El Conde don Pero Vélez y don Sancho el Deseado

Comedia en Tres Actos

Edited by Richard Hubbell Olmsted

El Conde don Pero Vélez y don Sancho el Deseado translated by Richard Hubbell Olmsted was first published in 1944. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

This scholarly and critical edition of Vélez de Guevara’s comedy was first scheduled for publication as volume ten of the famous Spanish series of plays called “Teatro Antiguo,” edited by the Spanish scholar, Ramón Menédez Pidal. But during the Spanish Civil War the plates disappeared from the publishing house in Madrid. However, part of a set of page proofs had been forwarded to Dr. Olmsted for checking and it is from these page proofs, in part, that the type for this volume has been set. The remainder of the text has been taken from a careful transcription which Dr. Olmsted had made from the original manuscript in Madrid.

Luis Vélez de Guevara, who died in 1644, was one of the most prolific authors of the Golden Age of Spanish drama, and El Conde don Pero Vélez y don Sancho el Deseado has most of the characteristics typical of its period – it shows the customs and standards of the time, abounds in puns and humor, and unfolds a central love plot. The play is centered around the familiar theme of the jealous zeal of a king to protect the honor of his sister. The story comes from the popular lore of the nation’s history and balladry, being one of the best examples of the drama derived directly from the romancero.

An edition of El Conde don Pero Vélez y don Sancho el Deseado was printed in the 17th century, and one copy (apparently only one surviving) is in the possession of the University of California. Dr. Olmsted, in Chapter V, indicates many of the errors in that rare volume, and thus makes the present publication the only reliable edition in existence.

Richard Hubbell Olmsted was a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where he received his doctoral degree. He was associated with the Texas College of Mines in El Paso and was head of the Spanish Department at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. Many scholars of note who know of Dr. Olmsted’s work on El Conde don Pero Vélez consider it of great value as a piece of research and scholarship and a real contribution to the study of Spanish literature.

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