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Y en pastoral albergue mal cubierto
Más le valiera errar en la montaña,
Que morir de la suerte que yo muero.
Possibly Señor Artigas may feel actuated to give us a critical edition of the poetical works of Góngora, and so create a lasting monument to his country's literature.
Historia de la Literatura española, por Juan Hurtado y J. de la Serna, y Angel González Palencia, segunda edición, XVI, 1127 pages, Madrid, 1925.
This is the most complete history of Spanish literature in a single volume. The second edition of this noteworthy piece of scholarship is very welcome. The changes which have been made are as a rule judicious, and take into consideration the criticisms made of the first version. An occasional clarifying paragraph has been added, as for example, that on p. 80, which explains the mester de clerecía before introducing the reader to its best examples. A number of new matters are brought in by brief statements giving the reasons for specific designations, terminologies, schools of verse, etc. Some presentations have been largely rewritten, as for example, the Celestina, and greatly add to the accuracy of the book. Specific dates of the first appearance of certain books are now given for greater precision, a matter especially helpful to foreign students new to the field, although they are not always so necessary for those who claim Spanish literature for their own. Books and articles printed since 1921 have been taken into consideration and related material brought up to date, cross-references are more complete, and the new system of numbering all the paragraphs consecutively from the beginning to the end is a great help to the teacher; it simplifies his task of comparative study on numerous occasions. The revised presentation of the mystics and ascetics, to which the authors refer in the preface, is an example of the improvement made over the earlier wording and is especially commendable for its completeness and lucidity.
Features of this book especially helpful in the classroom are the small cuadros sinópticos at the beginning of every type or epoch, for example, "literatura castellana, siglos xii y xiii,” “literatura hispano-arábiga,” and the numerous chronological lists of important events which throw light on the history and progress of the literature. The bibliography is, with some exceptions, very satisfactory as a working basis, although in a few cases certain titles might be added and others could readily be omitted.
A work of such extensive proportions is naturally not equally satisfactory throughout, and the judgment of the authors will doubtless continue to
make a few additions or revisions. Thus, such a note as that referring to Professor Wiener's assertion that the Germania of Tacitus is a forgery (p. 68) had better be omitted. Professor Wiener's conclusions have not been accepted by the most competent classical authorities because his etymologies are often erratic and unconvincing.
Famous authors whose works are well known and on whom there are critical books in every library can be succinctly presented and should be limited to naked facts. Cervantes is a case in point: wherever not sufficiently substantiated theories have been advanced by modern critics regarding his biography, or concerning works attributed to his pen, wherever unconvincing literary sources of his writings have been suggested, together with the capricious interpretation of so-called hidden meanings of his masterpiece, Don Quixote, the presentation of these matters in a general history is out of place, and the bibliography should suffice to direct the student to these questions. In connection with Avellaneda it would be enough to state that no one has discovered his identity, and to let the student go to the chief investigations in this matter. Paragraph 372 bis, called "Cervantes and Shakespeare," is new, and a few bibliographical titles dealing especially with the Cardenio ought to be added. The Knight of the Burning Pestle is now generally attributed to Beaumont alone, and the authorship of the Double Falsehood (Cardenio plot?) is not easily determined. Some titles in the enormous Cervantes bibliography are valueless and should be omitted.
An example of an author who ought to be more thoroughly treated is Gracián (pp. 774-777). Gracián is one of the great intellects of the seventeenth century, not only of Spain but of Europe, and his work deserves detailed presentation because literary historians as a rule avoid him on account of his many great difficulties of style and expression. A study of his sources still remains to be made. His manner, embracing all that was good and bad in his time, has been unfairly condemned because it is often marked by poor taste, for example, in the too frequent use of similicadencia (tantos y tontos, cosa y casa, malicia y milicia), in the abuse of culto and conceptismo features, to say nothing of his unusual vocabulary. His great masterpiece, El Criticón, is probably one of the meatiest books in Spanish; it is not only a great document in philosophy and the history of Spanish culture, but a highly important work, as is every book of Gracián's, in the study of Spanish syntax and vocabulary. Perhaps the real drawback to popularizing Gracián lies in the fact that his profound and inflexible thought processes appeal chiefly to the intellect, almost never to the heart. To Gracián man is a pitiful creature, and under the microscope his character does not appear a thing of beauty. Nevertheless, in spite of this cynicism, this pessimistic outlook on life and man's activities, the message of Gracián is a heartening one. He makes clear that the most commendable course of life, at best one of toil, and sorrowladen, leads through courage, hard work, and virtue to the blessed Isle of Immortality. Paragraph 775, 1. 18, should make plain that part one of El Criticón consists of la primavera de la miñez y el estío de la juventud.
The bibliography (p. 779) should add: Gracián by Aubrey F. G. Bell, Oxford University Press, 1921.
As regards the very recent periods of Spanish literature, this history is the most satisfactory in its brief characterizations of writers and their works; in this sense it is superior to that of Fitzmaurice-Kelly.
James Fitzmaurice-Kelly, Geschichte der Spanischen Literatur, übersetzt von Elisabeth Vischer, herausgegeben von Adalbert Hämel, XV, 653 pages, Heidelberg, 1925.
This new version of Fitzmaurice-Kelly's history of Spanish literature reawakens our high esteem for a man whose book has for more than twenty years occupied a unique place among the histories of Peninsular literature; it also fills us with a deep regret that he did not live to see its final publication. Fitzmaurice-Kelly would have felt a sincere gratification over the satisfactory way in which Professor Hämel and Miss Vischer have acquitted themselves of a difficult task; but he would perhaps have seen the wisdom of making a few changes in his narrative, which reverence for his memory may have prevented.
The translation has been clad in clear and fluent German, and with few exceptions the criticisms and analyses give evidence that the German writers have made use of practically all the material printed in our time. The best portion of the book remains that part which precedes the nineteenth century. The judicious treatment of the beginnings of Spanish literature, the presentation of epic and ballad poetry, of the chronicles, the characterization of master writers, such as Juan Ruiz, López de Ayala, are excellent; the study of the development of prose and the succinct analyses of the intricate works of such men as Fernán Pérez de Guzmán, Pero Tafur, Alfonso Martínez de Toledo, and many others are sound and adequate; and although Fitzmaurice-Kelly's narrative is now and then a trifle dry, only a miracle could have made a purely scholarly account of such peculiar material entrancing. FitzmauriceKelly also had a singular gift in giving writers and their works their due place and rank. No better discussion of certain masterpieces (take for example, the Celestina pp. 153–156) can be found in an equally brief number of pages. The drama of the siglo de oro represents a very commendable feature and has undoubtedly been improved in the German version by the extensive information of Dr. Hämel.
As regards Fitzmaurice-Kelly's attitude toward lyric poetry, his remarks represent his more personal point of view; his opinion on most poets is wholly sound, and would enlist the approval of every student. An exception may perhaps be taken to some of his strictures on Góngora, who has in recent years enjoyed a remarkable revival. To the modern school of verse he has become the greatest poet of his age, a kind of standardbearer, regardless of the peculiarities which stigmatize his rare genius. This point of view FitzmauriceKelly presumably could not adopt, and his presentation of Góngora in 1925 differs very little from what he had set down thirty years previously. This is to be regretted, for such examples prevent his book from being a wholly reliable index of the time.
The skill and erudition of Dr. Hämel cannot be held to account for a slight drawback which attaches to this new version. Although the phrasing of the original English was successfully presented in Spanish and French translations, these, nevertheless, retain too much of Fitzmaurice-Kelly's tendency to be a trifle précieur in his style; they also clung fairly faithfully to his habit of bringing in numerous erudite quotations from English and French writings, to his allusions to unimportant no less than important foreign authors met with in his wide reading and brought in, if only they furnished him with a witticism or aphoristic characterization. English authors are least out of place in the English version, French writers do not shock in the French; but in the Spanish they all sound exotic and often seem to be dragged in. The same holds true with the German version, which would have been improved, if less freighted with countless references to Victor Hugo (about 15), Landor, Hazlitt, Robert Herrick, Jeremy Taylor, Charles Lamb, Régnier, Montaigne, and scores of others. Fortunately for the German version we find mention of Hegel, Humboldt, Grimmelshausen, Goethe, Schlegel, to name only a few; thus every country is apparently treated fairly.
I said above that the treatment of the nineteenth century was not so satisfactory. Perhaps it was too near to the author's vision; we must assume also that it interested him less than the older periods. Thus, to cite but one example, Galdós occupies two scant pages, and while these are excellent as far as they go, they do not give the student an adequate idea of the very great importance of this novelist in his relation to his own contemporaries and to those followers who imitated or developed his contribution to the Spanish novel. Galdós was also a better dramatist than Fitzmaurice-Kelly admits.
Perhaps the chief drawback to this presentation of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is the attempt to give an adequate idea of too many names in about seventy-five pages. As a result, some writers receive only a few lines, and so constitute hardly more than a bare roster instead of a critical summary. To one of the greatest of our contemporaries, Pío Baroja, is meagerly granted half a page, and to Unamuno are accorded seven lines. Much space would have been saved by omitting a large number of names altogether and mentioning them only in the chronological table which has been added at the close of the book. The treatment of some of the most recent poets, the Machado, brothers, for example, leaves the student quite in the dark. Dr. Hämel has modestly added a few pages (475–483) of additions and corrections; he could no doubt have given us the benefit of his erudition to an even geater extent had space in the already bulky volume permitted.
As far as I can judge the bibliography is by far the fullest and the most serviceable of any Spanish history of this scope, and Dr. Hämel deserves our gratitude for so satisfactory and scholarly a compilation. The volume gains also in value through the above-mentioned chronological table (pp. 604–622) added for the first time, and through a good index.
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Dunt i México Virreinal, Acuarelas de Nueva España. By Manuel Romero de Terreros, Marqués de San Francisco, and S. L. Millard Rosenberg. VIII+250 pages. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1925.
This little volume prepared as a historical reader for students of Spanish in American schools and colleges is an admirable collection of well-written stories, sketches, and legends based on materials gathered from the history and legends of Spain and Mexico, tales of adventure and legend that are of only t the greatest possible interest to students of Spanish. It is a series of tableaux written in easy and carefully graded Spanish, and absolutely faultless, that portray for students of Spanish in a most fascinating manner the atmosphere and spirit of the time, México Virreinal, or the Mexico of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.
The book contains thirty selections. Part I, Introducción, has the three following selections: La república mexicana, Resúmen histórico, and Las letras mexicanas Part II, México Virreinal, has a Proemio and under Selection 5 there are nine charming sketches with the title Algunas virreinas de Nueva España. These alone have enough importance and interest to warrant the selection of Acuarelas de Nueva España as a subtitle for the whole book. Part III consists of the following selections: Torneos, mascaradas y fiestas reales; La casa de los azulejos; El duende; Borlas doctorales; La china; fiestas campestres; Los cresos coloniales; Besamanos y saraos; La toma de posesión y la entrada pública de un virrey; La mejor parte; Un cruzamiento; La "Güera" Rodríguez. Part IV contains the following: Don Vasco de Quiroga; El Marqués de Casafuerte; Tepotzotlán; Casas históricas de la ciudad de México; Los jardines de la Nueva España; Los paseos; El mosaico de plumas; Los nacimientos; Las cartas de la señora Calderón de la Barca; La Nueva España y California; Las Misiones californianas; Don Augustín de Iturbide; El amo viejo; Los jugadores de ajedrez.
The texts are followed by abundant notes of a geographical, historical, and linguistic character designed to interpret for the student all matters that may need explanation, and a complete vocabulary. There is an excellent frontispiece of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the most important figure in Mexican literature in the eighteenth century, and there are twenty-six more illustrations throughout the texts.
The authors of this interesting little volume, Don Manuel Romero de Terreros, Marqués de San Francisco, well-known Mexican author, and Dr. Millard Rosenberg, Professor of Spanish in the University of California, Southern Branch, have done teachers and students of Spanish a great service. Most teachers will want to use the book in their classes and will consider it an indispensable textbook for classes that are interested in the history and legends of Mexico.
AURELIO M. ESPINOSA