“SUCCEEDED LOPE DE VEGA AS THE LEADING SPANISH PLAYWRIGHT OF THE GOLDEN AGE”: CALDERÓN DE LA BARCA’S AUTOS SACRAMENTALES, 1717 FIRST EDITION
CALDERON DE LA BARCA, Pedro. Autos Sacramentales, Alegóricos, y Historiales, del Insigne Poeta Español… Obras Posthumas, que del Archivo de la Villa de Madrid Saca Originales a Luz Don Pedro de Pando y Mier. Madrid: Manuel Ruiz de Murga, 1717. Six volumes. Octavo, contemporary full limp vellum, manuscript title to spines, remnants of ties. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $6500.
First edition of this collection of the great Spanish dramatist’s ‘Autos’—allegorical one-act plays celebrating the mystery of the Eucharist on Corpus Christi—with engraved frontispiece portrait of the playwright, in contemporary vellum.
Pedro Calderón de la Barca “succeeded Lope de Vega as the leading Spanish playwright of the Golden Age” (Encyclopedia of Literature, 197). After rededicating himself to the church and becoming an ordained priest at the age of fifty, Calderón de la Barca renounced writing secular comedies for commercial theatres. At the king’s insistence, however, he continued writing for the stage, devoting himself literarily to producing mythological plays for the palace theatres and to a particularly Spanish genre known as the auto sacramental— one-act allegories illustrating the mystery of the Eucharist— for open-air performance during the feast of Corpus Christi. This collection includes 72 such autos (almost all of the 74 by Calderón known to have survived) and their accompanying loas, or preludes. Ornamented with woodcut head- and tailpieces. Owner signature in Volume VI. Manuscript titling on spines of IV-VI in a different hand from I-III, though still contemporary.
Text quite clean and fresh. Expected slight darkening to vellum. An excellent, most desirable set in full contemporary Spanish vellum.