Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Humanismo, Gramática Y Poesía: Juan De Mena Y Los 'Auctores' En El Canon De Nebrija

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Humanismo, Gramática Y Poesía: Juan De Mena Y Los 'Auctores' En El Canon De Nebrija

Article excerpt

Juan Casas Rigall, Humanismo, gramática y poesía: Juan de Mena y los 'auctores' en el canon de Nebrija, USC, Editora, vol. i (Santiago de Compostela: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, 2010). 213 pp. ISBN 978-84-9887-386-3. euro20.00.

In this book Juan Casas Rigall explores the role that the Spanish fifteenthcentury poet Juan de Mena had in the canon of authorities that Antonio de Nebrija used in his philological works, both Latin and Spanish, such as the Introductions latinae (1481) and the Gramática sobre la lengua castellana (1492). From this he can put forward a very detailed revision of the concept of auctoritas and its meaning from Quintilian to Lorenzo Valla. According to Casas, the criterion of authority traditionally had only a secondary relevance when establishing the principles of the good use of Latin. The Roman rhetoricians and grammarians thought that consuetudo (everyday use) was the most important factor because it represented the use of 'real' language as opposed to auctoritas. The relevance of these principles was turned on its head by fifteenth-century humanism. Latin was no longer a living literary language, and in order to establish its recte loquendi scientia modern scholars had to draw from ancient sources. Nebrija was a man of his time and this explains why he does not praise Mena, one of the greatest poets of the Spanish tradition, in his Gramática. This is not a grammar of Latin, but rather of a living romance language, and therefore the traditional criterion of consuetudo had to be the central one: the 'uso cortesano' (the courtiers' use). It is thus not for lack of interest, or appreciation of Mena, that Nebrija never praises him in his Gramática. The study of the poets belonged to a different philological tradition, the literary commentary; the same happens for Virgil in Donatus' Ars maior. Casas puts forward these arguments with remarkable clarity and erudition, dismantling the controversy, very prominent in the Hispanic medieval studies tradition, over the alleged aesthetic rejection that Nebrija felt for Mena. …

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