Desire and Death in the Spanish Sentimental Romance (1440-1550)

By Patricia E. Grieve | Go to book overview

6
Toward an Approach to the Spanish Sentimental Romances

"El amor está en las carnes desgarradas por la sed, en la choza diminuta que lucha con la inundación; el amor está en los fasos donde luchan las sierpes del hambre, en el triste mar que mece los cadáveres de las gaviotas y en el oscurisímo beso punzante debajo de las almohadas."

FEDERICO GARCÍA LORCA, Poeta en Nueva York


Introduction: Desire and Death

IN THE INTRODUCTION to this study, I suggested that some connection might be found between these romances which would elucidate their generic unity. There are superficial features which caused critics to connect them even while expressing reservations about doing so. The works themselves seemed to defy categorization, no doubt for the obvious reason that they are so very different even though they employ many of the same elements.

The first step in my own approach was to divide those works which I termed romances of violent love from those of frustrated love. This seemed to be an important point: after all, the lamentations of rejected lovers hardly compare in magnitude and gravity with actual evidence of violence and death. The decision to discuss exclusively the works of violent love is based on more than an arbitrary-- albeit ultimately fortunate for this study--division of the sentimental genre. Desire and death, or more broadly love and death, are bound in a manner which has fascinated mankind for centuries.

Elizabeth Sewell, in her elaboration of different aspects of the

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