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Women in the Medieval Spanish Epic and Lyric Traditions

Women in the Medieval Spanish Epic and Lyric Traditions

Lucy A. Sponsler
Copyright Date: 1975
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130jcwb
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  • Book Info
    Women in the Medieval Spanish Epic and Lyric Traditions
    Book Description:

    The culture of medieval Spain was anything nut homogeneous. It varied not only through time, with the approach of the Renaissance, but also geographically, with great differences between north and south. In this study, author Lucy A. Sponsler illuminates the role of women during this interesting period by exploring their portrayal in literature.

    Women in the Medieval Spanish Epic and Lyric Traditionsexamines the various ways in which women were portrayed in the formative years of medieval society, as well as the development of these views as new social mores evolved. Employing a thorough examination of the literature, Sponsler reveals that a high degree of respect was demonstrated toward women in Spanish prose and poetry of this period. Her study sheds new light on the role of women in relation to men, family, and social organization in medieval Spain.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6453-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. Chapter One The Position of Women: Feudal Europe & Spain
    (pp. 1-6)

    The culture of medieval Spain was anything but homogeneous. It varied not only through time, with the approach of the Renaissance, but also geographically, with great differences between north and south. One significant aspect of any culture is the role taken in it by women. In this study the role of women in relation to men, family, and social organization will be examined in the light of the evidence of literature; the various personalities and types created will be analyzed and their originality within literary convention assessed.

    We will try to determine what variations and major changes occur in the...

  4. Chapter Two Women in Epic Poetry: Law versus Literature
    (pp. 7-22)

    Most students reading thePoema de Mio Cidnotice nothing surprising in its depiction of the relationship between men and women. Jimena and Rodrigo are deeply in love and happily married. Through the pages of thePoemaJimena emerges as an ideal wife, whose deep respect, love, and obedience to her husband stimulate the admiration of the poet and the reader. Epithets such as “muger ondrada” or “menbrada” continually indicate that the medieval poet respects Jimena’s prudence and understanding, her virtue and moral qualities.

    There is a certain formality in the relationship of Jimena and Rodrigo as portrayed in the...

  5. Chapter Three The Continuing Epic Tradition
    (pp. 23-46)

    For many years the evolution of the Spanish historical ballads (romances históricos viejos) has been the subject of heated dispute. Though the “individualists” believe that each of the historical ballads published in early sheets (pliegos sueltos) was composed by one author and remained fixed, Menéndez Pidal and his followers sustain the “neotraditionalist” theory. Pointing to the fact that only nobles of leisure had time to listen to the long epic narratives, neotraditionalists maintain that minstrels for this reason began to modify the lengthy epics. So far our discussion of epic women has centered on original epic poems or on their...

  6. Chapter Four Popular & Traditional Lyric Poetry: The Two Spains
    (pp. 47-73)

    If in the epic poems and chronicles we found that woman had a modest, though slowly increasing, role, we shall find that she plays a central role in popular and traditional lyric poetry contemporary with the early epic poems. Not only will we find her to be thematically the focal point of the lyric, but there will be a difference in the very way she is portrayed. In part, of course, the deviation is related to a contrast between the two genres. While the epic stresses action, usually the domain of man, lyric poetry concentrates primarily on interior feelings, sensations,...

  7. Chapter Five Women in Learned Lyric Poetry: Stereotype & Invention
    (pp. 74-118)

    In the third chapter of our study we attributed the change in the portrayal of woman from the Spanish epic to the ballads in part to a transformation in society during the period of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. Though the nobility throughout Europe was struggling to control the power of the monarchs, the diminished emphasis on feudal wars had by this period turned the attention of people to more domestic, nonmilitary interests and to a cultivation of elegance in which woman could participate. The principal changes in this epoch were of socioeconomic nature. The lessening threat of war encouraged...

  8. Chapter Six Conclusion
    (pp. 119-122)

    Our observation of the portrayal of woman in medieval Spanish epic and lyric poetry has revealed both the early view of woman in the formative years of medieval society as portrayed in the epic and also the development of this view as new social mores evolved. In the early epic poems we found that woman played a prominent though certainly not a central role in the narrative action. Her importance as a wife and mother, the stress on conjugal love, and the extremely high value placed both on her own honor and on the effect of her conduct upon the...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 123-130)
  10. Index
    (pp. 131-134)