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The Literary Mind of Medieval and Renaissance Spain

The Literary Mind of Medieval and Renaissance Spain

Essays by Otis H. Green
Introduction by John E. Keller
Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    The Literary Mind of Medieval and Renaissance Spain
    Book Description:

    The twelve essays in thisfiorilegioof the work of Otis H. Green afford a representative view of the thought and scholarship of one of the world's foremost Hispanists. In each of them is developed some important facet of the intellectual milieu of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, reflecting Otis Green's life-long and wide-ranging quest for evidence that would broaden our understanding of those complex periods and correct the misapprehensions which have gathered about them. Included are important sections of his great work,Spain and the Western Traditionand essays from journals now difficult to obtain or out of print. This book provides a valuable introduction to Spanish thought and to the work of a scholar who has done much to elucidate it.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6316-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xii)
    John E. Keller
  4. Introduction
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)
    John E. Keller

    The first essay we offer is Chapter I in Volume I ofSpain and the Western Tradition.Its title is “The Medieval Tradition:Sic et Non.” In this essay the reader will find the kind ofmesuraso lauded by the sages of the Middle Ages as they indulged in the double standard accepted by the inhabitants of that distant period. This selection has already proved to be of exceptional interest to medievalists everywhere. Permit me to cite here some previously published ideas of my own, touching this particular point, which appeared in a review forSpeculum,XL (1965), 349·...

  5. 1 The Medieval Tradition: Sic et Non
    (pp. 1-21)

    The Middle Ages, like the Renaissance that succeeded them, were polylithic. Consider, for example, Dante’s vivid mosaic portrait of Rome. In it we find “the Trojan legend of Rome and that of Aeneas; the antitheses of Rome of the pagan Caesars and Rome of the martyrs, Rome of the Christian emperors and Rome of the popes, the pagan and Christian Rome in general; there is, furthermore, Rome as acivitas sacerdotalis et regalis,and another Rome represented by the commune of medieval city Romans; a Rome compared, as a Holy City, to Jerusalem, and another Rome compared to Babylon, the...

  6. 2 On Juan Ruiz’s Parody of the Canonical Hours
    (pp. 22-39)

    Thatcoplas372 to 387 of theLibro de buen amorcontain parody of portions of the liturgy, and that this parody is intended to be funny, not sacrilegious, is well known.¹ My purpose in the present article is to look more deeply into the humorous use “accommodated” Biblical or liturgical texts in Europe, to show the existence of similar practices in other cultures, to examine the human basis of the phenomenon of religious parody, and to offer what I hope may be accepted as well-conjectured, perhaps even well-reasoned interpretations of the Latin phrases used by Juan Ruiz in order...

  7. 3 Courtly Love in the Spanish Cancioneros
    (pp. 40-92)

    The unfortunate pronouncements of Menéndez y Pelayo have condemned the poetry of the early Spanishcancionerosto undeserved neglect.¹ A revision is in order, for the subject has importance for both Spanish and comparative literature. This poetry is not a mere jumble of far-fetched superficialities. Progressively purged of license and adapted to Christian courtship and marriage, it yet preserves in fairly definite shape the traditional pattern of courtly love. It is necessary to apply to Spanishcancioneropoetry concepts that have been worked out for other European literatures.

    The doctrine of courtly love, as it appears in fifteenth-century Spain, owes...

  8. 4 Symbols of Change
    (pp. 93-112)

    On September 8, 1517, Charles I of Spain—soon to become Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire—set sail from Middelburg in Zee-land on his first visit to his newly inherited Spanish kingdoms. “It was a proud fleet that weighed anchor at five o’clock on Tuesday morning,” writes Hayward Keniston in his account of the voyage, “forty ships large and small. The King’s ship, the largest of all, was gaily painted green and red, with gold trimmings; the sails, too, bore paintings of the Crucifixion between the columns of Hercules with the devicePlus Oultre,the Trinity, Our Lady...

  9. 5 Fingen Los Poetas — Notes on the Spanish Attitude toward Pagan Mythology
    (pp. 113-123)

    Boccaccio maintained that the pagan poets were good theologians.¹ Villani said that Dante had reconciled the fictions of the poets with moral and natural philosophy and with Christian literature, and had shown that the ancient poets were divinely inspired to prophesy the Christian mysteries, thus making poetry pleasing not only to the learned, but also to the common and uneducated.² “I religiosi stessi,” writes Antonio Belloni in his history ofIl poema epico e mitologico,³ “quando si diedero a trattar materia sacra, sentirono il bisogno di ricorrere aile diviniá pagane.” Ernst Walser, in hisStudien zur Weltanschauung der Renaissance,’ attacking...

  10. 6 Se Acicalaron Los Auditorios: An Aspect of the Spanish Literary Baroque
    (pp. 124-132)

    In the year 1581 Don Luis de Góngora, a mere youth of twenty, seems to have perceived, perhaps vaguely, that Spain was entering or was about to enter a Silver Age in which “the magical, the sensory, and the gestural” were to become strong at the expense of “the human and the objectively rational,” in which style was to have “a greater sensoriness than would have originally been compatible withgravitas.” He wrote:

    Ahora, que estoy despacio,

    cantar quiero en mi bandurria

    lo que enmás grave instrumento

    cantara, masno me escuchan.

    Arrímense ya las veras

    y celébrense las...

  11. 7 Boscán and Il Cortegiano: The Historia de Leandro y Hero
    (pp. 133-140)

    It is well known that in this expansion of the 341 hexameters of Musaeus’ καθ’ Нρώ καí ∆έανδρον into the² 793 hendecasyllables of his ownHistoria de Leandro y Hero,Bosán made use not only of the Greek text or its Latin translation,¹ but also of Ovid’s epistlesLeander HeroniandHero Leandr,² from which he took certain details; of Bernardo Tasso’sFavola di Leandro ed Hero³; and of Virgil’sGeorgics,from which he took the long episode of Aristaeus.⁴

    Menéndez y Pelayo attributes to the influence of theHeroides,the fact that Bosán chose to make of hisHistoria...

  12. 8 Desengaño
    (pp. 141-170)

    Independent of and quite separate from the awareness of national decline . . . ; independent, also, of the widespread idea of a cyclical movement of history and a growing-old both of the world and of the human race; independent of—or at least not caused by Counter Reformational pressures imposed from above to cause a return to a hell-fire conception of humanity; and finally no less independent of causative effects produced by the racism that darkened many aspects of the life of Spain, there grew up in our period a literature of considerable bulk on the subject of disillusionment....

  13. 9 El Ingenioso Hidalgo
    (pp. 171-184)

    That Cervantes had a very special reason for calling his heroingeniosois a fact unnoticed by the commentators, although it seems natural for any reader to ask why that particular adjective was chosen. It is evident thatingeniosohas been a source of difficulty or at least of uncertainty to translators. In French, Italian, or Portuguese it was possible to use a cognate, and this became common practice:ingenieux, ingegnoso, engenhoso.Jarvis and other English translators have likewise been content with merely transferring Cervantes’ word:the ingenious gentleman.Shelton used valorous and witty, revised by Captain John Stevens to...

  14. 10 El Licenciado Vidriera: Its Relation to the Viaje del Parnaso and the Examen de Ingenios of Huarte
    (pp. 185-192)

    In Cervantes studies today it is no longer possible to attribute things we do not understand to a supposed haphazardness on the part of Cervantes. If a work appears to be haphazard, the reason is almost certainly to be found in the faulty vision of the critic, not in an unawareness in Cervantes of the requirements of form. When, therefore, a critic affirms that neither of the two aspects of the madness of Tomas Rodaja (its cause and its nature) “is connected with the framework of the last two thirds of the story” (a madman uttering sage observations on society),...

  15. 11 Don Quijote and the Alcahuete
    (pp. 193-200)

    In the dramatic character studyDoña Clarines,by Serafín and Joaquín Álvarez Quintero, there is a scene in which Doña Clarines accuses her niece of telling falsehoods to explain her constant visits to the house across the street: “la niña de la casa es amiga tuya a partir de una larga temporada que estuvo en Madrid.” Such is not the case, insists Doña Clarines. The “niña” in question has no attractions whatsoever, “pero tiene una tía, hermana de su madre, que siempre se distinguió grandemente en un oficio que elogiaba mucho Don Quijote.” Theoficiois that oftercerain...

  16. 12 Lope and Cervantes: Peripeteia and Resolution
    (pp. 201-208)

    Deleitar aprovechando(instructional delight) is the title of an edifying miscellany published by the Mercedarian Friar Tirso de Molina in 1635. It sets forth the pious conversation of three Madrid families during three days of Carnival, on the banks of the Manzanares river, in the gardens of Juan Fernández and del Duque. Its title is highly significant, and might be applied, in theory to nearly all, in practice to a very large portion, of Spanish belles-lettres not only during the Renaissance but also before and after that period.

    The distinguished fourteenth-century prose writer, Don Juan Manuel, Prince of Castile, in...

  17. Notes
    (pp. 209-253)