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Chapter 5 - Spain

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 August 2022

Mark Chinca
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Christopher Young
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

To speak about ‘literary beginnings’ we need to acknowledge the range of texts considered ‘literary’. These are imaginative works that can be classified variously by: the medium in which they were composed (orally or in writing), their place of origin, historical time frame of their composition, subject of the composition, and/or the genre to which they belong. The twenty-first-century present from which we are pondering medieval literature is particularly exciting because it includes not only canonical texts as well as non-canonical ones, but also the systematic scrutiny of marginalia and such forms as literary fragments – some accidental, others by design. If beginnings represent originality and innovation in the context of already extant material, where do we start a literary history of medieval Spain? With the Arab invasion of 711 and the strophic poetry of Arabic or the Hebrew muwashshahs? After all, Hebrew was represented on the Iberian peninsula since Roman times, and Iberian literature, like the culture itself, was neither monolingual nor monocultural. Or should we start with the proto-Romance vernacular that was conflated with Latin – a ‘language’ that would ultimately turn into Castilian? This chapter ponders the first two generic ‘beginnings’: the subjectivity of lyric and the objectivity of epic.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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  • Spain
  • Edited by Mark Chinca, University of Cambridge, Christopher Young, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages
  • Online publication: 11 August 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776912.006
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  • Spain
  • Edited by Mark Chinca, University of Cambridge, Christopher Young, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages
  • Online publication: 11 August 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776912.006
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Spain
  • Edited by Mark Chinca, University of Cambridge, Christopher Young, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Literary Beginnings in the European Middle Ages
  • Online publication: 11 August 2022
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108776912.006
Available formats
×