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Reviewed by:
  • Homenaxe a Diego Catalán ed. by Villaverde Amieva, Juan Carlos
  • Paul B. Nelson
Villaverde Amieva, Juan Carlos, ed. Homenaxe a Diego Catalán. Uviéu (Oviedo): Universidá d’Uviéu, 2010. 272 pp. ISBN: 978-84-8053-598-4. 35€

Diego Catalán passed away on April 9, 2008. His work, without a doubt, has been a source of elucidation and inspiration for generations of Hispanists, particularly those in medieval studies. In his final years, Catalán was working closely with the Seminariu de Filoloxía Asturiana of the University of Oviedo, a natural collaboration begun thanks to his interest in the language, the epic and romance traditions, and the historiography of Asturias. Proof of this collaboration’s success were a number of intellectually productive events, such as the organization of the 2006 congress titled Cien años de Filoloxía Asturiana, held in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Ramón Menéndez Pidal’s El dialecto leonés (Menéndez Pidal was Catalan’s maternal grandfather, much of whose work Catalán continued), the publication of the third volume of the Silva Asturiana, and the editing of three volumes of the Revista de Filoloxía Asturiana (vols. 6-8) dedicated to several aspects of medieval Asturian historiography.

Likewise thanks to this collaboration, a highly deserved and very personal posthumous homage to Diego Catalán has been put together as an exerpta of the Revista de Filoloxía Asturiana by Juan Carlos Villaverde Amieva of the University of Oviedo. This extra volume succeeds in tying together Catalán’s studies, both past and current at the time of his passing (studies dedicated to the linguistics, literature –especially the epic and the romancero– and historiography of the Iberian Peninsula). It unites as well the geographic areas in which he carried out many of his academic activities by offering contributions from colleagues who studied under him or who interacted with him in Madrid (often at the Olivar de Chamartín, bequeathed to him by Menéndez Pidal); a contribution from his North American colleague, the late Samuel Armistead (Catalán held visiting professorships at the Universities of California at Berkeley and San Diego and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison); and contributions from his colleagues at the Universitá d’Uviéu, with whom Catalán was working in his final years.

The homage consists of eight essays, with an introductory note (in bable) and an extensive concluding bibliography of Catalán’s works (217-72), both contributed by the volume’s editor. With the exception of Inés Fernández-Ordóñez’s very personal biography of Catalán, titled “Entre la Filología y la Historia. Memoria de Diego Catalán Menéndez-Pidal (1928-2008)”, Samuel Armistead’s essay on his association with Catalán and Catalán’s influence on scholars in the United [End Page 304] States, and José Manuel Pedrosa’s heartfelt tribute titled “Diego Catalán en la memoria”, the essays in this collection, as their titles suggest, provide a summing up and evaluation of Catalán’s contributions to the fields of Iberian linguistics, literature, and historiography. María Teresa Echenique Elizondo writes on Catalán’s mark on historical linguistics in Spanish studies (“La impronta de la obra de Diego Catalán en la lingüística iberorrománica”). Fernando Álvarez-Balbuena García, in his “Diego Catalán y la dialectoloxía asturllionesa”, discusses (in bable) Catalán’s contributions to studies on Astur-Leonese dialectology. Jesús Antonio Cid offers perhaps the most critically evaluative essay in his “Diego Catalán. De los campos del Romancero al Olivar de Chamartín” in which he traces Catalán’s various compilings of romances, civilly dissenting with Catalán at times, but always recognizing and praising Catalán’s extraordinary and valuable contributions to romancero studies. Jesús Suárez López, in his essay titled “La saga de los Pidal y el Romancero asturiano en el ‘testamento romancístico’ de Diego Catalán”, gives an impressive history of the process of collecting romances and preserving this data during the Civil War years, and then of the resumption of ballad...


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