Reviewed by Ramond Starr, San Diego State University
San Diego de Alcalá.
By Lope de Vega. Edited by Thomas E. Case. Kassel, Germany: Edition Reichenberger, 1988. Annotations. Bibliography. 177 pages.
Professor Thomas Case, of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at San Diego State University, has published a definitive edition of Lope de Vega’s seventeenth century play on San Diego de Alcalá, for whom our bay and city are named. (An English language translation of the play was previously published in the Winter 1978 issue of the Journal of San Diego History.) Professor Case’s fifty page introduction to the play is the most extensive and best account of the play now available, and should always be consulted before dealing with “San Diego de Alcalá.” Case introduces San Diego’s life (which Case has dealt with in previous publications); recounts Lope de Vega’s biography, including his personal religious circumstances at the time he wrote the play; and introduces the genre comedias de santos, of which the play is an example. The editor next provides an extensive summary of the drama, a synopsis according to versification, an analysis of the play, a description of the characters, and a general evaluation of the play. Case finds the play weak in dramatic structure and characterization, but rich insights into seventeenth century Spain. The book is an important contribution to Spanish literature, and to an understanding of the Hispanic roots of San Diego history.