Source: Marx Engels On Literature and Art, Progress Publishers, 1976;
Transcribed: by Andy Blunden.
In a short time we stopped before a house. Framed in the doorway appeared an old man with a venerable patriarchal appearance.
I approached him with shy respect and introduced myself as a delegate of the Spanish Federation of the International. He took me in his arms, kissed me on the forehead and showed me into the house with words of affection in Spanish. He was Karl Marx.
The family had already retired and he himself served me an appetising refreshment with exquisite amiability. Then we had tea and spoke for a long time of revolutionary ideas, propaganda and organisation. Marx showed great satisfaction with what we had achieved in Spain....
Whether we had exhausted the subject or whether my honourable host desired to expand on some subject of his preference I do not know, but he spoke about Spanish literature, of which he had a detailed and profound knowledge. I was surprised at all he said about our ancient theatre, the history, vicissitudes and progress of which he was perfectly familiar with. Calderón, Lope de Vega, Tirso and other great masters, not only of the Spanish theatre, he said, but of European drama, were given a concise analysis and what seemed to me a very correct appraisal.
. In the presence of that great man I could not help feeling very, very small. However, I made a tremendous effort not to give a deplorable impression of my ignorance and made the usual comparisons between Calderón and Shakespeare and also recalled Cervantes. Marx spoke of all that with great brilliance and expressed his admiration for the ingenious Hidalgo de la Mancha.