Talk:Life Is a Dream

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Is this play really a comedy?[edit]

Parts of it are pretty disturbing.Celsiana 18:14, 3 February 2007 (UTC)

See this definition of comedy from the Theatre page: "Comedy: Comes from the Greek word komos which means celebration, revel or merrymaking. It does not necessarily mean funny, but more focuses on a problem that leads to some form of catastrophe which in the end has a happy and joyful outcome." I'm not up on the history of Spanish theater, but in Elizabethan Theatre the general rule of thumb is comedy ends in a wedding and tragedy ends in a funeral. Fitfatfighter 06:30, 3 May 2007 (UTC)
"Tragicomedy" has a completely different meaning when applied to Renaissance theatre. It melds the aspects of Tragedy and Comedy; this was especially frowned upon in countries like France where the Academy demanded very strict rules on plays. However, this play is Spanish. So, they did whatever. Sure, it ends in marriages and has humor (albeit surreal at times), but it does have those tragic and disturbing elements. I'd say labeling it Tragicomedy is fine. --Vendavel (talk) 22:48, 26 April 2008 (UTC)


The Plot sections are reasonable, but the Synopsis is very inaccurate and should be rewritten.-- (talk) 19:20, 21 September 2009 (UTC)

Wikiproject Philosophy[edit]

Really? Declan Clam (talk) 00:48, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

The 1677 autosacramental version[edit]

Calderon De La Barca also wrote an allegorical play by the same name in 1677, which George Drance and Alfredo Galván translated into English and produced in 2000. This version should be at least mentioned in the article, or maybe there should be an additional article with a hatnote in this one. JKeck (talk) 21:18, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Capitalization convention[edit]

Shouldn't the title actually be "Life Is a Dream"? I thought that the English language title convention was that all major words in a title, essentially everything but articles, prepositions, and conjunctions, be capitalized. "Is", a two-letter word, is nonetheless a verb and hence a "major word". (talk) 02:42, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Yes, but I can't move it because of the redirect there. I will try to get an admin to move it. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:08, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Productions section[edit]

This article desperately needs a Productions section describing the major productions of this work. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:08, 28 September 2013 (UTC)

Character section[edit]

Hi. The new character section should certainly not be above the Synopsis. I would suggest combining it with the Synopsis by describing the characters briefly there. -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:53, 24 October 2013 (UTC)


The Birmingham opera reference is incomplete. All references need to list title, publisher and date information. The reference is also too general - it should be to the specific page that discusses this production. -- Ssilvers (talk) 18:40, 27 October 2013 (UTC)

More citations are needed in the Themes section. -- Ssilvers (talk) 02:24, 7 November 2013 (UTC)

Synopsis, characters and next steps[edit]

Cata wrote: I rewrote that whole Synopsis section. ... I left the first paragraph with some changes, so that it gives the reader a little bit of context before the first act.

Your rewrite was much better, but too long, so I tried to streamline it. Make sure that I didn't mess it up. It's still a little long. See if you can do anything to condense the story more – not every detail is needed, as long as the reader can understand the story.

Cata asked: Can you explain to me why you believe Character sections are irrelevant?

Hi, Cata. I should say that I don't think they're irrelevant, but I feel that character sections do not add much, unless the character list is long enough that readers might get confused. However, what I usually do with the character list, is give a list of the original actors (calling it something like "Roles and original cast"), if we know who the original cast were, or, if there were one or more very famous subsequent production(s) with many famous actors, we could give a cast list for those production(s). See for example, Love in Several Masques, Creatures of Impulse, and the casting table in The King and I. It's true that Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet both have cast list sections. In R&J, I think it is warranted, because there are 18 principal characters, and the list is a very efficent way of reminding everyone who is a Montague, and who is a Capulet. in Hamlet, there are 17 principal characters.

You have done a great job expanding the article so far: My current big picture comments on the article are as follows:

  • This article still cries out for a "Productions" section, in which we can describe and discuss the original production and major subsequent productions of the play. In that section, we can also mention any famous actors who portrayed the roles in the various productions. What did the critics think of the original and subsequent productions?
  • The WP:LEAD section needs to be expanded to give an overview of all of the new content below.
  • As your colleague noted, it needs a background section, describing the historical context and any information about that exists about the writing of the play.
  • Does it need a Texts section, like Hamlet has?
  • The adaptations section should be expanded to describe the adaptations a little more substantially and converted to prose paragraphs. Wikipedia prefers narrative paragraphs to bulleted lists - see WP:MOS#Bulleted and numbered lists. -- Ssilvers (talk) 02:52, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
  • Look through R&J and Hamlet to see what else they have that might be relevant here. See also The Author's Farce, The Country Wife, Creatures of Impulse, Proserpine (play), and The Relapse. These are the best articles about period plays on Wikipedia.
  • Again, the Plot synopsis is still a little too long.
  • I threw in an image of the Polish palace in Warsaw in the 1600s, but it would be better to have an image or two from an actual production, or a public domain image from one of your sources; something more connected to the play. -- Ssilvers (talk) 02:35, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

More notes[edit]

Currently, the article is almost wholly devoted to "plot & themes". This is an important foundation, but Life is a Dream is far too significant to leave it at that. I find particularly facts about its history and international standing almost absent. Ssilvers has already begun pointing in this direction; I will point a little more vigorously. Original production information would be of the first importance (but my guess is that we know precisely nothing about this). But certainly we know of early editions: when? during Calderon's lifetime? who printed? are they any good textually? important variants? is there a standard modern edition? LiaD is a classic now... how was it received in Spain in its day? Was there even a sense of its importance? (If memory serves, there was at least some; wasn't it the first play printed in Calderon's first collection, or something like that?) But how did it become a global classic? Not until August Wilhelm Schlegel almost 200 years later, right? Surely, the lionization of Calderon by German (and other) Romantics should figure into the history of LiaD.

  • Partial correction: Edward Honig's forward to his translation of LiaD (1970) notes translations into Dutch and Italian in 1636, and 2 more in Calderon's lifetime. So the play certainly had at least some international reputation before Schlegel -- though reading between the lines, the German Romantics do still seem to have been decisive in most other countries. Phil wink (talk) 23:04, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Apropos to that, MacCarthy in 1873 says that LiaD "has been translated into many languages and performed with success on almost every stage in Europe but that of England." Which? If we lack its original production, somewhere there must be records of many of these significant translations and international productions. (If you like super-old pop-cultural references, MacCarthy also notes: "as if to give signal proof of the reality of its title, and that Life was indeed a Dream, the Queen of Sweden expired in the theatre of Stockholm during the performance of La Vida es Sueño.") I recognize that this type of research is a tall order, and I'm sorry at the moment I don't really have any good sources to direct you to. Also I have no idea how it fits in with the current academic project. But I can ask for free! Good luck! Phil wink (talk) 04:00, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

Thanks, Phil – this is extremely helpful! -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:14, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
You're welcome. Oh, also (just to be ungrateful), I disagree with Ssilvers's de-lineation of the verse quotation. S/he is certainly right about slimming down the text, but unlike in print, extra vertical space on Wikipedia is free. Unless there is an objection, I will return it to its proper lineated form. And it absolutely needs a reference. If it is an original translation, it probably shouldn't be here; if it's a published translation... let us not plagiarize it. Phil wink (talk) 04:26, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure about that, Phil. I have certainly seen poetry de-lineated like that in Wikipedia, and the Manual of Style seems to indicate that poetry can be set forth either way: "If inline, line breaks should be indicated by /". Can you point to any Wikipedia style guideline on this? My thought was that laying it out line by line makes a very long Synopsis look even longer. I don't think I've ever seen an FA-class article that had such a big long poetry quote in the middle with so much white space. Maybe we could summarize the gist of what he says, and put the poetry in a nice blue box like the one here. BTW, do you think all the lines are essential? Good idea by the way, to footnote the translation. Cata, would you please add a ref citing which translation you used? If it's your own translation, there is no problem with using it here, but we should leave a note on the talk page about it. Also, Phil, can you help with condensing the Synopsis? Can you think of anything that can be cut without sacrificing key elements of the story? Happy editing, everyone! -- Ssilvers (talk) 06:35, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
To address (at first) only the the lineation vs. slash issue: You are completely right that IF verse is quoted inline, lines are to be separated with slashes. The question is "should this be done?" Verse is written in verse, and should be quoted in verse. There are, I believe, only 2 reasons to de-lineate:
  1. to conserve physical space (never a consideration here since Wikipedia does not exist in physical space);
  2. to integrate a very short quotation into its surrounding prose context (an important WP consideration).
But #2 is not applicable here because the quote is not short, and does not require that level of integration. An example of needful prose integration might be: "When Segismund says 'in this world, in conclusion, / everyone dreams the thing he is' he is referring to..." Trying to preserve lineation in that case would severely degrade comprehensibility. I don't believe that making a section appear shorter or horror vacui are adequate reasons to alter the norm of displaying verse in lines. These are MY views, but are fully in accordance with MOS:Blockquote, as I read it.
To broaden to length and placement issues: My sense is that WP editors prefer shorter and fewer quotes, and tiny little extracts of verse. To which I say "phooey". Calderon's art is verbose, rhetorical, iterative, highly structured. If there is a purpose to quoting a passage, surely it's to exemplify "what Calderon is like" (I'm delighted that such a brief quote can give an idea of "what Calderon is like"!). However, I'm perfectly OK with the suggestion that the verse could go into a "blue box", as (in my view) the quote functions more as a general illustration and "purple patch", than as an integral part of the argument at hand (the synopsis). Phil wink (talk) 18:22, 12 November 2013 (UTC)
Blue box it is. Done! Cata, we still need a reference for the translation, if it is not your own. -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:54, 13 November 2013 (UTC)

Oh! Wow![edit]

I was only absent from Wikipedia for a few days and so much has happened.
Ok, here's what happened with the translation: it's not entirely mine, but it's not entirely Wadsworth's. I wanted to add that one as it is in the book, but it is a bit imprecise on some verses... How do I work with that?

As for the blue box... love it. Looks so much better.
And thanks for trimming my synopsis... Much needed. However, I thought it was best to do more and then cut than writing and then trying to make additions.

Yes, that was a good strategy. -- Ssilvers (talk) 08:07, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

I will start working on the productions section. I've seen the article in Spanish and it expands more on this and has a very good online source from which I can pull this information. Anyway, thanks, Ssilvers and thanks, Phil wink for your interest and patience. -- CataVillamarin111 (talk) 05:49, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

You're doing a great job, Catalina! -- Ssilvers (talk) 08:07, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Translation for lines in blue box[edit]

Cata wrote: ...the translation: it's not entirely mine, but it's not entirely Wadsworth's. I wanted to add that one as it is in the book, but it is a bit imprecise on some verses... How do I [attribute] that? -- CataVillamarin111 (talk) 05:49, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Maybe we could say something like, – translation based on [Wadsworth] (need full name, publication info, etc). -- Ssilvers (talk) 08:07, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

I don't believe I've ever been accused of patience before, but I won't object. :)

The issue of the translation still concerns me. I have failed to find a WP guideline on this (maybe Ssilvers is more knowledgeable on this topic?), so I will note my views on translations of literature, with the caveat that these are only my views.

  1. A translation of art is simultaneously an interpretation of art and, implicitly, is itself art. It follows that...
  2. WP editor translation should be the last resort. Interpretation and art should be left to our authorities; for us to do this job risks WP:OR.
  3. Published translations cannot be improved. To do so is to misquote (at best), and to assume a higher authority than the published professional translator. So while #2 is the last resort, #3 is not any resort at all.

Fortunately, there are about a dozen easily-available English translations of LiaD -- below are 4 I had to hand. Cata, I don't know Spanish, so are any of these better in your view? If one of these is preferred, I'll double-check the text and provide a full citation for it. My own choice would be Racz because -- even though I trust he jostles the prose sense a bit -- he reproduces the verse form (as does Mac-Carthy)... but then I'm afraid I'm a bit of a formalist. Phil wink (talk) 12:33, 16 November 2013 (UTC)

Campbell (455-56) Honig (76-77) Racz (78-79) Mac-Carthy (79)

The rich man dreams his wealth which is his care
And woe. The poor man dreams his sufferings.
He dreams who thrives and prospers in this life.
He dreams who toils and strives. He dreams who injures,
Offends, and insults. So that in this world
Everyone dreams the thing he is, though no one
Can understand it. I dream I am here,
Chained in these fetters. Yet I dreamed just now
I was in a more flattering, lofty station.
What is this life? A frenzy, an illusion,
A shadow, a delirium, a fiction.
The greatest good's but little, and this life
Is but a dream, and dreams are only dreams.

The rich man dreams he's wealthy with all the cares
it brings him. The poor man dreams
he's suffering his misery
and poverty. The fellow
who improves his lot is dreaming,
and the man who toils and only
hopes to, is dreaming too.
And dreaming too, the man
who injures and offends.
and so, in this world, finally,
each man dreams the thing he is,
though no one sees it so.
I dream that I am here
manacled in this cell,
and I dreamed I saw myself
before, much better off.
What is life? A frenzy.
What is life? An illusion,
fiction, passing shadow,
and the greatest good the merest dot,
for all of life's a dream, and dreams
themselves are only part of dreaming.

The rich man dreams his riches great,
Which makes his wealth more burdensome.
The poor man dreams that he'll succumb
To misery in his beggared state.
He also dreams who prospers late.
The striver and aspirer do,
The mocker and offender, too.
In fact, all mortal souls on earth
dream their conditions from their birth,
though no one knows this to be true.
I'm dreaming now that darker days
Await me, chained, in this dark cell
As I'd dreamt I'd been treated well
Of late in some strange coddled phase.
What's life? A frenzied, blurry haze.
What's life? Not anything it seems.
A shadow. Fiction filling reams.
All we possess on earth means nil,
For life's a dream, think what you will,
And even all our dreams are dreams.

And the rich man dreams of gold,
Gilding cares it scarce conceals,
And the poor man dreams he feels
Want and misery and cold.
Dreams he too who rank would hold,
Dreams who bears toil's rough-ribbed hands,
Dreams who wrong for wrong demands,
And in fine, throughout the earth,
All men dream, whate'er their birth,
And yet no one understands.
'Tis a dream that I in sadness
Here am bound, the scorn of fate;
'Twas a dream that once a state
I enjoyed of light and gladness.
What is life? 'Tis but a madness.
What is life? A thing that seems,
A mirage that falsely gleams,
Phantom joy, delusive rest,
Since is life a dream at best,
And even dreams themselves are dreams.

Other than the idea that we need to give attribution for any published sources that we use, I don't know of any Wikipedia rule that specifically covers this. Thanks, Phil for all this hard work! I must say that I would prefer the most accurate translation for the meaning of the original rather than one that simply looks poetic. I agree with Phil that if Catalina finds any of the published translations acceptable, then she should choose it. Also, we could footnote it to point out any respects in which she feels that the translation does not convey the literal sense of the Spanish text, citing according to a Spanish-English dictionary. If she really finds all of the translations seriously misleading, we could leave it as is, with a footnote that specifies in what respects Catalina has modified her source and cite a dictionary with respect to the modifications. -- Ssilvers (talk) 17:41, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
FYI, I have noted this discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Poetry#Translations of poems, not to get any particular result for this article, but because general WP guidelines seem to be needed (as I note there, this discussion we're having has surely been had a hundred times). If you want to help in a general discussion, or know an editor who would be a valuable contributor, or know of a better venue, please post there!
Also, in my opinion, work on this article should not be put on hold for some general guideline that may or may not actually materialize. We'll do our best together, and if later there is a reason to alter our decisions, we'll deal with that later. Phil wink (talk) 17:53, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Good idea, Phil. I agree that we must simply proceed here the best we can, and if the other discussion leads to any formal advice, then we can make any fixes at that time. -- Ssilvers (talk) 18:02, 16 November 2013 (UTC)
Cata, below is another translation of this same passage, in case it is any use in deciding what to display. It's my last example of what I consider are probably the "top-shelf" translations (I have not included Edward FitzGerald's, since accuracy was not one of his goals).


Edwards (168)

The rich man dreams in all his wealth,
Though riches cause him endless care.
The pauper dreams his suffering,
Complaining that the world's not fair.
The man who has success dreams too,
And so does he who strives for more.
He dreams whose heart is full of spite,
Who, hurting others, claims he's right.
The world, in short, is where men dream
The different parts that they are playing,
And no one stops to know their meaning.
I dream that I am here, a prisoner,
I dream that I am bound by chains,
When once I dreamt of palaces
Where I was kind, where once I reigned.
What is this life? A fantasy?
A prize we seek so eagerly
That proves to be illusory?
I think that life is but a dream,
And even dreams not what they seem.

Phil wink (talk) 23:34, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

  • I have been asked to comment on this matter. I don't have much to say, except that I am a bit bothered by the advice given above: "Also, we could footnote it to point out any respects in which she feels that the translation does not convey the original sense, citing to a Spanish-English dictionary.". Any doubts about the validity of whatever translation is used should be based on the opinions of experts, who should be cited, not what the editor "feels", or on an uncontexted Spanish-English dictionary. Brianboulton (talk) 11:17, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
    • I rarely differ with Brianboulton, but I do here, slightly. To my mind, if an existing translation is now nuanced by a fluent speaker of both languages and is uncontentious I think there is merit in it. As the above examples show, translation isn't an exact science, and though published versions by well-known translators are, on the whole desirable, being WP:RSs, I think there is room for tweaking, within reason. – Tim riley (talk) 16:16, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
  • This is an interesting question, and one without hard-and-fast answers; really, this is an issue for our sister project Wikisource. There, they maintain a WikiProject Translation on guidelines for original community-curated translations, and a Category:Wikisource translations. But that is a project meant more for the translation of full works, or major sections of work at least. I would say that on Wikipedia the default would be to keep to a standard translation, but if you feel that some aspect of Wadsworth is obviously mistaken or dated, then I personally don't see great harm in citing a quotation as "modified from Wadsworth" (especially if that could provide the seed of a future Wikisource translation).--Pharos (talk) 18:17, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Sorry for being away for so long. I wouldn't have thought that my translation would lead to this huge discussion. I read what everyone said, and yes, I think that my translation shouldn't be considered our first option. However, I must also disagree with Brian. Firstly, what I said about the translation being imprecise is not based on a dictionary. Spanish is my first language, and although I may not be an expert, I learned about Calderon and Cervantes in school the same way English-speakers learn about Shakespeare. They shaped our language and are the peak of an era where the arts in Spain flourished. Calderon mastered the Gongorist style, which was characterized by the use of flourish and complex language, mythological references, and the witty use of words, rhyme and meter. So no, what I said about the translation was not based on mere "feelings". I think Wadsworth's translation doesn't do a full job reflecting ALL of the aspects of Calderon's work. But this doesn't mean I'm directly making this or any translation invalid. As Tim Riley said, this is not an exact science... Actually I'm in awe to see that so many people have been bold enough to face the challenge of translating Calderon. So, going back to choosing one, I think that Campbell's lacks the repetitions used by Calderon, and is overly simplified. After that we have to raise the question: are we judging translations just on content or in in form? I, like Phil, I'm a bit of a formalist. So I'm leaning towards the rhymed versions. The effort thet Racz and MacCarthy do is admirable not only in that they make it rhyme, but in that they maintain Calderon's verse structure (ABBAACCDDC). Racz even goes as far as using the same number of syllables on each verse! WOW... but he compromises a bit the content of each verse. MacCarthy is doing a serious effort in maintaining the same grammatical structure AND he is really keeping the content of each verse intact... All in all, I think that MacCarthy's gives you the closest experience to the Spanish text. I just hope I made myself clear. Thanks, Phil for posting the options side by side. It was really helpful.CataVillamarin111 (talk) 04:26, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • OK, so, should we just use the Mac-Carthy as is? And if so, do you want to add a footnote to mention any respects in which he misses the sense of the original? Also, could someone please give me the full reference for Mac-Carthy so I can put in the cite? -- Ssilvers (talk) 05:36, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • I think we should use it as is. But I don't think the footnote is necessary. However, how did we decide where to start citing? I think this is a really strange point to start, as it doesn't convey a complete idea. It is the previous stanza which opens the soliloquy: Sueña el rey que es rey, y vive/con este engaño mandando In here he states that the king dreams he's the king and lives as such until he awakens from this dream with the dream of death. The stanza where we're starting is just elaborating, and gives more examples of what he stated previously, and it makes no sense to add it unless we add the previous one. The other option would be to use only the last stanza, where Segismundo applies everything to his life and current state to conclude what life is. I would go with adding all three, because it links this play to the historical context (which is still to be written... patience) where Spain goes to war with England and power is being questioned every day, where the little advances in science are questioning the truth, where even religion is being questioned by Luther. So it would be either adding the three or just the last one. What do you think?CataVillamarin111 (talk) 14:15, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
A few responses:
  1. The full DFMC ref is: Denis Florence Mac-Carthy, Calderon's Dramas. London: Henry S. King & Co., 1873. p. 79. (If we choose to expand the quotation, as suggested by Cata, the pages will be 78-79.)
  2. Regarding the selection: I just went for different versions of the bit that was already in the article; I assumed this had been selected by Cata, but clearly that was a wrong assumption. I think adding a few more lines is OK.
  3. Cata, I hope you don't take our criticisms of your translation personally. I believe you when you say you have a good understanding of Calderon's language. But because WP:Verifiability, not truth is such a core principle in Wikipedia, it is actually very healthy for the project that "Who cares what you think? You're just some Wikipedia editor!" is at the top of everyone's mind in every circumstance. (Naturally, we also have to be thinking "Who cares what I think? I'm just some Wikipedia editor!"... which is much harder to do.) So please understand that our doubts about using your translations are based on policy, not on our personal judgments about your competence.
  • Non taken! I'm actually just some Wikipedia editor... and an amateur one for that matter! I just wanted you to know that when I said the translation wasn't accurate it wasn't just because I felt like it.CataVillamarin111 (talk) 20:27, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, I think I'll go ahead and plop the DFMC translation into the article, with the citation, and with the extra lines. If this is not liked, we can fiddle with it again, but it sounds to me like we've got some degree of consensus here. Phil wink (talk) 16:19, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Shorter is generally better. The plot synopsis and Historical background sections are where you can explain the meaning and historical context of the play. The box is just to give a brief flavor of the text. Catalina, I suggest that you select the best short stanza that accomplishes this. Phil, please do not put in all three stanzas. My experience with FA-class articles is that quotes should be as short as possible. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:33, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, I was too late! I removed the middle stanza, since Catalina said it was the least important. I'd still suggest only one instead of two, but I guess it's not too crazy long as is. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:43, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
So let's leave just the last one. If something must be read, re-read, and memorized on that play, it it that stanza! CataVillamarin111 (talk) 20:34, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Phil wink, what do you think? Is the last stanza enough, or do you feel strongly that we should leave in the first one also? -- Ssilvers (talk) 21:58, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Honestly, I still prefer the super-long version, though I recognize this puts me in a wiki-minority. If one wants to suggest the flavor of Alexander Pope a couplet or two might do. Zing! Got it. But as Cata and I have pointed out, Calderon's flavor is very different; it is involved, complex, symmetrical, iterative, even exhaustive. In my view, all 3 sections under consideration are important, because the first 2 together form a sort of synoptic stratified view of mankind from the highest to the lowest (which is important since Segismund himself has embodied both the highest and the lowest) and of course the final 3rd is the summing-up. Showing the whole of this argument helps suggest (to me) significant analogues: Calderon's own Great Theater of the World and of course "All the world's a stage". 3 speeches from Hamlet have their own (admittedly not great) articles in which the speeches are given in full -- sometimes in multiple versions; I think we can spare 30 lines from the greatest play of Spain's greatest playwright. Phil wink (talk) 06:10, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, thanks. I would prefer to cut it to the 10 lines that Cata finds essential, but I hope we can compromise on the 20 that are there now. I believe that, even as is, the box is either intimidating or yawn-inducing for most encyclopedia readers to want to read through it, as they read the article, whereas a shorter box would be more inviting. Wikisource is the place for long quotations of text. In my experience with FA-class and GA-class articles, peer reviewers and FAC reviewers would generally consider the 30 lines to be too much. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:30, 8 December 2013 (UTC)


I added a recording of Segismundo's monologue in Spanish. Is this useful? Cata, is it a good performance of the monologue? -- Ssilvers (talk) 04:00, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

I had thought of that but didn't know how relevant it would be if it was in Spanish. It's great that you added it. I love that it's in Spanish from Spain. CataVillamarin111 (talk) 04:12, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Productions and historical background section[edit]

Not to rush you, Cata, but just a reminder that you said you could import some material from the Spanish language version of this article about productions, etc. -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:48, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

Ok! I'm actually working on the historical context. I thought I needed to do that first, since it was what everyone pointed in their reviews. Thanks for the reminder!CataVillamarin111 (talk) 20:37, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
You've probably got good sources already lined up, but I happen to notice that Don Cruickshank gives some textual history on pp 114-15 of his biography Don Pedro Calderón; it's very brief, but should be quite up-to-date as it was published in 2009. Phil wink (talk) 20:59, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks! do you have a link to this? I also wanted to ask you: I had been drafting some paragraphs on the history of Spain but then stopped because I knew I had to back everything with reliable sources. So found an edition that was translated by Michael Kidd, and he gives a great overview on the context on his critical introduction. It's been really helpful in supporting what I knew and he's also given me more elements to talk about. However, How do I cite this? Because the book is the play, and this introduction is within the book. Actually, if you go to my user page, I've added a link to my sandbox if you want to check out what I've done so far. It doesn't seem like much, but I'm just moving things from a word document as I write.CataVillamarin111 (talk) 02:24, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
  1. Cata, I've looked at your sandbox, and my fear is that this content is just not appropriate at the level of this article (it's just one play). It's a bit like that old joke: "Gee, Bill, you seem upset. What happened? Start from the beginning." "Well, first there was this huge molten ball, but then the crust started cooling, oceans condensed, and simple life-forms began to emerge..." I think your concepts can be more appropriately conveyed with a little "once-dominant" or "over-extended" or "edge of bankruptcy" or "resolutely Roman Catholic" strategically thrown into the text somewhere.
  • You're right. Please see my comment under Ssilver's response!CataVillamarin111 (talk) 04:06, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  1. There are a LOT of ways to cite things. I've documented some of my personal preferences at User:Phil wink/Notes and references, to which naturally your first response should be "Who cares what Phil thinks?". But at least it has some links to actual Wikipedia guidelines in there, too. In this case, my inclination would be to use this formulation: Kidd, Michael (2004). "Critical Introduction". Pedro Calderon de la Barca's Life's a Dream. Boulder, Colorado: University Press of Colorado. pp. 1–15.  -- but I'm not an expert.
  2. I don't have a link to Cruickshank. The high points are that "Almost certainly, it is the most-printed Spanish play" (p. 114) -- and that it was once believed to be derived from the inferior Yerros de naturaleza y aciertos de la fortuna (a collaboration of Calderon and Antonio Coello in 1634), but is now believed to have been written in 1629-30, though possibly revised before its publication in the Primera parte de comedias of 1636 (pp. 114-15). The citation is Don W. Cruickshank: Don Pedro Calderón. Cambridge University Press, 2009. Phil wink (talk) 04:14, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Re: Phil's comments above:

  • 1. I think there is a middle ground here. You can say in a sentence or two that Spain was the biggest Western power and that there was a great cultural blossoming, but that its power was waning in the 17th century, etc. Then focus in on how the military, economic, cultural and religious context influenced Calderon in writing the play.
Ok, I will get to Calderon shortly... I just wanted to emphasize the political, religious and cultural conflicts that Spain was going through and then show how the art in that context is questioning reality, power, proportions: El Greco, Don Quixote, Fuente Ovejuna... and that obviously ties into Calderon, his work and Life is a Dream. But yes, I recognize that maybe I got a bit carried away. I'll cut some things and get to the point.CataVillamarin111 (talk) 04:07, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • 2. I like Phil's citation form for the book, except that I prefer to put the book refs at the bottom of the article (using the citation template for books), without the page number, and then just put the shortform cite inline with the page number, like this: <ref>Kidd, p. 6</ref> For non-book refs, I prefer not to use the citation templates, but that's just me. For an example, see The King and I.
  • 3. Cruickshank, Don W. Don Pedro Calderón, Cambridge University Press (2009) ISBN 0521765153 -- Ssilvers (talk) 05:04, 8 December 2013 (UTC)