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Don Pedro Calderón de Ia Barca was born on January 17, 1600, to parents of noble lineage. Although little is known of the early years of his life, it has been determined that Calderón attended the Jesuit Colegio Imperial in Madrid from about 1608 to about 1613. His mother died in 1610, after which his brother Diego left abruptly for Mexico, his sister Dorotea entered a convent, and his youngest sister Antonia went to live with her grandmother. In 1614, Pedro entered the University of Alcalá, and in 1615, after the death of his father, he went to study at the University of Salamanca, where he obtained a degree in canonical law in 1620. Soon after, Pedro, with his brothers Diego and José, was allegedly involved in a murder case, but all three of them were let off with a fine of 600 ducats. His first play to be performed in Madrid was Amor, honor y poder in 1623. The details of his activities between 1623 and 1635 are quite sketchy, but in 1629 he was implicated in another scandal in which one of his brothers was stabbed, and Calderón, over the protests of the nuns, entered a convent where the perpetrator was alleged to be hiding. Later he would be received into the Order of Santiago and fight a war in Cataluña in 1641. The years 1630 to 1650 mark the high point of Calderón's literary output in the public theaters, or corrales, followed by his most intense production of court spectacle plays. In 1651 he was ordained a priest and moved to Toledo, returning to Madrid in 1656, living at court until his death on May 25, 1681.


Mary Parker


Greenwood Press





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Spanish Dramatists of the Golden Age: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook