Las “Anotaciones” de Fernando de Herrera: Doce estudios ed. by Begoña López Bueno (review)
- Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 7, Number 1, 2001
- pp. 133-138
- View Citation
- Additional Information
R E V I E W S Lopez Bueno, Begofia, ed. Las "Anotaciones" de Fernando de Herrera: Doce estudios. TV Encuentro International sobre Poesfa del Siglo de Oro. Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla, 1997.296 pp. ISBN 84-472-0404-9 Reading through this excellent collection of essays, touching on almost every significant aspect of Herrera's Anotaciones, is equivalent to taking a high-powered seminar on the most maddening and provocative of the Garcilaso commentaries, reminding us what an extraordinary and complicated book it is. For its background information, its insightful criticism , and its bibliography, this collection should become the startingpoint for any new research project into Herrera. This book begins with a set of essays that address the Anotaciones as a whole. Carmen Codoner places Herrera's book in the context of a valuable historical reflection on the commentary as a genre, distinguishing between the exegetical quality of commentary, structured by the linguistic sequence of the source text, and the interpretative nature of modern, thesis-driven criticism, structured by the requirements of its own argument . The Middle Ages inherited two commentary traditions from late antiquity: one, the philological accessus, focused on grammar,'lexicon, and realia, information necessary to make classical texts understandable; while the other, hermeneutic, sought to impose allegorical and other spiritual meanings on the source texts. To these functions the Renaissance added textual emendation, with a concomitant shift from the text as a source of learning to the commentator who imposes his erudition on a corrupted text. Although this new self-insertion on the part of the commentator reaches a high-water mark when Herrera introduces his own poems to illustrate a point about Garcilaso, Codoner nonetheless places Herrera's procedure at the juncture of these philological, hermeneutic, and textual practices. In the next essay, Bienvenido Morros again takes up the Medievalaccessus , contrasting Herrera's practice with the traditional introduction to a classic author. He shows how some of Herrera's comments are taken from specific authors, such as Lorenzo de Medici on love, or Cicero on certain philosophical issues, while in other cases Herrera draws from an intermediary source that itself lists the classical authors. Much is indeed taken from Scaliger, as Herrera's earliest critics charged, but even this is intermixed with other sources who wrote about the same issues, and who are more or less freely translated. Where critics have been obsessed with the issue of plagiarism, Morros notes that Herrera follows standard humanist practice, and that the true originality of theAnotaciones lies in "la concurrencia en un mismo lugar de numerosisimas fuentes, amalgamadas habilmente dentro de una prosa fluida" (58). The use of CALIOPE Vol. 7, No. 1 (2001): pages 133-152 134 «S REVIEWS sources thus recalls Herrera's own emphasis on translation as a way of enriching the language by appropriating concepts from their original Latin or Italian context and applying them to Spanish. The essay concludes with a 30-page double-column comparison of Herrera's text and some of its sources. There follows one of the most important essays in the collection, Juan Montero's analysis of Herrera's intended readership. While Medina's preface criticized earlier editions (including,by implication, El Brocense's) by emphasizing Herrera's textual emendations, Herrera in his own brief prologue ignores El Brocense and casts himself as a pioneer. Indeed, Herrera's commentary differs in the number of notes and their arrangement (each poem followed by its notes), and in its ampler interests, closer to poetics and to defenses of the language. Herrera himself emphasizes his contributions to the vernacular, his utility to the unlearned, and his poetic theory. Much of the Anotaciones is indeed quite alien to the neoAristotelian poetic theory of the Renaissance, and although Herrera claims he will "declare" the meaning of the poems, traditional exegesis plays a very minor part. Thus, as Montero points out, "A los realmente doctos y peritos en el arte poetica (una infima minoria, ajuicio de Herrera) el libra no les ofrece, otra cosa que el acrecentamiento de la lengua espanola y la consagracion de Garcilaso como un clasico. Los menos doctos, en cambio, habian de encontrar en el una especie de silva de varia...