Passional Culture: Emotion, Religion, and Society in Southern Spain

Passional Culture: Emotion, Religion, and Society in Southern Spain

Passional Culture: Emotion, Religion, and Society in Southern Spain

Passional Culture: Emotion, Religion, and Society in Southern Spain

Excerpt

Two competing and potentially contradictory aspirations guided me during the writing of this book. The first was the desire to present a realistic and undistorted picture of "Passional culture" in and around Andalusia: this entailed the introduction of many Spanish words that have no exact English equivalents. The second was to make my study as user-friendly as possible, including those users with no knowledge of Spanish: this militated against an excessive introduction of new terms. But the world's growing familiarity with Spanish, as well as this tongue's numerous lexical similarities with English, convinced me that a workable compromise could be reached. Therefore, for all Spanish words used in the text I will either let the context be the guide or supply an explicit definition upon initial use. In addition, all Spanish terms employed more than once are listed and defined in a special glossary. A handful of Latin or German terms I recurred to have also been glossed.

The twin concerns mentioned above can also be discerned in my constant use of the copla, the saeta, the romance litúrgico, and other musical or dramatic genres. To my knowledge, this volume includes the largest number of such works ever presented in a bilingual format. Every Spanish verse is accompanied by an English translation; my translations are in prose, however, and that leads to an immediate and irreparable loss in sonority, rhythm, rhyme, and sometimes reason. I felt it better to publish these anonymous poems with an inadequate translation than to omit them, however. As priceless documents of Andalusian feelings and beliefs, it was essential to make them as accessible as possible, even in the knowledge that no translation could truly convey everything. The works have been drawn from a large number of edited collections, each with its own quaint idea of how the Andalusian dialect should look in print. Rather than inventing my own quaint style, I have let theirs stand. In any case, the original folk compositions have enough nonstandard words and structures to confuse even Spanish-speakers; there is hardly a line of verse . . .

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