There exists a curious symbiotic relationship between Juan Ruiz de Alarcón and his better-known French contemporary, Pierre Corneille. Corneille imitated a play titled El mentiroso that he found in a collection of works attributed to Lope de Vega Carpio, avowing that he would gladly have exchanged two of his own best pieces to be the original author of Le Menteur (pb. 1643; The Liar, 1671), as he conveniently titled his adaptation. Thus it is that Corneille is indebted to Ruiz de Alarcón for one of his best-known and most characteristic works, while the Spaniard owes a good portion of his reputation to the fact that the play now known as The Truth Suspected was singled out for praise, emulation, and the resulting diffusion. Carlo Goldoni’s Il bugiardo (1750) and Samuel Foote’s The Lyar (1762) are reworkings of Corneille’s text. Consequently, The Truth Suspected joins Tirso de Molina’s El burlador de Sevilla (c. 1625; The Love-Rogue, 1923) and Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s La vida es sueño (1635; Life Is a Dream, 1830) as one of the three most widely diffused dramatic plots devised during the so-called Golden Age of Spanish drama.
There is greater subtlety in Ruiz de Alarcón’s work than has sometimes been recognized. His presentation of honor-virtue, in contrast to the more mundane honor-reputation, is a case in point. The Walls Have Ears and The Truth Suspected, rather than merely condemning slander and falsehood respectively, point instead to a common...
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Claydon, Ellen. Juan Ruiz de Alarcón: Baroque Dramatist. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1970. Claydon presents a study of the life and works of Ruiz de Alarcón. Includes bibliography.
Halpern, Cynthia Leone. The Political Theater of Early Seventeenth Century Spain: With Special Reference to Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. New York: Peter Lang, 1993. Halpern examines the political theater that existed during the seventeenth century in Spain, focusing on Ruiz de Alarcón and his works. Includes bibliography.
Parr, James A., ed. Critical Essays on the Life and Work of Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. Madrid: Editorial Dos Continentes, 1972. A collection of essays discussing the life and plays of Ruiz de Alarcón. Includes bibliography.
Poesse, Walter. Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. New York: Twayne, 1972. A basic study of the life and works of the early Spanish dramatist. Includes bibliography.