The Oxford Book of Spanish Verse: XIIIth Century-XXth Century

The Oxford Book of Spanish Verse: XIIIth Century-XXth Century

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The Oxford Book of Spanish Verse: XIIIth Century-XXth Century

The Oxford Book of Spanish Verse: XIIIth Century-XXth Century

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Not later than the ninth century the Spanish variety of Romance appears to have acquired an idiosyncrasy of its own, and it is suggested that in this undeveloped tongue were composed cycles of epic poems no longer extant. Early surviving examples of Spanish poetry, dating from about the twelfth century, testify to the fact that French influence was then at work in the Peninsula, as in the rest of Western Europe. Perceptible in such a cantar de gesta as the Poema del Cid, obvious in such a lyric as the Razon de Amor (the first poem in the present volume), this French influence is admitted by Gonzalo de Berceo, the earliest Spanish poet whose name is recorded. Many circumstances combined to implant and foster the superior culture which flourished north of the Pyrenees—geographical proximity, dynastic marriages, the immigration of Provençal poets to the Castilian Court, the arrival of the Cluniac Benedictines, the presence of jongleurs in the suites of French adventurers who shared in the crusading wars of the Reconquest, the constant procession of northern pilgrims marching along the camino francés which led to the famous shrine of St. James at Compostela. These diverse factors co-operated to popularize French ideas and French artistic methods, and to ensure their predominance in Spanish literature till almost the close of the fourteenth century.

The disappearance of the hypothetical primitive epics . . .

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