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

By Patricia E. Grieve | Go to book overview

2
Desire and the Jealous Rival in Diego de San Pedro's Romances

DIEGO DE SAN PEDRO is most readily associated with his sentimental romance Cárcel de Amor.1 His earlier romance, Tractado de amores de Arnalte y Lucenda, was first printed in 1491 for Queen Isabella and the ladies of her court. Not as popular as Cárcel de Amor, Arnalte y Lucenda went through four Spanish editions as compared to Cárcel de Amor's twenty-four. However, half a century later, in 1543, Arnalte y Lucenda became the first Spanish work of fiction to be printed in England.2

Modern critics share fifteenth and sixteenth-century Spain's preference for Cárcel de Amor. They have tended to focus on Arnalte y Lucenda as the initial impulse of Cárcel de Amor without the latter's laudable stylistic and rhetorical achievements. Menéndez y Pelayo, who had read Arnalte y Lucenda only in its French and Italian translations, had this

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1
For a discussion of the problems involved in sorting out the various fifteenth-century San Pedros, see Keith Whinnom's excellent introduction to San Pedro Obras completas, I: Tractado de amores de Arnalte y Lucenda y Sermón, Clásicos Castalia, 54 ( Madrid: Castalia, 1973), pp. 9-34. All quotations from Arnalte y Lucenda are from this edition. Quotations from Cárcel de Amor will be from Whinnom's edition of the second volume of San Pedro complete works, Clásicos Castalia, 39 ( Madrid: Castalia, 1971). I do not reproduce Whinnom's brackets around his emendations.
2
Dale B. J. Randall, The Golden Tapestry: A Critical Survey of Non-Chivalric Spanish Fiction in English Translation (1543-1657) ( Durham, N. C.: Duke University Press, 1963), p. 39.

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