Academic journal article Hispanic Review

La Perduracion De la Modalidad Clasica: Poesia Y Prosa Espanolas De Los Siglos XVII - XIX

Academic journal article Hispanic Review

La Perduracion De la Modalidad Clasica: Poesia Y Prosa Espanolas De Los Siglos XVII - XIX

Article excerpt

La perduracion de la modalidad clasica: poesia y prosa espanolas de los siglos XVII - XIX. By Russell P. Sebold. Salamanca: U de Salamanca, 2001. 270 pages.

Retired from the University of Pennsylvania, author of over 30 scholarly texts, and former General Editor of the Hispanic Review, Russell P. Sebold continues to contribute to Hispanic letters as evidenced by the publication of La perduracion de la modalidad clasica: poesia y prosa espanolas de los siglos XVII a XIX. The text was published by the University of Salamanca, where Sebold was named the recipient of el Premio Internacional Elio Antonio de Nebrija (2001). La perduracion de la modalidad clasica is a collection of fourteen essays, written between 1968 and 2000; however, for the present text Sebold reports that he has revised the originals and added pertinent new bibliography for each reading.

The strong thesis that unites the fourteen essays is the persistent influence of classical texts on Spanish literature from the Renaissance through to the end of the nineteenth century. Explaining the title, Sebold notes that his primary focus is on classical forms: "Decir que perdura la modalidad clasica, es aflrmar que perdura la forma literaria y el principio natural inherente a todas sus manifestaciones" (11). Sebold specifies that to be classic in Spain means to imitate the ancient classical writers, such as Homer, Virgil, Horace, and Aristotle; but also Spanish classic literary figures, most importantly, Garcilaso de Vega ("[E]n Espana ser neoclasico es imitar ya a los clasicos antiguos, ya a los clasicos nacionales, o bien conjuntamente a los poetas clasicos de esas dos eras," 43). The author of El rapto de la mente contends that these classical influences are often overlooked in the unfolding literary career of numerous important writers, especially poets. "No hay que dejarse tentar por los viejos prejuicios antineoclasicos que todavia asoman alguna vez" (14).

For example, according to Sebold, the writer of cuadros de costumbres, Ramon de Mesonero Romanos, owes much to the eighteenth century for his optimistic, cheerful, and accurate reporting of the early nineteenth-century milieu: "el confiado y optimista Mesonero se identifique en lo social, lo intelectual y lo literario con los entusiastas literates reformadores de la Ilustracion" (200). Especially significant in Mesonero's work is an echo of the world view of the comedia de costumbres of the past century. …

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