The Arthurian Legend in the Literatures of the Spanish Peninsula

By William J. Entwistle | Go to book overview

II THE THEORY OF PORTUGUESE PRIORITY

THE greater part of the Arthurian matter which has survived in the literatures of the Iberian Peninsula is to be found in Castilian impressions of the latest fifteenth or early sixteenth century, to which we can add sundry manuscripts in Castilian or Portuguese of approximately the same general date, and an important fragment in Catalan which bears the date 1380 in its colophon. This, together with a single leaf from a Tristan in Castilian and a reference in the colophon of one of the Portuguese romances, takes us back into the fourteenth century: but it is, generally speaking, true that most of what actually survives is in Castilian, is very late, and provides few indications as to its pedigree. To connect these dying romances--for they were soon snowed under by the immense novelistic output of the Caroline and Philippine eras in Spain--with their French originals of the thirteenth century, and to specify the time and manner of their introduction, the influences they felt or exerted, and their mutual relations, these are the objects of Arthurian research in the Peninsula. In such questions two generations of able minds have already been exercised, and our own day still awaits the long-announced and authoritative essay of D.

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