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288ReviewsLa corónica 30.1, 2001 Fontes, Manuel da Costa. Folklore and Literature. Studies in the Portuguese , Brazilian, Sephardic, and Hispanic Oral Tradition. SUNY Series in LatinAmerican and Iberian Thought and Culture. Albany: SUNYPress, 2000. vin + 327 pp. ISBN 0 7914 4492 9 In a concise but comprehensive Introduction, the reader is led through the history of peninsular lyric, ballads, epics and folk tales. Having acknowledged the complex relationship between literature and folklore, Fontes declares his intention "to bring together several article-length studies in which, over the years, I have shown, especially from a Luso-Brazilian perspective, that a familiarity with modern folk tales, ballads and lyric poetry can often shed light on medieval and Renaissance Iberian literature" (5). This remarkable collection enables us to explore the relationship between folk narrative and literature, past and present, guided by a folklorist and a literary scholar whose erudition is augmented by an intuitive ability to sniff out hidden allusions and ephemeral metaphors. This thematically organized compilation is supported by an outstanding apparatus designed to lead us through centuries of folklore and literature. In Appendix A are transcriptions of field-collected folk tales (231-38). Appendix B lists eleven Sephardic Flérida ballads (239-46). In Appendixes C and D are seven ballad versions followed by footnotes to the chapters (255-74). A Bibliography with a Table ofAbbreviations guides us to any reference we might seek (275-3Ó7). An Index of Ballads, Popular Songs and Folk tales (309-11), an Index of Euphemisms and Metaphors, and an Index ofSubjects and Proper Names (313-27) serve to orient the reader. The first chapter, "Puputiriru: An Eastern Folktale from the Disciplina Clericalis" (9-26), deals with a folk joke told to Fontes by a Portuguese immigrant . The author begins his study with the ingenuous remark that upon hearing ajoke related in 1978 in Taunton, Massachusetts, he had no idea that it "boasted a truly ancient, venerable Oriental ancestry" (10). He then demonstrates the error of his thinking. For the reader who wants to experience two modern versions, he includes two transcriptions (Appendix A 231-38). We follow his path of discovery when he recognizes a connection between his twentieth-century tale and a version found in ajournai article dealing with an ancient antecedent to Pedro Alfonso's "The Three Dreams or Dream Bread" story. The creative leap he makes to link a story of three travelers and their competitive dream accounts to a tale of a priest, a captain and a soldier who compete with riddle answers for the favors of a prostitute is the beginning of a dazzling display of a talented scholar's intuitive process. The common La corónica 30.1 (Fall, 2001): 288-92 Reviews289 features of all these tales are a competition among three competitors representing different social classes, military ranks, national origin, or worthiness. In the next chapter, "On Alfonso X's 'Interrupted' Encounter with a soldadeira" (27-34) Fontes lifts the blinders that previous critics have applied to a frankly sexual cantiga de escarnho by re-interpreting medieval metaphors that have lost their transparency. A poem that had been merely considered mildly blasphemous is revealed to be an account of the soldadeira's orgasmic thoughts. She even likens her climactic moment to death "cuidei morrer", "com medo de morrer e con al non" a metaphor that is familiar in twentiethcentury Englishjargon - "the little death" (28). For those ofus who have been puzzled by passages that seemed senseless or inappropriate, Fontes offers a key, although not without solid support from citations from parallel works. Since the essays have a central theme, he picks up the thread of misunderstood metaphors in "Martínez de Toledo's 'Nightmare' and the Courtly and Oral Traditions" (35-53). He writes: "The realization that a number of apparently innocent words and expressions had hidden sexual connotations has played an important role in the study of early and traditional Hispanic poetry" (35). Critics have studied the archpriest's palinode, even denying his authorship, but Fontes argues convincingly that "the feigned palinode is in fact an epilogue" (48) in which comical language reveals that his dream attackers are sexual aggressors, and that the frightened...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 288-292
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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