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SENTIMENTAL ROMANCE, THE PROBLEM OF GENRE, AND REGULA ROHLAND DE LANGBEHN'S "LANZA" Alan Deyermond Queen Mary, University of London The first words of Regula Rohland de Langbehn's "Lanza" (2002) call explicitly -and rightly so- for a reply from Antonio Cortijo Ocaña and Barbara F. Weissberger, whose contributions to thisjournal's Critical Cluster of Fall 2000 challenge the view of sentimental romance as a genre. And a reply from me is implicitly called for by Rohland de Langbehn's comments on the generic consequences of studying possible sentimental romances before 1440 and/or in other languages (138), since I have been perhaps the most active in this area (Deyermond 1986, 1989, 1997, and 2000). Rohland de Langbehn's evident indignation is directed at four perceived defects of recent sentimental romance scholarship, especially as reflected in the 2000 Critical Cluster: 1 . That her book, La unidad genérica de la novela sentimental española de los siglos xv y xvi, published in 1999, has been neglected (137). 2.That the use of"ficción" instead of"novela" represents "una diferencia de fondo" (138). 3.That the generic unity of sentimental romance is now generally denied (138-40). 4.That expansion ofthe corpus undermines the generic status of sentimental romance (138). La corónica 31.2 (Spring, 2003): 266-73 The Genre of the "Sentimental Romance": Responses267 While I agree with Rohland de Langbehn about the existence and characteristics of this genre, I believe that each of these four perceptions is mistaken, either wholly or in part. First, La unidad genérica has not been neglected. It is true that only three of the eleven authors in the Critical Cluster cite it (Antonio Cortijo Ocaña, Louise M. Haywood, and myself), but this is hardly surprising when so little time elapsed between its publication and the writing of the Cluster articles. I have no doubt that it would be frequently cited and discussed in a collection of sentimental romance articles written this year; it has already been recognized as a work of fundamental importance. It is enough to quote from two reviews. Lillian von der Walde Moheno, writing in the issue of this journal that contains the Cluster, says that it "representa el más importante estudio sobre la determinación de los elementos constitutivos de la 'novela sentimental', que posibilitan que este sintagma, propiamente, revele un género literario" (2000: 274), and she concludes that this "es un libro imprescindible para todo aquel que se dedique al estudio del género" (278). Óscar Martín concurs: "pocas voces hay tan autorizadas como la de Rohland de Langbehn; la breve pero valiosísima obra de la que aquí tratamos no hace sino confirmar esta auctoritas" (2001: 376), and "No cabe duda de que nos encontramos con una obra fundamental sobre este género" (377).' And this is only part of the evidence for Rohland de Langbehn's standing among sentimental-romance scholars . The 2000 Cluster is one of three recent collections of articles on the subject, the others being Studies on the Spanish Sentimental Romance, edited by Joseph J. Gwara and E. Michael Gerii (1997), and Laficción sentimental: hablar de amor, edited by Carmen Parrilla (2001); Rohland de Langbehn is one of the only two scholars to have an article in all three collections.2 If this is neglect, many scholars would pay good money to be so neglected. 1 I cannot pretend to impartiality here. La unidadgenérica was published in the series ofwhich I am General Editor, and, as its author may recall, I took some care to secure it for the series. I believe it to be a book ofexceptional quality and importance, one of the very best that we have published, and I am happy that reviewers agree. 2 The other is Louise Haywood. It is true that I appear in all three collections, but in Gwara & Gerii my presence is secondary, as editor of a posthumous article by Keith Whinnom. This is a good illustration ofBarbara Weissberger's statement that "sentimental romance studies is the first and only area ofhispanomedievalism in which female scholars predominate" (2000: 214), especially when we remember that ofthe five scholars...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 266-273
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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