Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/601

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580
[LITERATURE
SPAIN


del Cid). In such romancer os the epic verse is usually regarded as octosyllabic and is printed as such; occasionally certain editions divide the romance into strophes of four verses (cuartetas) .

King Alphonso X. (d. 1284), under whose patronage ware published the code entitled Las Siete partidas and several great Prose scientific compilations (such as the Libros de astro- Chroakles, nomia and the Lapidario), was also the founder of , ~ th ' ,6 J b Spanish historiography in the vulgar tongue. The Crdnica general, composed under his direction, consists of two distinct parts: the one treats of universal history from the creation of the world to the first centuries of the Christian era (La General e grant historia) ; the other deals exclusively with the national history (La Crdnica d Historia de Espaiia) down to tht death of Ferdinand III. (1252), father of Alphonso. The main sources of the Crdnica general are two Spanish ecclesiastical chroniclers of the 13th century — Lucas of Tuy and Rodrigo of Toledo; both wrote in Latin, but their works were early trans- lated into the vernacular. In the Historia de Espaiia, printed in its true form for the first time in 1906, are collected many legends and occasional references to the songs of the juglares (for the purpose, however, of refuting them), the narrative relating to the Cid being partly based on an Arabic text. This portion, as recast in the Crdnica de Caslilla compiled by order of Alphonso XL, was published apart by Juan de Velorado under the title of the Crdnica del Cid (1512), and has often been reprinted. Alphonso's example bcre fruit In the 14th cen- tury we find another Crdnica general de Espaiia or de Castilla, constructed on the model of the first and embracing the years 1030-1312; next, the Grant crdnica de Espaiia and the Grant Crdnica de los conqueridores, compiled by command of the grand master of the order of St John of Jerusalem, Juan Fernandez de Heredia (1310-1396), about 1390. Special chronicles of each king of Castile were soon written. Our information is defective regarding the authorship of the chronicles of Alphonso X., Sancho IV., Ferdinand IV. and Alphonso XL; but the four following reigns — those of Pedro I., Henry II., John I. and Henry III. — were dealt with by Pero Lopez de Ayala; here we recognize the man of literary culture who had acquired some knowledge of ancient history, for the form of the narrative becomes freer and more personal, and the style rises with the thought. Alvar Garcia de Santa Maria and other writers whose names are not recorded probably compiled the chronicle of John II.; the events of Henry IV. 's disastrous reign were related by Diego Enriquez del Castillo and Alfonso Fernandez de Palencia; the triumphs of the Catholic sovereigns Ferdinand and Isabella by Fernando del Pulgar and Andres Bern&ldez. With these royal chronicles should be mentioned some biographies of important persons. Thus in the 15th century the chronicle of Pedro Nino, count of Buelna (1375- Biographles. 1 446) ) by Gutierre Diez de Games; that of Alvaro de Luna, constable of Castile (d. 1453); and a curious book of travels, the narrative of the embassy sent by Henry III. of Castile to Timur in 1403, written by the head of the mission, Ruy Gonzalez de Clavijo.

The other productions of Castilian prose in the 13th and 14th centuries are for the most part didactic and sententious _, compositions, which, however, contain illustrations Works of or tales of Eastern origin. The Spanish translation 13th and of Kalila and Dimna, made direct from an Arabic Uih text, dates from the middle of the 13th century,

and the romance of the Seven Sages (Sindibad), translated under the title of Libro de los enganos i asaya- mientos de las mugeres, is referred to 1253. From the second half of the 13th century the collections of aphorisms, dits, apologues and moral tales become very numerous: first of all, versions of the Secretum secretorum, attributed in the middle ages to Aristotle, one of which is entitled Poridat de las poridades, next the Proverbios buenos, the Bocados de oro or Libro de bonium, Rey de Persia and the Libro de los gatos, which is derived from the Narrationes of Odo of Cheriton. During the first half of the 14th century the nephew of Alphonso X., the


infante Juan Manuel, wrote the various works which place him in the first rank of medieval Spanish prose writers. The best known is the collection of tales, many of them borrowed from Oriental sources, entitled El Conde Lucanor; but, besides this contribution to literature, he wrote graver and still more didactic treatises. The knowledge of antiquity, previously so vague, made remarkable progress in the 14th century. Curiosity was awakened concerning certain episodes of ancient history, such as the War of Troy, and Benoit de Sainte-More's poem and the Latin narrative of Guido delle Colonne were both translated. Lopez de Ayala translated, or caused to be translated, Pierre Bersuire's French version of Livy, Boetius and various writings of Isidore of Seville and Boccaccio.

While the Carolingian cycle is mainly represented in Spain by assonanced romances, of which the oldest seem to be frag- ments of lost poems by the juglares, the British cycle (Lancelot, Tristram, Merlin, &c.) is represented chivalry. almost exclusively by works in prose (see Romance). Those narratives are known only in 15th and 16th century editions, and these have been more or less modified to suit the taste of the time; but it is impossible not [to recognize that books such as El Baladro del sabio Merlin (1498) and La Demanda del sancto grial (1515) presuppose a considerable antecedent literature of which they are only the afterglow. The principal French romances of the Round Table were trans- lated and imitated in Spain and in Portugal as early as the first half of the 14th century at least; of that there is no doubt. And, even if there were not satisfactory testimony on this point, the prodigious development in Spanish literature of the cabal- lerias, or " books of chivalry," incontrovertibly derived from fictions of Breton origin, would be proof enough that at an early date the Spaniards were familiar with these romantic tales derived from France. The oldest work of the kind is El Cabal- lero Cifar, composed at the beginning of the 14th century, but the first book of real importance in the series of strictly Spanish caballerias is the Amadis de Gaula. Certain considera- tions lead one to seek for the unknown author of the first Amadis in Portugal, where the romances of the Round Table were more highly appreciated than in Spain, and where they have exer- cised a deeper influence on the national literature. To Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo, however, falls the honour of having preserved the book by printing it; he made the mistake of diluting the original text and of adding a continuation, Las Sergas de Esplandidn. Allied to Montalvo 's Amadis with its supplementary Esplandidn (1510) are the Don Florisando (1510) and the Lisuarte de Grecia (1514), the Amadis de Grecia (1514), the Don Florisel de Niquea (1532-1551), &c, which form what Cervantes called the " Amadis sect." Parallel with the Amadises are the Palmerines, the most celebrated of which are Palmerin de Oliva (1511), Primaleon (1512), and Palmerin de Inglaterre,v/hich was first written in Portuguese by Moraes Cabral. None of those caballerias inspired by the Amadis were printed or even written before the 16th century, and they bear the stamp of that period; but they cannot be separated from their medieval model, the spirit of which they have preserved. Among the caballerias we may also class some narratives derived from the Carolingian epic — the Historia del emperador Carlomagno y de los doce pares, a very popular version still reprinted of the French romance of Fierabras, the Espejo de caballerias, into which has passed a large part of Boiardo's Orlando innamorato, the Historia de la reina Sibilla, &c.

The first half of the 15th century, or what comes almost to the same thing, the reign of John II. of Castile (1407-1454), is characterized as regards his literature (1) by the Poetry of development of a court poetry, artificial and pre- iSih tentious; (2) by the influence of Italian literature Centur y on Castilian prose and poetry, the imitation of Boccaccio and Dante, especially of the latter, which introduced into Spain a liking for allegory; and (3) by more assiduous intercourse with antiquity. After the example of the Provencal troubadours whose literary doctrines had made their