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Reviewed by:
  • De Berceo a Jorge Guillén: estudios literarios
  • Elias L. Rivers
Rafael Lapesa, De Berceo a Jorge Guillén: estudios literarios. Madrid: Gredos, 1997.

This is the fourth, and almost certainly the last, collection of scattered articles to be published by Lapesa in the “Biblioteca Románica Hispánica”; the previous ones appeared in 1967, in 1977, and in 1988, and were reviewed in MLN. Not being competent to do a thoroughly critical review of each essay—I have elsewhere (in the proceedings of the 1993 AISO congress celebrated in Toulouse) reviewed in some detail Lapesa’s definitive studies devoted to Garcilaso’s poetry—I will simply list the fifteen items that constitute this volume. Eleven of them deal with poetry: the Virgin’s lament as elaborated on by Berceo and by Roiç de Corella; Santillana’s “serranillas”; notes on the Comedieta de Ponza; Narcissus in medieval and Renaissance lyric poetry; the love lament from Santillana and Mena to Diego Hurtado de Mendoza; the world evoked in traditional Hispanic lyric poetry; the fifteenth-century heritage in Renaissance lyric genres; Herrera’s poems in Castilian meters; Morátin’s classical farewell to the muses; Juan Ramón Jiménez’s poetic legacy; death and symmetry in Guillén’s . . . Que van a dar en la mar. In the remaining four studies Lapesa analyzes the human world of the Celestina, comments on Chapter 5 of the Second Part of the Quijote, tells of his personal relations with [End Page 462] Américo Castro, and considers the importance of Marañón as a writer. We see here once again the wide range of his literary, and human, interests and insights.

Lapesa’s brief prologue was written in January of 1997, when, as it happened, I saw him, for perhaps the last time, struggling to sit at his desk. Physically very weak and mentally as clear as ever, in this prologue he draws with firm pathos on the dedication of Cervantes’s Persiles:

Quedan, brujuleando, tentaciones de cubrir los huecos—Jovellanos, Cadalso y Goya, heroínas de la novela y teatro románticos, Galdós, Gerardo Diego . . . Pero estoy viviendo el momento en que «las ansias crecen, las esperanzas menguan»; y me decido a renunciar, por ahora (y quién sabe si para siempre), a los artículos en gestación, todavía nonatos.

We can still hope that some miracle of medical science will permit him to complete at least a few of his many vital projects.

Elias L. Rivers
State University of New York at Stony Brook

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pp. 462-463
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