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Spain Literature – Humanism

The medieval aspects, which characterize Spanish literature in art, are only the form of its humanism. From the reign of Alfonso VII, with the Toledan translators, from Alfonso the Savio, with his multiple vulgarizations in Castilian, Spanish humanism has been open to all the truths and all the beauties that human science can reveal, from wherever it comes, from any faith, as long as they are ordered and placed in their right light within Christian truth. In the century XIV, through Catalonia in direct relationship with the papal court of Avignon, Spanish humanism had opened up to the appreciation of authors such as Livio, Seneca and Plutarco. With the Marquis of Santillana, poetry is placed at the apex of knowledge, and this knowledge is sought, “more in substance than in form”, in the classical authors and in the erudite writings of Petrarch and Boccaccio. Juan II’s contacts with the Italian humanists (Guiniforte Barsizza, Poggio Bracciolini, Pier Candido Decembrio) were scarce and indirect. The Neapolitan court of Alfonso V of Aragon was not a lively center of classical-humanistic radiation for Spain. Under the Catholic Kings, humanism, as a study of classical letters, spreads with a sentiment that is, rather than aesthetic enthusiasm for the verbal form, an anxiety for spiritual communion with the great spirits of antiquity and itself a form of lived life. With the ardor of propaganda, according to the method of Valla, Antonio de Nebrija considers philology as the sum of theology, archeology, pedagogy, history and rhetoric (Juan II’s contacts with the Italian humanists (Guiniforte Barsizza, Poggio Bracciolini, Pier Candido Decembrio) were scarce and indirect. The Neapolitan court of Alfonso V of Aragon was not a lively center of classical-humanistic radiation for Spain. Under the Catholic Kings, humanism, as a study of classical letters, spreads with a sentiment that is, rather than aesthetic enthusiasm for the verbal form, an anxiety for spiritual communion with the great spirits of antiquity and itself a form of lived life. With the ardor of propaganda, according to the method of Valla, Antonio de Nebrija considers philology as the sum of theology, archeology, pedagogy, history and rhetoric (Juan II’s contacts with the Italian humanists (Guiniforte Barsizza, Poggio Bracciolini, Pier Candido Decembrio) were scarce and indirect.

According to picktrue.com, the Neapolitan court of Alfonso V of Aragon was not a lively center of classical-humanistic radiation for Spain. Under the Catholic Kings, humanism, as a study of classical letters, spreads with a sentiment that is, rather than aesthetic enthusiasm for the verbal form, an anxiety for spiritual communion with the great spirits of antiquity and itself a form of lived life. With the ardor of propaganda, according to the method of Valla, Antonio de Nebrija considers philology as the sum of theology, archeology, pedagogy, history and rhetoric (Aragon was not a lively center of classical-humanistic irradiation for Spain. Under the Catholic Kings, humanism, as a study of classical letters, spreads with a sentiment that is, rather than aesthetic enthusiasm for the verbal form, an anxiety for spiritual communion with the great spirits of antiquity and itself a form of lived life. With the ardor of propaganda, according to the method of Valla, Antonio de Nebrija considers philology as the sum of theology, archeology, pedagogy, history and rhetoric (Aragon was not a lively center of classical-humanistic irradiation for Spain. Under the Catholic Kings, humanism, as a study of classical letters, spreads with a sentiment that is, rather than aesthetic enthusiasm for the verbal form, an anxiety for spiritual communion with the great spirits of antiquity and itself a form of lived life. With the ardor of propaganda, according to the method of Valla, Antonio de Nebrija considers philology as the sum of theology, archeology, pedagogy, history and rhetoric (Introductiones latinae, 1481). The study of linguistic expression is recognized as fundamental for literary understanding, but the servile imitation of the Ciceronians is rejected; and the knowledge of ancient art is considered an instrument of profound knowledge of nature, history and contemporary life. These ideas of Juan Luis Vives (De causis corruptarum artium and De arte dicendi) and of Sebastián Fox Morcillo (De imitatione, 1554), and in general of all the Spanish Erasmusists, characterize the Spanish humanistic spirit in the first half of the century. XVI. It was especially concerned, in view of the Christian personalism that essentially informs it, of maintaining close contact between literary education and the reality of social life. If one wants to think of something akin to the predominant tendencies in Spanish humanism, one must resort to the motifs of that Christian realism that informs the Florentine Renaissance of the period of Lorenzo the Magnificent. It was then, singularly by Ficino, a resurgence of Platonic-Augustinian spirits conditioned by the new feeling of the beautiful classical form. Antonio de Guevara, with a historical exemplification which is a conscious adaptation to the contemporary spirit, pointed out in the Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius the man who knows how to bring the balance of reason into social life, after having implemented it in his inner life.

He recognized in man the natural capacity of a will directed spontaneously to good (Menosprecio de corte y alabanza de la aldea). Fernán Pérez de Oliva exalted man in his power to create and master his own destiny (De la dignidad del hombre). This humanism turns with interest to proverbs, common maxims and popular poetry; which penetrates into the Cancionero of Fernández de Constantina and the Cancionero general of Hernando del Castillo (1511). It animates the Filosofía vulgar of Juan de Mal Lara and the Diálogo de la Lengua by Juan de Valdés. The first seeks practical wisdom as natural spontaneity in the refranes ; the other looks for the historically conditioned language that is more adherent to the soul, and therefore to be placed at the basic foundation of the common language. Spanish humanism looks with admiration at the life of Rome and Athens as an ideal existence; but he still wants the spontaneity of a nature to be respected in man in his divine animating principle. The Spanish humanists, followers of Erasmus or imbued with his doctrines, awaited an energetic affirmation of Christianity according to the spirit of the sacred texts, also guaranteeing its letter philologically. The Políglota complutense (1507-20), who fixed the text of the Bible in the Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Chaldean redactions, was promoted by Cardinal Cisneros, and then appeared to be a “milagro del mundo”. Historiography also emerged from this particular humanism. It focused on Spanish civilization, within the framework of the civilization of Rome, with Florián de Ocampo, Ambrosio de Morales and Juan Vaseo. It ennobled contemporary reality in the universality of Latin, with Pietro Martire and Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda. But he kept to the vulgar with the Caesarean chroniclers; who praise the exploits of Charles V (Alonso de Santa Cruz, Prudencio de Sandoval, Pedro Mejía), outline his wars against the Cumunidades and recall his expeditions to Germany and Flanders (Luis de Ávila y Zúñiga). Modeling on Sallust and Tacitus, Guerra de Granada). But the liveliest and most animated part of this historiography is the chronicle of the expeditions of the leaders in America: the Cartas of Hernán Cortés and the general stories of González Fernández de Oviedo, Francisco López de Gómara and Bartolomé de las Casas. Of this is the famous and misinterpreted Brevísima relación de la destruyción de las Indias (1542); where the ideology of humanism shines clearly, which does violence to historical facts, to exalt the spontaneous life of a nature endowed with good qualities in the wilds of America. In this same period the fate of the theater is characteristic. The medieval religious drama of the mysteries, juegos de escarnio and moralidades is transformed there, without distorting it. Juan del Encina, who as a poet and poetry theorist stands between the ancient and the modern, between the learned and the popular, secularizes the theater with his dramatic eclogues: a mixture of realistic comic and infantile pathetic, at the same time moving it towards the sacred and the profane. The plot divided into acts (jornadas), the number, the types and the decoration of the characters are fixed after him by Bartolomé de Torres Naharro, with the comedias a noticias (true facts) and comedias a fantasía (imaginary), scripted on elementary dramatic ideas and without intertwining. Greater lyrical value, in dialogued costume pictures and fragments of sacred history, is found in the autos of the Portuguese Gil Vicente. Then the so-called autos viejos arise and spread, all artistically mediocre, with a simple humanity, with an instinctive sense of life, with the anachronism of customs in biblical themes and with rigid passion and fixed types. Translations and adaptations of classical theater (Plautus ‘ Amphitryon, translated by Villalobos, Ecuba of Euripides and Sophocles ‘ Electra, reworked by Pérez de Oliva) do not even touch the life of a theater that remains on the popular level and tone, and seeks novel content and surprise, without any attempt at complex construction. Lope de Rueda, who is influenced by the Italian storytellers, perfects, more than comedy, the interludes (pasos), and materials them with fresh and healthy realism of dialogic comedy, with lively and lively popular contrasts.

Spain Literature - Humanism