruickshank. Accessed 20 January 2021.
____. “Printed Plays in Early Modern Spain.” A Maturing Market: The Iberian Book World in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century, edited by Alexander Samuel Wilkinson and Alejandra Ulla Lorenzo, Brill, 2017, pp. 143-162.
Wilkinson, Alexander S. “Introduction.” A Maturing Market: The Iberian Book World in the First Half of the Seventeenth Century, edited by Alexander Samuel Wilkinson and Alejandra Ulla Lorenzo, Brill, 2017, pp. 1-10.
Language of Materials
Materials have been intellectually arranged chronologically according to actual or approximate publication dates. Items are physically arranged in folders and boxes.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased in April 2015 from Richard C. Ramer Old and Rare Books in New York City through the generosity of Szilvia and Charles Tanenbaum and the Pine Tree Foundation of New York.
- Comedias Sueltas Collection
- Patricia Reguyal
- January 2021
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