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DISPUTE PROCESSING IN THE POEMA DE FERNÁN GONZÁLEZ Michael P. McGlynn Wichita State University The thirteenth-century Poema de Fernán González (PFG) provides useful edmographic information about dispute processing in medieval Spain. Dispute processing is the phrase from anthropology which refers to the legal procedures, bodi official and unofficial, involved in the identification and settlement ofconflicts.1 This article offers a typology of dispute processing in the PFG in the light of extra-literary legal sources (law codes), and an analysis of two disputes that constitute major episodes in die poem. The historical context of the Poema de Fernán González and its modes of dispute processing provide insights into the nature of epic. The deployment of legal discourse as epic discoursebecomes apparent, provided one takes into account the mode of representation of epic poetry and the ideology of the Arlantine poet.2 We know that the author of the PFG lived in a world both oral and literate. The quotidian reality ofmost medieval scribes or authors was 1 The PFG is the story ofthe first count ofCastilla; the surviving cuaderna vía text is widely held to be derived from an early Castilian epic cycle. A starting point for anyone interested in dispute processing is Max Gluckman's extensive list ofwritings, such as The JudicialProcessAmongthe Bartose ofNorthern Rhodesia, and seminal work by K.N. Llewellyn and E.A. Hoebel, The Cheyenne Way. - There is a fair amount written about the ideological charge ofthe PFG. Lawrence Richwrites about how the ideology concomitantwith chronistic discourse and the ideology concomitant with poetic discourse shape the legend ofFernán González. J.P. Keller ("The Hunt and Prophecy Episode") writes about how the interest ofthe monastery San Pedro de Arlanza to reclaim the legend shapes the poem. Antonio Manuel Garrido Moraga challenges the notion that the PEG was written by a monk and finds its ideology more consistent with that ofthe court ofAlfonso X (37-38). La corónica 35.1 (Fall, 2006): 191-208 192Michael P. McGlynnLa corónica 35.1, 2006 certainly somewhere between oral and literate.3 The narrator also tells us as much directly: he mentions his literary sources ("segund nos lo leemos, e diz lo la benda", stanza 688a), yet deploys die traditional oral register associated widi thejuglaría ("contar vos he primero [en] commo la perdieron / nuestros antecesores", stanza 3ab). It has long been argued that the poet's sources are both written and oral. Alan Deyermond and Margaret Chaplin, Thomas Montgomery, and Beverly West write about the role of folk motifs and orality in the PFG. Juan Bautista Avalle-Arce and Alsono Zamora Vicente (in his edition of the PFG, xxiii-xxv) write about the relation of the PFG to a hypothetical epic oral tradition. The point is that the PFG is neither purely literate nor primarily oral. In a parallel fashion, law in the PFG corresponds to a mix-culture that is neither that of written Latin law code nor customary (oral) law.4 The anthropology oflaw is useful for identifying juridical practices, lexemes (in this case legal words or phrases), and cases which do not necessarily appear on the radar of traditional jurisprudential studies - all of which conceive of law in very discrete terms and do not take account of die surrounding cultural processes and praxis. The entire PFG may be read as an allegorical disquisition on dispute processing. I will focus mostly on the literal depiction of dispute processing in die poem, scenes in which characters engage in legal procedures to resolve conflicts. We can understand the ideological context ofthese disputes ifwe briefly consider the allegorical dimension of the poem. An allegorical or macro-reading of the poem is this: the poem, as discourse, promotes a certain kind of authority, which is the basis for official law. It creates reifications of good and bad, namely Christian and Muslim, loyal soldier and sinner, God and Devil.5 It also creates a hero and an anti-hero: Fernán González and Almanzor, who epitomize and encapsulate the former categories in the epic idiom by reducing them to symbolic system ofthe epic genre. In this description° Mark Amodio, working within...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 191-208
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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