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  • The Burlesque, the Parodic and the Satiric: A Brief Preface
  • Frank A. Domínguez, Guest Editor

The burlesque, defined in the broadest way possible, is associated with parody and satire, and displays ample amounts of irony or sarcasm, exaggeration, double entendre, and strange comparisons or analogies. Modes of the burlesque have always received considerable critical attention from medievalists and early modernists; however, since the 1970s they have been studied in a more comprehensive way by scholars like Mihail Bakhtin, who believed that the burlesque resulted from a carnivalesque struggle between popular culture and authority, and by Gérard Genette, who looked at the shapes taken by parody and satire in his study of the relations of a hypotext and its preexisting hypertext.1 Countless other scholars, such as Linda Hutcheon (A Theory of Parody; A Theory of Adaptation), broadly examine how the styles of the past affect the present, or like Martha Bayless, narrow their scope to medieval parodies of religious texts. [End Page 43]

Hispanomedievalists and early Renaissance scholars have incorporated the results of all of these investigations into their own scholarship. However, because there seems to be no comprehensive overview of Spanish burlesque literature in English or in Spanish since Kenneth R. Scholberg’s two books, Sátira e invectiva en la España medieval and Algunos aspectos de la sátira en el siglo XVI. Spanish titles tend to be absent from general studies like Simon Dentith’s “Parody in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds”(39–54) or Laura Kendrick’s “Medieval Satire”. Kendrick mentions only the Latin Tractatus Garciae, which may or may not have been written in Castile. Their silence about the rather extensive Iberian burlesque poetry points out the difficulty that Hispanomedievalists and early modernists have with global studies that, while excellent, are biased toward the English or French traditions. Hispanic studies fare better with Alberta Gatti’s “Satire in the Spanish Golden Age”, devoted to early-sixteenth century Spanish satire, but she begins her assessment in 1527 with Alfonso de Valdés’s dialogue on the sack of Rome by Charles V (Diálogo de las cosas ocurridas en Roma ). In spite of this state of affairs, the present issue of La corónica reveals that Hispanomedievalists have written, and continue to write, a lot about the burlesque.

Our invitation to submit papers to this cluster was open-ended. The announcement did not make a distinction between the burlesque, parodic and satiric modes, because all three tend to qualify an approach to an object, text or utterance that relates in some fashion to a pre-existing model or idea. In the case of literary texts, this approach can range from a strict reproduction of the form of a source text to a passing but negative evaluative allusion that is often used to attack or satirize particular people, forms, events, or ideas.

Our call for papers brought in articles that treat a variety of genres. In poetry, they include studies of the cantigas de escarnio y maldecir, the Cantar de mio Cid, Juan Ruiz’s Libro de buen amor, the Coplas de Mingo Revulgo, the Cancionero de Baena, Pedro de Escavias’s serranas, and the Cancionero de obras de burlas provocantes a risa. In narrative, they deal with Fernando de Rojas’ Celestina, Luis de Milán’s El cortesano, Francisco Delicado’s La Lozana Andaluza, Juan Arce de Otárola’s Los coloquios de Palatino y Pinciano, and Cristóbal de Villalón’s El Crotalón. [End Page 44]

They also bring to our attention aspects of the burlesque in lesser-known texts, such as Ibn al-Murābiʿ al-Azdī’s “Maqāma of the Feast”, Anselm Turmeda’s Disputa de l’ase, Francesc de la Via’s Llibre de fra Bernat, the anonymous Col·loqui de dames, Evangelista’s Libro de cetrería, and reminiscences of the Libro de buen amor sections on the dueñas chicas and Pitas Payas in some of Pedro Liñán de Riaza’s poems.

The volume begins with two articles that are not on literature per se but based on (1) descriptions and regulations concerning burlesque oral performances that have medieval or classical roots, and...


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