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YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY EMOTION, SATIRE, AND A SENSE OF PLACE: TWO SPANISH RIVERS IN LOPE DE VEGA’S SONNETS MARK J. MASCIA IN the criticism on the poetry of Lope de Vega (1562-1635), relatively little formal study exists on the use of certain topographical elements found frequently in his work. Whereas scholarship has tended to focus on themes such as love, absence, and spirituality, especially with respect to his sonnets, less attention has been given to related geographical elements which are often intertwined with some of these same themes. One such element is Lope’s use of rivers. The purpose of this study is to examine the ways in which Lope makes use of certain Spanish rivers throughout two very divergent periods in his sonnet writing, and to show the development of how he uses these same rivers with respect to his overall sonnet development. This study will focus on two rivers: the Betis, or Guadalquivir, River in Seville, and the Manzanares River, running through Madrid. The two poetry collections from which this study will draw its examples are the Rimas humanas (1602) and the Rimas humanas y divinas del licenciado Tomé de Burguillos (1634). While an exhaustive study of Lope’s use of rivers (either in Spain or elsewhere in the world) would be impossible for the length of this study, these two rivers were chosen for their significance in Spain and, in particular, in Lope’s sonnets throughout approximately the last thirty years of his life. While the Guadalquivir is often seen as an icon of splendor and magnificence, the Manzanares receives a much more nuanced treatment. To some extent it is idealized, yet it more often than not receives a parodic treatment, especially as Lope ages and matures into the sonnet writer known to the public as Burguillos. More importantly, in Lope’s earlier sonnets of the Rimas, these rivers are used as loci for genuine emotional discharge, YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 267 often laden with Petrarchist conventions and focused primarily on love. However, with the Burguillos collection, rivers are seen as a vehicle for creating satire and to some extent for deconstructing earlier models of emotional representation. In sum, whereas these two rivers are to be taken more seriously by an earlier Lope compelled to make public his emotions, the later Lope consciously uses them to engage in more ludic poetic discourse. Before entering into an analysis of the specific sonnets of this study, it is necessary to provide some background for Lope’s poetic development between the Rimas and the Burguillos collection. In the Rimas, the reader is able to note a conscious attempt at assimilating Petrarchist conventions as Lope crafts his two hundred sonnets. The Baroque was only beginning to take shape and Lope’s contemporaries, along with him, held onto the older Renaissance conventions of courtly love. The Rimas collection shows the voice of a poet whose soul is captivated by a woman who does not always return his affection; very frequently, this female character is simply named Lucinda, understood by most scholars to represent one of Lope’s lovers, Micaela de Luján. However, by the time Lope published the Burguillos collection, he had matured from a follower of Petrarchan conventions to a far more satirical poet, bent in large part on deconstructing these same conventions. Baroque literature itself had seen considerable development in Spain as well, as Lope now had to confront what he perceived as the excesses of culteranismo. The alter ego of Burguillos enabled Lope to scorn and parody both culterano and Petrarchist conventions with impunity. Coupled with his literary success and rivalries is the simple fact that by this time, Lope simply endured more trials in life, including marriages, affairs, and problems with patronage. Therefore, by the time Lope published the Burguillos collection, a vein of satire and parodying past work became well-developed . This allows the treatment of these already different rivers to stand in contrast. Sonnet 8 of the Rimas (27) exemplifies Lope’s idealization of the river as a locus of emotional discharge. In this instance, it is not the Guadalquivir which is idealized but rather the Manzanares. For Lope, his city’s river provides the perfect locale for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2165-7599
Print ISSN
0035-7995
Pages
pp. 267-276
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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