Bowdoin College library’s Special Collections & Archives has assembled a small and representative collection of comedias sueltas to provide student contact with the some of the major Spanish playwrights from the early modern period: Calderón de la Barca, Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina. The suelta as a format provides rich material context for theatrical performance as well as a play’s reception beyond the stage. The collection also provides an opportunity to engage with the lively print history and circulation of these documents and is used regularly in the Department’s active instructional program. With the thorough cataloguing of Calderón’s La vida es sueño, it was discovered that the manuscript notations and the poor condition of the suelta was a result of it having served as a compositor’s copy for setting type for a new edition.
Margaret Boyle, Spanish department faculty, Early Modernist, and active in AHCT, was our connection to Special Collections and to librarians Meagan Doyle, Kat Stefko, and Marieke Van Der Steenhoven. If only we could have this perfect a synergy more often!