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Antonio Regalado

Calderón and his time URL: http://www.march.es/conferencias/anteriores/voz.aspx?p1=22602&l=2

The life of Pedro Calderón de la Barca took place in a century of radical changes in the historic being of the Western man, reflected by the scientific revolution, the philosophical thinking, the political doctrines, the institutions, the traditions, and the arts and letters. The playwright, witness of the height of the Spanish power and its decline, was a cavalry soldier, and he wrote dramas that show his first hand knowledge on war and militia, among them, those that dealt on the great victories of the Spanish Armada.

Calderón is the heir if the new dramatic art forged by two brilliant generations of theatrical writers, and an author of great success and extensive fame who excited all publics, from the most popular to the most aristocratic. He was rewarded with the unbeatable conditions to apply his genius without restrictions; apart from the patronage of the monarchy, church, and the city council of Madrid, he was able to use several theatrical spaces: the theatre of the palace, courtyards, and public squares on the sacramental acts, a unique set in all of Europe. Disciple of the Jesuits and student in Salamaca, Calderón possessed an encyclopedic culture that is reflected in his huge work open to all kinds of political, philosophical, teological or moral questions. The poet-playwright, ordered priest at the age of fifty, and recognized for a great reflexion capacity, was a fan of bullfighting, lived a gallant life in his youth with numerous incidents that prove his daring, irreverent, quixotic, spirited nature. Equally happy to grab his pen as he was to grab his sword, in the world of his comedies there are plenty of sword crossings, unleashed rage, and acuity. The family life of the playwright is felt in many of his works, where the authority of the progenitor and the rebellion of the son can be found, problems that are linked with the representation of other conflicts hosting political and theological questions.

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