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Lorenzo Gradín, Pilar and Marcenaro, Simone. Il canzoniere del trovatore Roi Queimado. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso, 2010. 347pp. ISBN: 978-88-6274-234-4

The poetry of the mid-thirteenth century Portuguese troubadour Roi Queimado has until now remained a somewhat hidden gem contained in three extensive collections of Galician-Portuguese lyric verse, the Cancioneiro da Ajuda, the Cancioneiro da Vaticano and the Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional. For the first, the 1904 edition of Carolina Michaëlis de Vasconcelos and the 1941 ediiton of Henry Carter continue to be authoritative, while the latter are available to modern scholars primarily through facsimile editions from 1982 and 1973. Pilar Lorenzo Gradín, professor of Romance philology at the University of Santiago de Compostela and Simone Marcenaro, a researcher at the same institution when this book was published, have created the first edition of Queimado’s complete works, bringing the poet and his opus to life and into a rich critical perspective.

Their introduction begins with a biographical sketch of the Portuguese troubadour. Gradín and Marcenaro acknowledge they were unable to discover new primary documentary evidence, arriving instead at a well-crafted, dense and meticulous synthesis of previous research. They conjecture that the poet, whose epithet suggests either his dark complexion or his burning passion, was a nobleman from a lesser lineage in southern Portugal. While they are open to the possibility that Queimado may have been raised by an adoptive father, Gradín and Marcenario question previous scholarship claiming to have found his daughter in a notary document.

Because of his literary relations with Pero Garcia Burgalés and other poets active in the court of Alfonso X, Gradín and Marcenario are confident that Queimado was of Portuguese rather than Galician extraction. He may in fact have visited or lived at the Alfonsine court sometime between 1245 and 1250, as suggest cantigas in which Quiemado takes a stand in the battle for ascendancy between Alfonso III and the Infante Alfonso de Castilla. Gradín and Marcenario [End Page 349] examine possibilities for the identity of Don Estevan, a partisan of Alfonso III, whom Queimado attacks in one of his poems of derision. They evaluate the connections previous scholars have found between the polyvalent term ama and one of the love interests of Queimado, possibly a woman known as Beltrán, nurse of Don Denis. Finally, they present two possibilities for the historical identity of a Juan Garcia mentioned in one of his poems. Whether this was actually Johan de Guilhade or Johan de Sousa, they feel confident that this confirms that Queimado, who left few biographical traces, was active in northern Portugal in the 1250s.

The authors provide a brief account of the extant manuscripts of Queimado’s poetry. The late thirteenth-century Cancioneiro de Ajuda contains his cantigas de amor, while the complete body of his works is found in the sixteenth-century apocryphal copies of the Italian humanist Angelo Colocci (the Biblioteca Nacional and the Vaticana manuscripts), and a descriptus of the Colocci codices at the Bancroft library of the University of California, Berkeley. For readers unfamiliar with this textual tradition it would have been helpful to indicate the full names of the collections and to provide some context for how they were discovered rather than referring to them by their abbreviations alone (MSS A, B, V and K). However, Gradín and Marcenaro adeptly discuss the ordering of compositions in the various manuscripts while placing his opus in clear relation to other poets in the same collections.

In discussing the possible meaning of a rather cryptic marginal note in MS A, “nota cartuxo”, Gradín and Marcenaro generously acknowledge the contributions, while challenging some of the weaknesses, of previous explanations by Carolina Michäelis, Susan Pedro and Anna Ferrai, basing their own hypothesis on a careful examination of the Colocci manuscripts. The footnotes in this section and throughout the anthology are precise and informative, providing ample clarification while avoiding excessive detail. Their exploration of this enigma leads them into a fascinating treasure hunt connecting the popularity of Queimado’s love poetry in the court of Portugal to the mysterious author of...


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