Epic and Chronicle: The Poema de Mio Cid and the Craonica de Veinte Reyes

By Brian Powell | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

THE STYLE AND LANGUAGE OF THE
POEMA DE MIO CID
IN ITS PROSIFICATION IN THE
CRÓNICA DE VEINTE REYES

Critical studies of the relationship between the PMC and the vernacular chronicles have concentrated on the poem. The chronicles have been used to illuminate the poem, to emend and improve its text, and to fill its lacunae. Pidal's critical edition of the PMC (CMC, III, 1022-164), for example, used the chronicles to provide numerous 'corrections' to the manuscript readings. In these studies, comments on the chronicles are much less full than those on the poem. They tend to be generalizations about the style or about the overall use made of the PMC. 1 The style and language of the Alphonsine chronicles as such have been studied comparatively little. Most of the articles that have been published take the PCG as their subject, as it is the most widely known text. Badia Margarit, in particular, has studied the use of sources by the PCG and the Castilian prose of the chronicle resulting from a variety of sources. He has shown that, whatever the source and however detailed the translation, the resultant prose in the PCG is always stylistically the same. After comparing a section of the PMC with its prosification in the PCG, he lists five features of the syntax of the chronicle, which he calls 'sintaxis trabada', and five contrasting features of the syntax of the poem, 'sintaxis suelta'. The features of the chronicle are: the constant grammatical linking of clauses, the strong tendency to subordination of clauses, logical, correct tenses of verbs, the introduction of direct speech by a verb, and frequent expansions and explanations. 2

Such elements of the style of the PCG are also found in the CVR, which is, after all, an almost contemporaneous product of the same historiographical tradition, although the expansions and explanations are less extensive in the CVR. The CVR has series of linked clauses, often simply joined by 'e'; it has frequent subordinate clauses which often cause clumsy, laboured forms of expression; it uses tenses perfectly; and it consistently introduces direct speech with a verb. 3 The style of the CVR tends to be inflexible and repetitive, with only a limited number of ways of relieving the monotonous pattern of recurrent prepositions and conjunctions. The reader soon comes to expect sequences of time clause or phrase, one or more main clauses, and other subordinate clauses

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