LECTURE VIII
ROMANTIC TRAGEDY: CALDERON

IN England, as we have seen, the romantic drama had to fight its way inch by inch against the prestige of the classical tradition. And had it not been for the romantic elements in Seneca, who offered a meeting ground between the two hostile camps, it may be doubted whether the victory would have been so speedily won. At the other end of Europe the same struggle was waged, and the supremacy of the classical ideal yet more violently challenged.

In this, as in other matters, Spain asserted herself against the rest of Europe. Here the dramatic revival declared itself earlier than in any country with the possible exception of Italy; and declared itself unequivocally in the form of romance. This was before the end of the fifteenth century; and the drama in question was the famous Celestina, a fantastic story, but vivid to the point of realism, of witchcraft and love potions; a story which is indeed little more than a romance, or novel, cast

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