Life is a Dream

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We chose to pursue a deeper analysis of Pedro Calderon De La Barca's play Life is a Dream. Calderon De La Barca's play was first published at the end of the Spanish Golden Age in 1635. (Golden Age ended in 1659). Life is a Dream is a philosophical view on the significance of human existence and the mystery of life on Earth. During the end of the Spanish Golden Age (mid seventeenth century) Spain was experiencing an incredible decline of power and possession around the globe. This fall of the Spanish Empire will supplement and give interesting insight to our observation and analysis of Life is a Dream. We agreed unanimously that we wanted to find a specific play and use that as our focus for our project. Rebecca Leiner discovered Life is a Dream and shared it with us. We were all interested initially because Pedro Calderon De La Barca was frequently compared to Shakespeare in his style of writing and because this particular play was written at the end of the Spanish Golden Age, we thought it would be interesting to also analyze the fall of the Spanish Golden Age. We each assumed our own responsibilities. Rebecca is observing the texts itself. She is taking several translations of the play and analyzing and comparing them as well as looking at the comparison to Shakespeare. Caleb is looking at the political aspect of Spain in the seventeenth century. Cate is researching the Baroque style theatre and the performative aspects of Calderon's drama within that style. Katie is researching the religious attributes of Spanish culture during the Spanish Golden Age and Carly is researching the playwright and the origin of his style.

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Hi Group,

I think that Life is a Dream would be a good text to focus on, but I'd like to see you be a little more specific on the time period and aspects that you are looking at. As you've likely seen, there is a LOT written on Calderon - and so talking about the text can be a bit of a rabbit hole if you're not thinking of the link you'd like to make with its context. Is there a specific set of years that will bound your examination (keeping in mind that you can, of course, make references to things that happened outside this time period)? For instance, Life's a Dream was published in 1635, but you say the fall of the Golden Age occurred in the early 1600s. And will you be covering what actually occurred in the Golden Age as well?

It's interesting that the comparison to Shakespeare is what drew you to Calderon. Think about what exactly that comparison means - this is where the skills practiced in your first two comparison papers will be useful to you. What aspects do you find that Calderon and Shakespeare share? In what ways is their writing different? What about the actual theatrical practices that went on in their two different contexts? Are there scholars who have examined this comparison, and is there disagreement? Perhaps this is a good area to think about for your discussion of a scholarly debate on Calderon's work.

Right now, you have a lot of sources on Calderon, so you might look for sources that are more straightforwardly dealing with the context of the Spanish Golden Age in order to understand how his work fits into that time period. Consider the purpose of theatre at that time - was it different from today? Did it differ from the 17th century London stage? Also, in your citations, be sure to italicize book and journal titles. You can do this using html coding.

The one major concern I have for your group right now is your lack of specifics in terms of the political and social events happening during the time period. So as not to hinder your progress, I'm not going to ask you to resubmit your proposal. Instead, I'm asking that you post an addendum to the proposal (as soon as possible) that bounds your focus within certain years, and explains how you chose those years as your bound. In other words, what is the time period you will examine (chosen around Life is a Dream), and what makes these years significant?

Good work overall,


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This page contains a single entry by craig218 published on November 8, 2012 10:22 AM.

Addendum to Assignment One is the next entry in this blog.

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