1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/La Cueva, Juan de

LA CUEVA, JUAN DE (1550?–1609?), Spanish dramatist and poet, was born at Seville, and towards 1579 began writing for the stage. His plays, fourteen in number, were published in 1588, and are the earliest manifestations of the dramatic methods developed by Lope de Vega. Abandoning the Senecan model hitherto universal in Spain, Cueva took for his themes matters of national legend, historic tradition, recent victories and the actualities of contemporary life: this amalgam of epical and realistic elements, and the introduction of a great variety of metres, prepared the way for the Spanish romantic drama of the 17th century. A peculiar interest attaches to El Infamador, a play in which the character of Leucino anticipates the classic type of Don Juan. As an initiative force, Cueva is a figure of great historical importance; his epic poem, La Conquista de Bética (1603), shows his weakness as an artist. The last work to which his name is attached is the Ejemplar poético (1609), and he is believed to have died shortly after its publication.

See the editions of Saco de Roma and El Infamador, by E. de Ochoa, in the Tesoro del teatro español (Paris, 1838), vol. i. pp. 251–285; and of Ejemplar poético, by J. J. López de Sedano, in the Parnaso español, vol. viii. pp. 1-68; also E. Walberg, “Juan de la Cueva et son Ejemplar poético” in the Acta Universitatis Lundensis (Lund, 1904), vol. xxix.; “Poèmes inédits de Juan de la Cueva (Viaje de Sannio,)” edited by F. A. Wulff, in the Acta Universitatis Lundensis (Lund, 1886–1887), vol. xxiii.; F. A. Wulff, “De la rimas de Juan de la Cueva, Primera Parte” in the Homenaje á Menéndez y Pelayo (Madrid, 1899), vol. ii. pp. 143–148.  (J. F.-K.)