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360ReviewsLa corónica 31.2, 2003 Orduna, Germán, Hugo O. Bizzarri, et al. Estudios sobre la variación textual. Prosa castellana de los siglos XIII a XVI. Incipit 6. BuenosAires: SECRIT, 2001. 213 pp. ISBN: 987-99735-6-9 The goal of this collection of ten essays, as stated in its brief, collectively -authored introduction, is to deal -in varying ways- with the common question of "la variación lingüística y textual del discurso narrativo en la prosa histórica y fìccional castellana durante los siglos XIII a XVI" (i). Textual variation is an inherently broad concept that has been framed within philological research as the discursive idiosyncrasies and patterns found within written texts over time, especially insofar as these connect to other modes of communicative practice, such as verbal discourse. Given the expansive scope of the question of textual variation, one that has already taken Fernando Gómez Redondo's Historia de la prosa castellana medieval into three thick volumes with a fourth in preparation, it would in fact seem nearly impossible to deal with it in any comprehensive way within a single collection of essays. The authors of Estudios sobre la variación textual are well aware of this problem, and have chosen to focus their attention on specific textual examples from the roughly three-century period that separates Alfonso el Sabio from Garcí Rodríguez de Montalvo, offering a series of loosely related case studies rather than a comprehensive analysis of diachronic change within Castilian prose. Besides focusing on specific textual cases of variation, the authors of Estudios sobre ?a variación textual also offer a relatively precise theoretical frame for their analyses. They accomplish this by delimiting three "levels" of prose narrative composition (linguistic, prosodico-rhythmic and structural ), which are in turn shot through by a fourth, "ideological" level: En la primera etapa de esta investigación se alcanzó una formulación básica del objeto de estudio a través de la delimitación de tres niveles de realización del discurso narrativo en prosa: un nivel lingüístico, al que pertenecen una morfosintaxis, un léxico y una fraseología propias de cada forma discursiva; un nivel prosódico-rítmico, donde encontramos un conjunto de pautas organizadoras del discurso en tanto prosa; un nivel de estructuración narrativa, donde operan los elementos estructurales del relato (narrador, punto de vista, personaje, secuencia narrativa, dimensión espacio-temporal) y donde los universos narrativos se configuran según particulares parámetros de motivación y verosimilitud. A estos tres niveles, eme dan cuenta La corónica 31.2 (Spring, 2003): 360-65 Reviews361 de la dimensión formal del discurso, se agrega un nivel que llamamos genéricamente ideológico (de acuerdo con una concepción positiva de ideología como sistema cultural y como producción) y que abarca lo doctrinal, lo filosérfico y el imaginario social, nivel que incide (y se manifiesta) en los tres niveles anteriores, (i) Such a theoretical approach, which parses out features of morpho-syntax, lexicon, and phraseology specific to established discursive genres (themselves theoretical constructs) from those related to prosody and narrative structure, and then relates all of these to broadly defined "ideological" phenomena , is worthy of consideration in itself. It should be noted that the authors' decision to divide the analysis of Castilian prose from the thirteenth through the sixteenth centuries into three formal "levels" that are each shaped by ideological (i.e., "doctrinal", "philosophical" and "social") concerns reflects a bold, innovative, and not necessarily unproblematic approach to the subject of textual variation. The proposed intersection of ideology and the different "levels" of narrative prose discourse is of particular interest, in that the authors begin by defining ideology in strongly ideational, structuralist terms, as a cultural system and cultural production. Despite a tradition of similarly structuralist approaches to ideology within social sciences and linguistic research, there are serious difficulties that come with such a framing. For example, when conceived of by investigators as a cultural system (in most cases analogous to Saussure's linguistic system, or langue), ideology is above all expected to manifest itself in a coherent manner . With respect to language use...


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