Golden Age Of Spain Essay




Romances of Chivalry in the Spanish Golden Age


Daniel Eisenberg






By Way of a Prologue. Don Quijote

It can be said without fear of exaggeration that interest in and study of the romances of chivalry1 has been an incidental by product of the study of the Quijote. Diego Clemencín has been until recently the person who knew best the romances of chivalry (see infra); his knowledge is found in the notes of his edition of the Quijote, and his Biblioteca de libros de caballerías was conceived of as a supplement to his edition. Collectors of romances of chivalry, such as the Marqués de Salamanca2, bought them because they were books which Don Quijote had owned, and Juan Sedó chose as the topic for his inaugural speech in the Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona a Contribución a la historia del coleccionismo cervantino y caballeresco (Barcelona, 1948), as the two topics were so closely related that it was logical to discuss them at the same time. When libraries place the romances of chivalry on display, they do so in expositions devoted principally to Cervantes3. The romances which have received far and away the greatest amount of study, Amadís de Gaula, Tirant lo Blanch, and Palmerín de Inglaterra, are the ones which are praised in the escrutinio de la librería4. The authors who are seldom studied, and the most glaring abuse in this area is the treatment (or lack of it) of Feliciano de Silva, are neglected because of the censure of their works which we find in the Quijote.

This phenomenon has, of course, an obvious explanation. The Quijote is a work which all scholars of Spanish literature have read, and which much of the general public is familiar with in its broad outlines. The Quijote, besides its position as the most acceptable source of comment on the romances of chivalry, is the contemporary work in which the romances are discussed at greatest length. A considerable number of them are either named in the Quijote, or explicitly referred to; in many cases they are summarized with pithy comments, such as the priest's observation that Belianís «[tiene] necesidad de un poco de ruibarbo para purgar la demasiada cólera suya». The books are also commented on as a body. They are «aborrecidos de tantos y alabados de muchos más»; they constitute a «máquina mal fundada» (I, Prologue). They are «disparatados», and «atienden solamente a deleitar, y no a enseñar» (I, 47); none of them has «un cuerpo de fábula entero» (I, 47); nevertheless, the innkeeper «querría estar oyéndolos noches y días» (I, 32). In effect, since the romances of chivalry are a primary theme of the Quijote, they are commented on repeatedly, by many different characters and from many contrasting points of view.

Having said this, it must be pointed out that despite its popularity5, the Quijote is a paradoxical work, one of the most controversial ones in Spanish literature. How few things all cervantistas agree on! And many of the unanswered questions of the Quijote relate directly to the romances of chivalry. Did Cervantes admire the romances of chivalry because they «ofrecían [sujeto] para que un buen entendimiento pudiera mostrarse en ellos?» When the Toledo canon said that he had written a hundred pages of a romance of chivalry, never to be finished, was he speaking for Cervantes6? Was Cervantes' intent to end the popularity of the romances of chivalry, as is said many times in the work, a declaration which Avellaneda took as literal? Or was this only a pose or pretext, since the books were already dead? If he disliked the romances, how did he know them so well? In short, did he admire the romances, or find them ridiculous? Or was his true attitude some unknown compromise between these two positions?

What I mean to suggest, then, is that to take the comments in the Quijote as the basis for our knowledge of the romances of chivalry is to build our critical house on a foundation of sand. Too little is known with certainty about the relationship of the Quijote to the romances of chivalry for the often confusing or ambiguous information Cervantes offers there to be taken as reliable critical material. The romances of chivalry are, in fact, much less enigmatic works than the Quijote; we can read them, analyze them, and criticize them without danger of falling into the traps that await the scholar who ventures unprepared into the Manchegan countryside. What can, in fact, be done is to utilize the romances of chivalry as a tool to aid us in understanding the Quijote, once we have studied them and formed our conclusions about them for ourselves.

The present monograph, then, will study the romances of chivalry without taking Cervantes as a starting point. In Chapter IV, some suggestions about the relationship of the romances of chivalry to the Quijote will be offered.






- I -

A Definition


Because of the extraordinary imprecision of the general conception of the romances of chivalry, it is necessary to define clearly the subject matter of this book. If we were discussing Golden Age epic poetry, no one would expect to find in it a treatment of the Cid, or the romancero, or of Ariosto, except perhaps as works indirectly associated with the genre, as antecedents, or as illustrations of the same forms or principles in the literatures of other countries. Similarly, if we were discussing the Spanish pastoral novel, one would not include Virgil, Theocritus, or Sannazaro, except in a discussion of predecessors.

Yet such confusion is precisely what we find among those who write on the Spanish romances of chivalry. From the beginnings of critical study of the genre to the present, following, perhaps, the well-known process by which works were attributed to famous authors (Ovid, King Solomon), the true romances of chivalry have seen themselves classified helter-skelter with foreign works of the most diverse languages and time periods and with original Spanish works which can scarcely be considered romances of chivalry. In part this is due to a confusion between chivalric material and romances of chivalry: ballads, for example, may deal with deeds of knights, such as Bernardo del Carpio, or even with the heroes of the romances of chivalry, such as Amadís de Gaula and the Caballero del Febo7, but this does not mean that they themselves are romances of chivalry. In part it is also due to the unfortunate confusion caused by the different meanings of the word «romance» in English and Spanish8.

Examples of this confusion are easily offered. In the first survey of Spanish romances, Vicente Salvá treated Apuleius' Golden Ass as if it were a romance of chivalry9. The French bibliographer Brunet included Tirso de Molina's Deleitar aprovechando with the romances10, and as late as the Catálogo de la biblioteca de [Pedro] Salvá (Barcelona, 1872) we find Heliodorus' Historia etiópica de los amores de Teágenes y Cariclea, to contemporary readers certainly the very antithesis of a romance of chivalry11, included in this classification12. A number of chivalric tales translated from French, such as Oliveros de Castilla, are commonly included with the Spanish romances, as are other translations, such as Roberto el Diablo and Clamades y Clarmonda, whose similarity with the Spanish romances is that they are fictional narratives in prose13. Even within the strictly Spanish material, the Amadís and the Palmerín series of romances attracted to themselves, by the same process, material that did not belong: Polindo was confused with the Palmerín series14, and Lepolemo, the Espejo de príncipes y cavalleros, and Belianís de Grecia were all considered at different times to be part of the Amadís cycle or works of Feliciano de Silva15.

Nineteenth-century critics and bibliographers may perhaps be excused for this confusion concerning the nature of the Spanish romances of chivalry. Yet the same errors are perpetuated by contemporary scholars who have had more opportunity to examine the works they deal with. While Henry Thomas correctly includes the Cifar, Tirant lo Blanch, Paris e Viana, Enrique fi de Oliva and other early works and translations in a chapter on antecedents, «The Romances of Chivalry in the Spanish Peninsula before the Year 1500», and draws a clear distinction between them and the vogue that began about the time of the publication of the Amadís, in his standard reference work José Simón Díaz mixes them all together and for some unknown reason includes them all under the fifteenth century16. Following him, Maxime Chevalier does the same in Sur le publique du roman de chevalerie (Talence, 1968), and neither of the two collections of romances of chivalry published in Spain in this century -Volumes 6 and 9 of the NBAE17, and the unfortunate Aguilar volume of Felicidad Buendía18- distinguishes between works of different countries and periods of composition.

What, then, are the romances of chivalry, the topic of the present study? We can begin with a very simple criterion: only those romances of chivalry written in Spanish can be called, or should be treated together with, Spanish romances of chivalry. We can take a great step forward in clarifying the subject matter if we exclude works that are translations into Spanish from other languages19. But we are still left with too large and imprecise a body of texts. Consulting the nineteenth edition of the Academia dictionary, we find that a «libro de caballerías» is an «especie de novela antigua en que se cuentan las hazañas y hechos fabulosos de caballeros aventureros o andantes». The Diccionario de Autoridades says that «libros de caballerías se llaman aquellos que contienen hechos e historias fingidas de héroes fabulosos. Tomaron este nombre de que fingían que los héroes que hablaban en ellas eran caballeros armados»20. And going yet further back, to Covarrubias, we find that libros de caballerías are «los que tratan de hazañas de cavalleros andantes, ficciones gustosas y artificiosas de mucho entretenimiento y poco provecho, como los libros de Amadís, de don Galaor, del cavallero del Febo y los demás»21.

So the romances are books which «tratan de hazañas de caballeros andantes», and the oldest definition, the closest to the time of the romances' greatest popularity, gives us some specific references: the books of Amadís and don Galaor, his brother, the Caballero del Febo, and «all the rest», thus reflecting the common conception that the romances of chivalry are unmanageable because of their number, though certainly there were no more of them than there were epic poems.

There are also internal references in the romances of chivalry which aid us in determining what books the authors were familiar with, and which knights they considered to be in the same category or class as the heroes of the books they were writing. Marcos Martínez, the author of the Espejo de príncipes or Caballero del Febo, Part III (see infra, «The Pseudo-Historicity of the Romances of Chivalry»), includes Amadís and his relatives, Primaleón, Cristalián de España, Olivante de Laura, Belianis de Grecia, and Felixmarte de Hircania. In the prologue to Olivante de Laura we find the Amadís and Palmerín families, and Clarián de Landanís. The author of Cirongilio de Tracia mentions an earlier romance, Felix Magno22.

Another source which we can use to discover what the contemporaries considered to be romances of chivalry are the criticisms of the romances, in which specific works are often named. (The criticisms are discussed more fully below). Juan de Valdés, in his Diálogo de la lengua, speaks of Amadís de Gaula, Palmerín, Primaleón, Esplandián, Florisando, Lisuarte, and the Caballero de la Cruz, and separates in a different group, as inferior works, other books which are actually translations: Guarino Mezquino, La linda Melosina, Reinaldos de Montalván con La Trapisonda, Oliveros de Castilla23. Pedro Mexía refers to the Amadís, Lisuartes, and Clarianes24; Malón de Chaide to the Amadises, Floriseles, Belianís, and Lisuarte25. Mateo Alemán criticizes those women who read Belianís, Amadís, Esplandián, and the Caballero del Febo26.

Rather than continue with lists of names, we can summarize the results obtained from this examination of titles, distinguishing those works thought to be romances of chivalry. There are constant references to the Amadís, and almost as frequent ones to Palmerín de Olivia and Primaleón. Closely following in numbers of citations are the later books of the Amadís family, such as Lisuarte de Grecia, Amadís de Grecia, and Florisel de Niquea, and in the early works there are more than a few references to Clarián de Landanís, a lengthy cycle, which evidently, from its popularity, deserves more study than it has received. In the later authors there are various references to Belianís de Grecia, the Caballero del Febo, and other later books27. There are less frequent references to translations, such as Tristán, and even fewer to works such as Oliveros de Castilla and Partinuplés. Finally, I have not found a single reference anywhere (excluding the Quijote) to the Caballero Cifar, showing that its one edition of 1512 did not remove it from oblivion, and few to Tirant lo Blanch28.

What seems clear from all this is that Golden Age readers had a clear and consistent concept of which works were, and which were not, romances of chivalry. Their preference for works written in Castilian shows that the use of language of composition as a criterion for identifying the Spanish romances of chivalry is a sensible one, and confirms that the foreign romances of chivalry available in translation were tangential works, having lost whatever influence they may have had in Castile in the fifteenth or earlier centuries. Certainly the works the contemporaries saw as being romances of chivalry had an important characteristic in common, besides their language of composition, and that was their length. These works range from moderately long to extremely long; the short, translated works such as Partinuplés and Enrique fi de Oliva are seldom referred to.

So we can arrive at a definition, partly positivist and partly empirical. A romance of chivalry is a long prose narration which deals with the deeds of a «caballero aventurero o andante» -that is, a fictitious biography. More precisely, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spaniards (and I am unaware that the term «libros de caballerías» was widely used prior to the sixteenth century)29 understood as «libros de caballerías» Montalvo's Amadís and the books written in Castilian subsequent to it, which are the ones we are dealing with in this book. As will be seen later, these romances have many internal elements in common, which also make them a cohesive group.

It can be noted in conclusion that the romances of chivalry which we will be dealing with are, then, those written in Castilian subsequent to the publication of the Amadís, including the Amadís itself and a few works, such as Palmerín de Olivia, published around that time though written slightly earlier. These books, it should be noted, were also the ones known to Cervantes, as they are the ones dealt with in the Quijote. Both in the «escrutinio de la librería» and in the conversations of the characters in the Quijote, the works named are the lengthy Castilian fictionalized biographies: Amadís, Palmerín, Felixmarte de Hircania, Cirongilio de Tracia, and so on. Translations into Castilian, short works, and works which are other than fictional biographies receive either the briefest and most infrequent of treatment (such as Tablante de Ricamonte, referred to in I, 16), or are not there at all. It is, then, the long, imaginary biographies of knights-errant, the «mainstream» works, which must be studied as potential sources of the Quijote.




- II -

The History and Present State of Scholarship on Spanish Romances of Chivalry


In contrast with a genre such as the Golden Age epic poem, the subject of over 200 dense pages in which Frank Pierce outlines the history of its study in Spain30, there is relatively little to be said about the criticism of the romances of chivalry, especially in the Golden Age itself. The difference in prestige between the two genres is the obvious explanation for this fact; the epic was, of course, a genre in continuous existence since classical antiquity, and one of the few ways in which Spanish Golden Age authors could directly imitate classical models. Like the other forms of prose fiction, except for the so-called «Byzantine» novel31, with its model, the «prose epic» of Heliodorus32, the romances of chivalry had no classical model, no pedigree nor tradition, and thus very little prestige. Like the illegitimate son who unobtrusively exists and may even do great things, but does not share in the glory of the family, the romances of chivalry were only discussed incidentally by the literary theorists of the day.

The most familiar comments made by contemporaries about the romances of chivalry are criticisms; the romances were more often criticized, as poorly written, lascivious, «mentirosos», than they were praised33. These criticisms have been amply discussed and analyzed by other scholars34 and are referred to elsewhere in this book; in my opinion they cannot be said to form part of the scholarship of the romances of chivalry, both because they are incidental comments, in many cases taken out of context (see note 138 to Chapter IV), and because most of the persons making these criticisms had not personally examined the romances, merely repeated and amplified comments of their predecessors. (The fact that these comments have been given so much attention in this century is due to their harmony with the opinions of certain modern scholars and their supposed similarity to what has been understood to be Cervantes' opinion)35. However, we can find among them occasional voices that show a direct contact with the romances of chivalry, and, thus, more discriminating and intelligent commentary than usual.

The first of these more intelligent comments is that of Juan de Valdés. That Valdés had some direct knowledge of the romances can be concluded from the detailed comments made about them in the Diálogo de la lengua, and from the fact that the character Valdés had spent «diez años, los mejores de mi vida», on no more useful occupation than reading «estas mentiras». Although he criticizes as «mentirosos» (lacking verisimilitude) Esplandián, Florisando, Lisuarte [de Grecia], and the Cavallero de la Cruz [Lepolemo], and as «mentirosos» and «mal compuestos» the translations of foreign works referred to previously, for reasons he does not completely explain he praises «los quatro libros de Amadís, como... los de Palmerín y Primaleón, que por cierto respeto an ganado crédito conmigo»36.

A true scholar such as Alonso López Pinciano, one of the most influential literary theorists of the sixteenth century, also shows some discrimination in his comments on the romances of chivalry, prima facie evidence of more direct knowledge of them than could be gained from reading the comments of others. Although he repeatedly compares the romances of chivalry with the Milesian fables, which «tienen acaescimientos fuera de toda buena imitacion y semejança a verdad»37, he exempts some from a general condemnation: «no hablo de vn Amadís de Gaula, ni aun del de Grecia y otros pocos, los quales tienen mucho de bueno, sino de los demás, que ni tienen versimilitud, ni doctrina, ni aun estilo graue, y, por esto, las dezía un amigo mío "almas sin cuerpo"... y a los lectores y autores dellas, cuerpo sin alma»38.

But the well-informed, as well as the favorable, comment on the romances of chivalry is a rarity in the Golden Age. We need mention only, to conclude, the valuable information given by the authors themselves in their prologues, which have been almost completely ignored39, perhaps because the most accessible books, Amadís and Esplandián, lack both prologues and dedications. The criticisms to be found in the prologues -such as the famous attack of Feliciano de Silva on his predecessor Juan Díaz40, or the comments of Ortúñez41- are directed at specific works rather than at the romances as a whole. And the sometimes eloquent explanations of the romances' purposes certainly reached a larger group of readers than did the attacks of the moralists and literary critics, and presumably influenced as well as represented the attitudes toward the romances of a certain segment of the reading public. The author of Palmerín de Olivia said that his work «está llena de yngenio e doctrina en todas sus partes... va en sentencias poderosa, en él estilo copiosa, en ninguna parte confusa, las palabras dizen con la materia, las sentencias ygualan con las cosas, guarda la maiestad en las personas, cuenta breve, proprio, natural, sin confusión de orden, mueve passiones quando quiere, propone, incita, persuade. Ystoria es adonde conoceréys las claras hazañas de vuestros mayores: en unos alteza de ánimo que fortuna no vence, en otros esfuerço divino que peligros no teme»42. In the prologue to Cirongilio de Tracia the author praises the protagonist, particularly «la piedad que en el tiempo de su mayor saña se halló en él. No se movió con yra a las batallas, mas con misericordia y clemencia que tuvo de los afligidos y voluntad de deshazer los tuertos y agravios, donde todos los príncipes deste tiempo pueden tomar enxemplo para más buenamente governarse, para que con justa razón sean comparados al esclarecido sol, bien como lo fue este bienaventurado cavallero en su tiempo, en tal manera que sobró a todos los del mundo en bondad, en las armas, en esfuerço de coraçon, en nobleza de ánimo, en virtud de ínclitas costumbres»43.

These comments, although of great importance for the proper interpretation of the romances of chivalry -which always declared, sincerely or no, a moral intent- and for an understanding of their position in sixteenth-century culture, again do not constitute scholarship of the romances in the sense in which that term is usually used. Such scholarship can not be said to antedate the seventeenth century, and the first two centuries of study of the romances of chivalry were devoted almost exclusively to their bibliographical problems. It was only when there existed, first, access to texts and an accurate list of those romances which had been written, and second, information by which to distinguish the first editions and the relative order of composition of the romances, that deeper study could begin.

One cannot avoid mentioning, for its contribution to the bibliography of the romances of chivalry, the Registrum of Fernando Colón, illegitimate son of the discoverer44, and the somewhat lesser-known list of books given to a monastery in Valencia by the Duke and Duchess of Calabria45, both of whom were, like Colón, readers of the romances of chivalry (see infra). It is from these two lists of books that we have any information at all about a number of works (Leoneo de Hungría) and of editions (the earliest known edition of Esplandián, Sevilla, 1510), which have since disappeared.

Readers of this book may be already familiar with the name of Nicolás Antonio, who published in his Bibliotheca Hispana (1672), later Bibliotheca Hispana Nova, much bibliographical information about Spanish books of all periods46. Antonio apparently felt a certain admiration for the romances of chivalry, and in the prologue to his bibliography offered a defense of them, comparing them to epics in prose47. Included in his vast repertory are all the major Spanish romances of chivalry, and many of the minor ones. He ordinarily included only one or two editions of each. We find in his work Don Clarisel de las Flores, which he knew only in manuscript, as well as a number of works which have apparently disappeared and cannot be positively identified; Menéndez Pelayo made the irreverent suggestion that Antonio deliberately invented one such book (Penalva)48. Be this as it may, his desire to include every book, no matter how slender the evidence for its existence, led him to unintentionally invent some Spanish books which only existed in other languages, such as Florimón, or the thirteenth book of Amadís (Bibliotheca Hispana Nova, II, 395-96), which are still found in standard bibliographies. He thus attained, with some justification, a reputation for inaccuracy in the entries concerning romances of chivalry.

It is worth noting that Nicolás Antonio used one of the most important collections of romances of chivalry, that known as the «Sapienza» collection, from the Roman university which owned it, consisting of books which originally belonged to the house of Urbino. Under colorful circumstances this collection left the Sapienza's Alessandrina library, where it was housed; it is now shared by the British Library, the Biblioteca Nacional of Madrid, and the Hispanic Society of America49.

Nicolás Antonio's comments, which were arranged alphabetically, were extracted, collected, and supplemented by the eighteenth century scholar Nicolas Lenglet du Fresnoy, who dedicated a section of his Bibliothèque des romans (1734)50 to the Spanish romances of chivalry. He pointed out, sometimes with pleasure, the lacunae of Nicolás Antonio, indicated many more editions of the more popular romances, and mentioned for the first time some of the minor ones, such as Arderique, Claribalte, and Felixmarte de Hircania.

The first writer to discuss in print, however briefly, the content of the Spanish romances of chivalry was Francesco Severio Quadrio. In his Della storia, e della ragione d'ogni poesia, Volume IV (Milan, 1749), he gave the family trees of both the Palmerín and the Amadís families, and discussed how the latter were based, in his opinion, on the history of the early Gauls51.

The honor of being the first Spaniard to study the romances of chivalry must clearly fall to the Benedictine monk Martín Sarmiento (1695-1771). In his posthumous Memorias para la historia de la poesía y poetas españoles (Madrid, 1775; written about 1745), he discusses them briefly, commending them for their language and relating them to the medieval narrative (i. e., epic) tradition. A more interesting curiosity, however, is his still-unpublished «Disertación sobre el Amadís de Gaula», a copy of which is in the Ticknor collection in the Boston Public Library. According to Barton Sholod, who has studied it, Sarmiento «attempts to place the Amadís within the broad scope of Spanish chivalric literature which he separates into four stages or epochs. The first of these is characterized by the... Psuedo-Turpin, throughout the eleventh and twelfth-centuries; the second is the cycle of Crusades romances most typified in Spain by the thirteenth-century prose tale, La gran conquista de ultramar; the third encompasses the totally fanciful tales of the fourteenth and fifteenth-centuries centering about «Héroes fingidos» or «Caballeros andantes» of which Amadís is the prime example; finally, we have the most lofty but genuinely human chivalric tale which ironically breaks with the past tradition of «pure» epic-romance and creates the new realistic mode, Don Quijote de la Mancha»52. A Galician himself, Sarmiento began the modern debate about the original language of the Amadís by suggesting it was first written in Galician (Sholod, p. 195).

Sarmiento's «Disertación» was actually «part of a more extensive unpublished essay entitled La vida y escritos de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra» (Sholod, p. 189). Sarmiento was thus also the first to associate the study of the romances of chivalry with that of the Quijote.

At that time (the late eighteenth century), interest in Don Quijote as a typically Spanish work, or as the Spanish literary masterpiece, was beginning, and it is not surprising, then, to find that examination of the romances of chivalry became secondary to the study of the Quijote. We would do well to at least mention John Bowle, the first modern editor of the Quijote, who (the notes to his edition show) had studied well several romances of chivalry: Amadís de Gaula and Amadís de Grecia, Olivante de Laura, Palmerín de Olivia, and the Espejo de caballerías. He had some contact with a number of others, mentioned less frequently: Felixmarte de Hircania, Tirante el Blanco, Belianís de Grecia, the Espejo de príncipes, and Polindo53. Bowle's comments have often been tacitly used by later Spanish editors.

Following the example of Sarmiento and Bowle in associating the study of the romances of chivalry with that of the Quijote, Diego Clemencín published in the first half of the nineteenth century the most important Quijote edition of that century (Madrid, 1833-39). Clemencín's substantial contributions to the knowledge of the romances of chivalry are discussed in «Don Quijote y los libros de caballerías: necesidad de un reexamen», included in this volume. Clemencín's notes to the Quijote are a treasure-trove of information about the romances; scarcely less valuable is his Biblioteca de libros de caballerías, consisting of bibliographical notes intended to be a supplement to his edition54.

In the early nineteenth century, bibliographical information available about the romances of chivalry was approaching a satisfactory state, and there began to appear a series of articles or catalogues devoted specifically to the bibliography of the romances of chivalry. The earliest of these, that of Vicente Salvá, dates from 182755, and already we find included almost all of the titles of romances and most of the editions. Finding the romances too numerous to handle unless classified, he began dividing them into categories, a practice often followed by later writers yet a source of confusion: «Amadís de Gaula y su línea» (in which was included Lepolemo), «Palmerín de Oliva y su descendencia», «Romances [sic] españoles de caballeros independientes de las antedichas ramas», «Libros trasladados [traducidos] de otras lenguas», including those of the Round Table and of Charlemagne, «imitaciones ascéticas y morales», «historias con algún fondo de verdad, aunque desfigurados con sucesos caballerescos» (included are the chronicles of the Cid, and La doncella de Francia), and «libros de absoluta verdad histórica» (the Passo honroso).

Salvá, like a modern scholar, drew on a series of very diverse sources: bookseller's catalogues, the Quijote edition of Bowle as well as that of Juan Antonio Pellicer (Madrid, 1797-98), the works of Nicolás Antonio and Quadrio. Considering the handicaps he worked under, his work is a good one, marred only by his inclusion of works which no modern scholar would call romances of chivalry.

The most important contributor of the nineteenth century to our knowledge of the romances of chivalry, after Diego Clemencín, is unquestionably Pascual de Gayangos. Gayangos wrote a long introduction and the «Catálogo razonado de los libros de caballerías que hay en lengua castellana o portuguesa, hasta el año de 1800», found in Volume 40 of the BAE, and he published in that volume an edition of Amadís de Gaula that was to stand until the publication of that of Edwin Place in 1959-69, and an edition of the Sergas de Esplandián for which there is yet no published replacement56.

In his «Catálogo razonado», again divided into categories, although different ones («libros del ciclo bretón, libros del ciclo carolingio, libros del ciclo 'greco-asiático' -los Amadises Palmerines e independientes-, historias y novelas caballerescas, libros a lo divino, libros fundados en asuntos históricos, y traducciones de poemas caballerescos, principalmente italianos»), Gayangos brought together all the previously published bibliographical information, including the rather unreliable data of the French bibliographer Brunet57, and added a great deal of new information. Because he lived for some time in London, he was able to include information about the copies in the great Grenville collection of the British Museum (now British Library), and those in the private library of Sir Thomas Phillipps, the greatest manuscript collector of all time58; he also included, for the first time, information on the many unique Spanish items in the former Imperial Library of Vienna. The only major source he did not have access to was the catalogue of Ferdinand Colon's library.

His detailed and intelligent annotations were to give Gayangos' catalogue a usefulness and reliability the previous ones had lacked. In fact, it has been the basis for all subsequent bibliographies of romances of chivalry, including, indirectly, my own. He revised his own catalogue for inclusion in Gallardo's Ensayo de una biblioteca española de libros raros y curiosos59; his information was incorporated in the Catálogo de la biblioteca de Salvá60, was the subject of an article by G. Brunet61, and is the foundation of the most widely used modern bibliography, that of Simón Díaz62.

In his lengthy «Discurso preliminar» Gayangos discusses the origin of the romances of chivalry in Spain and the controversies regarding the original language of composition of Amadís de Gaula and Palmerín de Inglaterra, both of which were claimed by the Portuguese. Of more lasting interest, however, are the analyses of a number of romances of chivalry which he provides. He summarizes for us most of the chivalric production of Feliciano de Silva, Palmerín de Olivia, and Primaleón, as well as others as diverse as Lepolemo and Florambel de Lucea. He was an alert reader, and pointed out, for example, the passages which show that Feliciano de Silva was the author of Lisuarte de Grecia (Book 7 of the Amadís family), Pedro de Luján of Silves de la Selva (Book 12 of the Amadís family), and Francisco Delicado of La lozana andaluza63. He found a certain value and, in contrast with Clemencín (see infra), a certain diversion in the romances of chivalry, which make his commentaries easy to read and deserving of the circulation they have received in the widely circulated collection of Rivadeneira.

Since 1857, when Gayangos published his volume, there have appeared only two studies of the romances of chivalry which even attempt any comprehensive coverage of them64. The first of these is that of Menéndez y Pelayo, in his Orígenes de la novela65. In this book Menéndez y Pelayo dedicates two chapters to the romances of chivalry, the first discussing foreign works translated into Spanish, and the second those which he called «indígenos», or written in the languages of the Iberian peninsula. Besides a detailed examination of Amadís de Gaula, he spends more time than Gayangos discussing earlier works, in particular Tirant lo Blanch, the Caballero Cifar, and the recently discovered Curial y Güelfa. Because of his wide reading in Golden Age non-fiction, he was able to illustrate in some detail the increasing criticism to which the romances of chivalry were subjected in the sixteenth century. These are, however, his only real contributions. Never one to disguise his prejudices, he devotes the remainder of his second chapter to a discussion of why the romances of chivalry later than the Amadís, most of which he had not examined, were not only bad, but monstrous. Although «el mayor defecto del Esplandián es venir después del Amadís» (p. 404), Palmerín de Olivia «no es más que un calco servil de las principales aventuras de Amadís y de su hijo» (p. 416), and Feliciano de Silva was «el gran industrial literario, que por primera vez puso en España y quizá en Europa, taller de novelas» (p. 407). Following well-authorized practice, Menéndez y Pelayo simply embellished the comments of previous critics when he had no direct knowledge of the works he was studying66. With his overemphasis on the early works and uninformed attacks on works later than the Amadís he has done the study of the romances of chivalry great harm.

In 1920 Sir Henry Thomas published his classic study, Spanish and Portuguese Romances of Chivalry, in which he joined two earlier papers with others given as lectures at Cambridge University in 191767. Essentially a bibliographer, later to serve for many years as head of the British Museum's Department of Printed Books, Thomas worked extensively with that library's large collection of romances of chivalry. In discussing the romances themselves, in chapters on the Amadís and Palmerín romances, and another on «Smaller Groups and Isolated Romances», he covers, though carefully, familiar ground, bringing together the contributions of his predecessors. He summarizes Grace Williams' discussion of the origins of the Amadís, and its indebtedness to the French romances of the Breton and Charlemagne cycles68, and William Purser's definitive resolution of the question of the Portuguese or Spanish authorship of Palmerín de Inglaterra in favor of the former by an examination of both the Spanish and Portuguese texts69. Thomas also summarizes his own publication, in which he settled that Feliciano de Silva was the author of Books 7 and 9 of the Amadís series70, and also shows (pp. 302-09) that the second book of Lepolemo, Leandro el Bel, was in fact a translation from the Italian.

More than half of his study, however, is devoted to assessing the popularity of the romances of chivalry both in Spain and abroad. He arranged the romances into a list by date of publication, thus showing clearly when they found the greatest favor and when their decline in popularity began; he added to Menéndez y Pelayo's collection of comments by non-fictional writers on the romances of chivalry. The discussion of the translations of the Spanish romances into other languages could have been written by none other than a competent bibliographer, and it is only very recently71 that any attempt has been made to improve on his treatment of the subject.

Since the publication in 1920 of the book of Henry Thomas there has been no attempt at a comprehensive treatment of the Spanish romances of chivalry. It is, however, not out of order for us to review the most important, though more limited contributions which have been made over the last fifty years. Most of this work has, for obvious reasons, centered on the romances which are most accessible. Much has been written about Amadís de Gaula. Edwin Place, in particular, dedicated much of his career to working with this book, preparing a critical edition based on the earliest complete text, that of 150872, and wrote articles on its original language of composition73, its relationship with earlier chivalric material74, the date of Montalvo's redaction75, and to other problems related with the book76. Others have also discussed the interpretation of the Amadís of Montalvo and the characteristics of the primitive Amadís which preceded it77, and while this volume was in preparation, Frank Pierce published in the Twayne World Authors Series a volume on Amadís de Gaula (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1976).

The Sergas de Esplandián, available in Gayangos' edition, has been the subject of important studies by José Amezcua and Samuel Gili Gaya78. Two volumes of studies accompanied the recent publication of an edition of Palmerín de Olivia79. Maxime Chevalier has investigated a number of later romances in a search for the influence of Ariosto80, and just as Place discussed the influence of the Amadís on Cervantes81, Martín de Riquer, author of an important series of studies of Tirant lo Blanch and of historical chivalry82, has also discussed the influence of the romances of chivalry on Cervantes83.

Beyond this, it can safely be said that studies of the romances of chivalry have tended to deal more with tangential works, or with tangential aspects of the major works, than with the truly central works and questions. Thus, of the later books of the Amadís cycle, Florisando, Book 6, and the second Lisuarte de Grecia, Book 8, which are without any doubt the least important and least influential books of the entire cycle, have each been the subject of an interpretative essay84, while the vastly more important later books of the series have never been the subject of a major article. Both the Amadís and the Palmerín series have been the subject of monographs, but both of these monographs discuss the influence of the series in England85. Feliciano de Silva has been studied biographically86, as author of the Segunda Celestina87, and as friend to Núñez de Reinoso88, but the only study of his romances of chivalry to date is focused on the study of the pastoral elements in them89. Attention has been drawn to an earlier romance, Claribalte, because of its author, Fernández de Oviedo, rather than because of its literary value, which most agree to be slight90. More attention has been focused on the reading of romances of chivalry in the New World91 than has been on the reading of them in Spain.

Some recent theses suggest that this orientation of research on the romances of chivalry may be changing92. Nevertheless, in Chapter VIII have suggested some topics for future research and some avenues which are worth exploring.




- III -

The Birth of the Spanish Romances of Chivalry


Amadís de Gaula


Like most forms of literature, the Spanish romances of chivalry were not created spontaneously nor ex nihilo. Although their sudden popularity at the beginning of the sixteenth century might, on superficial examination, suggest a new phenomenon, they have antecessors and are derived from an earlier chivalric tradition. Like various other types of Spanish literature, they are directly derived from the literature of a foreign country: in this case, French Arthurian literature. In a word, Amadís de Gaula, on which, directly or indirectly, are modeled all the sixteenth-century romances of chivalry, is neo-Arthurian (Pierce, p. 47).

In France the romance of chivalry was more of a medieval phenomenon than it was in Spain, more directly linked to the epic poetry in whose prosifications it began. It was primarily French versions of Arthurian material which, through Spanish translations and adaptations, gave birth to the Amadís and the romances of chivalry based on this work. Although the surviving Spanish texts are neither complete nor numerous, it is clear that the Hispano-Arthurian literature was widely circulated among the nobility, as it was one of the few forms of fiction available in the Middle Ages, even to that class able to indulge itself with pleasure reading in an age of manuscripts.

Before proceeding to discuss the existing Hispano-Arthurian literature, it is worth pointing out that I am deliberately omitting, as irrelevant, discussion of a work which some readers might expect to find here: the Caballero Cifar, which, I am convinced, has little in common with the Spanish romances of chivalry as they were understood by Cervantes and other readers of the sixteenth century. Even a superficial examination shows how different the work is. It is presumably based on earlier sources, perhaps some Arabic ones, but in any event, it is clearly not French in inspiration, it is not primarily a tale of love and combat, of deeds done by a knight in love with a sometimes disdainful lady, and it is much more moral and didactic in its intent than the other romances93. Although there is some influence of Arthurian material, particularly in Book III94, the work is far from being primarily chivalric in orientation, nor did it have any discernible influence on the romances which were to follow it. The supposed discovery of a source for Sancho Panza in the squire Ribaldo has been refuted so many times that it will not be further belabored here95.

Arthurian literature in Spain has been surveyed by Entwistle, more briefly by María Rosa Lida de Malkiel, and recently in a scholarly bibliography by Harvey Sharrer96. The present author can do little but summarize their conclusions. Prose literature is represented by texts of the Merlin, Lancelot, and Tristan families, though the texts are either fragmentary or relatively late. Pietsch, in his Spanish Grail Fragments97, published the fragmentary versions of the Libro de Josep Abarimatia, the Estoria de Merlin, and Lançarote found in a fifteenth-century manuscript now in the University of Salamanca. A late 14th or early 15th-century Castilian and Aragonese manuscript of Tristán de Leonís was published by George T. Northup (University of Chicago Press, 1928). There is also a sixteenth-century copy of a lengthy fifteenth-century manuscript of Lançarote in the Biblioteca Nacional of Madrid; of this latter only a few fragments have been published98, though Sharrer has promised a complete edition. The other texts available in Castilian are late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century imprints: Tristán de Leonís (Valladolid, 150199 and Seville, 1528100 and 1534), the Baladro del Sabio Merlín (Burgos, 1498)101, and the Demanda del Sancto Grial (Toledo, 1515)102.

The influence which these Arthurian texts, especially the Lancelot, had in the creation of Amadís de Gaula has been discussed in greatest detail by Grace Williams103, though it has also been commented on by Entwistle, Bohigas, Le Gentil, and Lebesque, among others104. Although María Rosa Lida has pointed out some influence from the Troy legends105, it can be safely said that Amadís generally follows the outlines of the central plot of the Lancelot. An unknown youth of royal descent falls in love with the wife or daughter of a king at whose court he serves. The knight rescues his lady from an abductor, thus earning her love or promise of love; the lady, for erroneous reasons, spurns the knight, who abandons the court and lives in solitude. Eventually he learns his true identity and is reunited with the lady. Court intrigue and discord among factions of the nobility play a major role in both works, leading to a complicated plot structure. Characters with magical powers, both friendly and hostile, appear in both works. There is an exaltation of adventure, honor, and love. Amadís, then, according to María Rosa Lida, from whom the foregoing is paraphrased, «offers a synthesis of the distinctive features of a typical Arthurian romance» («Arthurian Legend», p. 413).

That the influence of the Arthurian texts is channeled almost exclusively through the Amadís (Entwistle, p. 225) is due to the unique circumstances surrounding the composition, revision, and diffusion of this work. The dating of the composition of the Amadís in the fourteenth century, when the Arthurian romances were circulating widely in manuscript, is not disputed (Pierce, p. 39). For reasons not known to us, a fifteenth-century gentleman, Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, took this older text and revised it, abbreviating it, adapting it, perhaps, more to the tastes of the Spanish, with purer love and more emphasis on combat, and certainly improving its language and style. This revised version, published in the sixteenth-century, was thus a link between the medieval and the Renaissance periods: a work of medieval inspiration, composition, and themes, but packaged and distributed in a way that Renaissance readers would find attractive.

It would be difficult to exaggerate the popularity of Montalvo's Amadís in sixteenth-century Spain. It had far and away the largest number of editions and copies printed, and has been, from its publication, the most widely read Spanish romance of chivalry, a distinction which it holds through the present day. Even among those who had not read the work, almost all literate, and many illiterate Spaniards knew the name of the work, just as most recognize the title Don Quijote today. Amadís was one of the limited number of romances made into ballads and plays; it was the romance used by Bernal Díaz del Castillo in his famous comparison (quoted by Thomas, p. 82). It was «a recognized manual of chivalry and courtesy» (Thomas, p. 63). Phrases from the Amadís, such as «Agrajes sin obras», entered the Spanish language106, which happened with no other romance.

Just as the writings of Aristotle defined what would later be called the field of philosophy, so the Amadís defined what the romance of chivalry would be in Spain. From Amadís the other romances took their basic framework: the traveling prince, the constant tournaments and battles, the remote setting in a mountainous, forested (never desert or jungle) land, the interest in honor and fame. Variations on the basic pattern, such as the dama belicosa, are really minor. To use a protagonist who was not of royal blood, to have a visit to a realistic Spain (or any other location the Spanish readers would know something about) would have been felt as a major break with this venerable tradition, not to be made until the Lazarillo broke many conventions simultaneously.

It is just as difficult to exaggerate the popularity and influence of the Amadís in sixteenth-century Spanish letters and culture as it is to explain the precise reasons why it was so popular. One contemporary reader, Juan de Valdés, praised its language (the quotation is reproduced on p. 11), and certainly in an age sensitive to style this must have been a fact, though presumably not an exclusive one. Perhaps a nationalistic factor, as well, in that Amadís was seen as a clearly Castilian, rather than foreign, work107, may have contributed to the book's appeal in Spain. Probably, though, the simple fact that the book contains a good story, with lots of exciting action, was most important.

For action the Amadís has, above all things. Amadís

Essay on Philip II of Spain

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Philip II of Spain

To fully answer this question it is necessary to truly evaluate each of his policies with dealing his enemies and compatriots both foreign and domestic throughout his reign. This essay will attempt to take each main area of conflict in his life and provide clear indications as to the degree of success that Philip achieved. Philip's character itself is a critical as his personality and characteristics convey, not only himself, but also his empire to others. It is believed by some historians that Philip was a far poorer leader than his father, Charles I, who had reigned before him. Philip grew up to be an outsider and carried this flaw with him into leadership. He never fully trusted anyone and so was incapable…show more content…

This effort was largely a failure as provided that the moriscos went to Christian mass and looked to be practising their new religion, then little more was asked of them. The majority of moriscos retained their old faith in spite of Phillip's efforts. It wasn't until the 1560s that Phillip decided that his policy would have to be changed. A section of the Christian clergy were angry that the moriscos abided in name only and insisted that action needed to be taken. There was a higher military incentive to remove the presence of the moriscos, however. While the battle in the Mediterranean between the Spanish and the Turks raged on, it was feared that the moriscos could become 'an enemy within'. It was deemed possible that the moriscos would support a Turkish incursion, particularly from North Africa. There was also a chance that they would join with Protestants in Southern France in any attack on Spain itself. Phillip was extremely concerned about Turkish power and agreed that any possibility of a Turkish-morisco alliance would have to be quashed. It is for these reasons that Phillip took the decision to take a sterner approach on the moriscos in Granada. This new policy began in 1567. The morisocs were completely forbidden to practice any of their own customs including language and dress. They were to suffer

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