Manual Polvo de estrellas (Nube de amor nº 2) (Spanish Edition)

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At first the decadent remnants of xxvii the siglo de oro still survived, but later the French taste, following the principles formulated by Boileau, prevailed almost entirely.

The history of Spanish poetry in the eighteenth century is a history of the struggle between these two forces and ends in the triumph of the latter. The effects of Gongorism lasted long in Spain, which, with its innate propensity to bombast, was more fertile soil for it than other nations. Innumerable poetasters of the early eighteenth century enjoyed fame in their day and some possessed talent; but the obscure and trivial style of the age from which they could not free themselves deprived them of any chance of enduring fame.

Some one has said that the poetry of Spain, with the exception of the romances and the drama of the siglo de oro , has always drawn its inspiration from some other country. Add to the exceptions the medieval epic and the statement would be close to the truth. First Provence through the medium of Galicia; then Italy and with it ancient Rome; and lastly France and England, on more than one occasion, have molded Spanish poetry.

The power of the French classical literature, soon dominant in Europe, could not long be stayed by the Pyrenees; and Pope, Thomson and Young were also much admired.

Philip V, a Frenchman, did not endeavor to crush the native spirit in his new home, but his influence could not but be felt. He established a Spanish Academy on the model of the French in It was some time before the reaction, based on common sense and confined to the intellectuals, could take deep root, and, as was natural, it went too far and condemned much of xxviii the siglo de oro entire.

His own poems are frigid. Needless to say, the Gallicizers were vigorously opposed, but so poor were the original productions of the defenders of the national manner that their side was necessarily the losing one. Thus it is seen that during a century of social and industrial depression Spain did not produce a poet worthy of the name. The condition of the nation was sensibly bettered under Charles III reigned who did what was possible to reorganize the state and curb the stifling domination of the Roman Church and its agents the Jesuits and the Inquisition.

And the budding prosperity, however deceitful it proved, was reflected in a more promising literary generation. Other followers of the French, in a genre not, strictly speaking, lyric at all, were the two fabulists, Samaniego and Iriarte. The best work which was done under the classical French influence, however, is to be found in the writers of the so-called Salamancan school, which was properly not a school at all. The volume of his verse is small but unsurpassed in surety of taste and evenness of finish.

Brilliant from the first, he was petted by Cadalso and Jovellanos who strove to develop his talent.

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In he won a prize offered by the Academy for an eclogue. In his comedy Las bodas de Camacho , on a subject suggested by Jovellanos from an episode in Don Quijote , II, , won a prize offered by the city of Madrid, but failed on the stage. His first volume of poems was published in ; later editions appeared in and He attached himself to the French party at the time of the invasion in , incurred great popular odium and died in France.

He is the most fluent, imaginative poet of the eighteenth century and is especially successful in the pastoral and anacreontic styles. Fresh descriptions of nature, enchanting pictures of love, form an oasis in an age of studied reasonableness. His language has been criticized for its Gallicisms. Politically he opposed the French with unyielding vigor, barely escaped execution at their hands and died in exile. The verse of Cienfuegos prepared the way for Quintana.

Differing from him in clarity and polish are Fr. One curious result of rationalistic doctrines was the "prosaism" into which it led many minor versifiers. These poetasters, afraid of overstepping the limits of good sense, tabooed all imagination and described in deliberately prosy lines the most commonplace events. Early in the nineteenth century the armies of Napoleon invaded Spain. There ensued a fierce struggle for the mastery of the Peninsula, in which the latent strength and energy of the Spaniards became once more evident.

The xxxii French devastated parts of the country, but they brought with them many new ideas which, together with the sharpness of the conflict, served to awaken the Spanish people from their torpor and to give them a new realization of national consciousness. During this period of stress and strife two poets, Quintana and Gallego, urged on and encouraged their fellow countrymen with patriotic songs.

Poems & Thoughts

In part a follower of the French philosophers of the eighteenth century, Quintana sang also of humanity and progress, as in his ode on the invention of printing. In politics Quintana was a liberal; in religious beliefs, a materialist. Campoamor has said of Quintana that he sang not of faith or pleasures, but of duties.

His enemies have accused him of stirring the colonies to revolt by his bitter sarcasm directed at past and contemporaneous Spanish rulers, but this is doubtless an exaggeration. It may be said that except in his best patriotic poems his verses lack lyric merit and his ideas are wanting in insight and depth; but his sincerity of purpose was in the main beyond question and he occasionally gave expression to striking boldness of thought and exaltation of feeling. In technique Quintana was a follower of the Salamancan school.

A liberal in politics xxxiii like Quintana, Gallego also took the side of his people against the French invaders and against the servile Spanish rulers. Gallego was a close friend of Quintana, whose salon in Madrid he frequented. Gallego wrote little, but his works are more correct in language and style than those of Quintana. It is interesting that although the writings of these two poets evince a profound dislike and distrust of the French, yet both were in their art largely dominated by the influence of French neo-classicism. This is but another illustration of the relative conservatism of belles-lettres.

In the year there had been formed in Seville by a group of young writers an Academia de Letras Humanas to foster the cultivation of letters. The members of this academy were admirers of Herrera, the Spanish Petrarchist and patriotic poet of the sixteenth century, and they strove for a continuation of the tradition of the earlier Sevillan group.

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Ordained a Catholic priest he later became an Unitarian. Lista was a skilful artist and like Arjona an admirer and imitator of Horace; but his ideas lacked depth. As a whole the influence of the Sevillan school was healthful.


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By insisting upon purity of diction and regularity in versification, the members of the school helped somewhat to restrain the license and improve the bad taste prevailing in the Spanish literature of the time. In the third decade of the nineteenth century romanticism, with its revolt against the restrictions of classicism, with its free play of imagination and emotion, and with lyricism as its predominant note, flowed freely into Spain from England and France. Spain has always worshiped the past, for Spain was once great, and the appeal of romanticism was xxxv therefore the greater as it drew its material largely from national sources.

The influence of Spanish epic and dramatic poetry had been important in stimulating the growth of romanticism in England, Germany and France. But Spain, under the despotism of Ferdinand VII, the "Tyrant of Literature," remained apparently indifferent or even hostile to its own wonderful creations, and clung outwardly to French neo-classicism.

In Ferdinand VII died and the romantic movement was hastened by the home-coming of a number of men who had fled the despotism of the monarch and had spent some time in England and France, where they had come into contact with the romanticists of those countries. The Romances are more sober in tone and less fantastic,—and it should be xxxvii added, less popular to-day,—than the legends of Zorrilla.

After a tempestuous life the Duke of Rivas settled quietly into the place of director of the Spanish Academy, which post he held till his death. His passionate outpourings, his brilliant imagery and the music of his verse give to Espronceda a first place amongst the Spanish lyrical poets of the nineteenth century. Some of his shorter lyrics e. The poet's best known longer works are the Diablo mundo and the Estudiante de Salamanca , which are largely made up of detached lyrics in which the subjective note is strikingly prominent.

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Espronceda was one of those fortunate few who shine in the world of letters although they work little. Both in lyric mastery and in his spirit of revolt, Espronceda holds the place in Spanish literature that is held in English by Byron. He is the chief Spanish exponent of a great revolutionary movement that swept over the world of letters in the first half of the nineteenth century.


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Zorrilla was a most prolific and spontaneous writer of verses, much of which is unfinished in form and deficient in philosophical insight. But in spite of his carelessness and shallowness he rivaled Espronceda in popularity. His verses are not seldom melodramatic or childish, but they are rich in coloring and poetic xxxviii fancy and they form a vast enchanted world in which the Spaniards still delight to wander. His versions of old Spanish legends are doubtless his most enduring work and their appeal to Spanish patriotism is not less potent to-day than when they were written.

This "fantastic and legendary poet" went to Mexico in and he remained there several years. After that date he wrote little and the little lacked merit. Avellaneda was a graceful writer of lyrics in which there was feeling and melody but little depth of thought. With her the moving impulse was love, both human and divine. Her first volume of poems probably contains her best work. Her novels Sab and Espatolino were popular in their day but are now fallen into oblivion.

Some of her plays, especially Baltasar and Munio , do not lack merit. Avellaneda is recognized as the foremost poet amongst the women of nineteenth-century Spain. Though an eminent scholar and critic, he did not hesitate in his Amantes de Teruel to play to the popular passion for sentimentality. He produced some lyric verse of worth. He delighted in holding up to ridicule the excesses of romanticism.