A Companion to Mester de Clerecía Poetry


Volume Editors: and
Mester de clerecía is the term traditionally used to designate the first generations of learned poetry in medieval Ibero-Romance dialects (the precursors of modern Castilian and other Romance languages of the Iberian Peninsula). In its time, this poetry was anything but traditional. These long poems of structured verse reappropriate the heroic past through the retelling of legends from Classical Antiquity, saints’ lives, miracle stories, Biblical apocrypha, and other tales. At the same time, the poems recast the place of their authors, and learned characters within their stories, in the shifting dynamics of their thirteenth and fourteenth century present.
Contributors are Pablo Ancos, Maria Cristina Balestrini, Fernando Baños Vallejo, Andrew M. Beresford, Olivier Biaggini, Martha M. Daas, Emily C. Francomano, Ryan Giles, Michelle M. Hamilton, Anthony John Lappin, Clara Pascual-Argente, Connie L. Scarborough, Donald W. Wood, and Carina Zubillaga.

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Robin M. Bower, Ph.D. (2001, Columbia University), is Associate Professor at the Pennsylvania State University, Beaver Campus. She has published widely and her monograph In the Doorway of All Worlds: Gonzalo de Berceo's Translation of the Saints is forthcoming.
Matthew V. Desing, Ph.D. (2008, University of Minnesota) continues researching as an independent scholar after pausing his role in the professoriate to pursue an MFA in creative writing. His scholarship has appeared in La corónica, Hispanic Review, and other venues.
Note on Stylistic Conventions
List of Maps and Figures
Notes on Contributors

Introduction: Critics and Clerks
Robin M. Bower and Matthew V. Desing

PART 1: Contexts of Production and Reception

Introduction to Part One
Robin M. Bower and Matthew V. Desing
1 The Matter of Meter: Cuaderna Vía and the Castilian Romance of Antiquity
Clara Pascual-Argente
2 The Work of the Word: the Authority of Writing in Mester de Clerecía Poetry
Olivier Biaggini
3 Beyond the Letter: Rhythm in the Mester de Clerecía
Fernando Baños Vallejo
4 The Libro de Alexandre and the Limits of Modernitas
María Cristina Balestrini

PART 2: Matters of Formal Transmission

Introduction to Part Two
Robin M. Bower and Matthew V. Desing
5 Fire and False Prophets: Ecdotica and the Audiences of Early Thirteenth-Century Poetry
Anthony John Lappin
6 The Last Line of the Monorhyme Quatrain and the Artistry of the Cleric’s Craft
Pablo Ancos
7 Reading Epiphany in the Libro de Apolonio and Its Codicological Context: Divinity Materialized in Escorial Manuscript K-III-4
Carina Zubillaga
8 Reorienting Mester de Clerecía Transmission: Escorial Manuscript K-III-4 as Travel Literature in Late Medieval Aragon
Matthew V. Desing

PART 3: Cultural Studies Approaches

Introduction to Part Three
Robin M. Bower and Matthew V. Desing
9 Gonzalo de Berceo: the Authority to Write and the Dictates of Humility
Connie L. Scarborough
10 The Sacred Re-Imagined: Ekphrasis and Berceo’s Milagros de Nuestra Señora
Martha M. Daas
11 The Ascetic Body of St Dominic of Silos
Andrew M. Beresford
12 Feeling Like a King: the Libro de Apolonio and the History of the Emotions
Emily C. Francomano

PART 4: Mester de Clerecía in a Broader Context

Introduction to Part Four
Robin M. Bower and Matthew V. Desing
13 ‘Sweet Tweets and Cries’: the Wonders of Poro’s Palace in the Libro de Alexandre
Michelle M. Hamilton
14 The Thornbush and the Tattered Garment: Shared Metaphors in the Libro de buen amor and Proverbios Morales
Ryan D. Giles
15 The Coplas de Yosef: a Medieval Hebrew-Aljamiado Poem of Heroism and Courtly Composure
Donald W. Wood

Epilogue: Prequels and Afterlives: the Exemplarity of Fernán González
Robin M. Bower

This book will be essential for specialists in medieval Iberian literatures and cultures and for academic libraries. It provides ample context for use in graduate and advanced undergraduate courses.
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