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Reviewed by:
  • Sis poetes del regnat d'Alfons el Magnànim: Lluís de Requesens, Bernat Miquel, Martí Garcia, Rodrigo Dies, Lluís de Vila-Rasa, Francesc Sunyer
  • Albert Lloret
Jaume Torró , ed. Sis poetes del regnat d'Alfons el Magnànim: Lluís de Requesens, Bernat Miquel, Martí Garcia, Rodrigo Dies, Lluís de Vila-Rasa, Francesc Sunyer. Barcelona: Barcino, 2009. 315 pp.

In this book, Jaume Torró edits and studies the poetry of six minor fifteenth-century Catalan authors which had not been re-edited or reprinted since, at least, the 1940s. The recovery of a handful of lesser lights in the firmament of vernacular lyrical poetry is not, however, this volume's main merit. Along with two earlier seminal articles by Torró himself—"Una cort a Barcelona per a la literatura del segle xv" [2001] and "Ausiàs March, falconer d'Alfons el Magnànim" [2005]—, this book crucially contributes to rewriting the socio-historical tenets of the Catalan literature produced during the 1400s.

The backbone of Torró's publications is a working hypothesis that can now be perceived as a premise; namely, that the center of inspiration, production, and consumption of most fifteenth-century Catalan literature should be a royal court. This is the case for most contemporary vernacular traditions, but this idea originally entailed two, only apparently, problematic consequences. First, Catalonia and Valencia were lacking a stable royal court at the time when the works of Joanot Martorell, Ausiàs March, Joan Roís de Corella, Pere Torroella, and Martí Garcia would have been conceived, written, recited, copied, and read near or in a courtly setting. Second, the courts to which [End Page 433] those authors were to be linked could only be those of the Trastámaras, which were of Castilian descent. Thanks to Torró's studies over the last decade, most fifteenth-century Catalan literature can now be legitimately understood within the cultural dynamics of the itinerant Trastámara courts. But before this became a new paradigm, Torró had to locate the authors that populated those courtly scenes, be it Ausiàs March, falconier in the court of Alphonse the Magnanimous, or be it Joanot Martorell, master carver in the court of the Prince of Viana. Torró's research is grounded on extensive archival research. Sis poetes, for instance, quotes documents housed in eleven different archives within the territories that once belonged to the Crown of Aragon and the Kingdom of Navarre.

Torró's archival research has managed to document the lives of the poets studied in this edition. As a result, a wider range of Catalan authors has appeared even more closely related to the court of Alphonse the Magnanimous. Lluís de Requesens was the king's chamberlain. Rodrigo Dies was one of the king's ushers of arms and a corsair. Bernat Miquel was a knight and a jurist. Martí Garcia may have also been one of the king's carvers, and Mossèn [Francesc] Sunyer was another of the king's ushers of arms, and the Master of Messina's mint. Sunyer, who participated in the conquest of Naples and subsequently lived in the Neapolitan Kingdom, is now a minor poet who, nonetheless, bears witness to a Neapolitan node of Catalan literary production. Moreover, the courts of the Infantes of Aragon have also emerged as fruitful literary sites. They were attended by poets like Lluís de Vila-rasa (page of Henry of Aragon and cup-bearer of John of Navarre) and perhaps also by Rodrigo Dies, Joan de Castellví, and Francesc de Mèscua. Verses by the former two authors were quoted in the poem Tant mon voler s'és dat a amors by Pere Torroella—the major active poet in the courts of Charles Prince of Viana and John of Navarre.

Torró's master tool is archival research, but his methods encompass codicology and source studies as well. Extant contemporary manuscripts unveil that there were at least three major poets in the Aragonese courts. Two of them wrote in Catalan and one in Castilian: Ausiàs March (ca 1400-1459), Pere Torroella (1420-1492), and Juan de Mena (1411-1456). Torró's study of poet Martí Garcia...


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