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

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

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

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

Excerpt

Digo muy más el omne que toda criatura:
todas a tiempo cierto se juntan, con natura;
el omne de mal seso, todo tiempo, sin mesura,
cada que puede quier' fazer esta locura.

El fuego siempre quiere estar en la ceniza,
comoquier que más arde quanto más se atiza;
el omne quando peca bien vee que desliza,
más no se parte ende, ca natura lo enriza.

JUAN RUIZ RECOUNTED MANY tales of seduction and attempted seduction in the fourteenth-century Libro de buen amor. Unfortunately for the world's lovers, one of the book's messages is startlingly clear: sexual desire, although a natural human instinct, is a form of madness. In spite of the repeated poetic testimony to love as an ennobling force, given by writers from Provençal troubadours to contemporary songwriters, voices of dissent have been heard throughout the centuries. Writers were not alone in their dissenting opinions: "There is an area of medieval culture in which philosophy, literature, and medicine are intimately intertwined. Official doctrine and science (specifically, medicine) agreed in condemning love as a sort of disease or madness."

Nowhere is love's conflictive nature more evident than in fifteenth-century Spain. The courtly love tradition was revitalized in Spain, as Roger Boase shows us, as a response to changes occurring in . . .

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