Life is a Dream by Pedro Calderón de la Barca

Title: Life is a Dream (La vida es sueño)
Author: Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Genre: Classics, Play, Drama
Release date: Edition from 2015, originally published in 1636

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Acclaimed for his superb dramatic instincts and philosophical seriousness as well as his extraordinary imagination, Calderón exercised his best qualities in this allegorical play, an exploration of the mysteries of human destiny, the illusory nature of earthly existence, and the struggle between predestination and free will. The story revolves around the moral dilemmas of a Polish prince, unjustly imprisoned by his suspicious father. Against a background of revolution, Calderón builds a dramatic edifice of outstanding theatricality, rich in symbolism and metaphor, expressed in magnificent poetry.

This excellent new English translation is absolutely complete, and as close and direct as possible. Ample footnotes and an informative introductory Publisher’s Note enhance the value of its modest price.

The writing of Calderón de la Barca flows gracefully along the pages of this play and makes it easy to navigate its complex themes. However, I am sure I did not grasp all the ideas and musings that he intended to portray, as it would take a more careful eye (or ear) and probably a better understanding of early modern Spanish, but it was more managable to read than I would have imagined.

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Genre Exploration: Reading vs. Watching Plays

Another day, another installment of my Genre Exploration series, where I discuss genres and anything interesting I find about them.

Since I joined the online book community I’ve noticed that not many pay attention to written plays. Of course, this all changed this year, when most hurried to bookstores and got one they couldn’t wait to read and discuss with other readers – Harry Potter & the Cursed Child.

Seeing everyone reading that got me very excited because I love reading plays and I thought that people were going to start paying more attention to that genre. Sadly, it didn’t really mean that, as it was a one time thing for many. A Potter exception. Still, as part of this series I wanted to discuss a little what the pros of reading plays vs. watching them are. I’m not exactly trying to convince you to read plays… but I totally am. So let’s go!

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