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La Diana of Montemayor as Social and Religious Teaching

La Diana of Montemayor as Social and Religious Teaching

Bruno M. Damiani
Copyright Date: 1983
Pages: 128
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130hzxm
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    La Diana of Montemayor as Social and Religious Teaching
    Book Description:

    Jorge de Montemayor's great pastoral novelLa Diana(1559), one of the fountainheads of Spanish Renaissance literature, has often been regarded as a work written merely to amuse an effete courtly world. Bruno M. Damiani argues here that, far from being simply a "pastoral dream,"Dianahas profound socio-historical and religious dimensions, and that Montemayor's intentions in it were largely moral and instructive.

    The timeless, idyllic nature which forms the essence of the pastoral is, in the case ofDiana, inextricably bound up with the grace and sophistication of urban Spanish culture. Indeed, this study shows, Montemayor's shepherds and shepherdesses exist not in an imaginary Arcadian land but in the very real Spain and Portugal of their author's own time, and many of the characters are disguises for actual persons of the Spanish court, including perhaps the author himself.

    Similarly, the philosophical and religious concerns of Renaissance Spain are fully explored in the lives of Montemayor's sorrowing rustics. Symbolically they are sinners who have fallen from grace and must undertake a spiritual pilgrimage, one which ultimately leads them to an understanding of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

    Mustering a wealth of classical, biblical, medieval, and Renaissance sources, the author reveals the underlying fabric ofDiana, an inter-twining of allegory, symbolism, and imagery intended to instruct Monte-mayor's readers in the path of virtue. Damiani's analysis of this important work offers us a clearer view of the intellectual life of Renaissance Spain.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6283-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[vi])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [vii]-[viii])
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, showing both the bias of his times and his own conviction that the pastoral fonn is decorative rather than meaningful, introduced Montemayor’sLos siete libros de Ia Diana(Valencia, 1559) to the twentieth century as an artifice devised by an effete courtly world. Accordingly, he could not conceive of a historical cause forDiana, nor even for the appearance of the pastoral novel, which he tenns a “purodilettantismoestético.”¹ In recent years, however, Rachel Bromberg has taken issue with this view, rightly noting that “no art fonn arises in a historical void, but is an inevitable...

  4. Chapter One Social and Historical Realities
    (pp. 7-52)

    Spain, the mother of the modern novel, fostered pastoral literature to an unparalleled degree throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The unique success of books about shepherds in Spain can be attributed to the readers’ appreciation of the esthetic and moral values disclosed in that literature, but also—and fundamentally soto the esteem in which was held the work of shepherds, that “noble oficio pastoril”¹ discussed with such enthusiasm by Gabriel Alonso de Herrera in his volume onAgricultura general(1513). Praise of shepherds and the rural world had also come from Aristotle, who proclaimed that a farming and pastoral...

  5. Chapter Two Sermonizing and the Practice of Christian Virtues
    (pp. 53-66)

    Montemayor’sDianamust have betrayed the potential at least for some degree of moralization to the readers of the time, as is evidenced by the fact that Fray Bartolomé Ponce, the Cistercian monk from Aragon, consideredDianasuitable for a version “a lo divino.”Dianacontains 68 mentions of God and 105 of Fortune; many of which, in contrast to the opinion expressed by Enrique Moreno Báez,¹ are indeed in harmony with the Christian concept of providence, and are ready testimony to the overriding spiritualism in Montemayor’s novel. God is in the mind and words of virtually every character of...

  6. Chapter Three Journey to Felicia: La Diana as Pilgrimage
    (pp. 67-105)

    The pilgrimage of life is a theme omnipresent in Spanish literature of the Golden Age.¹ In the literature of that time the theme took on several interpretations, including a wandering in exile from Paradise, a journey for the purpose of purging oneself of the sins incurred in one’s disorderly life, and a movement away from urban society to a place of idyllic solitude by a disillusioned lover. Antonio Vilanova, in his study of theperegrinatioof the lovelorn youth in the pastoral poetry of Gongora, has found that it forms part of a tradition of Italian and Spanish Renaissance poetry....

  7. Conclusion
    (pp. 106-109)

    The sociohistorical components ofDianaare revealed in numerous ways: certain plausible traits of characterization, accurate and at times detailed rendering of an actual locality and temporal framework, autobiographical and other historical allusions, the use of Portuguese to achieve verisimilitude, an honest acknowledgment of human love and suffering, an examination of social problems and values (as well as fashions) of the time—all prove the dictum that “there is truth in concealment.”¹ The love stories of persons in high life thatDianawas known to conceal made it a riddle and a masquerade, engaging the curiosity of those who moved...

  8. Index
    (pp. 110-116)