Pedro Muñoz Seca
Pedro Muñoz Seca is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

; died November 28, 1936 in Paracuellos de Jarama
Paracuellos de Jarama
Paracuellos de Jarama is a municipality of the Community of Madrid, Spain....

, Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Spain) was a Spanish comic playwright. He was one of the most successful playwrights of his era. He wrote approximately 300 dramatic works, both sainetes (short vignettes) and longer plays, often in collaboration with Pedro Pérez Fernández
Pedro Pérez Fernández
Pedro Pérez Fernández was a Spanish dramatist. Born in Seville, he was one of the authors of comic theatre called the astracanada.He had a special and fruitful collaboration with Pedro Muñoz Seca ....

 or Enrique García Álvarez. His most ambitious and best known play is La venganza de Don Mendo (Don Mendo's Revenge, 1918); other major works include La barba de Carrillo (Carrillo's Beard, 1918) and Pepe Conde (1920).

Early life and career

Muñoz Seca was born into a large family in El Puerto de Santa María, Cadiz
Cadiz is a city and port in southwestern Spain. It is the capital of the homonymous province, one of eight which make up the autonomous community of Andalusia....

, Spain, on February 20, 1879. (Because Muñoz Seca loved palindromic numbers, however, he often claimed that he was born in 1881.) Muñoz Seca attended primary school in the Jesuit school of San Luis Gonzaga in El Puerto de Santa María. He then moved to Seville to study philosophy and law; he graduated in 1901. While Muñoz Seca was still a student, his first plays premiered in El Puerto de Santa María (República estudiantil, Un Perfecto de pasivas, and El señor de Pilili) and in Seville (Las Guerreras).

After his graduation, Muñoz Seca moved to Madrid. There, he taught Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and later would work as a lawyer. He often attended literary society meetings, and there met Sebastian Alonso. The two collaborated on the play El Contrabando, which premiered in 1904. Muñoz Seca entered public service in 1908, taking a post in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport. Soon thereafter, he married Asunción Ariza Díez de Bulnes; they would have nine children.

Career as playwright and legacy

His work often employed "slang, puns, plays on words, caricature, parody, and dramatic tricks". He was the inventor of a new genre of comic theatre, the astracanada, the most celebrated example of which is La venganza de Don Mendo, a satire of the romances popular in Spain at the turn of the century.

Muñoz Seca's popularity grew after the premiere of La venganza de Don Mendo. Many of his later plays were very successful, including La pluma verde (1922), Los chatos (1924), La tela (1925), and Los extremeños se tocan (1927) (all written in collaboration with Pedro Pérez Fernández). These works shifted away from costumbrismo toward Muñoz Seca's trademark astracanada.

After the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, Muñoz Seca was at the height of his career, though his dramatic output slowed. Major works during this period include La voz de su amo (1933), Anacleto se divorcia (1932), La EME (1934), and La plasmatoria (1935). Muñoz Seca was a royalist and friend of Alfonso XIII, and his plays La oca (1931) and Jabalí (1932) sharply criticized the Second Republic. In July 1936, after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, he was arrested in Barcelona; he was later transported to Madrid. On November 28, 1936, he was executed by a Republican
Republican Faction (Spanish Civil War)
The Republican faction also known as the Republicans was the side in the Spanish Civil War of 1936 to 1939 that supported the Second Spanish Republic against the National faction.-Popular Front:-CNT/FAI:-People's Republican Army:...

 firing squad in the Paracuellos massacre
Paracuellos massacre
The Paracuellos massacre were a series of mass killings of suspected civilian and military supporters of the military coup led by Francisco Franco and his Nationalist Army during the Spanish Civil War by the Republicans. It took place during the Battle for Madrid during the early stages of the war...

. A humorist to the end, he is reputed to have said to the firing squad, "You can take my hacienda, my land, my wealth, even--as you are going to do--my life. But there is one thing that you cannot take from me--the fear that I have!"

In 1995, the Pedro Muñoz Seca Foundation (Fundación Pedro Muñoz Seca) was established; it is sponsored by descendants of the author and by the government of El Puerto de Santa Maria. The foundation maintains a small museum devoted to the author in his former family home in El Puerto de Santa Maria.

Muñoz Seca is the grandfather of Spanish writer and journalist Alfonso Ussía.

Works cited

  • Gonzalez-López, Emilio (revised by Harold L. Boudreau). "Muñoz Seca, Pedro". In

Further reading

External links

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