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The Poet's Myth of Fernán González von Keller, Jean P. (eBook)

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The Poet's Myth of Fernán González

A scrupulous examination of the historical and cultural background of the thirteenth-century epic, a study of its structure and a scholarly explanation of the major episodes of Fernán González. "... a significant addition to the secondary literature on the poem."- David Hook, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies.


    Format: PDF
    Kopierschutz: AdobeDRM
    Seitenzahl: 181
    Sprache: Englisch
    ISBN: 9780916379872
    Verlag: Digitalia
    Größe: 8086kBytes
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The Poet's Myth of Fernán González

Chapter One Introduction (p. 1)

The Poem

The Poema de Fernán Gonzalez (PFG) is a thirteenth century epic composed some three centuries after the death of the hero. It contains legendary materials which had evolved far away from historical fact. It also contains anti- and extra- historical matter.

It borrows from thé verses of Gonzalo de Berceo, thé Bible, thé Libro de Alexandre, thé Cantar de Mio Cid, thé Chanson de Roland, a saint`s life, from a scattering of historiés in Latin and Arabie, as well as from local and Roman folklore, to say nothing of Provençal tradition. Some of thèse borrowings are used as surface décoration, others are incorporated into thé structure of thé poem. A hodgepodge?

Well, yes. But one that is surprisingly well ordered, worked out, and filled with consciously controlled artistic détails. Written about three centuries after thé death of thé hero, it has survived in a single incomplète manuscript, copied by two rather careless copiers, in thé fifteenth century, according to C. Carroll Marden whose critical édition of thé poem appeared in 1904.!

Recently, John S. Geary indentified a third hand in a small portion of thé manuscript. The whole of thé original poem is prosified in thePr/me/`a crônica général (PCG).

Almost ail scholars are agreed that it was composed by a monk attached to thé monastery of San Pedro de Arlanza. which lies in thé heart of thé alfoz de Lara , thé estate of thé father of our famous hero. Fernân Gonzalez, count, first of Lara, then of Burgos, and finally of ail Castilla la Vieja, died in 970. The generally accepted date of composition of thé poem, as established by Marden, is 1250-71, probably ça 1250.

The poem is written in thé cuaderna via ormester de clerecfa, i.e., in stanzas of four verses, ail of thé same consonantal rhyme, of fourteen syllables, divided in thé middle, and with stress on thé sixth syllable of each half-verse. This rigid metric form had been extensively used by Gonzalo de Berceo, a monk of thé monastery of San Millân de la Cogolla, Spain`s first poet whose name is known, in thé first half of thé thirteenth century.

Berceo had written numerous saints1 lives and other religious verse. Our monk of Arlanza made bold to rewrite thé juglaresque songs about thé famous count of Castile in thé cuaderna via, a really surprising task that presented him with tremendous difficultés in adapting thé free-flowing irregular, assonanted verse, for example, of thé Cantar de Mio Cid (CMC) , to thé rigid form used by Berceo.

The legends about thé hero hâve been thé subject of our poem, of plays, of novels, of polemic debates, over thé course of more than four centuries. The romances about thé hero are still alive today. In 1958 in Santillana del Mar I fell into conversation with two men who asked what I was doing in Spain.

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