Friday, November 27, 2009

Final Exam Prep - Part 4

Góngora's Polifemo: the Humor of Imitation.

Intro labels Góngora as an Erudite poet - those who "imitated the poets of Classical Antiquita and also the Italian Renaissance poets"

2 aspects of imitation: linguistic and poetic/thematic

Linguistic: "use of neologisms and Latinizing tendencies of his syntax."
"He is the poet who through imitation of the Latin language caused the balance to shift in favor of Spain in the debate between the ancients and the moderns."

Poetic/thematic aspect: "Góngora usually recalls specific lines of poetry, entire poems and the thematic material or topoi of Renaissance and Classical literature."
"Much of Góngora's poetry cannot be fully understood and appreciated if the context of the source is not borne in mind."

Goal of the chapter: "I would like to show how Góngora is using the literary principle of imitation as an important, if not a principal element in the narrative structure of the Polifemo."

"In its structure, Góngora's Polifemo consists of two principal parts, each of which has a different narrator. The narrator of the first part (80%) is Góngora, the poet, inspired by Talía... This second part is an imitation of the stanzas that have preceded it, and Góngora's final line before introducing the song of Polyphemus, "Referidlo, Piérides, os ruego" is intended rather humorously and with seeming exasperation to advise the reader that what follows are the words of a new narrator."

What follows is a LONG list of specific points in which Polyphemus's song is an imitation of Góngora - unfortunately, there really IS no way to boil that list down much. It pretty much goes line by line and says "This thing Polyphemus says is like this thing that Góngora says." Sorry.

Polyphemus imitates Garcilaso who, in turn, is imitating Ovid. Thus, Polyphemus is ALSO imitating Stigliani's overly wordy style at the climax.

"When one considers the Polifemo as the last, perhaps the most outstanding version in a long sequence of imitations, then Góngora's erudition comes into play and gives his thematic laitmotifs a complexity and depth that transcends the simpler process of reception and mutation."

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