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ON ROHLAND DE LANGBEHN'S "UNA LANZA POR EL GÈNERO SENTIMENTAL..." Dr. Vera Castro Lingl Roggenburg, Germany I agree with Regula Rohland de Langbehn about the generic integrity of sentimental romance. However, I must start by denying her assertion that "todo el mundo parece estar de acuerdo acerca del problema de que Ia 'novela sentimental' no existe (más) o que es un 'fantasma'..." (2002: 137). Many agree with her, but are nonetheless aware that, as Deyermond states: Sentimental romance is, ofcourse -like almost all genres- fuzzy at the edges: works that appear in one scholar's list are absent from another's ...Yet fifteen or more of the romances included by Whinnom form a coherent and conscious generic grouping ... To say that is not to deny the need for redefinition of this or any other genre as new information and new ideas emerge. (2000: 89) Deyermond's words are extremely important, not only because they express my viewpoint, but also because they underline two very important points which I shall discuss here in greater detail. First, perhaps not all these works, but the great majority could be said to be generically consistent. Second, our work on the generic status of the sentimental romances is not concluded. We have not, I hope, exhausted all possible ways to approach these works and, therefore, should not kill the child at so tender an age (Gwara 1997 and Weissberger 2000).1 1 Weissberger (2000) starts her article by asserting that "The word is out: the sentimental romance is dead..." (205). Later she says that "This is not the place to give a comLa corónica 31.2 (Spring, 2003): 250-55 The, Genre of the "Sentimental Romance": Responses251 I shall approach the generic problem of the sentimental genre in two rounds. First, I shall address the question of generic coherence or integrity of the group. Then I shall add my views to the discussion of the terminological problem; that is to say, "¿ficción o novela?". First round: to properly address the generic problem of the sentimental romances we have to examine closely Rohland de Langbehn's recent contribution (1999); that is not to say that I agree totally with her views, but as she correctly observes, they far from being "unas uvas muy acidas" (2002: 137). This is not the place to state in detail my views on her book. Rather, I want to discuss one major element which I see as its major weakness, since Rohland de Langbehn has asked to be told "dónde están los puntos débiles" (2002: 137) of her very sound study on the generic unity of the sentimental romances. The following discussion will, as I hope, give support to understanding their generic integrity.2 Rohland de Langbehn underestimates the importance of Siervo libre de amor and Sátira de infelice efelice vida in the constitution of the genre, placing them together as a distinctive group. She describes Siervo as not having a tragic ending - one of the unifying features of the sentimental romances as Rohland de Langbehn asserts (1999, and reinforced in 2002: 139)- and Sátira as not going beyond the "situación inicial" (1999: 52). I see both assertions as problematic because it is difficult to see any generic unity if the founding works of the genre consist of an exception. The problem is not insoluble, however. In the case of Siervo the problem is interpretative. Rohland de Langbehn (1999: 63-64, 75) says that Siervo (here referring to the frame story) does not have a tragic ending because the action and "la consiguiente contrición del amante, se llega a una evaluación moralmente positiva ... ya que sabemos que el yo narrador seguirá la 'agra y angosta senda' en compañía de la discreción" (1999: 63, 75). She also denies the tragic píete account of the failed effort to define the genre and uphold its integrity" (206). She follows with one example and two short footnotes which are intended to suffice as a sound explanation and make her assertion conclusive. I think ifshe wants to bury the child, she will need to offer us a bit more evidence...


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