Carlos Arniches, in full Carlos Arniches y Barrera, (born October 11, 1866, Alicante, Spain--died April 16, 1943, Madrid), popular Spanish dramatist of the early 20th century, best known for works in the genero chico ("lesser genre"): the one-act zarzuela (musical comedy) and the one-act sainete (sketch). These plays were based upon direct observation of the customs and speech of the lower-class people of Madrid. He wrote some 270 of them and was considered a master of the genre, along with the Alvarez Quintero brothers. He spent the years of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) in Buenos Aires and..
Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, (born Oct. 4, 1607, Toledo, Spain--died Jan. 23, 1648, Madrid), Spanish dramatist of the school of his more eminent contemporary, Pedro Calderon de la Barca. Rojas Zorrilla was noted for tragedies and a new kind of play, the comedia de figuron, in which an eccentric is the chief figure. At their best, his plays have a sense of life and animation that is lacking in other drama influenced by Calderon.Little is known of Rojas Zorrilla's life. He apparently studied at the University of Toledo and then lived primarily in Madrid, where he became close to the court, wrote plays..
Guillen de Castro y Bellvis, (born 1569, Valencia, Spain--died July 28, 1631, Madrid), the most important and representative of a group of Spanish dramatists that flourished in Valencia. He is remembered chiefly for his work Las mocedades del Cid (1599?), upon which the French playwright Pierre Corneille based his famous drama Le Cid (1637). Castro's play clearly shows his strength in the use of natural dialogue. After an active military and civil service career in Valencia and Italy, he settled in Madrid, where his friend the playwright Lope de Vega helped him to find outlets for his work. Castro..
Agustin Moreto, (baptized April 9, 1618, Madrid, Spain--died Oct. 26/27, 1669, Toledo), Spanish dramatist whose plays were extremely popular in his time and who was considered the equal of his great near-contemporary Lope de Vega. His reputation has steadily diminished over the years, and he is now considered a highly competent but unoriginal writer.The son of Italian parents, Moreto studied law at the University of Alcala and then returned to Madrid. He wrote plays with remarkable ease, turning out more than 100 dramas that brought him great popular success. He took minor orders in 1642 and..
Lope de Rueda, (born c. 1510, Sevilla, Spain--died 1565, Cordoba), outstanding figure of the early Spanish theatre who did much to popularize it and prepared the way for Lope de Vega.A gold-beater by trade, Rueda was probably attracted to the stage by touring Italian actors; he organized a traveling theatre company and as its autor, or author-manager, took his troupe throughout Spain. He became popular and played before all kinds of audiences, from Philip II to crowds of rural townfolk. His work was seen by Cervantes, who praised him both as an actor and as a writer of verse. His most important contributions..
Jose Echegaray y Eizaguirre, (born April 19, 1832, Madrid, Spain--died Sept. 4, 1916, Madrid), mathematician, statesman, and the leading Spanish dramatist of the last quarter of the 19th century. Along with the Provencal poet Frederic Mistral, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1904.A professor of mathematics in his early life, he entered government service in 1868, holding various positions. He was named minister of finance in 1874 and played a major role in developing the Banco de Espana.His first play, El libro talonario ("The Checkbook"), was not produced until 1874, when..
Juan Ruiz de Alarcon, (born c. 1581, Taxco, Mex.--died Aug. 4, 1639, Madrid), Mexican-born Spanish dramatist of the colonial era who was the principal dramatist of early 17th-century Spain after Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina.Born into a prosperous family in Mexico, Ruiz de Alarcon went to Spain in 1600 to study at the University of Salamanca, from which he graduated in about 1602. After studying further at the University of Mexico, he settled permanently in Spain in about 1611 and held several government posts, being appointed to the Council for the Indies in 1626. He wrote plays for his own enjoyment..
Gregorio Martinez Sierra, (born May 6, 1881, Madrid--died Oct. 1, 1947, Madrid), poet and playwright whose dramatic works contributed significantly to the revival of the Spanish theatre.Martinez Sierra's first volume of poetry, El poema del trabajo (1898; "The Poem of Work"), appeared when he was 17. Short stories reflecting the Modernist concern with individuality and subjectivity and freedom from archaic forms followed. He turned to drama in 1905 with his Teatro de ensueno ("Theatre of Dreams"). His masterpiece, Cancion de cuna (1911; "Song of the Cradle"), was popular in both Spain..
Manuel Tamayo y Baus, (born Sept. 15, 1829, Madrid, Spain--died June 20, 1898, Madrid), Spanish dramatist who, with Adelardo Lopez de Ayala y Herrera, dominated the Spanish stage in the mid-19th century. He was a key figure in the transition from Romanticism to Realism in Spanish literature.Tamayo y Baus was the son of a well-known actor and actress. He began writing plays at a very early age, and one of his dramas received its first production when he was 11 years old. A prolific and versatile playwright who wrote in every style and genre, he had an extremely successful career in the theatre. In 1870,..
Bartolome de Torres Naharro, (born 1484?, La Torre de Miguel Sesmero, Spain--died 1525?, Sevilla?), playwright and theorist, the most important Spanish dramatist before Lope de Vega, and the first playwright to create realistic Spanish characters.Little is known of Torres Naharro's life; apparently he was a soldier and was held captive for a time in Algiers. He was ransomed, and he went to Rome in 1513 where he took holy orders. After ordination he became a favourite of Pope Leo X and other prominent churchmen and businessmen in Rome and Naples.Torres Naharro published his collected works..
Jacinto Benavente y Martinez, (born Aug. 12, 1866, Madrid, Spain--died July 14, 1954, Madrid), one of the foremost Spanish dramatists of the 20th century, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1922. He returned drama to reality by way of social criticism: declamatory verse giving way to prose, melodrama to comedy, formula to experience, impulsive action to dialogue and the play of minds. Benavente showed a preoccupation with aesthetics and later with ethics.The extent to which he broadened the scope of the theatre is shown by the range of his plays--e.g., Los intereses creados (performed..
Tirso de Molina, pseudonym of Gabriel Tellez, (born March 9?, 1584, Madrid, Spain--died March 12, 1648, Soria), one of the outstanding dramatists of the Golden Age of Spanish literature.Tirso studied at the University of Alcala and in 1601 was professed in the Mercedarian Order. As the order's official historian he wrote Historia general de la orden de la Merced in 1637. He was also a theologian of repute. Guided to drama by an inborn sense of the theatrical and inspired by the achievements of Lope de Vega, creator of the Spanish comedia, Tirso built on the "free-and-easy" prescriptions that Lope..