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The La Prensa prize of $500, of Group IV, for an essay or thesis suitable for a Doctor's degree, has been awarded to Hymen Alpern, Professor of Spanish in the James Monroe High School of New York City, for his essay entitled "La Tragedia por los Celos," and is a critical edition based chiefly on a unique seventeenth century suelta now in the possession of Dean Earle Babcock of New York University. Doctor Alpern was guided and directed in his work by the well-known Hispanist, Professor Harry C. Heaton, formerly president of the Instituto de las Españas. The work is being published by Honore Champion of Paris. Dr. Alpern was for three years secretary of the New York Chapter of the A.A.T.S. and was the first secretary-treasurer of the Instituto de las Españas.
BELEN, NEW MEXICO. The Spanish section of the New Mexico Teachers' Association met during the convention of the New Mexico Educational Association at Belen.
Mrs. H. H. Vincent of the New Mexico State Teachers' College and Vice-Chairman of the Association, presided in the absence of Professor Adlai Feather of the State A. and M .College, who is at present in Europe. The following program was given:
"Aims and Ideals of the Teacher of Spanish in the Southwest," Mrs. Carolyn S. Bell, Belen High School; "A Summer at the University of Mexico," Miss Irene Wickland, Albuquerque High School; "The Work of the Modern Foreign Language Study," Miss H. M. Evers, University of Texas. This was followed by a round table discussion and the election of officers for the coming year. Mrs. Martinita Castillo was elected chairman; Mrs. Eleanor Douglass Robson of Las Cruces, vice-chairman; Mrs. Carol F. Johnson of Tularosa, secretary.
A committee was appointed by the chairman to investigate the particular idioms and colloquial expressions used by the Spanish-speaking population of New Mexico, and to have printed copies of the report available for distribution at the 1926 meeting.
The Bulletin of the South Dakota Association of Modern Language Teachers, which is published bi-monthly, is a spicy little newsy paper and carries the greetings, news notes, Association Program, and editorials to the members. Such an effort is to be commended and is worth the emulation of other associations of teachers.
Señor don Rafael Ramírez de Arrellano, Professor of Spanish in the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, is spending his Sabbatical year at Seville, Spain, where in the Archivo de las Indias he is gathering materials from the documents regarding the history of Puerto Rico. Just at present he is in Madrid, where, in the Centro de Estudios Históricos, he is working on phonetics under the direction of Señor Navarro Tomás.
Mr. Edwin B. Place, who is an instructor in the Department of Romance Languages of the University of Colorado, is also enjoying his year's leave in Europe and is at present in Madrid pursuing his literary studies of the novelists of the "Siglo de Oro."
The autumn course for foreigners, organized by the Centro de Estudios
Históricos de Madrid, has enrolled forty students, and of these twentyseven are norteamericanos. On Monday, October 26, in Room 305, Schermerhorn, Columbia University, D. Antonio González de la Peña delivered a lecture in Spanish on "La Pintura de Velázquez, Reflejo de su Vida," being a popular and sympathetic appreciation of the Spanish master presented in an informal manner. The Centro announces the new courses for the Summer Session in a
Bulletin to appear soon. These courses increase in popularity among teachers of Spanish each year, and many teachers expect to attend them this year.
La Prensa, of New York City, announces a repetition of the prizes offered last year for the school year ending April 1, 1926.
Miss Benecia Batione, former president of the Denver Chapter of the A.A.T.S. and a teacher in the Denver public schools, is now on the teaching staff of the University of Denver.
A Spanish paper, Rojo y Oro, published by the pupils of the James Monroe High School, the Bronx, New York City, is a creditable effort. There are a number of interesting articles written by the pupils in the fourpage paper and a Spanish-English vocabulary on the last page.
The University of Berlin offers special courses this summer for American students, especially in Portuguese and Spanish. Many of the courses are conducted in English and a special rate is offered for the six-weeks' term. The North German Lloyd will be glad to furnish information.
TUCSON HIGH SCHOOL
PHEBE M. BOGAN
Spanische Kultur und Sitte des 16. und 17. Jahrhunderts: Eine Einfühurung in die Blütezeit der Spanischen Literatur und Kunst, von Ludwig Pfandl. Kempten, 1924, XV, 288 pages.
This important book is intended for the general public rather than the specialist, and presents a vivid picture of Spanish literature and culture in a very attractive form. Dr. Pfandl has, as usual, clothed his material with charm, and as his style has both color and lucidity, the reader finds difficulty in putting the book down.
The narrative begins with a strikingly encomiastic presentation of Philip II; then follow chapters dealing with the historical background, with social and religious institutions (the Inquisition), with the culture, the arts, and the literature of Spain during the reign of the house of Hapsburg. Especially noteworthy are the portions dealing with the life of society (pp. 43 ff.), faith, superstition, and ethics (pp. 81 ff.), authors and printers (pp. 120 ff.), and miscellaneous customs (pp. 134 ff.).
A book of such vast scope can be founded only on wide reading in the period considered; consequently the erudition and scholarship of the author present an unusual range of carefully selected sources and authorities. Perhaps the highly sympathetic portrait of Philip II will arouse some protests among the numerous historians who attribute to his character and methods of governing his vast domain many of the ills which subsequently befell his people. I know of no one more difficult to judge than this reticent monarch. He had certain simple qualities which endeared him to those about his person. Of his sincerity and good will there can, generally speaking, be no doubt; but of his inability to expedite his complex administrative business there can be no doubt either. Everyone who has toiled in the historical archives at Simancas and seen the thousands of sheets laboriously covered or annotated by the King's own hand has been forced to conclude that little or nothing can be accomplished by a single individual personally involved in such a mass of documents. C'est le comble de la paperasserie, in which there is frequently no light, and often very little discrimination between vastly important matter and wholly insignificant details. With the kindliest interpretation of Philip's desire to do the right the fact remains that his methods showed neither flexibilty, vision, nor that wise gift in apportioning the duties and exigencies of office among subordinates who could have disposed of all minor matters. In the final chapter Dr. Pfandl characterizes the Spanish soul manifested in the national character as a Doppelgesicht of idealism and realism. This opinion already brought out in the author's history of Spanish literature1 seems a trifle artificial, and makes the interpretation of not a few masterpieces, as belonging to one or the other category, rather forced. But this point of view corresponds with Dr. Pfandl's enthusiasm and the love he bears his subject; it enables him to give at times an original and striking characterization of writers or their works.
1 Cf. review in Modern Language Notes, December, 1924.
The volume is a beautiful specimen of book-making, in large and clear type, and contains numerous pictures. Among them are portraits, historical ful subjects, and some which illustrate Spanish customs. Not all are happy
selections nor of the same artistic or educational value. It is difficult to understand why so many pictures by El Greco have been included; their reproduction is too often cheerless in tone and stodgy in effect, nor can they mean much to the general reader. We could well spare the pictures opposite page 216 (the Virgin Mary), page 224 (both the Immaculate Conception and Saint Francis), page 240 (Saint Francis and the Mater Dolorosa), page 248 (St. Bruno), all of which seem to me endurable at best in a comprehensive book on the history of painting and sculpture.
Of the manuscript reproduced opposite page 256 only the signature is by Cervantes. In Pérez Pastor, Documentos Cervantinos, Vol. I, prol., we read: "se reproduce el principio de la información (doc. 19) porque en ella hace el autor del Quijote explícita confesión de que es natural de Alcalá de Henares.” Cervantes' signature makes the document de una autenticidad irreprochable (p. 244). Pérez Pastor, of course, does not imply that the document is an autograph: the writing is in the typical notary's hand to be found in so many of these documents; the wording and the contents are in the stereotyped form of all such pedimientos. Furthermore, a comparison of this ugly notary style with the few authentic holographs of Cervantes, such as the letter to Philip II, dated November 17, 1594, or the famous message written on March 26, 1616,2 to the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, D. Bernardo Sandoval y Rojas, will reveal the vast difference between the hand of a public official and that of Spain's foremost writer.
Viaje por España y Portugal en los años 1494 y 1495; versión del Latin,
Münzer entered Spain from the northeast and saw the chief places of
2 The first is reproduced in Nararrete, Vida de Cervantes, end of volume; also in Rivadeneyra's Obras completas de Cervantes, I (Madrid 1863), end of volume; the second in Cejador's Historia de ia lengua y literatura, etc., Vol. III, p. 240, and in Watts' translation of Don Quixote, Vol. V, Appendix (edit. London, 1888).
but to that fact we also owe details of history and culture which give a minute picture of his day. Among the astonishing lacunae is the failure to mention either Columbus or his discoveries, which one naturally supposes Münzer would have heard discussed in Seville. Sr. Puyol's preface, written with warmth and understanding, forms a scholarly introduction to this important publication, and his translation has all the charm of an original narrative.
Don Luis de Góngora y Argote, biografía y estudio crítico por Miguel de Artigas; obra premiada por la Real Academia Española, Madrid, 1925. 487 pages.
Readers of modern Spanish poetry, who make a careful comparison of the new with the older arts, are frequently astonished to learn that many a trick of the trade was already well known to masters of the long ago. Thus the poetry of Don Luis de Góngora is being read more and more, and such a leader of our own time as Rubén Darío, among others, wrote of him in high praise, believing that Góngora's freedom and novelty of diction would serve to lead the language of verse into new and untried fields. It is, therefore, with pleasure that one finds among recent Spanish publications this excellent biography of the famous Cordoban by Miguel Artigas, the scholarly and erudite curator of Menéndez y Pelayo's library at Santander.
The work gives an admirable picture of the man, presents clearly the growth of his great poetic gifts and the various phases of his art. However difficult some of the writings of Góngora must ever remain, and however much ultra-moderns may mark with their approbation such verse of his as is plainly characterized by obscurity, his entire works can henceforth be read more understandingly in the light of Sr. Artigas's careful narrative. This is due especially to the fact that the author has been able to introduce into his biography much new material which he obtained in various archives and private libraries, notably in the unusual collection at his disposal in the Menéndez y Pelayo library.
Sr. Artigas indulges in occasional theories regarding the activities or whereabouts of his protagonist, but he is never injudicious in his methods, and as a rule justifies his conclusions by means of documents and facts. One is moved, after reading this biography, to return to the works of Góngora and reread in a new light the many beautiful poems of this remarkable genius. His technical excellence, his lyrical power, his music, his ability to fit the language to the sentiments and ideas, strike one anew. Azorín, a latter day admirer of Góngora, has called attention to one of his finest sonnets:
Descaminado, enfermo, peregrino,
En tenebrosa noche, con pie incierto,
Repetido latir, si no vecino,
Distinto oyó de can siempre despierto,