- Autos sacramentales completos de Lope de Vega by Lope de Vega
these are the initial two volumes of a planned six-volume series of critical editions of Lope de Vega's autos sacramentales, or sacramental plays; the other four volumes have already been assigned to specific editors. Perhaps reflective of the amount of work involved in preparing a critical edition, the other four volumes will each contain two plays apiece, as do these volumes; but most of the future plays will be edited by two different scholars. In the case of these first two installments, a single scholar prepared both critical editions within each separate book. Volume 1, edited by J. Enrique Duarte, contains Las bodas entre el Alma y el Amor divino along with El hijo pródigo; volume 2, edited by Juan Manuel Escudero Baztán, contains La Maya and El viaje del alma. Escudero Baztán is also the coordinator for the series, whose chief editor is Ignacio Arellano.
These projects have been developed under the auspices of GRISO (Grupo de Investigación Siglo de Oro), based at the University of navarra in Pamplona and funded by a grant from Spain's Ministerio de Economía, Industria y competividad. A presentation note at the outset of the first volume indicates that this is only the first phase of a project that may later double in size to include editions of all twenty-four of Lope de Vega's autos sacramentales that do not pose problems of dubious authorship. This number in itself is astoundingly small, given that at various points through the centuries since [End Page 201] the death of this author, scholars have estimated that Lope de Vega might possibly have written as many as one hundred, two hundred, or even six hundred autos sacramentales (the true number of comedias attributable to him is likewise debated). In modern times, this number has been reduced to a corpus of some forty-four sacramental plays, with only about half of those attributable to Lope with any stable degree of certainty. Presumably, the same research team will solicit another, similar grant from the spanish government to finance the preparation of the next dozen editions. It should be noted that this is the same scholarly network responsible for producing scholarly editions of the complete autos sacramentales of Pedro calderón de la Barca, one of Lope's seventeenth-century literary successors and by far the most famous cultivator of this dramatic genre.
The reasons to review these two books together are multiple. Not only were they published in the same year, together forming the first fruits of a multiyear collaborative endeavor, but these four autos sacramentales also appeared together when they were first published in the seventeenth century, namely, as intercalated dramatic pieces appearing at the end of each of the first four books within Lope de Vega's Byzantine novel El peregrino en su patria (Seville, 1604). Given that they were originally incorporated into a larger work, the decision to publish them separately might seem debatable, especially in light of what historians of the book as artifact have taught us about the inseparability of a book's form from its content. However—especially since at least one of the plays, namely, Las bodas entre el Alma y el Amor divino, boasts a documented performance history apart from the novel—the option of lifting them out of their original context to place them alongside Lope de Vega's other, similar autos is at least justifiable. At least two complete editions of this novel have been released by reputable academic university or commercial presses within the past two years: in April of 2016 Cátedra published a version with notes in Spanish edited by Julián González Barrera, while in 2017 there appeared in the north carolina studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures series a new six hundred-page critical annotated edition and...