A Family Affair

Well the second phase of the Preliminaries project is well under way, and today I would like to talk about a subsection of  the Preliminaries dataset I have been developing over the past month. Here at the lab we are quite interested in Pedro Calderón de la Barca, and because he only published a few editions during during the administration of the Count Duke of Olivares (1621-1643), I thought it would be interesting to extract a sub-graph (701 nodes, 1297 edges)  that only shows the networks related to the publication of theatre in this time period. This allows us to compare Calderón directly with the other prominent playwrites of the era without an excess of ‘noise’ produced by the inclusion of poetry and prose in the graph. As usual, we can see that Lope de Vega dominates the model. However, we also can the other principle dramatists of the era: Pedro Calderón de la Barca, Juan Ruiz de Alarcón,  Tirso de Molina, and Juan Pérez de Montalbán:


Sized for Degree, Colored for Modularity

Calderón (pink modularity group, upper right), isn’t very prominent in the visualization, so I decided to take a look at his publication network. A publication network, if we remember, shows the neighbors of a node up to four degrees of separation. This allows us to see not only people who had some kind of direct relationship with an author, such as Calderón’s brother Josef, but everyone who signed a document in an edition containing his pieces, the printers who published this edition, etc. Calderón’s publication network actually seems quite compact (106 nodes) when compared to someone like Lope de Vega (504) nodes, or Tirso de Molina (491 nodes). Here we see an image of all of the people who are part of Calderón’s publication network (labelled nodes positioned manually):


Calderon’s Publication Neighbors

The 25 labelled nodes in this image represents around a tenth of the total number of people in the theatre portion of the database. Curious about Calderon’s relationship to the other playwrites, I decided to see how Calderón’s set of ‘publication neighbors’ compared with his contemporaries. After a bit of Gephi magic, I produced a set that represents the intersection of all of the people in all of the publication networks of the five principle playwrites:


Core Theatre

This set, which I call the “Core Theatre” group, consists of 17 people who all, in one way or another, are closely related to the production of the major dramatists of the period.  This demonstrates the relative ‘tightness’ of the group responsible for the production of theatre at this time, in particular, the production of theatre in Madrid, as all of the members of the Core Theatre group are in one way or another connected to Madrid.  Interestingly, this set accounts for almost all of the members of Calderon’s publication neighbors. What does this tell us? Well at least in terms of his preliminaries, Calderon’s network was fairly limited.

Looking a bit more at Calderon’s network, another interesting fact jumps out: all of his early editions were published by the women printers María de Quiñones and the “Widow of Juan Sánchez”. Both of these women appear in the core theatre group as well, so I decided to investigate a bit more about these two women, particularly Quiñones, an oddity because at this time female printers were generally presented as the “Widow of Some Famous Printer”. As it turns out, María de Quiñones is also the widow of a famous printer, as a matter of fact, the widow of two famous printers. The first, Pedro Madrigal a prominent late 16th century printer, appears as the printer of some of the earliest editions in the first Preliminaries data set. Upon his death in 1603, Quiñones married Juan de la Cuesta, who promptly set up shop in Madrigal’s print shop and became one of the most famous printers of the era. Why was he so famous? Maybe taking a look at the first Preliminaries graph can help us remember:

cuesta2gEgo Network of Juan de la Cuesta to 2 Degrees of Seperation

If we look closely we can see that de la Cuesta published some important editions. Here’s a look at just the editions he printed:

cuesta_edsEditions Published by de la Cuesta

Recognize any of the abbreviated titles? Here we see that an edition of every work of prose written by Cervantes, including the first edition of Don Quixote, was published  by Juan de la Cuesta. Although Juan de la Cuesta was (presumably) dead 10 years before the first publication of Calderón’s comedies in 1636, it was his print shop, and that of Pedro Madrigal before him, under the direction of the twice widowed María de Quiñones, that would first print the timeless play “La vida es sueño” de Pedro Calderón de la Barca. In this case, it seems that literary production in 17th century Spain truly was a family affair

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