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Three Major Plays (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 21 Jan 1999

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Gwynne Edwards is Professor of Spanish at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating Lope de Vega 28 Aug. 2001
By Neil Scott Mcnutt - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great presentation of three of the best Golden Age Spanish plays, which reveal psychological complexity in the context of rapid action. This translation of the plays is excellent in keeping the feel of their fast pace while giving graceful phrases to the characters. The three plays are first the most famous "Fuente Ovejuna" (which is a formula for civil disobedience against the unjust rulers), followed by "The Knight from Olmedo" ( a story of love, heroism, and jealosy which reveals how justice was enacted in that era), and finally "Punishment Without Revenge" ( a story of fiery love and how it burns its victims). The only thing I wished was that this could have been a bilingual edition with the Spanish on one page and the English on the facing page so we could correlate the beauty of the two languages. However, it is really a delight to be able to read a modern translation of these works.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Honour and fate 9 Dec. 2011
By Hatbox Dragon - Published on
Format: Paperback
Lope de Vega is the most famous playwright of Spain's Golden Age and a man with a very colourful life. I visited his house in Madrid not so long ago, and loved it so much I decided I ought to read some of his plays.

This edition by Oxford World Classics introduces these literary classics to the novice reader properly. This book has an introduction with a brief biography of Lope de Vega, an explanation of how Golden Age theatre was staged, an examination of the plays in the collection, a translator's note and a select bibliography. This is followed by the text of the three plays, and finally notes which illuminate literary allusions, stylistic features and performance matters.

The plays themselves were written in the early 17th century. Dealing with the themes of harmony and good conduct, "Fuente Ovejuna" relates the revenge the villagers of Fuente Ovejuna take on their cruel lord and questions where true nobility lies. "The Knight of Olmeda" tells the story of the love affair between Alonso and Inès, which starts out so well and ends so badly. "Punishment without Revenge" is set at the court of the libertine Duke of Ferrara and relates the disaster that unfolds when he marries a young woman, Casandra, whose children would dispossess his beloved illegitimate son, Federico - not knowing that Casandra and Federico have fallen in love. Honour and fate are strong presences in all three plays, and the contrast between appropriate behaviour then and now is fascinating.

These plays are short and I found them very readable, with strong characters and engaging stories. If I ever got the chance to see them performed live, I'd take it - surely a strong endorsement of Lope de Vega's talent, and Gwynne Edwards' as well.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
good translation choices 14 April 2011
By lilmoodz - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am no expert, but I do appreciate how difficult it is to translate Spanish literature from this period for a modern English-speaking audience, and I thought this edition was good. The notes complement the tranlation to give you a real flavor, and it is easy to see why these plays are classics.
See Spanish Golden Age plays in Spanish in El Paso, TX 12 Aug. 2014
By pearl m. - Published on
Format: Paperback
If you want to see plays by Spanish playwrights of the Golden Age, including Lope de Vega, performed in Spanish, go to El Paso, TX Feb. 26- Mar. 2. Performances by Spanish troupes from Murcia and Cuevas de San Clemente.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Poor Edition 27 May 2012
By MMM - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very bland modern translation that strips all poetry and musicality out of de Vega's language. I found it difficult to get much pleasure out of the versions of the plays in this collection. And the book has a surprising number of typos - 'chose' for 'choose,' 'its' for 'it's,' etc. I've been unimpressed with the quality of paper and especially the cover material of recent Oxford paperbacks, but usually it seems like the content is at least better prepared and edited.
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