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Reviews Cortijo Ocaña, Antonio, Giorgio Perissinotto, and Harvey L. Sharrer, eds. Estudios galegos medievais. Studia Hispánica Californiana 1. Santa Barbara : Centro de Estudios Galegos/Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, University of California, Santa Barbara, 2001. 186 pp. ISBN 0-9710909-0-4. This is the inaugural volume of the Studia Hispánica Californiana, a publication series of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese of the University of California, Santa Barbara. Estudios galegos medievais brings together seven essays that explore different aspects of Galicia's medieval literary and linguistic heritage. All of the essays except one were presented as papers at the Xornadas de Estudios Galegos Medievais conference held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, from April 30-May 1, 1998. According to introductory comments made by Víctor Fuentes and Giorgio Perissinotto, the new publication series will be constituted of"obras monográficas dedicadas ós diversos aspectos da literatura e da lingüística no eido dos estudios hispánicos" (9). Although the present volume is not monographic, it nonetheless is an auspicious beginning, and the papers collected here (redacted in Galician, Castilian and English) represent an array of critical approaches and topics. "A lingua medieval e a sua importancia na elaboración do galego moderno" by Francisco Fernández Rei studies medieval archaisms in the development of the Galician language (especially since the Rexurdimento of the nineteenth century) as attested in a selection of mostly literary texts. Fernández Rei notes that "[a] lingua galega, despois de interromperse o seu cultivo no see. XV, reemerxeu a comezos do see. XIX, e especialmente desde mediados do pasado século está nun proceso de elaboración, de cultivo como lingua románica autónoma" (18). After observing that the presence of medieval Galician is almost non-existent in texts of the nineteenth century (such as the work of Rosalia de Castro), the author enumerates archaisms found in turn-of-the-century and contemporary sources which provide the bulk of the data for this study. The majority of these data are presented in frequency lists, one each for orthographic, morphological and lexical phenomena . This study is philology in the traditional sense, clearly of interest to historical linguists. Yet for the non-specialist reader (and perhaps even La corónica 31.1 (Fall, 2002): 165-68 166ReviewsLa corónica 31.1, 2002 for the specialist), a rationale justifying the selection of texts from which the data were culled would have been helpful. In "Some Problems of Gender and Genre in the Medieval Cantigas" , Alan Deyermond summarizes a number of issues that have informed the editing, interpretation, and reception of Galician-Portuguese lyric, such as the relationship of the parallelistic cantigas de amigo to other medieval poetry supposedly composed by women, the question of gender (here defined loosely as either "woman's song" or "woman's-voice lyrics"), and the tripartite scheme of classification (cantigas de amigo, cantigas de amor and cantigas de escandio e mal dizer) set forth in the fragment of the Arte de trovar of the Cancioneiro da Biblioteca Nacional. Deyermond questions the critical plausibility of some recent conclusions drawn by feminist scholars of the cantigas de amigo who argue that men writing in a woman's voice is either an ideological appropriation of woman's voice or a male invention premised on wishfulfillment or a fear of women. The resistance to these conclusions, it seems, stems from an unproblematic understanding of "gender". While the validity of the critical debate on this point is not in question, there does at least need to be an acknowledgment of the complexity of issues that reading "gendered" poetry presents to the critic as well as to the nature of the voice we hear transmitted through the texts (what are the implications and presuppositions , for instance, of the distinction between "woman's song [and] man's text" [45]?). This is especially necessary given the amount of scholarly writing on gender in recent years which establish it as a literary or cultural construct. Deyermond concludes his study by proposing a modification to the generic classification of the cantigas based on "the history of transmission and reception" (52) that takes into account what he argues...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 165-168
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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