Félix Lope de Vega Carpio


Lope Félix de Vega was born in Madrid. His teacher was Vicente Espinel and he studied at the Jesuits’ Imperial College.

From 1583 to 1587 we know of his first affairs with Elena Osorio, called Filis in his poems. In 1588 a rival won her love, wounding Lope’s self respect. This episode was shown in different writings, even in La Dorotea (1632). The whole thing ended with a trial and exile from 1588 -the year he married Isabel de Urbina (Belisa)- to 1595. He lived in Valencia and then settled in Alba de Tormes. Back in Madrid in 1598, widowed, he married Juana de Guardoin that year and kept a double home. Then, he met Micaela Luján about 1599 (Camila Lucinda) and, probably, other women. These affairs were reflected in his works until 1608. A year later, the deaths of his wife and son Carlos Felix made him sink into an emotional crisis that caused him to take up a religious career: he became a priest.

From 1605 he was the Duke of Sessa’s secretary. From their epistle collection we can learn some intimate facts of Lope’s life. Firstly, unsteadiness in religious life, that breaks down because of his last strong love, Marta de Nevares (Marcia Leonarda o Amarilis), from 1616 to her death in 1632. Up to this point, Lope’s life was at a low because of his daughter’s religious career, his son Lopito’s death and the running away of his daughter Feliciana.

His burial was a public event, and a year later his first biography was published, written by his disciple Juan Perez de Montalban, who noted Lope to be the author of 1800 plays and other religious writings. We think that only 317 are definitely by Lope and 27 just probable. To this sum we need to add several books of poetry, novels and prose narration’s. Also epic poems, maybe the most beloved by the author and the less read today.

D.Miguel Pérez Rosado.
Ph. D. in Hispanic Philology.