La Biblioteca e el Teatro
Wednesday, March 11th
Today we had the rare opportunity to visit the National Library and see its museum thanks to Professor Jaen-Portillo. The Library had holdings that were hand written including an early hand written copy of Mio Cid, a famous Spanish poem. The library is the center of all intellectual learning in Madrid and houses an extensive collection from all periods of Spanish history. It was truly amazing to see all these works together in one place. What an experience it would be great to be able to spend an entire day browsing the shelves of the library. Regrettably we had to leave after only an hour to catch a play.
The play we went to see was called “La Noche de San Juan” or The Night of San Juan. La noche de San Juan is a festival that is celebrated at the spring solstice. The play is about two friends who agree to marry the other’s sister so that neither will have to pay the marriage price, turning marriage into a business transaction. The two women, Blanca y Leonor, however are in love with other men and do not wish to marry the men they have been promised to. After much complaining and a little sneaking around both women who had yet to meet end up in the house of Don Pedro, Blanca’s love. In the end the women are allowed to marry their respective lovers and Love wins over business. It is an exciting and humorous play from the Baroque period that was well performed.
There is nothing quite like visiting another country and to be able to do it with this class and study Spain from the Baroque period is a once in a lifetime experience. Keep reading to see where our adventures in Madrid take us next.
-Brent Graham ‘09