Not unusual is the blow which descends through the helmet, the neck, and part of the trunk, severing an opponent almost into two parts. There is often a religious element to these battles, in which the knight, though not necessarily a Christian, helps the Christian side, which will in any event be more deserving for other reasons. Women and love usually play a secondary role in the Spanish romances of chivalry, serving more as background, or providing motives for action , than taking part in the action themselves. Ladies did not travel for pleasure or amusement; in fact, except for women in search of assistance or carrying out some vow, they did not travel at all unless forced to by evil-doers.
We can summarize by saying that both literally and figuratively, women are the spectators at the tournament. Love, of course, was seen as a refining element, felt to improve men, and the knight will fall in love at some point with the woman he will eventually marry, though not much significance was given to the marriage vows, to judge from the number of children conceived out of wedlock. But love was still a pretext for adventures, rather than a main focus of attention. The knight's courtship of his lady, consequently, will usually be secret, and beset with external difficulties, even if the lady is agreeable, which is not always the case, especially at the beginning The romance will usually end with the marriage of the knight perhaps a joint marriage, together with some of his friends or relatives , the birth or conception of a son, and the protagonist's accession to the throne Women in need of assistance, ranging from queens to humble servant girls, are the basis for many of the knight's deeds The protagonist will not resist the request to help such a deserving person Adventures with the supernatural will also present themselves to the knight, though not in the sense the Quijote has given us to understand.
He will not be pursued by enchanters; more often he will have sabios with some magical powers -those consistent with Christianity, usually- who will be working to help him, and may determine the course of the plot But the knight will still have to combat with unnatural beasts of all sorts , penetrate obstacles created by magic in order to reach some protected place, fight and find the inevitable weak point of a combatant with magical gifts, or travel in a boat, carriage, or other conveyance sent and moved by magical means.
He may be misled by apparitions, or be held enchanted in a castle or island for a period of time So far we have been discussing the ways in which the romances of chivalry are similar, and they can seem surprisingly similar and even monotonous to the casual reader. But this is merely a reflection of the fact that the customs of another age, seen from the perspective of some five hundred years, will seem uniform and will not reveal their nuances and details until one is familiar with the broad generalities.
One would scarcely expect the readers of the romances to purchase and read numerous works if these were all seen by them to be identical. The differences were what made the romances, as a genre, possible. The travels that the knight undertook were thus similarly varied -he might travel to China, at one end of the world, or to England, at the other.
The romance may have numerous subplots, with many simultaneous stories and many secondary characters, sometimes taking center stage for a period of time. However, this is a difference of degree, for even those romances concentrating more specifically on one protagonist had, by modern standards, an extremely confusing number of characters.
The types of adventures encountered by the knight, the problems he is beset with, the ways in which he is tested, the various and diverse fantastic beasts or magical apparitions, the military situations, all could provide for variety within the standard framework of the romance. Even the various and seemingly endless and uniform tournaments actually have subtle differences within them to maintain the readers' interest, just as each soccer game, for example, is different, though to one who has not seen many games and does not understand the strategy, they will all be alike. Within the limitations provided by the ideal of knighthood and by implication, manhood to which the knights of the romances must conform, the various protagonists of the romances of chivalry are in fact diverse individuals.
One may be more interested in love than another; one a more constant lover than other. One knight may have a particularly fierce temper, and though a calm, even excessively calm, individual normally, particularly fierce temper, and though a calm, even excessively calm, individual normally, become a particularly terrifying warrior when he is aroused. Though all the protagonists of the novels are exceptional fighters, their interests in music, poetry, and travel, to cite a few examples, may vary. A knight may have an overriding purpose or goal which stays with him and underlies his varied actions through much of the romance -finding the secret of his ancestry, for example- or such a general purpose may be lacking, and his motivations be more specific and of more limited duration.
We see also in the romances attempts by the authors to impress and divert the reader through creation of specific set pieces, often with reference to well-known Classical events. The author may state that his readers are about to see a new battle of Troy, fought over a woman more beautiful than Helen. A series of chapters may be centered around a particularly marvelous castle, with transparent walls, extremely elaborate and rich decoration, and superlative inhabitants Several times in this chapter I have referred to the Spanish nature of the romances, and it is worth referring to it once again in conclusion.
The world presented in the Spanish romances of chivalry is an idealized version of Spain itself, not so foreign as to be truly surprising, just enough so as to be entertaining. The values are Spanish, and all characters save clearly identifiable outsiders share them. The value system is more specifically that of the Spanish nobility at the end of the Middle Ages and beginning of the Renaissance; the only difference is that the characters endorse these values so firmly, just as they themselves are obviously idealized individuals-ones that the readers, perhaps, would like to identify with.
The romances of chivalry, then, presented to their Spanish audience a world which was familiar in its basic values even though different in details. For this reason it was a reassuring world, one free of the moral and political confusion characteristic of early modern Spain and of most other times as well. Black is black and white is white in the romances of chivalry, heroes and villains are clearly distinguished; women are either virtuous or common, beautiful or ugly.
The books, while entertaining to the spirit, were relaxing to the intellect, as one would expect from a type of literature which was essentially escape or pleasure reading. One should not be surprised that the romances were as popular as they in fact were. While Montalvo's works have been edited and studied in depth for over a century, the works of Silva, with the partial exception of his Segunda Celestina , have not been reprinted since the sixteenth century, and have been studied incompletely by a small handful of specialists Scholars have generally felt it superfluous to look at Silva's works for themselves after these comments from such an authority as Cervantes himself.
Silva was thought of by some as a writer of the same stature as Antonio de Guevara , and he was a friend of Jorge de Montemayor, who dedicated to him an epitaph and an elegy We can also gain information about the esteem in which the works of Silva were held by looking at the printing history of his works. Irving Leonard, from his study of ship inventories, comments on the distinct popularity of Silva's Florisel de Niquea , during some part of the century the most popular romance All of this suggests that the modern imbalance in the popularity of Silva's and Montalvo's works did not exist in the sixteenth century, nor even later, to judge from the adaptations made of Silva's works , and from the fact that, like Homer or Ovid, he was such a famous author as to have attributed to him works that were not his There are a number of factors one can point to in order to explain why this was so.
Montalvo was also an author of limited output. Furthermore, Montalvo was a writer of a distinctly moralist outlook. Montalvo criticized the characters of his source, such as Oriana, and tried to de-emphasize the role of personal combat In contrast with Montalvo, Silva was a voluminous writer, the only author of romances of chivalry to achieve renown from his fiction. The fact that he was a moderately well-known writer in his own day, so much so as to offer a target for parody , has led in part to the conservation of considerable biographical material.
The collector of curiosities Luis Zapata records his strange ability to predict the winners of battles and oposiciones The love element in his life was an important one, as we shall see shortly, but once married, he led a calm family life. Despite his abundant literary production, Silva was far from wealthy at his death, his printer Portonariis owing him a sizeable quantity of money Nevertheless, he is reported to have been helpful to those in need, though whether this was financially or otherwise is not specified The plots of his romances are more complicated than those of his predecessors, with more characters and as a result more narrative threads and subplots, to the point where it is virtually impossible to make an intelligible summary of the plot of any of them But even when the adventures are the same as those found in the works of Montalvo, the difference between the two authors is clear.
In this castle a group of the protagonists is enchanted, to remain there a hundred years. A final point in the comparison of the works of Montalvo and those of Feliciano de Silva is the contrasting treatment of love. Place, I, In the works of Silva love is just as present, but it is of a different sort, less idealized and more sensual. His grandson, Rogel de Grecia, is even more licentious.
This change in focus may perhaps be explained by examining the personality of Silva. Of the love element in Montalvo's life we know nothing. Silva was certainly a person who married for love not unknown in that period, but not so common either -since he married, against the strong opposition of his family, a girl, Gracia Fe, of Jewish descent Her last name was concealed and is unknown. Mendoza did not know how many illegitimate children he had These comments clearly suggest a man in whose life love has played an important role, and whose experiences are reflected in his fiction. It is not surprising, then, that Silva differs in two ways from his predecessors in his portrait of love.
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His portrayal of the courtly lover, the one who suffers from his love for an idealized woman, is more developed than anything found in any earlier Spanish text. At the same time, in different sections of his works, we find a physical element to the love among men and women which had also been missing from the romances of chivalry. We should not forget that Silva was the author of the Segunda Celestina , much less moralistic than the work of Rojas. If Darinel is a versifying courtly shepherd, Florisel seeks physical rather than spiritual love Cravens, pp.
This is the only way he can sleep in the chamber of the beautiful Niquea; the results are predictable. It is difficult to imagine how, within the framework of the Spanish romance, an author could produce works which differed more from the chaste and simple novels of Montalvo. If Silva's works were attractive for all the above reasons to sixteenth-century readers, and the modern literary public has shown that it can appreciate some of the romances of chivalry, could it not, also, recapture some of the pleasure that contemporaries found in the works of Silva?
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The romances of chivalry offer great possibilities of research for the young as well as the mature scholar. We still need to make the bulk of the romances accessible through modern, critical, published editions Lepolemo, o el Caballero de la Cruz , different from the other romances in its North African setting and almost complete lack of supernatural elements, would be an ideal candidate. There are a number of analytical or stylistic studies that could properly be made by scholars with an inclination to this type of investigation. A comparison of Platir with Florambel de Lucea could determine whether they are by one author, as one might suspect from the dedications A study of a theme in various romances would be useful -the giant in the Spanish romances of chivalry, the architecture, the flora and fauna of the romances of chivalry.
An index of the motifs or themes of the romances of chivalry, a task too large to be carried out comprehensively at present, would be a very useful research tool. One versed in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century history might well study allusions to contemporary events in the romances. Is the Greece found so often in the romances of chivalry exclusively the ancient Greece of Homer and Alexander the Great, or does it reflect something of the medieval Greece with which the Catalans, at least, had contact?
Such an investigation could perhaps help scholars such as O'Connor, who prefer to work with the translations, and would help us see how France, England, and Germany saw Spain at that time. Particularly valuable for comparatists would be a study of the interest in the romances of chivalry during the romantic period, when Southey and Rose translated romances into English, when Hispanophiles such as Sir Walter Scott were inspired by them in their portrayal of remote times, when even a poet such as John Keats was influenced by them. A study of the influence of the romances on the learned Spanish epic has yet to be undertaken.
Even more important, however, is the fact that by no means have all the chivalric allusions in the Quijote been discovered. It is true that because of the similarity of many of the romances, it is difficult to be sure that a parallel indicates a borrowing, but by the same token, some of the parallels already discovered may be coincidental and it may be for some new scholar to find the true sources.
It would be valuable even to go through any one romance, identifying all the potential parallels with the work of Cervantes; with a series of such analyses one would then be in a position to begin a serious study of the chivalric sources of the Quijote. The romances of chivalry which are the subject of the present discussion are those which were written in Castilian in the sixteenth century They are scarcely mentioned in the Quijote. In any event, they do not form part of Spanish literature The accepted opinion concerning the Spanish romances of chivalry during their heyday, the sixteenth century, is that they were works which were read by all classes of society, from the highest to the lowest, but with a considerable predominance of the more numerous lower classes.
The immediate sources of these observations need not concern us here. Their ultimate source is undoubtedly the Quijote , since in it the romances of chivalry are discussed in more detail than in any other contemporary work. These passages are important, and we will return to them, but they should not be accepted uncritically as the final word on the subject.
There is, in fact, a considerable quantity of other data which bears on the problem.
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We may begin by noting that although many moralist writers of the period criticized the romances of chivalry, with varying degrees of justification, we will look in vain among their comments for any indication that the books affected members of the lower classes Other nobles, however, remained interested in them as adults -notably Carlos V and many of his court, which set a model for the country by its interest in romances of chivalry and in chivalric spectacle Were this not a factor, one would expect the books to be dedicated to older patrons, who might be more pleased by the flattery and in any event in a better position to reward the author.
There are a significant number of cases again, see Appendix in which an author dedicated successive books to the same person, or in which one romance was dedicated to a husband, and later a different one to his wife , or to a father and then to his son. Still other romances, as can be seen from the dedications, were written by members of the same household, and there is no doubt that in certain cases the publication of the work was subsidized by the mecenas involved.
It is still true, of course, that the receiver of a dedication might not be pleased by a book, but we can nevertheless safely assume that he would not have felt the dedication to be an insult; works printed expressly for popular consumption, such as the pliegos sueltos and the libros de cordel , had no dedications at all. The books themselves, as physical objects, offer us considerable information.
They are, almost without exception, folio volumes; the exceptions are themselves significant, since they were printed out side of Spain The editions were small. The printing, except for a few reprints of the final quarter of the century, ranges from good to excellent in quality ; some of the editions are illustrated with woodcuts.
Their purchasers had them bound in bindings of high quality Some documents provide us with concrete evidence that these books commanded a high price. An important source for the early part of the century is the well-known catalogue of the library of Fernando Colon, reproduced in facsimile by Archer Huntington in This partial listing of the contents of his library includes for each entry the price paid, as well as the place and date of purchase, information invaluable for a study of contemporary book distribution. He evidently purchased as many romances of chivalry as he could obtain; the prices he paid for them are as follows:.
The romances of chivalry are clearly the most expensive Spanish literary works in his library. We also find evidence of these high prices later in the sixteenth century. Upon examining the printing history of the genre, we can also draw some conclusions. The number of romances of chivalry is itself revealing.
Although the romances began as a genre, like the pastoral novel, with some works which were great commercial successes, and there were several later works which were frequently reprinted, there is an extensive list of works published which were reprinted only once or not at all, indicating a modest sale. Some of these publications, as stated above, were subsidized; but the majority were treated by their publishers like any other work.
Surely it was not the case that publishers brought out, year after year, expensive books which would fail commercially. The figures seem to point instead to a small but consistent demand, which these publications filled, on the part of a limited group of aficionados with the means to indulge this expensive taste It is also revealing to look at the dates of the reprints of the popular works, which are more closely tied to public favor than is the production of new works After the abdication of Carlos V, which marks a cut-off point for the writing of new romances , we find that reprints were not produced uniformly throughout the conclusion of the century as was the case with pliegos sueltos and other popular literature , but instead appeared in groups.
Except for the anomalies mentioned in n. In the truly popular genres, as just mentioned, we find a much more constant production. Moreover, the dates of the fluctuations, which parallel, though imprecisely, the changes in popularity of the epic poem , themselves suggest an upper-class audience. The second lacuna, from approximately , corresponds well to the military activities directed by Don Juan de Austria -first the morisco rebellion, then the naval activities in the Mediterranean, in which he was accompanied by a significant portion of the Spanish nobility That the final rise and decline were situated around the year of cannot be a coincidence, for whatever the effect of the Armada's defeat on Spain's naval power, there can be no doubt that the expedition aroused interest in chivalric matters, and that in its defeat was lost a considerable sector of the cream of the nobility Taking all the factors mentioned into consideration, is it reasonable to conclude that the romances were read by the upper or noble class, and perhaps by a few particularly well-to-do members of the bourgeoisie Certainly they were not read by, nor to, the peasants We have still, however, to reconcile this with the statements in the Quijote quoted at the outset.
With regard to Don Quijote's remark, we are free to dismiss anything he says, particularly in Part I, as the misconceptions of an insane person, for if he can believe windmills to be giants and sheep to be soldiers, he could just as well fantasize that the romances of chivalry were read with enthusiasm by all; he is not a reliable source. Furthermore, considering the tone of the Prologue to Part I, and the narrow interpretation Cervantes' friend takes of the purpose of the Quijote , the statement there could be merely another ironic note.
The comment of the canon from Toledo is not to be so easily dismissed. Whether or not he speaks for Cervantes , he is presented as a sober and serious man, deeply concerned about the course literature is taking. He is knowledge able, and he does not make jokes. In the light of this passage, the canon's comment is indeed explicable. The intelligentsia of which the canon would have formed a part was never the class that read the romances of chivalry; they were responsible for the Erasmian and moralist complaints against them.
In conclusion, we should note that the evidence deduced from the Quijote about the readers of the romances of chivalry was never as unequivocal as it might have been. Had la Tolosa or the galley slaves heard them read? A moment's reflection shows how extreme this statement is. Neither should the fact that the innkeeper Juan Palomeque had two romances of chivalry be taken to mean that they were read at every harvest in all the remote corners of Spain.
The books were there because some traveller forgot them, and the illiterate innkeeper has no plans to buy any others. His wife didn't listen to them being read, his daughter didn't understand them, and Maritornes, who did not know what a caballero aventurero was I, 16 , listened for the worst possible reason. From a slightly different perspective -looking at those characters who were well acquainted with the romances of chivalry- we find that the Quijote in fact confirms the thesis of this paper, that the romances were read by the middle and upper classes.
Yet only one, the canon, can clearly be excluded from the vulgo , as defined above. The date s of the edition s consulted are given for those cases in which I have not been able to consult the princeps. No works which I have been able to examine have been omitted. Cotarelo y Valledor, Fray Diego de Deza. Silva, before his marriage which took place near ; Cotarelo [ supra , n.
The author of the Guerra de Granada , about whom the anecdote referred to in note is told, belonged to a different branch of the family. I hasten to point out that this is pure speculation, based on what may well be a coincidence. Juan Rufo, much later, dedicated to her his Austriada. He was probably a younger son of the counts of Feria.
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Cervantes signs himself criado in the dedications to the Conde de Lemos as does Sancho in his letter to Don Quijote. On the honorary office of caballerizo see the description in the Diccionario de Autoridades. Gayangos asks if Cabreor was a misprint for Cabrero, but it is not, and would be a most unusual Hispanic name. The identity and role of Cabreor await further investigation.
It was mentioned above n. On Germaine de Foix, see J. One of the most important figures in the sixteenth-century Spanish church, who already in was Cisneros' agent in Flanders. An important figure in Carlos V's court, who was faithful to him during the comuneros ' revolt, and who was at the head of the army in Italy during the sack of Rome.
The romance was written by a certain Enciso, his criado. See also infra, Platir. Lepolemo Seville, n. Olivante de Laura : Felipe II by the printer, not the author. See Diego de San Pedro, Obras , ed. Florambel , published in , is dedicated to her husband alone, whereas Platir , of , was dedicated to the two, suggesting a recent marriage. Antonio Alatorre, 2nd ed. Beardsley, Jr.
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It is noteworthy that the book was printed in Valencia, where she lived. Gayangos thought that in it were disguised the deeds of her father, Rodrigo de Vivar y Mendoza; I can neither confirm nor deny his statement at present. Fiction, particularly prose fiction, did not have an easy birth It represented the Renaissance's most radical departure from classical literary models, and even though it met in many cases with overwhelming approval on the part of the book-buying public, it was rejected by purists and theoreticians until it had been established for generations, if not for centuries.
This situation was aggravated by problems of vocabulary, as the complicated history of the words novela and roman illustrates. In Spain, the term historia had to serve a number of purposes in the sixteenth and, to a lesser extent, the seventeenth centuries To some authors of prose fiction, the ambiguous status of what they wrote was unimportant, or even a source of amusement, but others, especially the authors of the Spanish romances of chivalry, were conscious of it to a considerable degree.
The present article is an attempt to examine how these authors resolved the question of the nature of their works by de-emphasizing their fictional quality, and, briefly, how Cervantes was influenced by them. The difficulty facing the authors of the romances of chivalry was particularly severe because the romances marked the introduction of this new type of literature into Castile. Faced with a sudden demand on the part of a noble class turned sedentary after the conclusion of the reconquest , printers rapidly brought out editions of whatever chivalric material they could lay their hands on.
The publication of these works did not satisfy the demand, however, but rather increased it, and the supply of pre-existing romances having run low, the time had come for the production of additional ones At the beginning of his version, Montalvo says that the book:. Montalvo clearly presents himself as an editor, not the author, though taking liberties with his text which would not be permissible today.
The idea of an earlier source, whose provenance is unclear, is stressed When he comes to discussing Book IV, now taken to be his own work, he clearly distinguishes it from what he has done with the preceding books:. The change in language is, of course, implied by the shift in locale from western Europe to the eastern Mediterranean Most striking, however, is that Montalvo had to claim it was written in a foreign language at all. This device for that it is solved several problems for Montalvo.
Surely this pretense could not have been convincing more than once or twice. Many of the later authors went beyond Montalvo's relatively sophisticated device, however, and added additional details strengthening the presentation of themselves as mere translators. Such is the case with Lepolemo, a particularly interesting romance in view of its setting North Africa and the absence of fantastic elements.
The Arab Xarton, who recorded the works of this Christian knight, introduces his work in a prologue full of Arabic formulae, and appropriately humble in tone:.
Discussion of two comedias La vida es sueno and La cisma de Inglaterra and five autos La vida es sueno, A Dios por razon de Estado, El maestrazgo del Toison, El nuevo palacio del Retiro, and El lirio y la azucena demonstrates Calderon's assimilation of true reason of state to providence, his attitudes concerning the conciliar system and the regime of the royal favorite or valido, and his allegorical treatment of significant state occasions.
Contents 1. History and the Allegories of Kingship 2. Notes Includes bibliographical references p. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"? The University of Melbourne Library. University of Queensland Library. Open to the public ; PQ University of Sydney Library. Open to the public ; Open to the public Book English; Spanish Show 0 more libraries None of your libraries hold this item.
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