Online Encyclopedia

PICARESQUE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 591 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
PICARESQUE NOVEL). By degrees the picaresque romance was combined with the novel of Italian origin and gave rise to a new type—half novel of manners, half romance of adventure—of which the characteristic example appears to be the Marcos de Obreg6n (1618) of Vicente Martinez Espinel, one of the best written works of the 17th century. To the same class belong almost all the novels of Alonso Jeronimo de Salas Barbadillo, Luiz Velex de Guevara and Francisco Santos's popular pictures of life in Madrid, Diet y noche de Madrid (1663), Periquillo, el de las gallineras, &c. On the other hand, the novels of Tirso de Molina (Los Cigarrales de Toledo, 1624), Perez de Montalban (Para todos, 1632), Maria de Zayas (Novelas, 163; 1647), are more in the manner of the Novelas exemplares of Cervantes, and consequently of the Italian type. Among the so-called historical romances one only deserves to be mentioned-the Guerras civiles de Granada (1595—1604) by Gilles Perez de Hita, which deals with the last years of the kingdom of Granada and the insurrection of the Moors of the Alpujarras in the time of Philip II. Don Quixote (1605-1615), the masterpiece of Cervantes, is too great a work to be treated with ethers; and, moreover, it does not fall strictly within the limits of any of the classes just mentioned. If it has to be defined, it may be described as the social romance of Lyric Poetry. 16th and 17th century Spain. Cervantes undoubtedly owed much to his predecessors, notably to the few picaresque romancers who came before him, but he considerably enlarged the scope of the type and strengthened the framework of the story by a lofty moral idea. His main purpose was not so much to ridicule the books of chivalry, which were already out of fashion by his time, but to show by an example pushed to absurdity the danger of those prejudices of pure blood and nobler race with which three-fourths of the nation were imbued, and which, by the scorn of all useful labour which they involved, were destined to bring Spain to ruin. The lesson is all the more effective, as Cervantes's hidalgo, although ridiculous, was not put beyond the pale of the reader's sympathy, and the author condemns only the exaggeration of the chivalrous spirit, and not true courage and devotion when these virtues have a serious object. What happened to Guzman de Alfarache happened to Don Quixote. In 1614 a sDUrious second part of the adventures of Don Quixote made its appearance; Cervantes was thus roused from inactivity, and the following year gave to the world the true second part, which instantly eclipsed Avellaneda's imitation. The stage in the 17th century in some measure took the place of the romances of the previous age; it is, as it were, the Drama of medium of all the memories, all the passions, 17th and all the aspirations of the Spanish people. Its Century. style, being that of the popular poetry, made it accessible to the most illiterate classes, and gave it an immense range of subject. The Bible, the lives of ,the martyrs, national traditions, the chronicles of Castile and Aragon, foreign histories and novels, even the daily incidents of con-temporary Spanish life, the escapades and nightly brawls of students, the gallantries of the Calle Mayor and the Pradc of Madrid, balcony escalades, sword-thrusts and dagger-stabs, duels and murders, fathers befooled, jealous 'ladies, pilfering and cowardly valets, inquisitive and sprightly waiting-maids, sly and tricky peasants, fresh country girls—all are turned to dramatic account. The enormous mass of plays with which the literature of this period is inundated may be divided into two great classes--.secular and religious; the latter may be sub-divided into (1) the liturgical play, i.e. the auto either sacra-mental or al nacimiento, and (2) the comedia divina or the comedia de santos, which has no liturgical element, and differs from a secular play only in the fact that the subject is religious and frequently, as one of the names indicates, derived from the biography of a saint. In the secular drama, classification might be carried almost to any extent if the nature of the subject be taken as the criterion. It will be sufficient to distinguish the comedia (i.e. any tragic or comic piece in three acts) according to the social types brought on the stage, the equipment of the actors, and the artifices resorted to in the representation We have (1) the comedia de capa y espada, which represents everyday incident, the actors belonging to the middle class, simple caballeros, and consequently wearing the garb of ordinary town life, of which the chief items were the cloak and the sword; and (2) the comedia de teatro or de ruido, or again, de tramoya or de aparencias (i.e. the theatrical, spectacular or scenic play), which has kings and princes for its dramatis personae and makes a great display of mechanical devices and decorations. Besides the comedia, the classic stage has also a series of little pieces subsidiary to the play proper: the loa, or prologue; the entremes, a kind of interlude which afterwards developed into the sainete; the baile, or ballet accompanied with singing; and the zarzuela, a sort of operetta thus named after the royal residence of La Zarzuela, where the kings of Spain had a theatre. As to the dramatic poets of the golden age, even more numerous than the lyric poets and the romancers, it is difficult to group them. All are more or less pupils or imitators of the great chief of the new school, Lope Felix de Vega Carpio; everything has ultimately to be brought back to him whom the Spaniards call the monster of Nature." Among Lope's contemporaries only a few poets of Valencia—Gaspar Honorat de Aguilar (1561-1623), Francisco Trarrega, Guillen de Castro, the author of the Mocedades del Cid (from which Corneille derived his inspiration)—formed a smallschool, as it were, somewhat less subject to the master than that of Madrid, which could only win the applause of the public by copying as exactly as possible the manner of the great initiator. Lope left his mark on all varieties of the comedia, but did not attain equal excellence in all. He was especially successful in the comedy of intrigue (enredo), of the capa y espada class, and in dramas whose subjects are derived from national history. His most incontestable merit is to have given the Spanish stage a range and scope of which it had not been previously thought capable, and of having taught his contemporaries to invent dramatic situations and to carry on a plot. It is true he produced little that is perfect: his prodigious fecundity and facility allowed him no time to mature his work; he wrote negligently, considered the stage an inferior department, good for the vulgo, and consequently did not judge it worthy of the same esteem as lyric or narrative poetry modelled on the Italians. Lope's first pupils exaggerated some of his defects, but, at the same time, each, according to his own taste, widened the scope of the comedia. Antonio Mira de Amescua and Luis Velez de Guevara were successful, especially in tragic histories and comedias divinas. Gabriel Tellez, better known under the pseudonym of Tirso de Molina, one of the most flexible, ingenious and inventive of the dramatists, displayed no less talent in the comedy of contemporary manners than in historical drama. El Burlador de Sevilla (Don Juan) is reckoned his masterpiece; but he showed himself a much greater poet in El Vergonzoso en palacio, Don Gil de las Calzas Verdes and Marta la Piadosa. Finally Juan Ruiz de Alarcon the most serious and most observant of Spanish dramatic poets, success-fully achieved the comedy of character in La Verdad sospechosa, closely followed by Corneille in his Menteur. Most of the remaining play-writers did little but increase the number of comedias; they added nothing to the real elements of the drama. The second epoch of the classical drama is represented mainly by Pedro Calderon de la Barca, the Spanish dramatist who has obtained most celebrity abroad, where his pieces have been much studied and admired (perhaps extravagantly). It is Calderon who first made honour, or more correctly the point of honour, an essential motive in the conduct of his personages (e.g. El Medico de su honra) ; it is he also who made the comedia de capa y espada uniform even to monotony, and gave the comic " part " of the gracioso (confidential valet of the caballero) a rigidity which it never previously possessed. There is depth and poetry in Calderon, but also vagueness and bad taste. His most philosophic drama, La Vida es sumo, is a bold and sublime idea, but indistinct and feebly worked out; his autos sacramentales give evidence of extensive theological knowledge and dexterity in dramatizing abstractions. Calderon was imitated, as Lope had been, by exaggerating his manner and perverting his excellences. Two contemporaries deserve to be cited along with him—Francisco de Rojas Zorilla, author of the fine historic play Del Rey abajo ninguno, and Augustin Moreto, author of some pleasant comedies. Among those who worked in a less ambitious vein, mention must be made of Luis Quinones de Benavente, a skilful writer of entremeses. A new manner of writing appears with the revival of learning; the purely objective style of the old chroniclers, accumulating one fact after another, without showing the logical History connexion or expressing any opinion on men or things, began to be thought puerile. An attempt was made to treat the history of Spain in the manner of Livy, Sallust, and Tacitus, whose methods of narration were directly adopted. The 16th century, however, still presents certain chroniclers of the medieval type, with more erudition, precision and the promise of a critical faculty. La Crenica general de Espana, by Ambrosio de Morales; the Compendia historial of Esteban de Garibay; and the Historia general de las Indias occidentales, by Antonio de Herrera, are, so far as style is concerned, continuations of the last chronicles of Castile. Jeronimo de Zurita is emphatically a scholar; no one in the 16th century knew as he did how to turn to account documents and records for the purpose of completing and correcting the narratives of the ancient chronicles; his Anales de la corona de Aragon is a book of great value, though written in a laboured style. With Juan de Mariana history ceases to be a mere compilation of facts or a work of pure erudition, and becomes a work of art. The Historia de Espana by the celebrated Jesuit, first written in Latin (1592) in the interest especially of foreigners, was after-wards rendered by its author into excellent Castilian; as a general survey of its history, well planned, well written and well thought out, Spain possesses nothing that can be compared with it. Various works of less extent—accounts of more or less important episodes in the history of Spain—may take their place beside Mariana's great monument: for example, the Guerra de Granada, by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza (a history of the revolt of the Moors of the Alpujarras under Philip II.), written about 1572, immediately after the events, but not published till 1627; the narrative of the expedition of the Catalans in the Morea in the 14th century, by Francisco de Moncada (d. 1635); that of the revolt of the same Catalans during the reign of Philip IV., by Francisco Manuel de Mello, a Portuguese by birth; and that of the conquest of Mexico by Antonio de Solis. Each of these writers was more or less inspired by some Latin author, one preferring Livy, another Sallust, &c. Most of these imitations are somewhat stilted, and their artificiality in the long run proves as fatiguing as the heaviness of the medieval chroniclers. On the other hand, the historians of the wars of Flanders, such as Carlos Coloma, Bernardino de Mendoza, Alonso Vazquez and Francisco Verdugo, are less refined, and for that very reason are more vivid and more capable of interesting us in the struggle of two races so foreign to each other and of such different genius. As for the accounts of the transatlantic discoveries and con-quests, they are of two kinds—either (I) memoirs of the actors or -witnesses of those great dramas, as, e.g. the Historia verdadera de to conquista de la nueva Espana, by Bernal Diaz del Castillo (1492-1581), one of the companions of Cortes, and the Historia de las Indias, by Bartolome de las Casas, the apostle of the Indians; or (2) works by professional writers, such as Francisco Lopez de Gomara, official historiographers who wrote in Spain on information sent to them from the newly-discovered lands. Letter writers, a rather numerous body in Spanish literature, are nearly related to the historians; in fact, letters written to be read by others than the persons addressed, or in any case revised afterwards, are only a method of writing history in a familiar style. Fernando del Pulgar appended to his Claros varones a series of letters on the affairs of his time; and in the 16th century Antonio de Guevara (d. 1544) collected, under the title of Epistolas familiares, his correspondence with his contemporaries, which throws a great light on the early part of the reign of Charles V., although it must be used with caution because of the numerous recasts it has undergone. A celebrated victim of Philip II., Antonio Perez (d. 1611), revenged himself on his master by relating in innumerable letters, addressed during his exile to his friends and protectors, all the incidents of his disgrace, and by selling to the ministers of France and England the secrets of the Spanish policy in which he had a hand; some of these letters are perfect specimens of urbane gallantry. Philosophy is rather poorly represented in the 16th and 17th centuries in the literature of the vernacular. The greater P611aso~hy.number of the Spanish thinkers of this epoch, whatever the school to which they belonged— scholastic, Platonic, Aristotelian or independent—wrote in Latin. Ascetic and mystical authors alone made use of the vulgar tongue for the readier diffusion of their doctrine n;rsucise,. among the illiterate, from whose ranks many of their disciples were recruited. Luis de Granada (1504-1588), Luis Ponce de Leon (1528-1598), Teresa de Jesus (1515-1582), Pedro Malon de Chaide and St John of the Cross are the brighter lights of this class of writers. Some of their books, like the Guia de pecadores of Luis de Granada, the autobiography of St Theresa, and Malon de Chaide's Conversion of the Magdalen (1588), have obtained a lasting success beyond the limits of the Peninsula, and have influenced the development of mysticism in France. The Spanish mystics are not only remarkable for the depth or subtlety of their thoughts and the intensity of the divine love with which they are inspired; many of them are masters of style, and some, like St John of the Cross, have composed verses which rank with the most sublime in the language. A notable fact is that those who are regarded as illuminati profess the most practical ideas in the matter of morality. Nothing is more sensible, nothing less ecstatic, than` the manual of Moralists. domestic economy by Luis de Leon—La Perfecta casada. Lay moralists are numerous in the 16th and 17th centuries. Some write long and heavy treatises on the art of governing, the education of princes, the duties of subjects, &c. Pedro Fernandez de Navarrete's Conservation de monarquias, Diego de Saavedra Fajardo's Idea de un principe cristiano, Quevedo's La Politica de Dios y gobierno de Cristo, give a correct idea of the ability which the Spaniards have displayed in this kind of didactic literature—ability of no high order, for the Spaniard, when he means to expound a doctrine, loses himself in distinctions and easily becomes diffuse, pedantic and obscure. But there is a kind of morality in which he indubitably excels, namely, in social satire, which, under all its forms—dialogue and dream in the style of Lucian, epistle after the manner of Juvenal, or pamphlet—has produced several masterpieces and a host of ingenious, caustic and amusing compositions. Juan de Valdes (d. 1541), the most celebrated of the Spanish Protestants, led the way with his Didlogo de Murcurio y Carlin, where the great political and religious questions of the first half of the 16th century are discussed with admirable vigour and freedom. The most eminent author in the department of social satire, as in those of literary and political satire, is Quevedo. Nothing escapes his scrutinizing spirit and pitiless irony. All the vices of contemporary society are remorselessly pilloried and cruelly dissected in his Suenos and other short works. While this great satirist, in philosophy a disciple of Seneca, imitates his master even in his diction, he is none the less one of the most vigorous and original writers of the 17th century. The only serious defect in his style is that it is too full, not of figures and epithets, but of thoughts. His phrases are of set purpose charged with a double meaning, and we are never sure on reading whether we have grasped all that the author meant to convey. Conceptism is the name that has been given to this refinement of thought, which was doomed in time to fall into ambiguity; it must not be confounded with the cultism of Gongora, the artifice of which lies solely in the choice and arrangement of words. This new school, of which Quevedo may be regarded as the founder, had its Boileau in the person of Baltasar Graciran, who published his Agudeza y arte de ingenio (1642), in which all the subtleties of conceptism are reduced to an exact code. Gracian, who had the gift of sententious moralizing rather than of satire, produced in his Critic6n animated pictures of the society of his own day, while he also displayed much ingenuity in collections of political and moral aphorisms which have won him a great reputation abroad. Spanish thought as well as public spirit and all other forms of national activity began to decline towards the close of the 17th century. The advent of the house of Bourbon, 18th and the increasing invasion of French influence in century. the domain of politics as well as in literature and science, frustrated the efforts of a few writers who had remained faithful to the pure Spanish tradition. In the hands of the second-rate imitators of Calderon the stage sank lower and lower; lyric poetry, already compromised by the affected diction of Gongora, was abandoned to rhymesters who tried to make up by extravagance of style for poverty of thought. The first symptoms, not of a revival, but of a certain resumption of intellectual production, appear in the department of linguistic study. In 1714 there was created, on the model of the French academies, La Real Academia Espanola, intended to maintain the purity of the language and to correct its abuses. This academy set itself at once to work, and in 1726 began the Letter Writers. publication of its dictionary in six folio volumes, the best title of this association to the gratitude of men of letters. The Gramtitica de la lengua castellana, drawn up by the academy, did not appear till 1771. For the new ideas which were introduced into Spain as the result of more intimate relations with France, and which were in many cases repugnant to a nation for two centuries accustomed to live a self-contained life, it was necessary that authoritative sanction should be found. Ignacio de Luzan, well read in the literatures of Italy and France, a disciple of Boileau and the French rhetoricians, yet not without acme originality of his own, undertook in his Poetica (1737) to expound to his fellow countrymen the rules of the new school, and, above all, the principle of the famous " unities " accepted by the French stage from Corneille's day onward. What Luzan had done for letters, Benito Feyjoo, a Benedictine of good sense and great learning, did for the sciences. His Teatro et-Rico and Cartas eriditas y curiosas, collections of dissertations in almost every department of human knowledge, introduced the Spaniards to the leading scientific discoveries of foreign countries, and helped to deliver them from many superstitions and absurd prejudices. The study of the ancient classics and the department of learned research in the domain of national histories and literatures had an eminent representative in Gregorio Mayans y Siscar (1699-1781), who worthily carried on the great traditions of the Renaissance; besides publishing good editions of old Spanish authors, he gave to the world in 1757 a Retorica which is still worth consulting, and a number of learned memoirs. What may be called the liteerature d'agrement did not recover much lost ground; it would seem as if the vein had been exhausted. Something of the old picaresque novel came to life again in the Fray Gerundio of the Jesuit Isla, a Romance. biographical romance which is also and above all to the detriment, it is true, of the interest of the narrative—a satire on the follies of the preachers of the day. The lyric poetry of this period is colourless when compared with its variegated splendour in the preceding century. Nevertheless Poetry. one or two poets can be named who possessed refinement of taste, and whose collections of verse at least show respect for the language. At the head of the new school is Menendez Valdes, and with him are associated Diego Gonzalez (1733-1794), Jose Iglesias de la Casa (1748-1791), known by his letrillas, Cienfuegos, and some others. Among the verse writers of the 18th century who produced odes and didactic poetry it is only necessary to mention Leandro Fernandez de Moratin and Quintana, but the latter belongs rather to the 19th century, during the early part of which he published his most important works. The poverty of the period in lyric poetry is even exceeded by that of the stage. No kind of comedy or tragical drama arose to take the place of the ancient comedia, whose platitudes and absurdities of thought and expression had ended by disgusting even the least exacting portion of the public. The attempt was indeed made to introduce the comedy and the tragedy of France, but the stiff and pedantic adaptations of such writers as the elder Moratin, Agustin de Montiano y Luyando (1697-1764), Tomas de Iriarte, Garcia de la Huerta and the well-known economist Gaspar de Jovellanos failed to interest the great mass of playgoers. The only dramatist who was really successful in composing on the French pattern some pleasant comedies, which owe much of their charm Lo the great purity of the language in which they are written, is Leandro Fernandez de Moratin. It has to be added that the sainete was cultivated in the 18th century by one writer of genuine talent, Ramon de la Cruz; nothing helps us better to an acquaintance with the curious Spanish society of the reign of Charles IV. than the interludes of this genial and light-hearted author, who was succeeded by Juan Ignacio Gonzalez del Cast illo. The struggle of the War of Independence (1808-14), which was destined to have such important consequences in the 19th world of politics, exerted no immediate influence on century. the literature of Spain. One might have expected as a consequence of the rising of the whole nation against Napoleon that Spanish writers would no longer seek their inspiration from France, and would resume the national traditions which had been broken at the end of the 17th century. But nothing of the sort occurred. Not only the afrancesados (as those were called who had accepted the new regime), but also the most ardent partisans of the patriotic cause, continued in literature to be the submissive disciples of France. Quintana, who in his odes preached to his compatriots the duty of resistance, has nothing of the innovator about him; by his education and by his literary doctrines he remains a man of the 18th century. The same may be said of Martinez de la Rosa, who, though less powerful and impressive, had a greater independence of spirit and a more highly trained and classical taste. And when romanticism begins to find its way into Spain and to enter into conflict with the spirit and habits of the 18th century, it is still to France that the poets and prose writers of the new school turn, much more than to England or to Germany. The first decidedly romantic poet of the generation which flourished about 1830 was the duke of Rivas; no one succeeded better in reconciling the genius of Spain and the tendencies of modern poetry; his poem El Moro exposito and his drama of Don Alvaro o la fuerza del sino belong as much to the old romances and old theatre of Spain as to the romantic spirit of 1830. On the other hand, Espronceda, who has sometimes been called the Spanish Musset, savours much less of the soil than the duke of Rivas; he is a cosmopolitan romantic of the school of Byron and the French imitators of Byron; an exclusively lyric poet, he did not live long enough to give full proof of his genius, but what he has left is often exquisite. Zorilla has a more flexible and exuberant, but much more unequal, talent than Espronceda, and if the latter has written too little it cannot but be regretted that the former should have produced too much; nevertheless, among a multitude of hasty performances, brought out before they had been matured, his Don Juan Tenorio, a new and fantastic version of the legend treated by Tirso de Molina and Moliere, will remain as one of the most curious specimens of Spanish romanticism. I'n the dramatic literature of this period it is noticeable that the tragedy more than the comedy is modelled on the examples furnished by the French drama of the Restoration; thus, if we leave out of account the play by Garcia Gutierrez, entitled El Trovador, which inspired Verdi's well-known opera, and Los Amantes de Teruel, by Hartzenbusch, and a few others, all the dramatic work belonging to this date recalls more or less the manner of the professional playwrights of the boulevard theatres, while on the other hand the comedy of manners still preserves a certain originality and a genuine local colour. Breton de los Herreros, who wrote a hundred comedies or more, some of them of the first order in their kind, apart from the fact that their diction is of remarkable excellence, adheres with great fidelity to the tradition of the 17th century; he is the last of the dramatists who preserved the feeling of the ancient comedia. Mariano Jose de Larra, a prose writer of the highest talent, must be placed beside Espronceda, with whom he has several features in common. Caustic in temper, of a keenly observant spirit, remarkably sober and clear as a writer, he was specially successful in the political pamphlet, the article d'actualite, in which he ridicules without pity the vices and oddities of his contemporaries; his reputation is much more largely due to these letters than either to his plays or his novel El Doncel de Don Enrique el Doliente. With Larra must be associated two other humoristic writers. The first of these is Mesonero Romanos, whose Escenas matritenses, although of less literary value than Larra's articles, give pleasure by their good-natured gaiety and by the curious details they furnish with regard to the contemporary society of Madrid. The other is Estebanez Calderon, who in his Escenas andaluzas sought to revive the manner of the satirical and picaresque writers of the 17th century; in a uselessly archaic language of his own, tesselated with fragments taken from Cervantes, Quevedo and others, he has delineated with a somewhat artificial grace various piquant scenes of Andalusian or Madrid life. The most prominent literary critics belonging to the first generation of the century were Alberto Lista (1775–1848), whose critical doctrine may be described as a compromise between the ideas of French classicism and those of the romantic school, and Agustin Duran, who made it his special task to restore to honour the old literature of Castile, particularly its romances, which he had studied with ardour, and of which he published highly esteemed collections. If the struggle between classicists and romanticists continued even after 183o, and continued to divide the literary world into two opposing camps, the new generation—that which occupied the scene from 184o till about 1868—had other pre- occupations. The triumph of the new ideas was assured; what was now being aimed at was the creation of a new literature which should be truly national and no longer a mere echo of that beyond the Pyrenees. To the question whether modern Spain has succeeded in calling into existence such a literature, we may well hesitate to give an affirmative answer. It is true that in every species of composition, the gravest as well as the lightest, it can show works of genuine talent; but many of them are strikingly deficient in originality; all of them either bear unmistakable traces of imitation of foreign models, or show (more or less happily) the imprint of the older literature of the 17th century, to which the historical criticism of Duran and the labours of various other scholars had given a flavour of novelty. Foreign influence is most clearly marked in the work of Ventrira de la Vega (1807–1865), whose relationship to the younger Moratfn, and therefore to Moliere, is Drama. unmistakable in El Hombre de mundo (1845), a piece written after a long apprenticeship spent in translating French plays. Among those who endeavoured to revive the dramatic system established by Lope de Vega were Aureliano Fernandez- Guerra y Orbe (1816–1894) and Francisco Sanchez de Castro (d. 1878); the former in Alonso Cano, and the latter in Hermenegildo, produced examples of ingenious reconstruction, which testified to their scholarship but failed to interest the public permanently. A fusion of early and later methods is discernible in the plays of Adelardo Lopez de Ayala and Tamayo y Baus. Campoamor wrote dramas which, though curious as expressions of a subtle intelligence cast in the form of dialogue, do not lend themselves to presentation, and were probably not intended for the stage. Nunez de Arce in El Haz de lena produced an impressive drama, as well as several plays written in collaboration with Antonio de Hurtado, before he found his true vocation as a lyric poet. The successor of Tamayo y Baus in popular esteem must be sought in Jose Echegaray, whose earlier plays—such as La Esposa del vengador and En el puno de la espada—are in the romantic style; in his later works he attempts the solution of social problems or the symbolic drama. Such pieces as El Gran Galesto, El Hijo de Don Juan and El Loco dins indicate a careful study of the younger Dumas and Ibsen. Duing the last few years his popularity has shown signs of waning, and the copious dramatist has translated from the Catalan at least one play by Angel Guimera (b. 1847). To Echegaray's school belong Eugenio Selles (b. 1844), author of El Nudo gordiano, El Cielo o el suelo and La Mujer de Loth, and Leopoldo Cano y Masas (b. 1844), whose best productions are La Mariposa, Gloria and La Pasion- aria, an admirable example of concise and pointed dialogue. Mention must also be made of Jose Felfu y Codina (1843–1897), a Catalan who wrote two vigorous plays entitled La Dolores and Maria del Carmen; Joaquin Dicenta (b. r86o), whose Juan Jose showed daring talent; and especially Jacinto Benavente (b. 1866), a dramatist whose mordant vigour and knowledge of stage-effect is manifest in La Comida de las fieras and Rosas de otono. In a lighter vein much success has attended the efforts of Miguel Echegaray (b. 1848), whose buoyant humour is in quaint contrast with his brother's sepulchral gloom, and Vital Aza (b. 1851) and Ricardo de la Vega (b. 1858) deserve the popularity which they have won, the first by El Senor Cara and the second by Pepa la frescachona, excellent specimens of humorous contrivance. But the most promising writers for the Spanish stage at the present time are Serafin Alvarez Quintero -(b. 1871) and his brother Joaquin (b. 1873), to whose collaboration are due El Ojito derecho and Abanicos y panderetes, scenes of brilliant fantasy which continue the tradition of witty observation begun by Lope de Rueda. Rivas, Espronceda and Zorrilla owe more to foreign models than either Campoamor or Nunez de Arce. It is true that Campoamor has been described, most frequently by foreign critics, as a disciple of Heine, and undoubtedly Campoamor suggests to cosmopolitan readers some-thing of Heine's concentrated pathos; but he has nothing of Heine's acrimony, and in fact continued in his own semi-philosophic fashion a national tradition of immemorial antiquity—the tradition of expressing lyrical emotion in four or eight lines which finds its most homely manifestation in the five volumes of Cantos populares espaftoles edited by Francisco Rodriguez Marin. No less national a poet was Nflnez de Arce, in whose verses, though the sentiment and reflection are often commonplace, the workmanship is of irreproachable finish. His best performance is Gritos del combate (1875), a series of impassioned exhortations to concord issued during the civil war which preceded the restoration of the Bourbon dynasty. An ineffectual politician, Nfrnee de Arce failed in oratory, but produced a permanent political impression with a small volume of songs. He wrote much in the ensuing years, and though he never failed to show himself a true poet he never succeeded in repeating his first great triumph—perhaps because it needed a great national crisis to call forth his powers. He found an accomplished follower in Emilio Perez Ferrari (b. 18J3), whose Pedro Abelardo and Dos cetros y dos almas re-call the dignity but not the impeccability of his model. Another pupil in the same school was Jose Velarde (d. 1892), whose best work is collected in Voces del alma, some numbers of which are indications of a dainty and interesting, if not virile, talent. Absorbed by commerce, Vicente Wenceslao Querol (d. 1889) could not afford to improvise in the exuberant manner of his countrymen, and is represented by a single volume of poems as remarkable for their self-restraint as for a deep tenderness which finds expression in the Cartas d Maria and in the poignant stanzas A la muerte de mi hermana Adela. The temptation to sound the pathetic note so thrillingly audible in Querol's subdued harmonies proved irresistible to Federico Balart (1831-1905),a critic and humorist of repute who late in life astonished and moved the public with a volume of verse entitled Dolores, a sequence of elegiacs which bear a slight formal resemblance to In Memoriam; but the writer's sincerity was doubtful, and in Horizontes the absence of genuine feeling degenerated into fluent fancy and agreeable prettiness. A more powerful and interesting personality was Joaquin Maria Bartrina (1850-188o), who endeavoured to transplant the pessimistic spirit of Leconte de Lisle to Spanish soil. Bartrina's crude materialism is antipathetic; he is wholly wanting in the stately impassability of his exemplar, and his form is defective; but he has force, sincerity and courage, and the best verses in Alga (1876) are not easily forgotten. The Andantes y allegros and Cromos y acuarelas of Manuel Reina (1856–1905) have a delightful Andalusian effusiveness and metrical elegance, which compensate for some monotony and shallowness of thought. Manuel del Palacio (1832–1907) combined imagination and wit with a technical skill equal to that of the French Parnassians; but he frittered away his various gifts, so that but a few sonnets survive out of his innumerable poems. More akin to the English " Lake poets " was Amos de Escalante y Prieto (1831–1902), better known by his pseudonym of " Juan Garcia," whose faculty of poetic description, revealed only to the few who had read his verses in the edition privately circulated in 18go, is now generally recognized. The vein of religious sentiment which runs through Escalante's most characteristic lyrics was also worked by Luis Ramirez Martinez y Guertero (d. 1874), who, under the pseudonym of " Larmig," wrote verses impregnated with Christian devotion as well as with a sinister melancholy which finally led him to commit suicide. The most interesting of the younger poets are provincials by sympathy or residence, if not by birth. Salvador Rueda (b. 1857), in his Poetry. Aires espanoles, represents the vivid colouring and resonant blooded talent, as Valera's is the more seductive and patrician; emphasis of Andalusia; Ramon Domingo Peres (b. 1863), a Cuban by birth but domiciled at Barcelona, strikes a Catalan note in Musgo (1902), and substitutes restraint and simplicity for the Castilian sonority and pomp; Vicente Medina (b. 1866) in Aires murcianos and La CanciOn de la huerta reproduces with vivid intensity the atmosphere of the Murcian orchard-country; Juan Alcover and Miguel Costa, both natives of Majorca, celebrate their island scenery with luminous picturesqueness of phrase. The roll of Spanish poets may close with the name of Jose Maria Gabriel y Galan (d. 19o5), whose reputation depends chiefly on the verses entitled "El Ama" in Castellanas; Gabriel y Galan was extremely unequal, and his range of subjects was limited, but in El Ama he produced a poem which is unsurpassed in modern Spanish poetry. The facility with which verses of a kind can be written in Spanish has made Spain a nest of singing-birds; but the chief names have been already mentioned, and no others need be recorded here. Since 185o there has been a notable renaissance of the Spanish novel. Fernan Caballero is entitled to an honourable place in Plctlon. literary history as perhaps the first to revive thenative realism which was temporarily checked by the romantic movement. In all that concerns truth and art she is superior to the once popular Manuel Fernandez y Gonzalez (d. 1888), of whom it has been said that Spain should erect a statue to him and should burn his novels at the foot of it. A Spanish Dumas, he equals the French author in fecundity, invention and resource, and some of his tales—such as El Cocinero de su majestad, Los Minfies de las Alpujarras and Martin Gil—are written with an irresistible brio; but he was the victim of his own facility, grew more and more reckless in his methods of composition, and at last sank to the level of his imitators. Antonio de Trueba followed Fernan Caballero in observing local customs and in poetizing them with a sentimental grace of his own, which attracted local patriots and uncritical readers generally. He had no gift of delineating character, and his plots are feeble; but he was not wanting in literary charm, and went his road of incorrigible optimism amid the applause of the crowd. His contemporary, Pedro Antonio de Alarcon, is remembered chiefly as the author of El Sombrero de tres picos, a peculiarly Spanish tale of picaresque malice. Neither Trueba nor Alarcon could have developed into great artists; the first is too falsetto, the second is too rhetorical, and both are too haphazard in execution. Idealizing country life into a pale arcadian idyll, Trueba frowned upon one of his neighbours whose methods were eminently realistic. Jose Maria de Pereda is the founder of the modern school of realistic fiction in Spain, and the boldness of his experiment startled a generation of readers accustomed to Fernan Caballero's feminine reticence and Trueba's deliberate conventionality. Moreover, Pereda's reactionary political views—too frequently obtruded in his imaginative work—alienated from him the sympathies of the growing Liberal element in the country; but the power which stamps his Escenas montanesas was at once appreciated in the northern provinces, and by slow degrees he imposed himself upon the academic critics of Madrid. So long as Pereda deals with country folk, sailors, fishermen, aspects of sea and land, he deserves the highest praise, for he under-stands the poor, hits upon the mean between conventional portraiture and caricature, and had the keenest appreciation of natural beauty. His hand was far less certain in describing townsmen; yet it is a mistake to class bim as merely a successful landscape painter, for he created character, and continually revealed points of novelty in his descriptions of the common things of life. Pereda is realistic, and he is real. His rival, Juan Valera, is not, in the restricted sense of the word, realistic, but he is no less real in his own wider province; he has neither Pereda's energy nor austerity of purpose, but has a more in-fallible tact, a larger experience of men and women, and his sceptical raillery is as effective a moral commentary as Pereda's Christian pessimism. In Valera's Pepita Jimenez and Dona Luz, and in Pereda's Sotileza, we have a trio of Spanish heroines who deserve their fame: Pereda's is the more vigorous, full- yet, much as they differ, both are essentially native in the quality of their genius, system and phrasing. Benito Perez Galdes gave a new life to the historical novel in his huge series entitled Episodios nacionales, a name perhaps suggested by the Romans nationaux of Erckmann-Chatrian; but the subjects and sentiment of these forty volumes are intensely local. The colouring of the Episodios nacionales is so brilliant, their incident is so varied and so full of interest, their spirit so stirring and patriotic, that the born Spaniard easily forgives their frequent prolixity, their insistence on minute details, their loose construction and their uneven style. Their appeal is irresistible; there is no such unanimous approbation of the politico-religious novels such as Dona Perfecta, Gloria and Leen Roth, each of which may be regarded as a roman a these. The quick response of Perez Galdbs to any external stimulus, his sensitiveness to every change in the literary atmosphere, made it inevitable that he should come under the influence of French naturalism, as he does in Lo Prohibido and in Realidad; but his conversion was temporary, and two forcible novels dealing with contemporary life—Fortunata y Jacinta and Angel Guerra—mark the third place in the development of a susceptible talent. The true leader of the naturalistic school in Spain is Armando Palacio Valdes, whose faculty of artistic selection was first displayed in El Senorito Octavio. Two subsequent works—Marta y Maria and La Hermana San Sulpicio—raised hopes that Spain had, in Palacio Valdes, a novelist of the first order to succeed Pereda and Valera; but in La Espuma and La Fe, two social studies which caused all the more sensation because they contained caricatures of well-known personages, the author followed the French current, ceased to be national and did not become cosmopolitan. His latest books are more original and interesting, though they scarcely fulfil his early promise. Another novelist who for a time divided honours with Palacio Valdes was the lady who publishes under her maiden name of Emilia Pardo Bazan. The powerful, repellent pictures of peasant life and the ethical daring of Los Pazos de Ulloa and La Madre Naturalezaare set off by graphic passages of description; in later works the author chose less questionable subjects, and the local patriotism which inspires Insolaci6n and De mi tierra is expressed in a style which secures Emilia Pardo Bazan a high place among her contemporaries. Leopoldo Alas (1851-1901), who used the pseudonym of " Clarfn, " was better known as a ruthless critic than as a novelist; the interest of his shorter stories has evaporated, but his ambitious novel, La Regenta, lives as an original study of the relation between mysticism and passion. Jacinto Octavio Pietist (b. 1852), who has deserted novel writing for criticism, displayed much insight in Lazaro, the story of a priest who finds himself forced to lay down his orders; this work was naturally denounced by the clerical party, and orthodoxy declared equally against El Enemigo and Dulce y sabrosa; more impartial critics agree in admiring Picon's power of awakening sympathy and interest, his gift of minute psychological analysis and his exquisite diction. No suspicion of heterodoxy attaches to Manuel Polo y Peyrolon, the author of that charming story La Tia Levitico, nor to the Jesuit-Luis Coloma (b. '851), who obtained a fleeting triumph with Pequeneces, in which the writer satirized the fashionable society of which he had been an ornament before his conversion. Juan Ochoa (d. 1899) showed promise of the highest order in his two short stories, El Amado discipulo and Un alma de Dios and Angel Ganivet (d. 1898) produced in Los Trabajos del in-fatigable creador Pio Cid, a singular philosophical romance, rich in ideas and felicitous in expression, though lacking in narrative interest. With him may be mentioned Ricardo Macias Picavea (d. 1899), author of La Tierra de campos, who died prematurely before his undoubted talent had reached maturity. Of the younger novelists the most notable in reputation and achievement is Vicente Blasco Ibanez (b. 1866) who began with pictures of Valencian provincial life in Floe de mayo, made romance the vehicle of revolutionary propaganda in La Catedral and La Horda, and shows the influence of Zola in one of his latest books, La Maja desnuda. Blasco Ibanez lacks taste and judgment, and occasional provincialisms disfigure his style; but his power is undeniable, and even his shorter tales are remarkable examples of truthful impressionism. Ramon del Valle-Inclan (b. 1869) tends to preciosity in Corte de amor and Flor de santidad, but excels in finesse and patient observation; J. Martinez Ruiz (b. 1876) is wittier and weightier in Las Conies-Tones de un pequeno filosofo and the other stories which he publishes under the pseudonym of " Azorin," but he lacks much of Valle-Inclan's picturesque and perceptive faculty; Pfo Baroja's restless and picaresque talent finds vigorous but incoherent expression in El Camino de perfection and Aurora roja, and Gregorio Martinez Sierra (b. 1882) has shown considerable mastery of the difficulties of the short story in Pascua florida and Sol de la tarde. The tendency of Spanish historical students is rather to collect the raw material of history than to write history. Antonio Canvas del Castillo was absorbed by politics to the loss of literature, for his Ensayo sobre la casa de Austria en Espana is ample in information and impartial in judgment; the composition is hasty and the style is often ponderous, but many passages denote a genuine literary faculty, which the author was prevented from developing. The Historia de los Visigodos, in which Aureliano Fernandez-Guerra y Orbe collaborated with Eduardo de Hinojosa, illuminates an obscure but important period. Francisco Cardenas (1816—'898) in his Historia de la pro pried ad territorial en Espana did for Spain much that Maine did for England. Eduardo Perez Pujol (b. 1830) in his Historia de las instiluciones de la Espana goda (1896) supplements the work of Fernandez-Guerra and Hinojosa, the latter of whom has published a standard treatise entitled Historia del derecho romano. Joaquin Costa's Estudios ibericos (1891) and Colectivismo agrario en Espana (1898) have been praised by experts for their minute research and exact erudition; but his Poesia popular espanola y mitologia y literatura celto-hispanas, in which a most ingenious attempt is made to reconstitute the literary history of a remote period, appeals to a wider circle of educated readers. The monographs of Francisco Codera y Zaidin (b. 1836), of Cesareo Fernandez Duro (1830-1907), of Francisco Fernandez y Gonzalez (b. 1833), of Gumersindo Azcarate (b. 1840), and of many others, such as the Jesuit epigraphist Fidel Fita y Calome, are valuable contributions to the still unwritten history of Spain, but are addressed chiefly to specialists. Many of the results of these investigators are embodied by Rafael Altamira y Crevea (b. 1866) in his Historia de Esparta y de la civilization espanola, now in progress. Literary criticism in Spain, even more than elsewhere, is too often infected by intolerant party spirit. It was difficult for Leopoldo Alas (" Clarfn ") to recognize any merit in the work of a reactionary writer, but his prejudice was too manifest to mislead, and his intelligent insight frequently led him to do justice in spite of his prepossessions. In the opposite camp Antonio Valbuena, a humorist of the mordant type, has still more difficulty in doing justice to any writer who is an academician, an American or a Liberal. Pascual de Gayangos y Arce and Manuel Mila y Fontanals escaped from the quarrels of contemporary schools by confining their studies to the past, and Marcelino Menendez y Pelayo has earned a European reputation in the same province of historical criticism. Among his followers who have attained distinction it must suffice to mention Ramon Menendez Pidal (b. 1869), author of La Leyenda de los infamies de Lara (1897), a brilliant piece of scientific, reconstructive criticism; Francisco Rodriguez Marfn (b. 1855), who has published valuable studies on 16th and 17th century authors, and adds to his gifts as an investigator the charm of an alembicated, archaic style; Emilio Cotarelo y Mori (b. 1858), who, besides interesting contributions to the history of the theatre, has written substantial monographs on Enrique de Villena, Villamediana, Tirso de Molina, Iriarte and Ramon de la Cruz; and Adolfo Bonilla y San Martin (b. 1875), whose elaborate biography of Juan Luis Vives, which is a capital chapter on the history of Spanish humanism, gives him a foremost place among the scholars of the younger generation. History and Criticism. Romania, the Zeitschrift fur romanische Philologie and Romanische Forschungen, as also in Modern Language Notes (Baltimore) and the Modern Language Review (Cambridge). 2. Catalan Literature.—Although the Catalan language is simply a branch of the southern Gallo-Roman, the literature, Poetry of in its origin at least, should be considered as supple- Middle mentary to that of Provence. Indeed, until about Ages• the second half of the 13th century there existed in the Catalan districts no other literature than the Provencal, and the poets of north-eastern Spain used no other language than that of the troubadours. Guillem de Bergadan, Uc de Mataplana, Ramon Vidal de Besalil, Guillem de Cervera, Serveri de Gerona and other verse writers of still more recent date were all genuine Provencal poets, in the same sense as are those of Limousin, Quercy or Auvergne, since they wrote in the langue d'oc and made use of all the forms of poetry cultivated by the troubadours north of the Pyrenees. Ramon Vidal (end of the 12th century and beginning of 13th) was a grammarian as well as a poet; his Rasos de trobar became the code for the Catalan poetry written in Provencal, which he called Lemosi, a name still kept up in Spain to designate, not the literary idiom of the troubadours only, but also the local idiom—Catalan—which the Spaniards chose to consider as derived from the former. The influence of R. Vidal and other grammarians of his school, as well as that of the troubadours we have named, was enduring; and even after Catalan prose—an exact reflection of the spoken language of the south-east of the Pyrenees—had given evidence of its vitality in some considerable works, Catalan poetry remained faithful to the Provencal tradition. From the combination of spoken Catalan with the literary language of the troubadours there arose a sort of composite idiom, which has some analogy with the Franco-Italian current in certain pacts of Italy in the middle ages, although in the one case the elements of the mixture are more distinctly apparent than are the romance of France and the romance of Italy in the other. The poetical works of Raymond Lully or Ramon Lull are among the oldest examples of this Provengalised Catalan; one has only to read the fine piece entitled Lo Desconort (" Despair "), or some of his stanzas on religious subjects, to apprehend at once the eminently composite nature of that language. Muntaner in like manner, whose prose is exactly that spoken by his contemporaries, becomes a troubadour when he writes in verse; his Sermh on the conquest of Sardinia and Corsica (1323), introduced into his Chronicle of the kings of Aragon, exhibits linguistically the same mixed character as is found in Lully, or, we may venture to say, in all Catalan verse writers of the 14th century. These are not very numerous, nor are their works of any great merit. The majority of their compositions consist of what were called noves rimades, that is, stories in octosyllabic verse in rhymed couplets. There exist poems of this class by Pere March, by a certain Torrella, by Bernat Metge (an- author more celebrated for his prose), and by others whose names we do not know; among the works belonging to this last category special mention ought to be made of a version of the romance of the Seven Sages, a translation of a book on good breeding entitled Facetus, and certain tales where, by the choice of subjects, by various borrowings, and even occasionally by the wholesale introduction of pieces of French poetry, it is clearly evident that the writers of Catalonia under-stood and read the langue d'oui. Closely allied to the noves rimades is another analogous form of versification—that of the codolada, consisting of a series of verses of eight and four syllables, rhyming in pairs, still made use of in one portion of the Catalan domain (Majorca). The 15th century is the golden age of Catalan poetry. At the instigation and under the auspices of John I. (1387-1395), Martin 15th I. (1395-1410), and Ferdinand I. (1410-1416), kings of century. Aragon, there was founded at Barcelona a consistory of the " Gay Saber," on the model of that of Toulouse, and this official protection accorded to poetry was the beginning of a new style much more emancipated from Provencal influence. It cannot be denied, indeed, that its forms are of foreign importation, that the Catalan verse writers accept the prescriptions ofthe Leys d'amor of Guillaume Molinier, and that the names which they gave to their cobles (stanzas) are all borrowed from the same art de trobar of the Toulouse school; but their language begins to rid itself more and more of Provencalisms and tends to become the same as that of prose and of ordinary conversation. With Pere and Jaume March, Jordi de Sant Jordi, Johan de Masdovelles, Francesch Ferrer, Pere Torroella, Pau de Bellviure, Antoni Vallmanya, and, above all, the Valencian Auzias March, there developed a new school, which flourished till the end of the 15th century, and which, as regards the form of its versification, is distinguished by its almost exclusive employment of eight-verse cobles of ten syllables, each with " crossed " or " chained " rhymes (cobla crohada or encadenada), each composition ending with a tornada of four verses, in the first of which the " device " (divis or senyal) of the poet is given out. Many of these poems are still unedited or have only recently been extracted from the canconers, where they had been collected in the 15th century. Auzias March alone, the most inspired, the most profound, but also the most obscure of the whole group, was printed in the 16th century; his cants d'amor and cants de mart contain the finest verses ever written in Catalan, but the poet fails to keep up to his own high level, and by his studied obscurity occasionally becomes unintelligible to such a degree that one of his editors accuses him of having written in Basque. Of a wholly different class, and in quite another spirit, is the Libre de les doves of Jaume Roig (d. 1478), a Valencian also, like March; this long poem is a nova rimada, only comediada, that is to say, it is in quadrisyllabic instead of octosyllabic verse. A bitter and caustic satire upon women, it purports to be a true history—the history of the poet himself and of his three unhappy marriages in particular. Notwithstanding its author's allegations, how-ever, the Libre de les doves is mostly fiction; but it derives a very piquant interest from its really authentic element, its vivid picture of the Valencia of the 15th century and the details of contemporary manners. After this bright period of efflorescence Catalan poetry rapidly faded, a decline due more to the force of circumstances than to any fault of the poets. The union of Aragon with Castile, and the resulting predominance of Castilian throughout Spain, inflicted a death-blow on Catalan literature, especially on its artistic poetry, a kind of composition more ready than any other to avail itself of the triumphant idiom which soon came to be regarded by men of letters as the only nbble one, and alone fit to be the vehicle of elevated or refined thoughts. The fact that a Catalan, Juan Boscan, inaugurates in the Castilian language a new kind of poetry, and that the Castilians themselves regard him as the head of a school, is important and characteristic; the date of the publication of the works of Boscan (1543) marks the end of Catalan poetry. The earliest prose works in Catalan are later than the poems of the oldest Catalan troubadours of the Provencal school; these prose writings date no further back than the prose of close of the 13th century, but they have the advan- 13th-15th tage of being entirely original. Their language is centuries. the very language of the soil which we see appearing in charters from about the time of the accession of James I. (1213). This is true especially of the chronicles, a little less so of the other writings, which, like the poetry, do not escape the influence of the more polished dialect of the country tc the north of the Pyrenees. Its chronicles are the best ornament of medieval Catalan prose. Four of them—that of James I., apparently reduced to writing a little after his death (1276) with the help of memoirs dictated by himself during his lifetime; that of Bernat Desclot, which deals chiefly with the reign of Pedro III. of Aragon (1276-1286); that of Ramon Muntaner (first half of the 14th century), relating at length the expedition of the Catalan company to the Morea and the conquest of Sardinia by James II.; finally that of Pedro IV., the Ceremonious (1335-1387), genuine commentaries of that astute monarch, arranged by certain officials of his court, notably by Bernat Descoll—these four works are distinguished alike by the artistic skill of their narration and by the quality of their language; it would not be too I much to liken these Catalan chroniclers, and Muntaner especially, to Villehardouin, Joinville and Froissart. The Doctor Ill::minatus, Raymond Lully, whose acquaintance with Latin was very poor—his philosophical works were done into that language by his disciples--wrote in a somewhat Provencalized Catalan various moral and propagandist works—the romance Bianquerna in praise of the solitary life, the Libre de les maravelles, into which is introduced a " bestiary " taken by the author from Kalilah and Dimnah, and the Libre del orde de cavalleria, a manual of the perfect knight, besides a variety of other treatises and opuscula of minor importance. The majority of the writings of Lully exist in two versions—one in the vernacular, which is his own, the other in Latin, originating with his disciples, who desired to give currency throughout Christendom to their master's teachings. Lully—who was very popular in the lay world, although the clergy had a Iow opinion of him and in the 15th century even set themselves to obtain a condemnation of his works by the Inquisition—had a rival in the person of Francesch Ximenez or Eximeniz, a Franciscan, born at Gerona some time after 1350. His Crestid (printed in 1483) is a vast encyclopaedia of theology, morals and politics for the use of the laity, supplemented in various aspects by his three other works—Vida de Jesucrist, Libre del angels, and Libre de les doves; the last named, which is at once a book of devotion and a manual of domestic economy, contains a number of curious details as to a Catalan woman's manner of life and the luxury of the period. Lully and Eximeniz are the only Catalan authors of the 14th century whose works written in a vulgar tongue had the honour of being translated into French shortly after their appearance. We have chiefly translators and historians in the 15th century. Antoni Canals, a Dominican, who belongs also to the previous century, translates into Catalan Valerius Maximus and a treatise of St Bernard; Bernat Metge, himself well versed in Italian literature, presents some of its great masters to his countrymen by translating the Griselidis of Petrarch, and also by composing Lo Sompni (" The Dream "), in which the influence of Dante, of Boccaccio, and, generally speaking, of the Italy of the 13th and 14th centuries is very perceptible. The Feyts d'armes de Catalunya of Bernat Boades (d. 1444), a knightly chronicle brought to a close in 1420, reveals a spirit of research and a conscientiousness in the selection of materials which are truly remarkable for the age in which it was written. On the other hand, Pere Tomich, in his Histories e conquestes del reyalme d'AragO (1448), carries us back too much to the manner of the medieval chroniclers; his credulity knows no bounds, while his style has altogether lost the naive charm of that of Muntaner. To the list of authors who represent the leading tendencies of the literature of the 15th century we must add the name of Johanot Martorell, a Valencian author of three-fourths of the celebrated romance, Tirant lo blanch (finished in 1460 and primed in 1490), which the reader has nowadays some difficulty in regarding as that " treasury of content " which Cervantes will have it to be. With the loss of political was bound to coincide that of literary independence in the Catalonian countries. Catalan fell to the rank of a patois and was written less and 16th-18th less; lettered persons ceased to cultivate it, and Centuries. the upper classes, especially in Valencia, owing to the proximity of Castile, soon affected to make no further use of the local speech except in familiar conversation. The 16th century, in fact, furnishes literary history with hardly more than a single poet at all worthy of the name—Pere Seraff, some of whose pieces, in the style of Auzias March, but less obscure, are graceful enough and deserve to live; his poems were printed at Barcelona in 1565. Prose is somewhat better represented, but scholars alone persisted in writing in Catalan—antiquaries and historians like Miquel Carbonell (d. 1517) , compiler of the Chroniques de Espanya (printed in 1547), Francesch Tarafa, author of the Cronica de cavaliers Catalans, Anton Beuter and some others not so well known In the 17th and 18th centuries the decadence became still more marked. A few scattered attempts to restore to Catalan, now more and more neglected by men of letters, some of its old life and brilliance failed miserably. Neither Hieronim Pujades, author of an unfinished Coronica universal del principal de Catalunya (Barcelona, 1609), nor even Vicent Garcia, rector of Vallfogona (1582-1623), a verse-writer by no means destitute of verve or humour, whose works were published in 170o under the quaint title of La Armonia del Parnds, mes numerosa en las poesias varias del atlant del cel poetic lo Dr Vice's' Garcia, and whose literary talent and originality have been greatly exaggerated by the Catalans of the present day, could induce his countrymen to cultivate the local idiom once more. Sermons, lives of saints, a few works of devotion, didactic treatises and the like are all that was written henceforth in Catalan till the beginning of the 19th century. Writers who were Catalan by birth had so completely unlearned their mother-tongue that it would have seemed to them quite inappropriate, and even ridiculous, to make use of it in serious works, so profoundly had Castilian struck its roots in the eastern provinces of Spain, and so thoroughly had the work of assimilation been carried out to the advantage of the official language of the court and of the government. In 1814 appeared the Gram.dtica y apologia de la llengua Cathalana of Joseph Pau Ballot y Torres, which may be considered as marking the origin of a genuine renaissance Revival of of the grammatical and literary study of Catalan. Catalan Although the author avows no object beyond the Language purely practical one of giving to strangers visiting and Barcelona for commercial purposes some knowledge Literature. of the language, the enthusiasm with which he sings the praises of his mother-tongue, and his appended catalogue of works which have appeared in it since the time of James I., show that this was not his only aim. In point of fact the book, which is entitled to high consideration as being the first systematic Catalan grammar, written, too, in the despised idiom itself, had a great influence on the authors and literary men of ,the principality. Under the influence of the new doctrines of romanticism twenty years had not passed before a number of attempts in the way of restoring the old language had made their appearance, in the shape of various poetical works of very unequal merit. The Oda a la patria (1833) of Buenaventura Carlos Aribau is among the earliest if not actually the very first of these, and it is also one of the best; the modern Catalan school has produced few poems more inspired or more correct. Following in the steps of Aribau, Joaquin Rubio y Ors (Lo Gayter del Llobregat), Antonio de Bofarull (Lo Coblejador de Moncada), and soon afterwards a number of other versifiers took up the lyre which it might have been feared was never to sound again since it fell into the hands of Auzias March. The movement spread from Catalonia into other provinces of the ancient kingdom of Aragon; the appeal of the Catalans of the principality was responded to at Valencia and in the Balearic Isles. Later, the example of Provence, of the felibritge of the south of France, accelerated still further this renaissance movement, which received official recognition in 1859 by the creation of the jocks florals, in which prizes are given to the best competitors in poetry, of whom some succeed in obtaining the diploma of mestre en gay saber. It is of course impossible to foresee the future of.this new Catalan literature—whether it is indeed destined for that brilliant career which the Catalans themselves anticipate. In spite of the unquestionable talent of poets like Mariano Aguil6 (Majorca), Teodoro Llorente (b. 1836; Valencia), and more especially Jacinto Verdaguer (1845-1902), author of an epic poem Atldnlida and of the very fascinating Cants mistichs, it is by no means certain that this renaissance of a provincial literature will be permanent now that the general tendency throughout Europe is towards unity and centralization in the matter of language. At all events it would be well if the language were some-what more fixed, and if its writers no longer hesitated between a pretentious archaism and the incorrectness of vulgar colloquialism. Some improvement in this respect is discernible in the poems of Joan Maragall (b. ,86c), the lyrical verse of Apeles Mestre (b. 1854), the fiction of Narcis 011er and Santiago Rusinol, as also in the dramas of Angel Guimera, and if the process be continued there may be a future, as well as a past, for Catalan literature. (J. F.-K.; A. M.-FA.)
End of Article: PICARESQUE
[back]
PICARDY (La Picardie)
[next]
THE PICARESQUE NOVEL

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.