‘I have done what I could, Fortuna what she wanted’ is the title of an unknown comedy by Lope de Vega that has been discovered in the funds of the National Library from Spain and that it could be a work key to the maturity of the author, with nods to the political situation of the moment.
As reported this Friday by the BNE, it is the only copy of the princeps (first of the series), without printing data, from the Sevillian workshop of Francisco de Lyra (1632-1634) and whose title did not even appear in the lists and documents in which the works of Lope pending to be located are mentioned.
A work in which he was listed as an author Miguel Bermudez, an occasional actor and writer, but there is strong evidence of Lope’s authorship, as evidenced by the study of Abraham Madroñal, Professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Geneva, has pointed out the BNE.
Abraham Madroñal, professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Geneva, is responsible for the find, and his study has just been published in the “Olmedo Clásico” collection at the University of Valladolid.
In the BNE funds there are copies of the preserved editions of the work – the “princeps”, another without printing data and two copies of it printed in Seville already in the 18th century – where Miguel Bermúdez, actor and writer is listed as author. occasional.
But in reality, the comedy belongs to Lope de Vega, the same playwright who just a few months later would create “Punishment without revenge”, masterpiece of universal theater.
It is a comedy written in the last vital and artistic stage of Lope, called “de senectute”, “as sad personally as it is full of art”, the same one in which he creates some of his masterpieces, such as “El punishment without revenge “, with which he shares reflections of his personal disappointments, such as the satirical taunts against José de Pellicer, a royal chronicler, indicates the BNE.
Strong evidence of authorship
According to the institution, there is strong evidence of Lope’s authorship, as evidenced by the Madroñal study, which has used both the traditional resources of philology and those recently provided by digital technology to prove it.
There are hundreds of expressions and even the complete verses of “I have done what I could” that are identical to others already written, or to be written, by Lope de Vega, belonging to a very wide variety of works, which constitutes a practically proof irrefutable authorship.
Computational stylometry has also proven the coincidence with the lexical statistics guidelines of the theater of Lope de Vega, as well as the tests based on orthology.
For his part, Germán Vega, professor of Spanish Literature at the University of Valladolid and member of the ISTAE project (Loose prints of the ancient Spanish theater), has also identified the find as coming from the Sevillian press of Francisco de Lyra.
This workshop published the work in the name of Miguel Bermúdez between 1632 and 1634, that is, when Lope was still alive, indicates the BNE, which explains that it is still not understood why the same printer who at that time indiscriminately attributed the comedies of Other playwrights – including “Life is a dream” by Calderón, as the most significant case, denied Lope authorship in this case.
A work in code
Madroñal’s study maintains that it could be a work in code, behind whose characters and events they would have disguised themselves significant figures and episodes of the political life of the moment, in which the family of the Duke of Sessa, protector of Lope, and especially his brother, Don Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, was involved, in need of vindication after Felipe IV dismissed him as governor of Milan in 1629 for his failure in the war of succession of Mantua and Monferrato.
According to the BNE, this finding is only part of what remains to be discovered in the library collections, especially in the section of Spanish theater from the Golden Age.