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GARCIA DE RESENDE (1470-1536)

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Originally appearing in Volume V23, Page 182 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GARCIA DE RESENDE (1470-1536), Portuguese poet and editor, was born at Evora, and began to serve John II. as a page at the age of ten, becoming his private secretary in 1491. He was present at his death at Alvor on the 25th of October 1495. He continued to enjoy the same favour with King Manoel, whom he accompanied to Castile in 1498, and from whom he obtained a knighthood of the Order of Christ. In 1514 Resende went to Rome with Tristao da Cunha, as secretary and treasurer of the famous embassy sent by the king to offer the tribute of the East at the feet of Pope Leo X. In 1516 he was given the rank of a nobleman of the royal household, and became escrivao de fazenda to Prince John, afterwards King John III., from whom he received further pensions in 1525. Resende built a chapel in the monastery of Espinheiro near Evora, the pantheon of the Alemtejo nobility, where he was buried. He began to cultivate the making of verses in the palace of John II., and he tells us how one night when the king was in bed he caused him (Resende) to repeat some " trovas " of Jorge Manrique, saying it was as needful for a man to know them as to know the Pater Noster. Under these conditions, Resende grew up no mean poet, and moreover distinguished himself by his skill in drawing and music; while he collected into an album the best court verse of the time. The Cancioneiro Geral, probably begun in 1483 though not printed until 1516, includes the compositions of some three hundred fidalgos of the reigns of kings Alphonso V., John II. and Manoel. The main subjects of its pieces are love, satire and epigram, and most of them are written in the national redondilha verse, but the metre is irregular and the rhyming careless. The Spanish language is largely employed, because the literary progenitors of the whole collection were Juan de Mena, Jorge Manrique, Boscan and Garcilasso. As a rule the compositions were improvised at palace entertainments, at which the poets present divided into two bands, attacking and defending a given theme throughout successive evenings. At other times these poetical soirees took the form of a mock trial at law, in which the queen of John II. acted as judge. Resende was much twitted by other rhymesters on his corpulence, but he repaid all their gibes with interest. The artistic value of the Cancioneiro Geral is slight. Conventional in tone, the greater part are imitations of Spanish poets and show no trace of inspiration in their authors. The Cancioneiro is redeemed from complete insipidity by Resende himself, and his fine verses on the death of D. Ignez de Castro inspired the great episode in the Lusiads of Camoens (q.v.). Resende is the compiler of a gossiping chronicle of his patron John II., which, though plagiarized from the chronicle by Ruy de Pina (q.v.), has a value of its own. The past lives again in these pages, and though Resende's anecdotes may be unimportant in themselves, they reveal much of the inner life of the 15th century. Resende's Miscellanea, a rhymed commentary on the most notable events of his time, which is annexed to his Chronicle, is a document full of historical interest, and as a poem not without merit. The editions of his Chronicle are those of 1545, 1554, 1596, 1607, 1622, 1752 and 1798. His Cancioneiro appeared in 1516, and was reprinted by Kausler at Stuttgart in 3 vols., 1846-52. A new edition has recently come from the university press at Coimbra. For a critical study of his work, see Excerptos, seguidos de uma noticia sobre sua vida e obras, um juizo critico, apreciafao de bellezas e defeitos e estudo da lingua, by Antonio de Castilho (Paris, 1865). Also As sepulturas do Espinheiro, by Anselmo Braamcamp, Freire Lisbon, 1901, passim, especially pp. 67-80, where the salient dates in Resende's life are set out from documents recently discovered; and Dr Sousa Viterbo, Diccionario dos Architectos . . . Portuguezes, ii. 361-74. (E. PR.)
End of Article: GARCIA DE RESENDE (1470-1536)
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