Spanish dramatic poet, b. at Mexico City, about 1580; d. at Madrid, 4 August, 1639. He received his elementary education in Mexico and finished his studies at the University of Salamanca, obtaining the degree of Bachelor of Laws. In 1606, he removed to Seville with the object of practicing his profession, and remained in that city for three years. While there his friends and associates were the men of letters of the city, among them the illustrious Miguel Cervantes Saavedra, with whom he formed a close friendship The years between 1609 and 1611 he passed in his native country. Returning to Spain, he settled in Madrid. A few years before Philip II had transferred his court to that city, and it was not long before Alarcón's dreams of a prominent position at the bar were shattered, for he saw that only through intrigue and adulation could he hope for preferment. This being distasteful to a man of his temperament, he turned to writing for the stage, attracted by the success of Lope de Vega, Gabriel Tellez (Tirso de Molina), and others of that period, which was so rich in literary masters. He was successful almost from the start. Unfortunately, he gained as well the envy and enmity of some of the poets of the time, among them Lope de Vega, Gongora, and Montalván, who lampooned him mercilessly. After his death he was gradually forgotten, save by plagiarists, who could safely pilfer from his unread works. Posterity, however, has given him his due, and he is considered the first great literary product of the New World and perhaps even to this day, one of the greatest. He is admittedly in the foremost rank of Spanish dramatists, being surpassed if at all, only by Lope de Vega and Calderón. Alarcón was the author of many plays, all of them masterpieces. Among the best known are: "Truth Suspected", which drew forth the highest praise from Corneille, who used it as a basis for his "Le Menteur"; "Walls have Ears" was meant to ridicule the habits of gossip and slander ; "The Weaver of Segovia ", a drama of intrigue and passion, in two parts, the first of which has been attributed to another author, being so much inferior to the second. In general his plays are distinguished by their ingenious plots, moral tone, vigorous and pure style, and purity of versification.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online