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"TOMÉ SENDA POR CARRERA": FINDING AND LOSING THE CROSS IN THE LIBRO DE BUENAMOR Ryan D. Giles University of Chicago TheLibro de buen amor(LBA) ispresentedinitsprologueas aninterpretive journey: "Intelectum tibi dabo, et instruam te in via".1 E. Michael Gerii has recently found that this journey lies rooted in the Augustinian concept ofinveniendo, bywhich the reader comes into, or rhetorically "discovers" the true meaning of the text in spite of its ambiguities ("Vías"). Gerii shows how the idea of ethical reading as an itinerary and the book as a guide serves as an overarching metaphor in the LBA.2 In the Middle Ages, the kind of physical journey that pilgrims undertake in search of the divine was consistently associated with hermeneutics and the mental 1 I will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in the way (104; Psalm 31: 8). This prologue can only be found in the Salamanca manuscript. All citations from the edition of G. B. Gybbon-Monypenny English citations of the Bible from Douay-Rheims version (Biblia Sacra). I am grateful to Frank Domínguez and E. Michael Gerii -as well as the editors of La corónica and this special issue- for their encouragement and helpful comments on earlier versions ofthis study. Parts ofmy research were presented at the 2006 MLA Conference in Washington, DC, and the 2006 Sewanee Medieval Colloquium. 2 On the hermeneutics of reading the LBA, see also Marina S. Brownlee and Gerli's earlier study ("The Greeks"). La corónica 36.2 (Spring 2008): 369-92 370Ryan D. GilesLa corónica 36.2, 2008 "inventive" quest for knowledge. Travelers lacking in caritas were said to misinterpret the text and take a different path, not unlike the greedy peregrinantes described in the Liber Sancti Jacobi: "et alia via tendere videntur" [they appear to travel on another route] (fol. 82r).3 In De doctrina Christiana, St. Augustine compares Biblical exegesis to a journey in which charitable readers who take a wrong turn and misinterpret the text can ultimately find their way: Ita fallitur ac si quisquam errore deserens viam eo tamen per agrum pergat quo etiam via ilia perducit. Corrigendus est tamen, et quam sit ultilius viam non deserere demonstrandum est, ne consuetudine deviandi etiam in transversum aut perversum ire cogatur. [He is mislead in the same way as a walker who leaves his path by mistake but reaches the destination to which the path leads by going through a field. But he must be put right and shown how it is more useful not to leave the path, in case the habit of deviating should force him to go astray.] (1.88)4 This is comparable to what happens to the Archpriest of Hita when he famously undertakes ajourney through the Guadarrama mountains, tries his luck with wild women, and spiritually loses his way before making a pilgrimage to Santa Maria del Vado: "erré todo el camino, commo quien lo non sabía ... yo dixe: 'Só perdido si Dios non me acorre ... torné rrogar a Dios que me non diese a olvido" (974d, 1007d, 1043d).5 The narrator immortalizes another such "wrong turn" in his troba caçurra, one of the most well-known episodes of the LBA. He first describes lusting after a disreputable bakerwoman named Cruz in spite ofthe fact that she belonged to another, "codiçiava tener lo que otro para sí tenía ... non santa mas sandía" (112bc). In hopes ofpersuading Cruz to 3 Citations of the Liber Sancti Jacobi are from the transcription of Walter Muir Whitehill. English translations from the edition of Thomas E Coffey, Linda Kay Davidson, and Mary Jane Dunn. 4 English translation from the edition of R. P. H. Green. 5 On the Archpriest's pilgrimage in the Guadarrama, see James F. Burke ("Juan Ruiz"), Steven D. Kirby, Louise Vasvári ("Peregrinaciones"), and my own recent study. "Tomé sendapor carrera"371 take him as a lover, he sends a messenger named Ferrand Garcia to plead his case. Garcia instead consumes what is euphemistically described as the "vianda" (1 13d). The Archpriest jokes that he was left to ruminate on his misfortune, and so wrote a song about losing his Cross...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 369-392
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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