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Richard W. Tyler Comedia Plot Summaries

Richard Tyler Plot Summary Collection Richard Tyler Plot Summary Collection-Index of Summaries
Richard Tyler Plot Summary Collection

In the Spring of 2008 one of my professor's, Amy Williamsen, showed me several boxes full of index cards measuring five inches by eight inches. While many of the cards were regular-lined cards, a lot of them also had been cut out from pictures or posters, often designed to advertise events at a the university where Richard Tyler used to teach. Amy Williamsen, who received the cards from her father, Vern Williamsen, indicated that when Richard Tyler was about to retire he was going to dispose of all the notes he had taken during his long teaching career. When Vern Williamsen asked his friend and collegue if he could take the files, Richard Tyler gave them to him and told him he could use them as he saw fit. The collection of notes is divided in three categories: bibliographical information, idea files, and plot summaries of Spanish and Latin American plays–primarily from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries.

The well-organized bibliographic information contains information regarding numerous authors and subjects and the books where the information can be found. The collection is an invaluable collection of references that contains the titles of often hard-to-find or little-known books and journals.

The "idea files" focus on specific words or phrases that appear in Golden Age literature. For example, the word "ojo" (eye) has several cards, each card pointing to a specific literary work and how the word is used in that work. I've been told that it even has quite remote terms, one referring to a porcupine.

The third and final set of files contains type-written summaries of approximately 1,700 comedias on nearly eight thousand cards. The summaries cover the works of 190 known playwrights as well as numerous anonymous comedias.

All the files had sat in Professor Williamsen's office for years, so I was happy when she allowed me to take and scan all the plot summaries. I would have liked to scan the cards from all three categories, but as a graduate student I simply don't have the time. During my first year I was able to type 850 pages of the plot summaries in Microsoft Word. I believe I have about 1,200 pages left, but I haven't had time since 2009 to finish typing the summaries or to proofread and edit the ones that I have typed. It is a mammoth project that will probably take me a few more years to finish, but in the meantime, I am including a copy of the unedited plot summaries that I have typed up to this point in time. It is a little over 4 megabytes of text, so it may take a little while to load. It is a searchable text. I hope they will be of use for those conducting research or who are just trying to decide on a good comedia to read. One of my favorites that I found as a result of the Richard Tyler Files is Lope de Vega's El desconfiado.

If anyone knows Richard Tyler, I believe he would be around 93 or 94 years old as of 2010, I would appreciate any information you may have to contact him. I would love to have the opportunity to talk with someone who produced such an amazing collection for his personal studies with what appears to be little intention to publish them with the exception of his summaries of Calderón de la Barca's comedias.

PDFs of summaries that have not yet been transcribed.

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Pictures taken in Spain

Spanish and Latin American Playwrights

Richard W. Tyler Files--Plot Summaries Association for Hispanic Classical Theater Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes
USATODAY Scentsy Real Academia Española
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Copyright © 2012 Errol L. King