Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain: From the Cancionero de Baena to the Cancionero General

Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain: From the Cancionero de Baena to the Cancionero General

Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain: From the Cancionero de Baena to the Cancionero General

Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain: From the Cancionero de Baena to the Cancionero General

Excerpt

The essays that make up this collection were originally presented at an international research conference held at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., under the title “Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain: From the Cancionero de Baena to the Cancionero general” (February 11–14, 1993). The conference, which now provides the title for this book, was, we believe, the first of its kind devoted exclusively to the late medieval Castilian poetry now commonly known as cancionero verse.

What kind of priority is claimed by this statement? “A beginning,” according to Edward Said, “immediately establishes relationships with works already existing, relationships of either continuity or antagonism or some mixture of both” (1975, 3). For reasons that will become evident in the course of this introduction and the essays themselves, the relationships this book establishes with the past are complex and various. However, Said goes on to add that a beginning “generally involves also the designation of a consequent intention” (1975, 5). In organizing the conference, Michael Gerli and I did not ask the participants to prepare specific topics according to a preconceived scheme; neither the collection nor, a fortiori, the conference were intended to be narrowly programmatic. Hence, ours is not a beginning that leads to a specific set of clearly defined conclusions. Our intentions are more general and answer a more fundamental need: to create a forum in which readers can take stock of some of the major current approaches to cancionero studies and begin critical reflection upon past achievements and future possibilities in this field.

And in some areas the achievements of the recent past have been considerable. Although the trend predates the 1980s, the last fifteen years have witnessed extraordinary advances in our empirical knowledge of the cancioneros.

The opening pages of Vicenç Beltran’s contribution provide ample bibliographical documentation.

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