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"El melancólico vacío": Poesía, poética y melancolía entre La Galatea de Cervantes y las Soledades de Góngora (1585-1614)


This dissertation studies the philosophical implications and formal repercussions of melancholy in Spanish poetry at the turn of the seventeenth century, along with the constructions of poetic subjectivity scripted by melancholy. As a notion that conveyed sadness and withdrawal but also madness and violence, and where varied traditions (humoral medicine, astrology, neo-Platonic aesthetics, Stoic ethics, and Christian morals) converged, melancholy was a privileged frame for thinking about poetry and the poet in their full complexity—psychic and physical, individual and social, political and religious. The peaking interest in melancholy at the end of the sixteenth century, marked by a stress on its negative aspects and the responsibility of the melancholic, coincided in Spain with profound changes in the production and reception of poetry. Attesting the connection between these phenomena, Huarte de San Juan’s influential Examen de ingenios (1575) provided a robust medical theory for melancholy’s simultaneous links with creativity and violence. <br/><br/> Chapters 1 and 2 focus on Miguel de Cervantes’s pastoral romance La Galatea (1585). By presenting a host of shepherds engaged in sharing and reading poetry, La Galatea not only undertakes the defense and showcase of Spanish poetry, but also reviews the challenges that beset it in the 1580s. Cervantes and his characters use melancholy to open up spaces for poetry and script poetic subjectivities. Turning to poetry collections by individual authors, the negative aspects of melancholy, and the emergence of the lyric in Renaissance literary theory, Chapters 3 and 4 examine Francisco de la Torre’s Versos líricos (1588) and Juan de Arguijo’s Versos (1612). Belonging to different poetic traditions, philosophical mileux, and editorial formats, both of works use melancholy to configure lyrical sequences. Lastly, Chapter 5 studies Luis de Góngora’s widely influential major poems, the Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea (1612) and the Soledades (1613-1614). By recovering the centrality of melancholy as affect, setting, and form in these poetic dramas about the origins and fate of the poetic word, the dissertation proposes a new reading of the Gongorine legacy in Baroque Hispanic poetry.<br/><br/>
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2013)

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Valencia, Felipe, "'El melancólico vacío': Poesía, poética y melancolía entre La Galatea de Cervantes y las Soledades de Góngora (1585-1614)" (2013). Hispanic Studies Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.