Academic journal article Hispanic Review

Del Siglo De Oro (Metodos Y Relecciones)

Academic journal article Hispanic Review

Del Siglo De Oro (Metodos Y Relecciones)

Article excerpt

Del Siglo de Oro (metodos y relecciones). By Jose Lara Garrido. Madrid: U Europea, CEES, 1997. 590 pages.

In the Introduction to this erudite if somewhat unwieldy book, Jose Lara Garrido asks the reader not to view the volume as a "colectinea asistemdtica cuando no arbitraria." That is, he wants its various sections and chapters to be taken as parts of a whole and not as discrete, independent studies. Nevertheless, there is no avoiding the fact that this is basically an anthology of miscellaneous essays on Golden Age literature, written at various times and many of them published before. Were this a more thematically unified volume, we might be tempted to complain about the absence of a bibliography, an index, and a clearly-stated purpose or methodology. The author clearly anticipates objections to the book's theoretical eclecticism when he tells us, paraphrasing C. S. Lewis: "me repugna intelectualmente... la obsesion academicista por la metodologia cuando `la propia literatura llega a parecer casi irrelevante'" (15). I am happy to say that the patient reader who sets aside academic obsessions with methodological and thematic coherence will be rewarded with the author's impressive erudition in dealing with Golden Age literature in its multifarious manifestations.

The book is divided into two parts: 1) Estudios Panoramicos and 2) Estudios Monograficos. The first section begins with an essay on the historical use and usefulness of the designation "Siglo de Oro." Arguing that the Latin saeculum is not strictly a chronological term meaning "one hundred years" but rather a word that is etymologically equivalent to aetas (edad), Lara Garrido rejects recent attempts to substitute the traditional term with the purportedly more accurate "Edad de Oro." The second essay, subtitled "Perspectiva sobre los menores," is precisely that-a meditation on several minor literary figures and texts. He considers, for example, the Menippean satires of Bartolome Leonardo de Argensola and the work of Miguel de Molinos. This chapter is representative of the most valuable aspect of Lara Garrido's book for it invites readers to examine topics that have been ignored by literary histories and criticism. The third long section (which might have constituted a book in itself) is a panoramic overview of the development of the lyric in Andalusia, with considerations of individual poets. When dealing with well-known figures such as Herrera or Gongora, the text is primarily a summary of what other critics have said; indeed, entire paragraphs seem little more than a threading together of quotes. …

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