Saturday, November 28, 2009

Final Exam Prep - Part 5

Terry - Quevedo y el Concepto Metafisico

Stated purpose of article: "examinar algunas de las cuestiones planteadas por el término <>"

The next page criticizes other critics.

Two types of concepto: Ornamental y Orgánico

Ornamental, tambien llamado "meramente extravagante": Una obra de ingenio en sí misma completa, autosatisfecha, que no tiene ulterior propósito en su contexto."

Polifemo 109-112
Quevedo 67b

Organico: Ilumina un tema importante para, por lo menos, una gran parte del poema.

Example: Yellowness of gold (wealth) -> straw -> straw hut (poverty/el campo) -> death shroud (414a)
meaning: "el buen cristiano es feliz en su pobreza y acepta el hecho de que ha de morir." As the hut covers a poor christian in life, the shroud will cover him in death.

Metaphysical conceptos are a subset of organic conceptos. To be metaphysical, a concepto must contain tension - the constant reiteration of certain problems. Special emphasis on Constant - not just a one-time joining sino que "Los elementos de un concepto metafísico deben ser tales que integren una unión sólida y, al mismo tiempo, mantengan su separada y flagrante identidad."

Soneto 54b-55a of Quevedo:
Cabello connected to Leandro & Icaro -> mar & sol as sources of danger. Suffering for love is simply part of amor cortés and is in no way metaphysical - as a result, there's no tension, so it's an organic concepto, not a metaphysical one. Same thing with the idea of "tener y no tener" in the last tercet presented by Midas and Tántalo.

In the first tercet, however, "hay una distinción... entre razón y pasión. ¿Es una oposición metafísica genuina? No en sí misma; con todo, es una distinción (y por supuesto una fuente de tensión) que puede hacerse para remitir a una oposición de ese género. El poema trata, en efecto, de la eternidad del amor humano - es decir, de su aspecto espiritual... espíritu/sentidos... no es en sí una oposición metafísica. Pero puede llegar a serlo en la medida en que se ordene hacia el contraste eterno/temporal: 'el corazón actúa como el amor fuese eterno; la razón sabe que no lo es'... esta clase de contraste...reclama la metáfora para expresarse con plenitud."

The central contrast is presented as being between the heart and the phoenix. The joining 'concepto' is that they both burn but have a hope of rising again. The real contrast which overlays the entire poem is between "el corazón que cree que renacerá y la razón que sabe que ha de morir.

Another example of the same concept - soneto 63a: Good ol' "cerrar podrá mis ojos..." by the mix of llama y agua to demonstrate the same eternal/temporal principal.

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."

Final Exam Prep - Part 3

Uses of Classical Mythology in the Soledades:

Explores the use of Ovidian mythology in Soledades - begins by mentioning last 4 lines "each of which is a periphrasis for a mythical character"

Góngora's predecesors - Theocritus, Virgil, Boccaccio, Sannazaro

At this point, the copy the professor has provided is missing 2 pages - hope there's nothing important in there!

Presence of graeco-roman religion in pastoral in Sannazaro and Góngora. Sannazaro's references are always explained, never obscure.

*** Major quote which sums up article*** "[Góngora] eschews the straightforward ornamental description of a mythological tableau. He certainly uses myth in his pastoral for atmospheric purposes, but more figuratively than directly. Allusions to mythology lie thick upon the ground in the Soledades, but they are intrinsic to his expression rather to his matter. They illustrate and emphasize his meaning but are not in themselves part of his subject."

"Thus Baco confuso, Vulcán coronado, tanta Ceres, Neptuno, Febo, Venus are mixed wine, shepherds round a fire, rich crops, the sea, sun, love respectively with no suggestion of divinity or worship."

"Góngora, following Renaissance tradition, humanizes the world of nature by using metaphors from man and his activities, because he often uses Ovid's stories in reverse

"In the matter of classical pastoral Góngora depends more upon Virgil than upon any other classical author."

Accusation of obscurity rests on:
"constant use of allusive metaphor, an erudite and neologistic vocabulary, and different syntax."

Recurrent images:
Land/sea antithesis indicative of mistrust of commerce.
Ganymede and Adonis as types of masculine beauty.
Castor & Pollux in sonnets (320, 379) = St. Elmo's fire = hope amid the storm.
Power of Orpheus' song
Plants and animals - Nature

Menosprecio de corte etc.:
Bienaventurado albergue (I, 94-135)

Inserts poem into mythical realm:
II 460-464
II 584-597
"Whereas the rest of the Soledades can be explained and accepted on the plane of realism, these two episodes, and the hymeneal invocation they already discussed, seem to destroy for a moment the poise of the poem between fantasy and the poetical expression of reality"

Why did Góngora leave the Soledad segunda unfinished?
"In the Soledad segunda, the four references to this story [of Proserpina] serve no apparent purpose than that of periphrasis, in spite of the potential emotional and symbological significances the story offers. This is a very noticable falling away from the variety, aptness and ingenuity of the earlier parts of the poem. It does seem to suggest that one reason why Góngora left it unfinished was that he found his inventiveness failing, his pen diverging from his original intention."

"the legend of the mares who are made pregnant by the wind... is taken up by Góngora and applied with local patriotism to the horses of Andalusia (II, 724-728). This is the unique instance of precise geographical location of the Soledades and it is yet another distinction between the latter part of the poem and the rest, and again shows how far Góngora had moved from his original careful poise of uncommittedness."

Other examples of mythology in text:
I 7-8
I 1028-34
II 418-20
II 612-625
Spring and stream -> Snake (II 320-27)
Ocean -> centaur (9-13)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Final Exam Prep - Part 2

Cap. 4 "The Greatest Love: Lisi.

First 2 pages are a discussion of why applying biography to Quevedo's poetry is a waste of time. So why did you waste our time talking about it?

Author dismisses the idea that the love for Lisi is platonic, citing references to Lisi's lap as a bed for a child and to touching (No. 477 - "Descansa en sueño, ¡oh tierno y dulce pecho!")

Bulls as a symbol of passion.
Love at first sight leads to (442)
Carpe Diem leads to
Desire for revenge for jilted love leads to (467)
Desperation/helpnessness in the face of impossible love - escarmiento (475, 478)
Deterrent to others (461)
Lisi "is the conventional 'belle dame sans merci'"

Author finally gets to the point!
*Imitation of Petrarch in this cycle of poems to Lisi* (starting on page 113 of article)

(491) declares 22 years since first encounter - Petrarch's love for Laura lasted 21 years.

452 uses Hercules
453 uses Jupiter

Love and death: 460 - also suggests persistance of love after death

Concern with death: (474, 475, 479, etc.)

"The passing of time and the consciousness of death are at the root of perhaps the profoundest and most elusive theme in Quevedo's love poetry, which has been variously defined as the 'ceniza enamorada' and 'amor constante' theme. It revolves around the assertion that the body, like the soul and its faculties, is eternal and as such retains its amatory significance even after death." (472)

Last few pages are about "Cerrar podrán mis ojos" and concludes with:
"In Lisi's poems, more than in any other collection of love poetry from the Spanish Golden Age, we have a poetic document of the fullness and complexity of human love."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Final Exam Prep - part 1

For those who have been reading my blog for any length of time (if that list includes anyone other than my family, I'll be surprised), feel free to ignore this post and others which come under similar titles. One of my professors is giving us a final exam on Tuesday which is . . . shall we say all-inclusive. I'm working with a small study group to prepare for this exam and, toward that end, I'm posting my analysis of a few of the articles we've read for the class here.

El contexto poético de Góngora y los primeros poemas de Quevedo

Basically, his first page is spent in a discussion of how difficult and complex his topic is - lovely. From there, he discusses the gradual drift from Pertrarquist poetic style.

Central question of the article:
"¿Cómo han llegado a converger en ese momento dos corrientes aparentemente tan distantes en un solo tono de época, el que anuncia el esplendor de las jácaras y de la novela picaresca?"

Central point of the article: Define and explore "manierismo" in the context of Góngora and Garcilaso.

Potentially important quotes:
"La difusión del petrarquismo es, con toda seguridad, el comienzo de su decadencia como modo poético prestigioso."

"Si consideramos que la poesía renacentista triunfa entre 1545 y 1565, y que el barroco aparece muy en las postrimerías del siglo XVI, el manierismo ocuparía ese hueco del último tercio del siglo XVI del que pretendemos hablar."

"Estéticamente se romperá la unidad entro lo formal y lo espiritual. . . En esta distorción el manierismo intenta liberar a lo espiritual de su costra formal."

"El manierismo se reencuentra con viejas corrientes clásicas, el estoicismo particularmente, que le prestan su tono rancio y meditativo. Pero por "manierismo" entendemos también la sobreimportancia de los elementos decorativos y formales. . . para mostrar la "manera" como ésta se ha fabricado."

**"El petrarquismo tardío se proyecta, pues, hacia varios caminos esencialmente: el refinamiento artístico, el desvío moral y neoestoico que busca nuevas fuentes en el inagotable minero de los clásicos, el distanciamiento irónico, el espiritualismo exagerado o tortuoso."**

"En general todas las colecciones de la última década contienen poemas que anuncial el mundo picaresco y la carcajada barroca. Y por lo que se refiere a esta última colección, inserta ya, como se sabe, algunos de los primeros romances de Góngora." This has a footnote: "Por ejemplo el Ciego que apuntas y atinas... Arrojóse al mancebito."

"En muchos de ellos Góngora dialoga con el género que practica, pero con una clave artístico-lírica, de muchos quilates, o en tono humorístico, tal el 'Ensíllenme el potro rucio...' "

Mention is made of "mezclar metros, incluso romances y formas italianas."

Major point: "En estas dos décadas finales del siglo XVI existe una clara conciencia de tradición gastada, de final de ciclo. . . lo gastado es el tono meloso, el exceso lírico, el lenguaje petrarquista, la metaforización imaginativa en el mundo morisco y - menos - pastoril; el exceso expresivo; la propia retórica de lo uno y de lo otro."

"En el 'alma' del sujeto burgués que se paraba a contemplar Garcilaso ya no habita exclusivamente el amor, como fuerza poderosa y cósmica que todo lo llena. . . es también el espacio de la angustia, la soledad, el placer... que no provoca el amor tan solo."

"[e]l tono grave y meditativo de las epístolas y de las odas: las ruinas, el paso del tiempo, la amistad, el estudio... son temas muy característicos de esta poesía. . . hasta que el joven Quevedo, hacia 1603, creyó encontrar en la silva estaciana el modelo clásico. . ."

"La otra gran novedad - la primera hubo de ser la de la poesía neoestoica - . . . habían aprendido a versificar a partir del endecasílabo, y volvían a cantar en versos de arte menor."

Boiling it down - Góngora, by expertly mixing classical italianate forms with recent poetic sentiments and ideas, functioned as a transitional agent between poesia renacentista and the barroco. This transitional period, which we call manierismo, saw an abandonment of certain clasical ideals and forms (see bolded paragraph) in favor of current cultural concepts such as irony and burla metapoética.

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