Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Cantar De Mio Cid

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Cantar De Mio Cid

Article excerpt

Alberto Montaner Frutos (ed.), Cantar de Mio Cid. Madrid: Real Academia E spañola. 2011. 320 pp. ISBN 9-78-84-15472-06-3.

On picking up the Real Academia Española's new edition of the Cantar de Mio Cid, the first of its Biblioteca Clásica series, one could be forgiven for thinking that it is identical to Montaner's 2007 edition for Galaxia Gutenberg. Revisions are subtle and, as the editor states, aim to bring the text up to date where new information has come to light, and to incorporate as much new bibliographical material as is practically useful. By Montaner's admission, his fourth examination of the manuscript in 2007, this time with hyperspectral digital photography, only affects very specific points in this edition while a palaeographic one is under preparation. Francisco Rico's preliminary essay and Montaner's extensive former prologue now form part of the annex, while the bibliography has grown from 85 to 89 pages, and updates to critical reading have been meticulously incorporated in the commentary sections and textual notes. The benefit of such few changes is that this edition surpasses its predecessor in accuracy and novelty, yet retains its excellent qualities: its balance between fidelity to the manuscript and making the text accessible and understandable; the editor's ability to process a staggering amount of critical material; and, not least, Montaner's impressive insight into the literary qualities of the poem, further evident in a new introductory piece which confirms the text as 'una labor poética' (x) above all else, and a dynamic poem 'sin spleen' (xi), and succinctly describes the uniqueness of its hero.

The 'Notas complementarias' and 'Aparato crítico' serve the same function as in the previous edition, with the former offering copious detail and supporting information about matters of literary and critical interpretation, and the latter concerned with issues of textual editing and the paleographic challenges of the manuscript. The range and detail of Montaner's scholarship in this supporting material is impressive and justifies the excursion to the back of the text where the reader benefits from Montaner's judicious and measured opinion on the major critical debates, such as questions of composition, authorship, dating, and location, as well as on matters of literary interpretation, for example the meaning of auguries, or of the much debated line 20. …

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