Life's a Dream
(La Vida es Sueño)
Publication Year: 2004
"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.
Published by: University Press of Colorado
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Frontispiece
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THIS PROSE TRANSLATION of Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s La vida es sueño isenvisioned as both a classroom text and a script for performance, and theaccompanying materials reflect that dual function. The Introduction and Glos-sary are written especially with American high school and university students inmind, whereas the Suggestions for Directors are intended primarily for those...
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When Calderón was born in 1600, Spain was the most powerful country in theworld, but the seeds had already been planted of a decline that would take it, bythe time of his death in 1681, to the humiliating status of a second-tier power.The story of Spain’s rise and fall is the sobering tale of a country that collapsedunder the burden of its own achievements. Rather than chronicle that process...
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RENDERING CALDERÓN’S LA VIDA ES SUEÑO into English presents the translator with a series of difficult but unavoidable questions. Which dialect is desirable? Should archaisms be modernized or rendered into analogous English structures? Which is the most appropriate medium, verse or prose? What constitutes a scene change? How should...
Suggestions for Directors
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LIKE MANY CLASSICAL PLAYS, Life’s a Dream can be productively staged withtrue minimalist principles. Only three settings are implied throughout the play:Sigismund’s tower and surroundings (1.1, 2.2, 3.1), the royal palace (1.2, 2.1,3.2), and a wilderness area somewhere between the two (3.3). As Ruano de laHaza has pointed out, no mention is made in either the dialogue or the stage...
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Life’s a Dream: A Prose Translation
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Cast of Characters
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Note: Underlined words are explained in the Glossary (pp. 155–159)and character names in the Translator’s Notes (pp. 56–60). The verse num-bers following the scene headings refer to the Spanish original.Enter ROSSAURA at the top of the mountain, disguised as a man dressed for the road.As she makes her way down the mountain, she addresses the horse from which she...
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Enter ROSSAURA at the top of the mountain, disguised as a man dressed for the road.As she makes her way down the mountain, she addresses the horse from which sheROSSAURA. Monstrous hippogriff, peer of the wind, you’re as ill conceived as abolt of lightning without flame, a bird without color, a fish without scales,or a beast without instinct! Where do you speed off to bucking, lurching,...
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CLOTHOLD. In this way, my lord. With the soothing concoction you had brewedfrom a mixture of medicinal herbs, whose tyrannical properties and secretpowers so dissipate, rob, and disorient human reasoning that they turn oneinto a living corpse, and whose potency robs one in his sleep of his sensesand faculties—there’s no reason to doubt that this is possible, for so many...
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BUGLE. In a haunted tower, because of what I know, I’m being held captive.What will they do to me because of my ignorance if they ax me because ofmy knowledge? To think that a fellow should be sentenced to a life of starv-ing to death! Everyone will say I’m feeling sorry for myself. Well, they’reright, because this silence, in my opinion, doesn’t befit one named Bugle,...
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Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2004