Epic and Chronicle: The Poema de Mio Cid and the Craonica de Veinte Reyes

By Brian Powell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3

THE COMPOSITION OF THE
CRÓNICA DE VEINTE REYES
AND THE PLACE OF THE POEMA DE MIO CID
IN THE CHRONICLE

The remaining chapters of this study are the results of a detailed examination of that section of the CVR which contains the prosification of the PMC. This examination concentrates on how the chronicle used the poem, and on the effect of the use of a poetic source on the text of the chronicle itself. It reveals aspects of the attitudes of the chroniclers to history, to their sources, and to their work. It sheds light on the manuscript of the poem used for the prosification which must have been different from the one extant manuscript, which is of a later date than the chronicle. The present chapter begins by considering the value and originality of the CVR, expanding various points briefly raised in the previous discussion of the chronicle within the series of Alphonsine chronicles (see Chapter 2, II, C). It goes on to examine the structural bases and compositional techniques employed by the authors, and how the prosified poem has been fitted into the established framework, beside complementary information taken from prose sources.


I. THE ORIGINALITY OF THE CVR

It was stated in the preceding chapter that the CVR is closer to its sources than any of the other similar chronicles. It is the best example of what the original Estoria de España of Alfonso X might have been like, if the EE had been completed for the appropriate period of Spanish history. More importantly, it is the only chronicle to contain a prosification of the whole of the PMC more or less as it is known today, although, of course, the chronicle does not include every episode or every detail in the poem. The early version of the story of the Cid given by the CVR was quickly superseded in chronicles by more novelesque accounts, particularly that of the CRC. 1 In fact, the CVR does not seem to have been well known in past centuries, for few references to it survive, and those that there are tend to be brief. 2 The work of Menéndez Pidal around the beginning of this century, however, showed clearly the importance of the CVR, particularly in the context of epic studies, but, even so, up to the present time,

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