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Tirso de Molina and His Nephew: The Case for the Real Existence of Francisco Lucas de Ávila

From: Bulletin of the Comediantes
Volume 64, Number 2, 2012
pp. 101-136 | 10.1353/boc.2012.0038



Gabriel Téllez’s autobiography offers fascinating questions for scholars. The present essay brings new material to light and speculates on Tirso de Molina’s family. We argue that a particular nephew of Tirso existed in reality (despite some twentiethcentury critical myths), because otherwise there would be no viable theory for the transmission of the playwright’s texts from manuscript to printed Parte, specifically the Partes II-V. The essay also treats Tirso’s direct knowledge of Luis de Camões and the probable origin of the Téllez family in Portugal. We suggest that Tirso had a younger sister who was the mother of Francisco Lucas de Ávila, and that the father of the controversial nephew was the Madrid-born Francisco de Ávila, an editor and compiler of villancicos and Partes of comedias. It is our contention that these two similar-sounding men were confused by both Cayetano Alberto de la Barrera y Leirado in 1860 and by Alan Paterson as recently as 1966.