Online Encyclopedia

SANTILLANA

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 194 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SANTILLANA, I$IGO LOPEZ DE MENDOZA, MARQUIS OF (1398-1458), Castilian poet, was born at Carrion de los Condes in Old Castile on the 19th of August 1398. His father, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, grand admiral of Castile, having died in 1405, the boy was educated under the eye of his mother, Dona Leonor de la Vega, a woman of great strength of character. From his eighteenth year onwards he became an increasingly prominent figure at the court of Juan II. of Castile, distinguishing himself in both civil and military service; he was created marques de Santillana and conde del Real de Manzanares for the part he took in the battle of Olmedo (19th of May 1455). In the struggle of the Castilian nobles against the influence of the constable Alvaro de Luna he showed great moderation, but in 1452 he joined the combination which effected the fall of the favourite in the following year. From the death of Juan II. in 1454 Mendoza took little part in public affairs, devoting himself mainly to the pursuits of literature and to pious meditation. He died at Guadalajara on the 25th of March 1458. Mendoza shares with Juan de Villalpando the distinction of introducing the sonnet into Castile, but his productions in this class are conventional metrical exercises. He was much more successful in the serranilla and vaqueira—highland pastorals after the Provencal manner. His rhymed collection of Proverbios de gloriosa doctrina e fructuosa ensenanza was prepared for the use of Don Enrique, the heir-apparent. To the same didactic category belong the hundred and eighty stanzas entitled Didlogo de Bias contra Fortuna, while the Doctrinal de Privados is a bitter denunciation of Alvaro de Luna. The Comedieta de Ponza is a Dantesque dream-dialogue, in octave stanzas (de arte mayor), founded on the disastrous sea-fight off Ponza in 1425, when the kings of Aragon and Navarre and the Infante Enrique were taken prisoners by the Genoese. The three last-named compositions are the best of Santillana's more ambitious poems, but they are deficient in the elegant simplicity of the serranillas. These unpretentious songs are in every Spanish anthology, and are familiar even to uneducated Spaniards.
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