The Spanish Pastoral Romances

The Spanish Pastoral Romances

The Spanish Pastoral Romances

The Spanish Pastoral Romances

Excerpt

The appearance of the pastoral romance in Spain in the middle of the sixteenth century, and the extreme favor with which it was received, may, in view of the social condition of the country, seem at first sight paradoxical. At the time of the accession of Philip the Second, Spain was at the zenith of her military greatness. Her possessions were scattered from the North Sea to the islands of the Pacific, and her conquests had been extended over both parts of the western world. The constant wars against the Moors, and the stirring ballads founded upon them, had fostered an adventurous and chivalric spirit, -- a distinguishing trait of the Spanish character. Arms and the church were the only careers that offered any opportunity for distinction, and every Spanish gentleman was, first all, a soldier.

Such a state of society was favorable for books of chivalry, which, beginning with Amadis de Gaula, made their appearance at the beginning of the sixteenth century,

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