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Reviewed by:
  • Romances de senectud by Lope de Vega
  • Mark J. Mascia
Lope de Vega.
Romances de senectud. Edición de Antonio Sánchez Jiménez.
CÁTEDRA, 2018. 398 PP.

THE LYRIC POETRY OF LOPE DE VEGA certainly has had no shortage of critical editions throughout the years. However, Antonio Sánchez Jiménez is the first scholar to offer a single, cohesive volume with all of Lope’s known late romances compiled from different collections and numerous unpublished manuscripts. The edition will be an asset for scholars and students of Lope as well as of Golden Age poetry more generally. Sánchez Jiménez offers readers not only a greater understanding of the author’s poetic production in his later years but also a more nuanced portrait of the older man and his emotional character. This, to my mind, is one of the volume’s more salient contributions: an appreciation of Lope as an artist and a person.

The edition begins with a lengthy, well-organized introduction. An opening section, entitled “El último Lope y el romancero,” briefly explains Lope’s contributions to the development of the romancero nuevo by drawing on events occurring in his life as well as his relationship to the literary world. In addition to elucidating reasons for writing, the section sheds light on Lope’s late romances in comparison to those he wrote in his youth or in middle age. The editor then provides a detailed introduction to the romances found in four landmark texts from Lope’s later years: the Novelas a Marcia Leonarda (La Filomena and La Circe, 1621 and 1624), La Dorotea (1632), Rimas de Tomé de Burguillos (1634), and autograph manuscripts (códices autógrafos, ca. 1626– 35). The latter category refers to unpublished romances from this late period. Following these sections is a brief explanation of how the editor organizes his edition, including his system of ordering poems (which start at 74, to follow the 73 romances combined from the Romances de juventud and madurez), the textual variants for each collection contained herein, orthographic changes, and a list of abbreviations. Sánchez Jiménez finishes the introduction with a list of sources and then an extensive bibliography integrating both primary and secondary sources. Following this introductory material is the critical edition itself of sixty romances in total, which are followed by the editor’s acknowledgments, an index of poems by their number in sequence, an [End Page 185] alphabetical index of poems by their first line, and a very brief list of notes, key words, and concepts from all romances herein. Following standard practices for scholarly editions in the field, the orthography is modernized. Annotations provide useful orientation for scholars working on the romances.

In contextualizing Lope’s later works in the years of senectud (ca. 1621 to 1635), the editor follows the coinage from Juan Manuel Rozas (14). It is also a period marked by disappointments in Lope’s life, notably his failure to attain the long-desired post of cronista real. The editor wisely notes that studies on Lope generally have not focused on these poems from his later years, heavily tinged with melancholy and often with certain moral or aesthetic statements. For the romances from the Novelas a Marcia Leonarda, the editor acknowledges the contributions of José Fernández Montesinos, but also goes beyond him in stating that there is some continuity with these romances and those of Lope’s juventud. As is the case with each collection here, the editor inclines to the editio princeps (housed in the Biblioteca Regional de Madrid, call number A-444) for each poem included, grounding his selection in sound editorial criteria and explaining his methodology as it pertains to each poem. For most of these romances, this includes a breakdown into five categories: the title, date of composition, textual variants, background, and style. Sometimes the diffusion of the poems is noted as well. Sánchez Jiménez leaves footnotes (which generally focus on individual details in a given poem) for the section containing the poems themselves.

In the romances appearing in La Filomena and La Circe, the reader notes the frequent appearance of a certain Filis as an...


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