Images in Mind: Lovesickness, Spanish Sentimental Fiction & Don Quijote by Robert Folger
- Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 9, Number 2, 2003
- pp. 113-116
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- Additional Information
Reseñas D 113 warrant political confidences or intellectual discussion,” 33). To be sure, the sixth Duke of Sessa, like many aristocrats, was no stranger to Madrid’s demi-monde and interpreted his marriage vows liberally. But he headed a family noted for its innovative patronage of poets and political theorists. As Lope himself notes in letters, the third duke attained public attention as the patron—and onetime owner—of the great poet of African origin, Juan Latino. While ambassador to Rome in the late sixteenth century, Sessa’s father, the fifth duke, corresponded with Fray Luis de León and the most important political theorist of Catholic Europe, Giovanni Botero. This family’s patronage patterns probably attracted Lope to Sessa, given the playwright’s early interest in connecting literary works with political theory. Sessa family papers suggest, moreover, that Lope’s patron was himself a hard-nosed administrator of family wealth and political prestige. In terms of literary history, this patron showed uncanny literary foresight in collecting Lope’s plays at a very early date. By comparison, the founder of Oxford’s Bodleian library admonished his chief book collector in 1611 not to include plays, despite the fame of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Meanwhile, Sessa was gathering Lope’s works, thus forming the collection that became the source of the authorized Partes that began to appear in 1617. That Sessa bet on the wrong court faction to the detriment of Lope’s own ambitions only makes the duke a typical seventeenth-century courtier. For every Lerma and Olivares, there were scores of disenchanted noblemen who retired to country estates or wrote cranky arbitrios. This more nuanced interpretation of Lope’s patron would actually strengthen the book’s underlying thesis—that his political dramas bring to life the discrepancies between the power that comes from birthright and the actions that stem from individual motives. Lyric and epic poetry are crucial vantage points for further exploration of this issue. McKendrick’s book will be an indispensable guide for such inquiries. Elizabeth Wright University of Georgia Folger, Robert. Images in Mind: Lovesickness, Spanish Sentimental Fiction & Don Quijote. North Carolina Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures 274. Chapel Hill, NC: U of North Carolina P, 2002. 272 pp. PB. ISBN:0-8078-9278-5. Generally speaking, lovesickness (amor hereos), once a common medieval literary theme, has not been a popular topic for the readercentered critical movements that emerged in the 1970s and thereafter, 114 Reviews D most probably because the pre-Renaissance notion of romantic love differed so radically from our modern understanding. The sentimental romances of the fifteenth century tended to present a clear cause-andeffect relationship between amor hereos and the complicated romantic episodes that were narrated therein. With the present volume, Robert Folger offers an insightful investigation of the medical phenomenon of lovesickness, particularly as that condition is represented in a variety of medieval romances and then, as a parody, in certain episodes of Don Quijote. In his first chapter, Folger discusses the history of morbid love in the medical and literary worlds. Although the love-as-sickness theme eventually fell into oblivion in the eighteenth century with the emergence of the notion of romantic love, Folger notes that in earlier times the topic of passionate feelings and their medical consequences had been considered a legitimate medical subject, beginning with the writings of Galen (ca. 130-200), later in the studies of several Byzantine physicians, and finally in Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theologica, where it is taken to imply a failure of the “intellectual” memory (48). Folger carries his study into the early modern period, where he notes that by the late fifteenth century, romantic love had somehow become associated with dangerous elements like imagination and magic (i.e., witchcraft). Consequently, important sectors of Christian society began to consider romantic love both morally and ethically unacceptable and poets were therefore encouraged to depict, in graphic detail, the disastrous consequences that unbridled passion would bring. Folger’s second chapter examines the first generation of sentimental fiction to be published on the Iberian Peninsula. In Folger’s discussion of these works, much space is dedicated to plot summary, but this does not prevent...