Online Encyclopedia

CRISTOBAL DE CASTILLEJO (1490-1556)

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 476 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CRISTOBAL DE CASTILLEJO (1490-1556), Spanish poet, was born at Ciudad Rodrigo in 1490. In 1518 he left Spain with Ferdinand of Austria, afterwards emperor, whose private secretary he eventually became. While residing at Vienna in 1528–1530 he wrote the Historia de Piramo y Tisbe, and dedicated it to Anna von Schaumberg, with whom he had a platonic love-affair. He seems to have visited Venice, to have beenneglected by his patron, to have fallen ill in 1540, and to have passed his last years in poverty. He died on the 12th of June 1556, and was buried at Vienna. Castillejo's poems are interesting, not merely because of their intrinsic excellence, but also as being the most powerful protest against the metrical innovations imported from Italy by Boscan and Garcilaso de la Vega. He adheres to the native quintillas or to the coplas de pie quebrado, and only abandons these traditional forms when he indulges in caustic parody of the new school—as in the lines Contra los que dejan los metros castellanos. He excels by virtue of his charming simplicity and his ingenious wit, always keen, sometimes licentious, never brutal. The urbane gaiety of his occasional poems is delightfully spontaneous, and the cynical humour which informs the Dialogo de las condiciones de las mujeres and the Dialogo de la vida de la come is impregnated with the Renaissance spirit. Castillejo is the Clement Marot of Spain. His plays are lost; the best text of his verses is that printed at Madrid in 1792.
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