Other Literary Forms
The reputation of Manuel Tamayo y Baus rests almost exclusively on some twenty years of creative work for the theater. Historical dramas and thesis plays concerned with contemporary mores were the centerpieces of this literary activity. Abundant, too, were the contributions that he made to subdivisions of the primary genre for which he wrote, inasmuch as he authored many humorous one-act plays, cultivated the short dramatic allegory called the loa, and composed librettos for the Spanish version of the musical comedy, the zarzuela. In addition to plays, he wrote three disquisitions on theatrical matters: his prologue to Angela; a formal letter meant for publication addressed to his closest friend, Manuel Cañete, concerning the tragedy Virginia; and his maiden speech before the Royal Spanish Academy on his public reception into that body in June of 1859. These essays on poetics provide valuable insights into his own art and into the dramatic theory and aesthetics of the day.