Desire and Death in the Spanish Sentimental Romance (1440-1550)

By Patricia E. Grieve | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Digo muy más el omne que toda criatura:
todas a tiempo cierto se juntan, con natura;
el omne de mal seso, todo tiempo, sin mesura,
cada que puede quier' fazer esta locura

El fuego siempre quiere estar en la ceniza,
comoquier que más arde quanto más se atiza;
el omne quando peca bien vee que desliza,
más no se parte ende, ca natura lo enriza


JUAN RUIZ RECOUNTED MANY tales of seduction and attempted seduction in the fourteenth-century Libro de buen amor. Unfortunately for the world's lovers, one of the book's messages is startlingly clear: sexual desire, although a natural human instinct, is a form of madness. In spite of the repeated poetic testimony to love as an ennobling force, given by writers from Provençal troubadours to contemporary songwriters, voices of dissent have been heard throughout the centuries. Writers were not alone in their dissenting opinions: "There is an area of medieval culture in which philosophy, literature, and medicine are intimately intertwined. Official doctrine and science (specifically, medicine) agreed in condemning love as a sort of disease or madness."2

Nowhere is love's conflictive nature more evident than in fifteenth-century Spain. The courtly love tradition was revitalized in Spain, as Roger Boase shows us, as a response to changes occurring in

Juan Ruiz, Libro de buen amor, ed., and trans. by Raymond S. Willis (Princeton: University Press, 1972), stanzas 74-75, p. 31.
Aldo D. Scaglione, Nature and Love in the Late Middle Ages ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1963), p. 60. For a discussion of love as an illness, see Keith Whinnom's introduction to San Pedro Obras completas, II: Cárcel de Amor, Clásicos Castalia, 39 ( Madrid: Castalia, 1971), pp. 13-15. For a study of the ancestry of the idea of love-as-illness, see John Livingston Lowes , "The Loveres' Maladye of Heroes," MP, 11 ( 1913-14), 491-546 and Bruno Nardi, "L'amore e i medici medievali" in Studi in onore Angelo Monteverdi (Modena: 1959), pp. 517-42.


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Desire and Death in the Spanish Sentimental Romance (1440-1550)


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 150

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?