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An artificial intelligence uncovers a little-known play by a famous Spanish writer


The original manuscript of a play by the Spanish writer Félix Lope de Veja

Artificial intelligence technology used to transcribe anonymous historical works in the archives of the National Library of Spain has uncovered a hidden gem, a previously unknown play by one of the country's greatest playwrights: Félix Lope de Vega.

The National Library said, on Tuesday, that experts later confirmed that the Baroque playwright and one of the most prominent names in the Spanish Golden Age wrote the play (La Francesa Laura), meaning "French Laura", a few years before his death in 1635.

The copy of the manuscript in the library archives dates back to the late seventeenth century, long after the death of the author (Fuente Obijona) and (Caballero de Olmedo), or "Knight Olmedo".

  Researchers from the Universities of Vienna and Valladolid used artificial intelligence to copy 1,300 manuscripts and books in the library for unknown authors, saving years of human effort. They also sought to discover their authors by comparing each work with a selection of words used by different authors.

The National Library said the words used in the text "align closely with those of Luby, and not with those of the other 350 playwrights who were part of the experiment".

Gredos Publishing will publish the book in Spanish in the coming months.

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