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WHAT'S IN A NAME? Louise M. Haywood University ofCambridge The impact, so shortly after its date of publication, of Regula Rohland de Langbehn's La unidad genérica de la novela sentimental española de los siglos XVy XVI (1999) is perhaps bestjudged by the four reviews it has received to date, ranging from E. Michael Gerli's insistence on the unstable, protean nature of the genre (2002) to Oscar Martin's 'no cabe duda de que nos encontramos con una obra fundamental sobre este género' (2001, 377; see also Higashi 2000 & Walde Moheno 2000). In her 'Una lanza por el género sentimental... ¿ficción o novela?' (2002), she laments the lack of response she perceives her work to have elicited, overlooking the frequency with which the articles (1986, 1989a, 1989b) forming the book's base have been discussed , and the fact that fundamental aspects of her analyses appear to have been accepted; in particular, the genre's three-stage development . She argues that there is a tendency among critics, particularly those whose work appears in La coránica's 2000 Critical Cluster on the genre, such as Antonio Cortijo Ocaña, Alan Deyermond and Barbara F. Weissberger, to opt for a superordinate term, such as ficción or romance , to permit investigation beyond the borders of what Rohland de Langbehn herself sees as its frontiers. Although not named in her 'Lanza', I am amongst those whose work appears in that cluster, and although I do not cite her there - I count my thinking, and indeed my publications, on the genre as having been shaped by those three articles . It is on that basis I reply to her. There are four main aspects to Rohland de Langbehn's argument. First, the genre should not be referred to asficción sentimental due to the superordinate nature of the term ficción. Second, that it is most closely aligned with the Italian novella, including the works ofGiovanni Boccaccio. Third, that it cannot be regarded as a subgenre of medieval romance. Fourth, that it is, instead, a genre in its own right, and La corónica 31.2 (Spring, 2003): 282-91 The Genre of the "Sentimental Romance": Responses283 with a unique set of generic conventions operating at different textual levels, and whose most significant features are linked frame and exemplary narratives, the use of techniques of duplication and gemination, and characteristicyafoí/a types, which she defines as a narrative ofevents through a specific time sequence with an emphasis on motivation and causation. I shall address each of these questions in turn. Superordinate or hyponym? As Keith Whinnom (1982) has shown, medieval Castilian nomenclature describing many of the narratives listed in his Spanish Sentimental Romance (1983) is extremely unstable and ranges from the high frequency of superordinate terms like obra (7 examples) and escritura (5 examples) to the single appearance of the hyponym novella following the 'Estoria de dos amadores' inJuan Rodríguez del Padrón's Siervo libre de amor. This is not in itself an argument in favour of using a superordinate term to describe the genre, particularly one,ficción, which is used only three times (Whinnom 1994, 210-11), including in Siervo, but it does raise the issue of whether it is more useful for us to use superordinate terms over hyponyms. In addition it points to the fact that generic identity was not recognised or expressed explicitly or theoretically. Genus and its species Matrices of generic affiliation and association -perhaps better viewed as the tradition in which the authors worked- have, of course, been established through the study of intertextuality, particularly direct reference and allusion, textual parallels, and pastiche but such study will not resolve the debate about nomenclature unless from this basis an overwhelming case can be made either for retaining one of the forms currently in use or for adopting new terminology. The analogy with the scientific classification of living organisms, particularly flora, is instructive here. The Linnean system of botanical names attributes a genus name and a species epithet to members of plant families in order to avoid the confusion arising from the use of common names, which -when they exist at all...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 282-291
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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