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Bartolemé de Torres Naharro

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Spanish poet and dramatist, b. at Torres, near Badajoz, towards the end of the fifteenth century. The date of his death is not known, and little is known of his life. He was a cleric and a man of some learning. About the year 1514 he was living in Rome, where he enjoyed the patronage of Fabricio Colonna, whom he served in the capacity of chaplain. Following the publication of a satire from his pen in which he attacked the vices of the Court, he was banished from Rome and took refuge in Naples, where we lose sight of him. In the latter city was published, in 1517, a collection of his lyric and dramatic works under the title of "propaladia". These consist of satires, epistles, romances, ballads, and some miscellaneous poetry, but chiefly of eight plays which he calls "Comedias". Aside from their literary merit, these latter are of more than passing interest, for their author gives us a theory of his own on the subject of the drama, and with them he set a type or model that was to be followed by later authors. He divides comedies into two classes, namely, "Comedias de Noticia" and "Comedia de Fantasíá". Under the first heading he would include those dealing with real happenings, that have been actually seen; and under the second, things of the fancy, imaginary incidents that seem true though in fact not true. In the development of the plot, he would follow the division of Horace into five acts, though he would change the name of these to "Jornadas", as they seemed to be no more than convenient resting places. He would have not less than six nor more than twelve characters, and in some of his plays there is a tendency to observe the unities of time, place, and action. Among his better known comedies are "Himenea", "Serafina", and "Tinelaria". The authentic editions of the "Propaladia" are; those of Naples (1517), Seville (1520-26), Toledo (1535), and Madrid (1573-90). The "Biblioteca de Autores Espanoles" publishes several romances of Torres (vols. X, XVI, and XXXV).

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