An early list of Calderon's «Comedias»
Edward Meryon Wilson
Emmanuel College, Cambridge
Scholars are already acquainted with the list of Calderón's plays submitted to the Duque de Veragua, with an accompanying letter, dated July 24, 1680, by Calderón himself. This was first printed by Don Gaspar Agustín de Lara in the Obelisco fúnebre of 1684; there is a manuscript copy in the Biblioteca Nacional at Madrid, and it has since been reprinted by Hartzenbusch and Astrana Marín1. Before Lara's book was published another list had already appeared in Don Juan de Vera Tassis y Villarroel's edition of Calderón's Verdadera quinta parte of 1682. Vera revised and slightly expanded this list in later partes edited by him, the last of which was the Novena parte of 1691. No one has doubted the authenticity of the Veragua list, but I have one slight doubt about it. It records as genuine the two autos sacramentales -El Cordero de Isaías and La Divina Filotea- performed (after the poet's death) at the Corpus celebrations of 1681. Calderón had not completed the composition of La Divina Filotea when he died on May 25, 1681, and consequently Don Melchor de León wrote the last portion of it in time for the performance at Corpus Christi2. Therefore someone -perhaps Veragua or Lara- added at least these items to the Veragua list sometime between 1681 and 1684. Its authority remains considerable, but it is not absolute. That of the Vera Tassis list is obviously less authoritative, but it has in fact determined the canon of Calderón's comedias for nearly three centuries.
The card index in the Manuscripts Room of the Biblioteca Nacional records an eighteenth-century copy of what must be a still earlier list, compiled by Calderón himself by royal command and presented to Charles II of Spain by a Don Francisco Marañón. It appears on four pages of MS 10.838, fols. 288r-290r. The first page is headed: Memoria de las Comedias que escriuio Dn Pedro Calderon de la Barca la qual hizo p[o]r man[da]do del Rey n[uest]ro S[eño]r D. Carlos 2 y las lleuo Don F[rancis]co Marañon a su M[ajesta]d». The list fills the page in two columns and is continued on the verso. At the foot of the verso right-hand column is the legend: «En la 5 Parte de Comedias Impressas de Dn Pedro se le atribuyen tres que no lo son», followed by the three titles in question. On 289r we find: «Memoria de los Autos Sacramentales que escriuio el S[eño]r D. Pedro Calderon de la Barca». It also is in two columns that fill the page. On 290r is another heading: «Comedias sueltas que no están en ninguna de las 5 partes de Don Pedro Calderon». It consists of twenty-one titles in one column.
The handwriting of these pages is eighteenth century. The list cannot be original; it is a late copy. The three separate memorias seem, however, to be one unit, which must antedate the publication of Vera's Verdadera quinta parte of 1682, because the three titles on 288v which were printed in «la 5 Parte de Comedias Impressas de Dn Pedro» did not appear in Vera's Fifth Part but in the pirated Quinta parte, of which two different editions were printed in 16773, or at least that is the date which appears on their title pages. The two 1681 autos (El Cordero de Isaías and La Divina Filotea) are listed on 289r; the list has probably suffered the same sort of contamination as that which Calderón sent to the Duque de Veragua. And as the list is shorter than that last mentioned, it probably is an earlier draft of it, for many of the later items appear in the same order in both of them. There seems to me no reason to doubt the truth expressed in the first heading, that Calderón made the list on the orders of Charles II and that Don Francisco de Marañón presented it to that monarch.
Chance enabled me to discover the identity of Don Francisco de Marañón.
Among the «Papeles de Jesuitas» in the Real Academia de la Historia there is a printed broad sheet headed: Concesión de indulgencias de nuestro muy Santo Padre y Señor Innocencio Papa vndezimo, a todos los que assistieren, o ayudaren a la guerra contra los turcos. It begins: «Don Antonio de Venavides y Bazan, por la divina misericordia, y de la santa iglesia de Roma, Patriarca de las Indias, Arçobispo de Tiro». It ends: «Dado en Madrid à nueve de Febrero de mil seiscientos y ochenta y seis años. EL PATRIARCA. Por mandado del Patriarca mi señor. Don Francisco Marañon, Secretano. Ganase esta Santa Indulgencia, aunque no se tenga la Bula de la Santa Cruzada»4. Marañón, then, was the Patriarch's secretary in 1686; we know that Benavides was Patriarch from the year 1679 onwards5.
Memoria de las Comedias que escriuio Dn. Pedro Calderon de la Barca la qual hizo pr mando del Rey nro Sr D. Carlos 2 y la lleuo Don Fco Marañon a su Md.
The list handed over to Charles II contains eighty-seven titles in the first two pages and twenty-two comedias sueltas. Two comedias- Cada uno para sí and No siempre lo peor es cierto- were listed twice. It attributes to Calderón 107 comedias and sixty-five autos sacramentales. All these comedias and autos also appear in the Veragua list, which adds, however, four comedias and five autos not mentioned in the other. As the order of the lists often coincides, it is reasonable to conclude that one was copied from the other. We may look on that prepared for the king as a first draft, of which that sent to the duke was a corrected version, or vice versa. The former hypothesis seems the more probable. Here are the plays and autos which appear in the Veragua list but not in that prepared for Charles:
There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of any of these works, except of course, the fact that one act of Los Cabellos de Absalón is almost entirely the work of Tirso de Molina. The only significant variation in the titles is that the play called Apeles y Campaspe in Charles's list is called Darlo todo y no dar nada in the other, La siembra del Señor is called Los obreros del Señor in both lists.
The Vera Tassis lists, printed in the Verdadera quinta parte (1682), the Sexta Parte (1683), and probably that in the Séptima parte, antedate the publication of the Veragua list by Lara. The Séptima parte bears a title page date of 1683, but its «suma de la tasa» is dated January 10, 1684; the «suma» of Lara's Obelisco is dated January 31, 1684. After February, 1684, then, Vera Tassis could have used Lara's lists to compile his own, but before that he hardly could have done so. In a codicil to his will Calderón left such manuscripts as he possessed to his friend Juan Mateo Lozano, who knew his intentions with regard to them17. It is arguable that he intended Lozano to allow Vera Tassis to print them; but, of course, we do not in fact know what Don Pedro's intentions were. According to Lara, Vera had defrauded the poor by printing the post-humous editions, because the Congregación de Sacerdotes Naturales de Madrid were the poet's residual legatees18. The break between Lara and Vera Tassis must have been complete. Lara would never have allowed the man he thought Vera to be to examine the Veragua correspondence before he made it public. Vera Tassis might, of course, have seen either of the two lists during Calderón's lifetime, but there is no proof that he did so. And the order in which the titles are recorded -after the first forty-eight- is quite different from the one we find in the lists submitted to Charles and to Veragua.
Nevertheless the Vera list of 1682 includes all but one of the comedias listed in that handed by Marañón to Charles and most of those in that sent to Veragua. The exceptions are: De un castigo tres venganzas and Bien vengas mal, si vienes solo. The former, together with El Tuzani de las Alpujarras, he classified under the title of «Comedias supuestas, que andan debaxo de su nombre»; nevertheless he included this last play under its other title of Amar despues de la muerte, and eventually he admitted both De un castigo and Bien vengas mal. All three plays, as we shall see, appeared in print in the Novena parte of 1691. In the 1682 additions he made one mistake. As well as Iudas Macabeo he also listed as authentic Los Macabeos; the two titles apply to the same play. Vera Tassis omitted the last title from all the later lists. The other additions given by Vera in 1682 are: La Sibila del Oriente, La Exaltacion de la Cruz, Nadie fie su secreto, Las tres Justicias en vna, La Señora, y la Criada, La Virgen de Madrid (lost play), Zefalo y Pocris, burlesca, El Sacrificio de Efigenia (lost play), and Las Cadenas del Demonio. Some of these plays are undoubtedly authentic, but I myself doubt whether Las cadenas del demonio and Céfalo y Pocris are Calderón's work. In the list printed in the Sexta parte of 1683 he added El Condenado de amor and Desagrauios de Maria; the latter is lost, the former probably spurious.
list nor Veragua's took into account plays written in
collaboration, except for the special case of Los Cabellos de
Absalón. Vera Tassis listed six in 1682 and added
another title in 1683. These all seem to be correctly allocated. In
parte of 1685 he appended also a list of autos sacramentales, which
obviously may have derived from the one Lara had published a year
before. Don Ángel Valbuena Prat says of it:
«Esta lista está
hecha tan a la ligera y de modo tan desastrado, que no merece gran
crédito. Hay títulos de autos repetidos, nombres
distintos para un solo auto y atribuciones caprichosas de otros
autores a Calderón»19.
We need not pay attention to it here.
In the editions of
Vera included also a list of the Comedias supuestas, que andan debaxo de su
nombre [de Calderón]. Neither the list sent to
Veragua nor that handed to Charles (except for the three items in
the latter which referred to plays included wrongly in the false
of 1677) could have been of much use to him here. He had, however,
two printed statements by Calderón himself, which may well
have been his starting point. In the Quarta parte of 1672 (revised and reprinted
in 1674) Calderón listed forty-one plays which he disavowed:
adozenadas y ya sueltas, todas estas que no son mias, impressas en
And in the foreword to his Primera parte de autos sacramentales of 1677 the
poet declared apocryphal four plays printed as his in the pirated
of the same year: «de diez Comedias que
contiene, no ser las quatro mias, ni aun ninguna pudiera dezir,
segun estàn no cabales, adulteradas, y defectuosas, bien
como trasladadas à hurto para vendidas, y compradas, de
quien no pudo comprarlas, ni
Vera Tassis incorporated into the list of «Comedias supuestas» all
the titles given as spurious in the Quarta parte except one (Los Empeños que se
Ofrecen, which was the title given to Los Empeños de un acaso
in El Mejor de los
mejores libros, Alcalá, 1651, and Madrid, 1653),
which he possibly overlooked by accident22.
For this reason El
Conde Lucanor appeared both in Vera's list of authentic
plays and in that of the «Comedias
supuestas»; for Calderón had printed
this play in the Quarta
parte, but in his letter «au
vn amigo ausente» in the same volume, he
disavowed, presumably, the text of this play which had previously
appeared in the Parte
XV de comedias excogidas of 1661. Vera therefore wrote in
the Verdadera quinta
parte: «De la Comedia del Conde
Lucanor, que pongo por suya, y por agena, hallarà el
escrupuloso en el Quarto Tomo de sus Comedias entera
satisfacion». Of the false Quinta parte plays Vera listed
for exclusion: El
Tuzani de la Alpujarra, El Rey Don Pedro en Madrid, Como se
comunican dos Estrellas contrarias and Vn castigo en tres
venganças. In 1677 Calderón mentioned that
there were four spurious plays in the Quinta parte, but in the list handed to
Charles II (which, as will be obvious to the reader, I regard as
his work) he only listed three, and one of these,
Crítica de Madrid» -in fact La Crítica de amor- was
a new title for an authentic play, No hay burlas con el amor. Perhaps
Calderón found that one of the other false Quinta parte plays was less
corrupted than he had previously thought; perhaps he omitted one
title in error from the manuscript list. Anyway four plays had been
declared by him to be false attributions in 1677, but only three
were so listed in the Memoria. Vera Tassis listed as wrong attributions
parte plays that were not genuine, as well as another pair
that are certainly authentic, one of which (El Tuzani or Amar después de la
muerte) he also admitted as Calderón's own work under
its alternative title. Vera certainly must have read the foreword
to the Primera parte
de autos, but if he had seen the list of authentic plays
handed over to Charles, he could hardly have failed to list
La Crítica de
Madrid (or de
Amor) among the «Comedias
supuestas». Our early list, then, prepared by
Don Pedro and handed to Charles II by Marañón, was
not available to Vera Tassis when he began to try to fix the
The Veragua list, printed in 1684, contained the title Bien vengas mal, si vienes solo. Vera, in his revision of the Primera parte of 1685, denied that this play was genuine23. Nevertheless, this play, along with the two pirated Quinta parte plays referred to in the last paragraph, appeared in the Novena parte of 1691. His explanation of this procedure is to be found in the Preface «Al lector» in that volume:
La comedia de Amar despues de la Muerte (como dexè advertido en la Verdadera Quinta parte) la desconociò por suya Don Pedro, no tanto por hallarla con el titulo del Tuzani de la Alpujarra, quanto por verla adulterada, y diminuta en la impression. La de Vn castigo en tres venganças, que tambien està en la Quinta falsa, padecia la misma calamidad; y por esso se anota alli, y aqui se publican ambas, desmintiendo los errores de la Prensa. La de Bien vengas mal dixe en el Primer Tomo, que no era de Don Pedro, à causa de auer visto otra con el mismo titulo; y registrando esta que aora te presento, reconozco por lo artificioso de la traza, y la naturaleza del verso, que es legitimo parto suyo.24
We have only Vera's word for it that Don Pedro refused to recognize as his El Tuzani and Vn castigo en tres venganças (the play usually printed as De un castigo tres venganzas), because of their corrupt state in the false Quinta parte. In the light of the Charles II list, it would now appear that this was true of La crítica de amor and of another unnamed play, which may or may not have been either of those mentioned by Vera. Nonetheless Vera had the courage to acknowledge his own errors, and (pace Cotarelo, Astrana et al.) it remains extremely probable that he was on fairly close terms with the poet before 1681. If so, Calderón could well have told him verbally that certain plays were genuine and others apocryphal.
We have already seen that Calderón disowned in the Cuarta parte of 1672 a play called Los Empeños que se ofrecen, which was really his own play Los Empeños de un acaso. Perhaps he had not realized that this was a false title to an authentic work. Vera Tassis, too, besides the titles that have been discussed in the last two paragraphs, discarded El Amor hace discretos (= De una causa dos efectos), La Industria contra el poder, y la honra contra la fuerza) (= Amor, honor y poder) and El Polifemo (= Polifemo y Circe, «de tres ingenios», of which Calderón wrote the last act). In these instances, as in others mentioned in the last two paragraphs, Vera's exclusions may be attributed to a lack of thoroughness in the investigation of each case on its own merits. But when all the facts are taken into consideration, another possibility cannot be excluded. Vera, as editor of what he hoped would become the definitive edition of Calderón, may possibly have been concerned to cast doubts on as many of the earlier printings of Calderón's plays as he could. He could not disregard the four early Partes, but he was able, without much fear of contradiction, to list as spurious, plays with spurious titles. On the other hand he did not mention El Garrote más bien dado (= El Alcalde de Zalamea), Vengarse con agua y fuego (= A Secreto agravio secreta venganza) or La Cruz en la sepultura (= La Devoción de la Cruz). I am inclined to think, therefore, that he made these errors through carelessness rather than deliberately.
The list of «Comedias supuestas» in the Verdadera quinta parte of 1682 comprises twenty-five titles «En el iuego de varias», seventy-three sueltas and eight in manuscript. That in the Sexta parte mentions respectively twenty-five, eighty-two, and eight. No further alterations were made in those in the Séptima parte or in the Octava. Vera's work in fixing the canon remains considerable. He was often right, and he had sources of information which no later scholar can have had. But he cannot claim unlimited authority, and his opinion may, at times, have been mistaken.
The list of plays made by Calderón and handed over to Charles II bears a close relation to that of 1680 sent by the poet to the Duque de Veragua. The list made for Charles is probably the older of the two, but it must have been compiled after March, 1677. Both lists suffered a slight contamination as they contain two autos composed during the early part of 1681. Vera Tassis's lists are unlikely to have been based on these two memorias, but he might have seen copies of either of them before Calderón's death in 1681. In any case, Vera's lists were the least reliable of the three; they add titles about which we cannot be certain, either because the plays in question may never have existed or because their authenticity is not beyond question. But on the other hand he rescued for Calderón some undoubted titles, which might otherwise have been rejected by later scholars.
The list of plays
handed to Charles is also evidence of the theatrical tastes of that
ruler. References to the comedias performed at his court are frequent, and
Hesse has reprinted some eulogies by Calderón of that
In a work printed at Valencia shortly after Calderón's death
we are informed that when the king heard that the poet had died
«se le rasaron los ojos
con lágrimas, (assi las gazetas de la Corte;) acción
no solo digno de venia sino de
We now also know that, sometime before, Charles had asked Don Pedro
for a list of his plays and that Calderón had supplied him