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Love Poetry in the Spanish Golden Age

Love Poetry in the Spanish Golden Age: Eros, Eris and Empire

Series: Monografías A
Volume: 328
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 236
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  • Book Info
    Love Poetry in the Spanish Golden Age
    Book Description:

    This work engages with a broader evaluation of early modern poetics that foregrounds the processes rather than the products of thinking. The locus of the study is the Imperial 'home' space, where love poetry meets early modern empire at the inception of a very conflicted national consciousness, and where the vernacular language, Castilian, emerges in the encounter as a strategic site of national and imperial identity. The political is, therefore, a pervasive presence, teased out where relevant in recognition of the poet's sensitivity to the ideologies within which writing comes into being. But the primary commitment of the book is to lyric poetry, and to poets, individually and in their dynamic interconnectedness. Moving beyond a re-evaluation of critical responses to four major poets of the period (Garcilaso de la Vega, Herrera, Góngora and Quevedo), this study disengages respectfully with the substantial body of biographical research that continues to impact upon our understanding of the genre, and renegotiates the Foucauldian concept of the 'epistemic break', often associated with the anti-mimetic impulses of the Baroque. This more flexible model accommodates the multiperspectivism that interrogated Imperial ideology even in the earliest sixteenth-century poetry, and allows for the exploration of new horizons in interpretation. Isabel Torres is Professor of Spanish Golden Age Literature and Head of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Queen's University, Belfast.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-183-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Isabel Torres
  4. Preface Eros, Eris and Empire
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  5. 1 Garcilaso de la Vega (c. 1501–1536): Transfiguration and Transvaluation
    (pp. 1-34)

    Roland Barthes’ insistence on the death of the author (1968),¹ closely followed by Michel Foucault’s equally provocative interrogation of the writing subject (‘What is an Author?’ 1969),² have been elaborated, qualified, denigrated and newly historicised in almost half a century’s literary theorisings. Common sense alone suggests that in denying a critical need to relate the individual subject (whether author or reader) to a larger cultural, historically specific field of operations, Barthes’ theory of textual construction went too far. But whatever its implicit contradictions (and current memory studies have identified several), there is no denying that the post-structuralist critique of authorship...

  6. 2 Garcilaso de la Vega: Luz de Nuestra Nación?
    (pp. 35-59)

    In the prologue to Eclogue III, Garcilaso addresses the tension between the demands of his professional life as a soldier and his poetic vocation:

    Entre las armas del sangriento Marte,

    do apenas hay quien su furor contraste,

    hurté de tiempo aquesta breve suma,

    tomando ora la espada, ora la pluma. (37–40)

    [In the midst of bloody battle, where scarcely anyone can withstand the fury of Mars, I stole this brief measure of time, now taking up the sword, now the pen].

    These verses suggest a close relationship between two potentially conflictive realms of experience, arms and letters; one in...

  7. 3 Fernando de Herrera (1534–1597): ‘Righting’ the Middle – Centres, Circles and Algunas Obras (1582)
    (pp. 60-94)

    In our post-modern or post post-modern present, we pay little more than lip service to a flawed sense of a continuously unfolding linear temporality. Within an apparently dynamic frame of moving horizons which, on the surface, recognises that meaning does not settle easily within segregated presentism, we have locked the early modern into a temporal pocket on the lower end of a value-added sequential scale. Our contemporary understanding of linear history, as an accumulation of personal and communal experience, is, of course, more complex and, indeed, less ‘linear’ than the Aristotelian concept of the numerical estimation of movement. But while...

  8. 4 Luis de Góngora y Argote (1561–1627): Into the Dark
    (pp. 95-133)

    Herrera’s heliocentric formulations fixed the linguistic aspirations of the late sixteenth century upon the iconic authority of natural and perfect form, the circle. In a post-Copernican allegorical system, the vernacular ‘sol’ was figured as the ideal centre around which not only the fates of individual poets, but the destiny of the Spanish empire itself could, and should, revolve in conterminous motion. Notwithstanding the anxieties and ambivalences which, as we have seen, complicated this correlative arrangement, other paradoxes would ultimately destroy the illusion of centric stability. Firstly, the allegorical frame itself was intrinsically flawed. Herrera’s new brand of collective cultural heroism,...

  9. 5 Luis de Góngora y Argote: Out of the Dark – Emulative Poetry in Motion
    (pp. 134-159)

    Neoplatonic love had been presented by Castiglione as the perfect antidote to the darker emotions associated with human passion – jealousy being prominent among the transgressive desires that required suppression.¹ It is not wholly surprising, therefore, that the dismantling of the Neoplatonic aesthetic in Góngora would liberate a revisionary play upon that most illicit, appetitive drive whose cultural history allowed for the interconnection of erotic and emulative poetics. This chapter will explore how motifs of envy and jealousy are interwoven in Góngora’s love poetry and forge a metaphoric merger between two complementary attitudes: the will to usurp the forbidden feminine object...

  10. 6 Francisco de Quevedo Villegas (1580–1645): Metaphor, Materiality and Metaphysics
    (pp. 160-199)

    Francisco de Quevedo’s remarkable love poetry has finally begun to speak to us on its own terms: as poetry. For too long its voice struggled to be heard under the considerable weight of alternative critical displacement activity; that is, engagement with the still unresolved issues of chronology, dating, and corpus definition that are inevitably dominant when a poet does not publish his work in his own lifetime. However, there are some things that we do know for certain: the first posthumous edition of Quevedo’s poetry was compiled and edited by his friend, José Antonio González de Salas, in 1648, under...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 200-220)
  12. Index
    (pp. 221-228)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-229)