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Jorge Manrique's 'Coplas por la muerte de su padre'

Jorge Manrique's 'Coplas por la muerte de su padre': A History of the Poem and its Reception

Series: Monografías A
Volume: 298
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Jorge Manrique's 'Coplas por la muerte de su padre'
    Book Description:

    Completed shortly before Jorge Manrique's death in 1479, the 'Coplas por la muerte de su padre' is arguably the most famous poem in the Spanish language. Since its first circulation in the same era, the text has occupied a prominent place in the Spanish literary tradition, becoming, along with its author, a cultural icon. This book explores the ways in which successive generations of readers and scholars have engaged with the poem. It also contextualizes the 'Coplas', Manrique's life, and his enduring reputation. The book is divided into four chapters. The first provides information about the historical setting of the 'Coplas' and its earliest transmission. A chronological survey of the poem's reception comprises chapter 2 (the Renaissance and Baroque eras) and chapter 3 (literary reception in the eighteenth to twenty-first centuries). Chapter 4, "Shifting Literary Perspectives", examines how different perceptions of the meaning and form of the text have changed over the centuries, and the way in which translations have also revealed a variety of interpretations and transformations. Nancy Marino is Professor of Spanish, Adjunct Professor of History, and Consultant to the Vice President for Research at Michigan State University.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-003-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. 1 The Author and His Work
    (pp. 1-33)

    There is little doubt that, if not for the Coplas por la muerte de su padre, Jorge Manrique would be simply a minor member of a lineage whose importance in Castile was diminishing, a lesser historical figure who participated in skirmishes that characterized the civil unrest in the kingdom in the third quarter of the fifteenth century and who, like other noblemen, dabbled in court poetry. Therefore facts about him that were recorded in his lifetime were relatively few. But the lasting fame he earned with the Coplas led to the desire of scholars and admirers to know the details...

  6. 2 The Renaissance and Baroque Eras
    (pp. 34-94)

    Glossing popular cancionero poems was in fashion in the second half of the fifteenth century, and most glosses were composed on short, amorous works such as canciones, or after motes.¹ Jorge Manrique wrote glosses, the most famous of which has the memorable verse “Sin Dios, sin vos, y mí”; he also glossed a couple of motes, including his own motto “Ni miento ni m’arrepiento.” One of the most famous songs in the sixteenth century was composed for his poem “Justa fue mi perdición,” which also inspired thirteen glosses.² But the length and more serious themes of the Coplas did not...

  7. 3 Reception in the Eighteenth to Twenty-First Centuries
    (pp. 95-134)

    The fate of Jorge Manrique’s Coplas in the eighteenth century is closely linked to the tendencies and development of literary studies throughout the period. The Neoclassical era, with its concern for cultural progress, saw the birth of literary historiography as a discipline, resulting in the systematic classification of literary texts colored by prevalent cultural attitudes. Before this time the field of history was generally limited to accounts of military actions but it slowly expanded to include scientific and cultural topics. The term “literature,” however, had a much more extensive meaning, encompassing knowledge of all kinds, and rarely including belles lettres,...

  8. 4 Shifting Literary Perceptions
    (pp. 135-176)

    Much has been written about the genre of the Coplas, about whether it is an elegy, a sermon, a meditation, or other form of poetry that incorporates the various topics that Jorge Manrique takes up in his text. Most of the arguments make a case for a sole genre while allowing that the work also exhibits characteristics of other poetic forms. The most convincing conclusion that one can arrive at after reading the discussions and polemics that they have sometimes provoked is that the Coplas defy being categorized as one variety of text as opposed to others. The classification of...

  9. Afterword Jorge Manrique’s Coplas, A Literary and Cultural Constant
    (pp. 177-177)

    It is my hope that this study has shown the enduring renown of the Coplas de la muerte de su padre which, five centuries after its first circulation, remains one of the most recognizable literary texts in the Spanish language, where it occupies a place as its most famous poem. One can say it was an instant classic (although that expression is an oxymoron), as it was rapidly disseminated in written and oral form from the time Jorge Manrique completed it and passed it on to others in the Castilian court. The poignancy of its message about fleeting life was...

  10. Appendix A: Five Centuries at a Glance: A Selection of Comments about the Coplas
    (pp. 178-182)
  11. Appendix B: Additional Literary Responses since 1800
    (pp. 183-184)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 185-210)
  13. Index
    (pp. 211-214)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 215-215)