Luis de Gongora y Argote

Góngora y Argote, Luis de

Luis de Góngora y Argote (lōōēs´ dā gōn´gōrä ē ärgō´tā), 1561–1627, poet of the Spanish Golden Age, b. Cordova. Of a cultured family, he studied in Salamanca and became a prebendary (1585?) and later a priest (1617). In his youth he was carefree and pleasure loving. His early religious duties were largely diplomatic and took him through much of Spain. Later he spent two years at court and became involved in a controversy with young Quevedo, who lampooned him. Góngora, who has been called Spain's greatest poet, successfully wove Renaissance and popular poetry into an original and elegant form, rich with metaphor and classical allusion. A poet of great sophistication, wit, and culture, he expressed an extraordinary visual imagination. The countervailing qualities of irony and melancholy enhance his work as well. His earlier poetry includes sonnets, at which he excelled, and ballads. His fame, however, rests primarily upon the great, complex, stylized works of his maturity; these include Panegyrico al duque de Lerma (1609), Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea (1613?), and the unfinished pastoral idyll, Las Soledades (1613, tr. The Solitudes), now considered his masterpiece. Góngora's style gave rise to the term Gongorism, signifying a baroque tendency in Spanish literature that is the equivalent of euphuism in England. Characteristic elements of his style include an innovative use of metaphor, latinization of vocabulary, and classical and mythological allusion, and the critical controversy over the complexity and difficulty that these elements gave to Las Soledades continued for three centuries. Although his collected works were not published until 1921, Góngora greatly influenced modern Spanish poetry.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Luis de Gongora y Argote: Selected full-text books and articles

The Literature of the Spanish People: From Roman Times to the Present Day By Gerald Brenan Cambridge University Press, 1951
Librarian’s tip: Chap. X "Gongora and the New Poetry"
Spain: A Short History of Its Politics, Literature, and Art from Earliest Times to the Present By Henry Dwight Sedgwick Little, Brown, 1926
Librarian’s tip: Chap. XXIX "Gongora and Quevedo"
Six Masters of the Spanish Sonnet: Essays and Translations By Francisco de Quevedo; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz; Antonio Machado; Federico Garcia Lorca; Jorge Borges Luis; Miguel Hernández; Willis Barnstone Southern Illinois University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: "Gongora and His Gang against Quevedo and His Mob" begins on p. 10
Renaissance and Baroque Lyrics: An Anthology of Translations from the Italian, French, and Spanish By Harold Martin Priest Northwestern University Press, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "Luis de Gongora y Argote (1561-1627)" begins on p. 228
Muses and Masks: Some Classical Genres of Spanish Poetry By Elias L. Rivers Juan De La Cuesta, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Luis de Gongora y Argote begins on p. 99
Spanish Writers on Gay and Lesbian Themes: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook By David William Foster Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Luis de Gongora y Argote begins on p. 80
Absolutism and the Scientific Revolution, 1600-1720: A Biographical Dictionary By Christopher Baker Greenwood Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Luis de Gongora y Argote begins on p. 141
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