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El romancero asturiano de Juan Menéndez Pidal ed. by Jesús Antonio Cid (review)
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Titled to precisely identify the matter at hand, this carefully prepared volume proffers a philological tetrad: introductory study (11–46); the ballad texts by type and theme comprising the entire corpus of romances collected in Asturias during the specified period —nearly 300 versions— plus the folktale El Rey Tiso (47–355); indices to volumes I (1999) and II (2003) of Silva Asturiana, collection inventories with bibliography of volumes I through III (356–455); and, finally, other indices, including the Catálogo General del Romancero Asturiano (459–87) with additions and corrections to volumes I and II (493–534).

Professor Cid has edited all of the ballads collected either by Juan or Ramón Menéndez Pidal, or furnished to them by third parties, from original manuscripts or primary print versions; one of the oldest collections extant. Outstanding versions of La muerte ocultada (no. 117) and the rare La mártir de su honra (no. 43) figure among the 34 ballads Juan documented in the course of three surveys (1885, 1896, and 1902) (20). Unidentified collectors provided exceptional versions of Gaiferos y Galván (no. 12) and of La esposa de don García (no. 95) (21). Anonymous texts from informants resident in Laviana and Serandinas-Luarca, and others recorded by Silvestre Frade in Ribadasella, by ethnographer Bernardo Acevedo, by folklorist Braulio Vigón in Colunga (21–32), and by Ramón Menéndez Pidal in the course of fieldwork for an unpublished Isoglosas del Asturiano, round out the corpus (33–37). Thirty ballads documented by Ramón Menéndez Pidal in 1910 appear, and are numbered, separately (329–55).

Divergent narratives and variations manifest in multiple versions of La infanta parida (nos. 24–37), La mala suegra (95–105), and La flor del agua (nos. 130–37) attest to the contemporaneous tradition’s productivity (39); later regional fieldwork recovered romances superior in quality and quantity even to those the early-20th-century campaigns documented (461).

Extensive archival work in the Archivo Menéndez Pidal affords Professor Cid a thorough knowledge of its vast holdings. By dint of philological jurisprudence he reconstructs Juan Menéndez Pidal’s preparation of the Colección de los viejos romances que se cantan por los asturianos (1885) (528–30), recounts planned revisions to a hypothetical second edition, points up Juan’s pivotal role attracting Ramón Menéndez Pidal to study of the romancero (43–44), reviews problems derived from the incomplete materials Ramón received from Juan that were incorporated into the Archivo and from the dispersion of the elder brother’s library. Professor Cid identifies María Goyri’s exhaustive listings of texts and collections as the authoritative warrant for determining provenances for nearly all romances documented in Asturias from 1900 onward (17). Acknowledging that regional collections by nature are partial and thus incompatible with modern appraisals of the genre, outmoded even at the turn of the century, the editor credibly justifies the provincial character in the case of this volume (41–44).

Editorial criteria conform to the familiar standards established for the Romancero Tradicional de las Lenguas Hispánicas: no loss of data, no modification of dialect or idiolect, and standardized orthography (44–45). The critical apparatus recognizes uncertain readings and variants noted from renditions given by a single singer or different singers. Each heading identifies collector, singer(s), place and date of collection, location in the Archivo according to the scheme devised by Ramón Menéndez Pidal and María Goyri, and provides two sets of codes, one corresponding to the Catálogo General del Romancero Asturiano (459–87), the other to the Índice General del Romancero Hispánico (489–92). For example, La muerte del Maestre de Santiago is encoded in the former system as 007 but 0046 in the latter.

The mentioned Catálogo General del Romancero Asturiano prescribes nine generic categories: traditional romances (I, nos. 001–099), traditionalized romances vulgares (II, nos. 100–149), and those that have been ritualized, the burlesque and infantile (III, nos. 150–169) and the religious (IV, nos. 170–220). The remaining groups are characterized by their vulgar style: scarcely traditionalized broadsheets (V, nos. 221–92), modern semi-narrative songs...

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