George Mason University
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George Mason University

Calderón de la Barca: Four Great Plays of the Golden Age

by Rick Davis

Publication Details MORE LESS

  • Published Date: November 11, 2015


  • Life Is A Dream poses fundamental questions about the nature of existence - are we truly awake or do we dream our way through life? One of the world's best known and most loved plays.
  • The Phantom Lady belongs to a delightful tradition of "cape-and-sword" Spanish drama. A searching exploration of illusion and reality, told against a backdrop of love's triumph over the artificial structures of the honor code.
  • The Constant Prince portrays a 15th-century episode from the long-fought conflict between the Christian and Islamic worlds in North Africa and the Iberian peninsula. The Constant Prince is notable for the respect, honor, and dignity with which Calderon portrays both sides in this life-and-death struggle.
  • The Great Theatre of the World represents the sacred one-act play. A delightful exploration of the power of theater as well as a deep examination of faith and free will.


Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681) by most accounts the greatest playwright of a great era, the luminous siglo de oro or Spanish Golden Age, remains best known in the English-speaking world for one play, Life Is a Dream. Like any truly great artist, however, Calderon's brilliance is impossible to understand through a single work. His range of subject, style, and tonality is vast, encompassing tragedy, metaphysics, romantic comedy, honor, illusion, reality, and religion. This group of plays demonstrates the scope of his achievement, in accessible, accurate, production-tested translations. Equally at home in the classroom or the theater, these texts bring a major playwright to life for English-speaking audiences.

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