Session Title

En cadea sen prijon: A Groundbreaking Discovery on Fifteenth-Century Galician Poetry in the Iberian Peninsula

Sponsoring Organization(s)

González-Millán Group for Galician Studies

Organizer Name

Gabriel Rei-Doval

Organizer Affiliation

Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Presider Name

Gabriel Rei-Doval

Paper Title 1

En cadea sen prijon: Alfonso Paez's Cancioneiro

Presenter 1 Name

Henrique Monteagudo

Presenter 1 Affiliation

Univ. de Santiago de Compostela

Paper Title 2

Decadence or Renovation? A Reconsideration of Galician Artistic Culture in the Late Middle Ages

Presenter 2 Name

James D'Emilio

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Univ. of South Florida

Paper Title 3

Response: Sociopoetics

Presenter 3 Name

Jesús Rodríguez-Velasco

Presenter 3 Affiliation

Columbia Univ.

Paper Title 4

Response: In What Ways Does This Book Change Our Perspective on Galician-Portuguese Songbooks?

Presenter 4 Name

David Mackenzie

Presenter 4 Affiliation

Univ. College Cork

Start Date

10-5-2014 10:00 AM

Session Location

Fetzer 1010

Description

In early 2013, Professor Henrique Monteagudo (Institute for the Galician Language, University of Santiago de Compostela) published a groundbreaking volume containing an edition of twenty-two previously unknown poems written in medieval Galician. These poems were apparently copied around 1433-34 and geographically produced and discovered in the county of Ferrol in Galicia, Spain. This extraordinary finding reveals an unknown development in medieval literature when written Galician (while still present in historical prose) had supposedly vanished from written literary usage in lyric poetry.

It had been previously argued that poetic creation in Galician had been fading and that the late 14th and early 15th centuries were characterized by a late and modest flourishing of a so called 'Galician-Castilian school' -considered a late and problematic development of Galician-Portuguese troubadour lyric, i.e. the Cancionero de Baena. This was due to both the selection of texts included in said collection and also to the way the Galician language had been copied and portrayed by Castilian scribes in a suspicious hybrid form not corresponding to the spoken language of that time. Similarly, those poems of the Galician-Castilian school corresponded to 'cantigas' or lyrics written to be performed as songs. However, at the beginning of the 15th century, a new wave of reciting poems with themes other than love apparently became more popular. For that reason it had been so far assumed that a final poetic decline of the Galician language was intertwined with the concurrent obsolescence of a lyric poetry pressured by the emergent strength of recited poetry, i.e. in Castilian Spanish.

However, the poems that this session will analyze clearly invite us to reconsider such a view. On the one hand, they are very surprising due to their language: they are written in Galician, with a very limited interference from Castilian Spanish. For this reason, the collection questions the hybrid linguistic nature of the Cancionero de Baena: perhaps the tentative Galician restoration of the texts edited by Henry Lang in his pioneer Cancioneiro Gallego-Castelhano (Yale University, 1902), even considering some of his unjustifiable choices, is not as inappropriate as previously thought. On the other hand, the area of production and authorship of the texts (Galicia and Galician author(s)) do indeed seem original. Maybe the preference for poetry had not radically disappeared from the Galician courts after the first half of the 14th century as previously thought.

Also, the nature and profile of those compositions is highly remarkable: they are not 'cantigas', but 'dizeres', i.e. not composed to match with music but to be recited. Finally, considering some of their metric features, these compositions could be among the most ancient ones produced in the center-west area of the Iberian Peninsula, i.e. in the diverse yet cohesive cultural space configured by Castille, Galicia and Portugal.

In many ways, it seems that the aforementioned poems have an unexpected and original experimental nature. This might indicate that the poetic fall of medieval Galician not only happened at a later time, but also that it was more creative and less decadent than previously considered.

In any case, it seems clear that the scope and relevance of this varied collection of poetic texts falls beyond Galician literary history, and even reaches as such Peninsular literary history.

For this reason, this session will present this news, as well as an analysis of the characteristics and meaning of such an important and groundbreaking finding for center-western poetry in the Iberian Peninsula, as a part of its linguistic and literary evolution in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.

Gabriel Rei-Doval

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May 10th, 10:00 AM

En cadea sen prijon: A Groundbreaking Discovery on Fifteenth-Century Galician Poetry in the Iberian Peninsula

Fetzer 1010

In early 2013, Professor Henrique Monteagudo (Institute for the Galician Language, University of Santiago de Compostela) published a groundbreaking volume containing an edition of twenty-two previously unknown poems written in medieval Galician. These poems were apparently copied around 1433-34 and geographically produced and discovered in the county of Ferrol in Galicia, Spain. This extraordinary finding reveals an unknown development in medieval literature when written Galician (while still present in historical prose) had supposedly vanished from written literary usage in lyric poetry.

It had been previously argued that poetic creation in Galician had been fading and that the late 14th and early 15th centuries were characterized by a late and modest flourishing of a so called 'Galician-Castilian school' -considered a late and problematic development of Galician-Portuguese troubadour lyric, i.e. the Cancionero de Baena. This was due to both the selection of texts included in said collection and also to the way the Galician language had been copied and portrayed by Castilian scribes in a suspicious hybrid form not corresponding to the spoken language of that time. Similarly, those poems of the Galician-Castilian school corresponded to 'cantigas' or lyrics written to be performed as songs. However, at the beginning of the 15th century, a new wave of reciting poems with themes other than love apparently became more popular. For that reason it had been so far assumed that a final poetic decline of the Galician language was intertwined with the concurrent obsolescence of a lyric poetry pressured by the emergent strength of recited poetry, i.e. in Castilian Spanish.

However, the poems that this session will analyze clearly invite us to reconsider such a view. On the one hand, they are very surprising due to their language: they are written in Galician, with a very limited interference from Castilian Spanish. For this reason, the collection questions the hybrid linguistic nature of the Cancionero de Baena: perhaps the tentative Galician restoration of the texts edited by Henry Lang in his pioneer Cancioneiro Gallego-Castelhano (Yale University, 1902), even considering some of his unjustifiable choices, is not as inappropriate as previously thought. On the other hand, the area of production and authorship of the texts (Galicia and Galician author(s)) do indeed seem original. Maybe the preference for poetry had not radically disappeared from the Galician courts after the first half of the 14th century as previously thought.

Also, the nature and profile of those compositions is highly remarkable: they are not 'cantigas', but 'dizeres', i.e. not composed to match with music but to be recited. Finally, considering some of their metric features, these compositions could be among the most ancient ones produced in the center-west area of the Iberian Peninsula, i.e. in the diverse yet cohesive cultural space configured by Castille, Galicia and Portugal.

In many ways, it seems that the aforementioned poems have an unexpected and original experimental nature. This might indicate that the poetic fall of medieval Galician not only happened at a later time, but also that it was more creative and less decadent than previously considered.

In any case, it seems clear that the scope and relevance of this varied collection of poetic texts falls beyond Galician literary history, and even reaches as such Peninsular literary history.

For this reason, this session will present this news, as well as an analysis of the characteristics and meaning of such an important and groundbreaking finding for center-western poetry in the Iberian Peninsula, as a part of its linguistic and literary evolution in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.

Gabriel Rei-Doval