Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Montalvan, Juan Perez de

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MONTALVAN, Juan Perez de (1602-1638), Spanish dramatist and writer of fiction, was the son of the king's bookseller, and was born at Madrid in 1602. At the early age of seventeen he became a licentiate in theology, and in 1626, after entering the priesthood, he received a notarial appointment in connexion with the Inquisition. His overtasked brain succumbed under the numerous literary labours he imposed on it, and he died when only thirty-six years old (25th June 1638).

In 1624 he published eight prose tales (Sucesos y prodigios en amor, en ocho novelets ejemplares), one of which, “The Disastrous Friendship,” has been characterized by Ticknor as one of the best in the language. This, as well as a subsequent volume of stories (Para todos: Exemplos morales, humanos y divinos, 1633), was frequently reprinted. His last prose writing was a popular panegyric on his lately deceased friend and master Lope de Vega (Fama póstuma de Lope de Vega, 1638), whom he almost rivalled in dramatic productiveness, and whose conventional manner, flimsiness in construction, and carelessness in execution he too closely followed. The first volume of his collected Comedias appeared in 1638, the second in 1639. On the Spanish stage they were in great request, and Montalvan's repute led inferior writers in some cases to borrow his name. His dramas are distinctly superior to his “Autos sacramentales,” but even of the former the tragedy Los Amantes de Teruel is the only one that has enjoyed permanent popularity. See Ticknor, Hist. of Span. Lit., vol. ii. (1863).