Other Literary Forms
Leandro Fernández de Moratín is chiefly recognized for his plays although he did contribute to the Spanish literary world a rather large and varied corpus of writings. He wrote much verse, most of which is undistinguished, although he did win honorable mention in a 1779 poetry contest held by the Spanish Royal Academy for a narrative poem La toma de Granada. Three years later, the Spanish Royal Academy again awarded him honorable mention for Lección poética: Sátira Contra los vicios introducidos en la poesía castellana, a satire on the literary vices of the day.
In 1798, he undertook a translation of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark (pr. c. 1600-1601). Although his command of English was not perfect, his prose translation was probably the best in a Romance language up to that time. Moratín also translated two comedies by Molière: in 1812, L’École des maris (pr., pb. 1661; The School for Husbands, 1732) and in 1814, Le Médecin malgré lui (pr., pb. 1666; The Doctor in Spite of Himself, 1672). Unlike his translation of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, these are free adaptations that stray considerably from the original but refrain from deforming them. Moratín was a great admirer of the French dramatist, from whom he learned to avoid the unbelievable series of mistaken identities and circumstances found in earlier comedies and to focus on the true nature and emotions of his...
(The entire section is 495 words.)