Further shocking facts about Spanish literature

The Libro de buen amor was given that title by Menéndez Pidal in 1898. Before, it was apparently called the Libro de los cantares. I wrote an entire M.A. examination on this book, four hours on a single question about this fragment:

De todos los enstrumentos yo, libro, só pariente:
Bien o mal, qual puntares, tal te dirá ciertamente.
Qual tú dezir quisieres, ý faz punto, ý, ten te;
Si me puntar sopieres, sienpre me avrás en miente.

Jack Walsh was impressed and said I had “covered every point,” but I did not cover the question of the title. Or rather I did, but I did it wrong.

That Menéndez Pidal is one of the sneakiest characters you can imagine. He manipulated investigations of the manuscript of the Cid so as to place it earlier and thus make it more competitive with the Roland. And now, this.


The issue is very important since this Libro is one of the secret intertexts of the present weblog. We mention the Popol Vuh directly, but the Libro de buen amor is also a performance text with a mysterious author, that engages questions of interpretation. My style of writing dramatic dialogue was derived from it.

¿Por qué lo hiciste, Ramón? ¡Qué cara! ¿Cómo puedes?




Filed under Bibliography, News

2 responses to “Further shocking facts about Spanish literature

  1. Jonathan Mayhew

    I love that stuff. Give me “El libro del Arcipreste” any day over “La vida es sueño.” I didn’t know that about the title. It is kind of shocking that any one given critic could give a title to a classic work. When the phrase appears in the book, it is just a description, not a title per se:

    Tú, Señor é Dios mío, que al ome formeste,
    Enforma é ayuda á mí, tu açipreste,
    Que pueda facer Libro de Buen Amor aqueste,
    Que los cuerpos alegre é á las almas preste.

    In the manuscript I doubt Libro de Buen Amor was even capitalized.

    I always liked the fact that it is easier to read Berceo or Ruiz than Chaucer (once you know Spanish).

    Peninsular literature is not boring, it is only bad scholars that make it appear that way. For which we have don Marcelino to thank for. To think of that much erudition marshaled in support of such a reactionary agenda.

    Now I’m off to California to visit my mom and sister.

  2. Z

    Yes, that Arcipreste rules.

    When I went on junior year abroad I had been taking courses in sequence and as a result could only really speak Old Spanish. People were kind of amazed but got used to me. Marcelino, it is most unfortunate but it is also an interesting phenomenon.

    BON VOYAGE. It is snowing in the Sierra today and I envy you, I think of Davis as the gateway to the Range of Light.

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