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University Press of Colorado
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Co-Winner of the 2004 Colorado Endowment for the Humanities Publication Prize

"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

"An excellent and reliable English edition of one of the Spanish Golden Age's more fascinating plays."—Frederick A. de Armas, University of Chicago

”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

"A first-class version of one of the all-time classics of world literature."—Julio Baena, University of Colorado at Boulder

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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. pp. 1-1
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  1. Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece
  2. pp. 2-9
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. xi-15
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-40
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  1. Translator's Notes
  2. pp. 41-70
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  1. Suggestions for Directors
  2. pp. 71-76
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  1. Selected Bibliography
  2. pp. 77-88
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  1. Life’s a Dream: A Prose Translation
  2. pp. 89-104
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  1. Cast of Characters
  2. pp. 90-106
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  1. Act 1
  2. pp. 91-108
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  1. Act 2
  2. pp. 109-132
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  1. Act 3
  2. pp. 133-154
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  1. Glossary
  2. pp. 155-159
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