Europe

Spain Literature Part 2

With all the poetry that raged in his heart, where even the poetic aspirations of the Renaissance vibrate (return to the golden age and primitive justice), Don Quixote fails to his profound life, because to achieve it he adhered to the unbridled art of dreams, that of the books of chivalry, and he wanted to make it his art. Thus he failed to object to his sentiment in that composed and coherent harmony of the honest, which in the world of human reality, which is the world of art, is intelligible unity, that is, truth and beauty. Sancho fails without pain. He spontaneously gave form to the instinctive realism of his soul: the same realism that comically informs the unbridled art of the dream, that of the books of chivalry, and he wanted to make it his own art. Thus he failed to object to his sentiment in that composed and coherent harmony of the honest, which in the world of human reality, which is the world of art, is intelligible unity, that is, truth and beauty. Sancho fails without pain. He spontaneously gave form to the instinctive realism of his soul: the same realism that comically informs the unbridled art of the dream, that of the books of chivalry, and he wanted to make it his own art. Thus he failed to object to his sentiment in that composed and coherent harmony of the honest, which in the world of human reality, which is the world of art, is intelligible unity, that is, truth and beauty. Sancho fails without pain. He spontaneously gave form to the instinctive realism of his soul: the same realism that comically informs the Lazarillo de Tormes. But what matters is that all those who laugh at Don Quixote and Sancho do not realize that they are laughing at themselves, because they laugh at that irrational that has found its moment of oblivious abandonment in the poetry of chivalrous novels and in the poetry of the picaresque novel. They laugh at the irrational, which is also the essential foundation of their being and of the world of universal reality. They do not know themselves, and they cannot know either Sancho or Don Quixote. On a motive of aesthetic discussion, which interested all contemporary art, Cervantes creates a work of universal significance for the indulgent smile that illuminates it in every part. It is the smile of a love that creates and loves its creatures: the smile of a reason that in charity contemplates, operating in the reality of the world, the sentimental ideal of the knight and the empirical ideal of his squire. The Novelas ejemplares are but admirable fragments of the masterpiece, where the theme of sentimental illusion (Celoso extremeño) and empirical illusion (Rinconete y Cortadillo) still resurrects. Cervantes’ last effort was the poem of Christian love, Pérsiles y Sigismunda ; but the construction of the novel rests on the modules of the Byzantine novel and does not arise, as in the Quijote, from the firm will of the protagonists. The moral beauty that Cervantes wanted to achieve in his latest work can be glimpsed indirectly through the perilous adventure of his heroes and their long wanderings in barbaric regions among savages and on glacial seas.

And little d ‘ oro (sec. XVII). – The effort of the Spanish Renaissance to live the ideal in the real, the spontaneous reflection in the real, and to realize in art the splendor of a form, understood in its metaphysical meaning, totally ceased in the seventeenth century. Virtuous intellectualism stepped away from the demands of current history and often worked on empty forms. Herrera’s legacy broke up in the study of formal attitudes and was lost either in the punctual erudition (cultism or culteranism), or in the abstraction and juggling of concepts (conceptism), or in the shining fragmentarism of a musical expression and sensual (gongorism). The liveliest and most original part of Spanish literature was then the theater of Lope de Vega, Tirso and Calderón. L’Lazarillo de Tormes: the establishment of the picaresque novel as a literary genre. A new spirit, egalitarian, denying hierarchies, is generalized within a society that is materially disintegrating under the apparent order of a strongly established state and church, intimately linked, but far from both the urgent needs of individual life and daily reality. The ethical substance of Lazarillo is lost in abstract moral digressions in Mateo Alemán’s Guzmán de Alfarache (1599, 1605). The linear composure of the narrative vanishes in the series of burlesque adventures, more or less like the serious and meditative content of the Quijoteit has resulted in the vulgar trivialities of the continuation of Avellaneda. To the pícaro is added, with ingenious luxury of the imagination, La pícara Justina (1605) by Francisco López de Úbeda. The autobiographical novel breaks up into fictional relations of Byzantine literature in Vicente Espinel’s Marcos de Obregón (1618); acquires intentions of satirical and bitter realism in Quevedo’s Buscón (1626); but degenerates into documentary interest in Carlos García’s La desordenada codicia de los bienes (1619), and into the artifice of a redemptive confession in the cloister, in El Donado hablador (1624-26) by Jerónimo de Alcalá. Only in the adpoto Estebanillo González(1646) the picaresque of wandering streets resurfaces as a fragmentary and monotonous comic, without the invisible support of a hermetic and reflected conception of life.

Spain Literature 2