In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

that a careful scrutiny of his plays would reveal many more instances in which he foreshadowed our modern psychological findings, because in Lope "hay de todo como en botica." Two Important Spanish Comedia Collections Arnold G. Reichenberger University of Pennsylvania In December 1954 the Library of the University of Pennsylvania was fortunate enough to purchase at an auction in Munich, Germany, two precious collections of Spanish comedias. The first acquisition consists of forty-two volumes or partes of the forty-eight volume series, generally known under the title of Comedias nuevas escogidas de los mejores ingenios de España, 1652-1704, or briefly the Escogidas collection. The other addition is represented by twenty-four volumes of comedias sueltas, i.e. texts of single plays, somewhat comparable to opera libretti, which were bound together arbitrarily by the owner. Not much information is available about the provenience of these splendid collections. Some volumes of the Escogidas bear the stamp "Ex biblioteca viennensi" and call numbers. They must, therefore, have been part of a library of at least some size. In view of the place of auction, Bavarian or Austrian ownership would have been the first guess anyhow, considering the dynastic relationship between the Hapsburg courts of Madrid and Vienna. The books are bound in vellum and are in excellent condition. Since each parte contains twelve plays we have added about 504 comedia editions through the Escogidas alone. The twenty-four volumes of sueltas supply us with twelve plays each, so that our holdings of Spanish Goldeu Age comedias were enriched by a total of 792 items. This recent purchase strengthens considerably our already strong collection of contemporary editions of Spanish Golden Age literature, with special emphasis on Lope de Vega. The foundation was laid in 1927 by the acquisition, through the Mrs. Sabin W. Colton, Jr. Fund, of the library of Hugo Albert Rennert, Professor of Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania from 1893 to 1927, founder of scientific studies of Spanish literature in the United States, biographer of Lope de Vega and historian of the Spanish stage, who combined scholarship with bibliophile interests. His library had no equal among the private holdings of old Spanish books. Its "heart" was his unique collection of XVIIth century editions of the works of Lope de Vega, and in particular the nearly complete set of Comedias de Lope de Vega. While we were thus strong in contemporary editions of Lope de Vega and Calderón, we were relatively deficient in the representation through contemporary editions of the Spanish Theater of the Golden Age as a whole. This gap has now been filled. It was the aim of the various booksellers who issued at intervals through the decades the forty-eight volumes of "Selected Plays" to make available for the reading public a great number of comedias considered successful in their day, including the well-known dramatists as well as those of second and even third rank. It is the practice of the Spanish booksellers which makes the Escogidas the most effective representation of that unique phenomenon which saw the Spanish comedia of the Golden Age. The only other comparable set of the Escogidas series in the United States is found in the Ticknor collection of the Boston Public Library. It lacks eight volumes, wherea= only six are missing from our copy. The Ticknor Library, according to the WhitneyCatalogue (1879), pp. 97-101, does not have volumes 1, 2, 19, 24, 37, 39, 41, and 44, whereas we lack volumes 2, 6, 8, 10, 42, and 48. The two copies complement each other almost perfectly; only volume 2 is missing in both of them. Complete sets_ are owned by the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, the Bodleian in Oxford, the former Hofbibliothek in Vienna. The most detailed bibliographical description of the Escogidas is that of the Biblioteca Nacional copy, published by Emilio Cotarelo y Mori.1 Since, as it is well known, imperfect or made up volumes replaced the genuine ones when not at hand, our set will have to be collated against the Cotarelo description . Such a study might well reveal interesting details about bookmaking and bookselling as far as this famous collection is concerned...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 6-7
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.