Medieval Spanish Epic: Mythic Roots and Ritual Language

Paperback | May 27, 2008

byThomas Montgomery

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This book takes a new look at the place occupied by medieval Spanish epic within European folk and literary tradition. Thomas Montgomery traces the origins of key parts of most known medieval Spanish epics to an ancient myth. He shows how the myth of the initiation of the young warrior, shown by Georges Dumézil to be fundamental to the belief systems of widely distributed Indo-European peoples, was variously adapted to shape the action of texts including the Siete Infantes de Lara, the Mocedades de Rodrigo, and the Poema de Mio Cid, in which it accounts for the peculiar behavior of the Infantes de Carrión. Montgomery also connects the same mythic tradition to works as diverse as Tristan and the Chanson de Roland.‡In a preliterate society, the oral presentation of this archetypal lore required a special language capable of re-creating the ritualized behavior of the epic characters and maintaining the ceremonial tone of the performance. Focusing on the Poema de Mio Cid, Montgomery examines the ways in which the poetic language worked to evoke a feeling of group unity that absorbed the audience and still works its spell upon today's readers.

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This book takes a new look at the place occupied by medieval Spanish epic within European folk and literary tradition. Thomas Montgomery traces the origins of key parts of most known medieval Spanish epics to an ancient myth. He shows how the myth of the initiation of the young warrior, shown by Georges Dumézil to be fundamental to the...

Format:PaperbackDimensions:184 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.43 inPublished:May 27, 2008Publisher:Penn State University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0271028246

ISBN - 13:9780271028248

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“Over the past two decades, Thomas Montgomery has been steadily providing us with a series of outstandingly innovative and perceptive articles on the medieval Spanish epic. This book is the culmination of this work. . . . Montgomery's presentation is eminently learned and eminently convincing. It puts the Old Spanish epic in a totally new perspective and brings to bear new and startling evidence, which will oblige critics to take into account the genre's ancient, multi-secular origins. For its consistent and authoritative control of both literary and linguistic theory and their application to the Old Spanish texts, Montgomery's work ranks among the very best studies I have been privileged to read on the medieval epic.”—Samuel G. Armistead, University of California, Davis