A tentative orthoëpy of Calderón de la Barca

Terry, Suzanne Freeman, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Jensen, John Barry, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, University of Virginia
Haberly, David, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, University of Virginia

One of the most basic problems facing the student of Spanish Golden Age drama is that of verifying the authorship of a number of plays which either have no known author or which have been falsely attributed to such famous playwrights as Lope, Calderón, Tirso, Alarcón and Rojas Zorrilla. To that end, various methods, both subjective and objective, have been proposed to decide the question of uncertain ascriptions to authors of comedias. One of the most fruitful approaches is the comparative study of orthoëpy or internal line-structure. This process consists of determining an author's preference for monosyllabism or disyllabism in words with a vowel combination which may be treated in either manner, and his choice of hiatus or synalepha in groups of words. For example, a word such as sea or real can be considered either a monosyllable or a disyllable, according to the individual preference of the poet. Similarly, le habla can form either two syllables or three, depending upon the writer's choice of hiatus or synalepha. In many such cases even the most careful versifier will sometimes choose one option and sometimes the other, and the choice may also vary according to whether the word appears within the verse or at the end. But even so, given a fairly large corpus of authentic works by a particular author, it is possible to form a profile of the writer's preference by a study of his orthoëpy.

The purpose of this study is to provide a tentative orthoepy of Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The method used is a combination of the two approaches employed by Walter Poesse in his researches on the orthoëpic practices of Lope de Vega and Ruiz de Alarcón. An alphabetical listing facilitates location of an individual word or word group. Following this, sets of conclusions are given for both single words and groups of words, based on atonic or tonic vowel combinations. An extensive comparison is made in the conclusions between the orthoepy of Calderón and that of Lope. Moreover, the practices of these two poets are compared with those of Tirso de Molina, Guillén de Castro, Vélez de Guevara and Ruiz de Alarcón in the lists of key words or types of word groups following each set of conclusions.

The conclusions drawn indicate that many of Calderón's orthoëpic practices differ from those of Lope and the other dramatists, and that Calderón rarely, if ever, shows hesitation in resorting to alternates to meet the demands of a given verse. This tendency toward double usage sharply contrasts with the consistency shown by Lope, Alarcón and Castro. The unavoidable inference is, then, that Calderon was a considerably less careful craftsman of the verse than Lope and several of his contemporaries. The body of material here collected on the orthoëpic practices of Calderón provides a basis for future investigations on the authenticity of a number of plays attributed to him, but without documentary authority.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Calderón de la Barca, Pedro -- 1600-1681 -- Language -- Pronunciation
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: