LOPE DE RUEDA (1510?-1565?), Spanish dramatist, was born early in the 16th century at Seville, where, according to Cervantes, he worked as a metal-beater. His name first occurs in 1554 as acting at Benavente, and between 1558 and 1561 he was manager of a strolling company which visited Segovia, Seville, Toledo, Madrid, Valencia and Cordova. In the last-named city Rueda fell ill, and on the 21st of March 1565 made a will which he was too exhausted to sign; he probably died shortly afterwards, and is said by Cervantes to have been buried in Cordova cathedral. He was twice married; first to a disreputable actress named Mariana, who became the mistress of the duke de Medinaceli; and second to Rafaela Angela, who bore him a daughter. His works were issued posthumously in 1567 by Timoneda, who toned down certain passages in the texts. Rueda's more ambitious plays are mostly adapted from the Italian; in Eufemia he draws on Boccaccio, in Medora he utilizes Giancarli's Zingara, in Armelina he combines Raineri's Attilia with Cecchi's Servigiale, and in Los Enganados he uses Gl'Ingannati, a comedy produced by the Intronati, a literary society at Siena. These follow the original so closely that they give no idea of Rueda's talent; but in his pasos or prose interludes he displays an abundance of riotous humour, great knowledge of low life, and a most happy gift of dialogue. His predecessors mostly wrote for courtly audiences or for the study; Rueda with his strollers created a taste for the drama which he was able to gratify, and he is admitted both by Cervantes and Lope de Vega to be the true founder of the national theatre.
His works have been reprinted by the marquis de la Fuensanta del Valle in the Coleccion de libros raros 6 curiosos, vols. xxiii. and xxiv.
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