It's the first time that I've sent letters from the MTC.
Jacob 'Matthew' Morgan jailed for 15 years for starting fire that killed half-brother
The return address will be to my mission home. Make sure that they go out to whoever they are for because I don't know everyone's addresses. Make sure Jared and Josh check their emails! Tell them to write me! He's in my district, and he's a music major from BYU. We found a guitar shop, so we jammed for a while. He's much better than me.
Hermano Ibarra really wants to meet our families in Utah, so I'm going to give you his email address. He's the short guy standing next to me in the attached photo ; He's the best teacher ever, but he has to quit his job at the MTC. Today was his last day : He's studying to be a cardiologist. The doctors they work for the government have gone on strike, so the medical students need to take more shifts at the hospitals. So he won't have time to teach us Spanish anymore!
I hope my letters get there soon. Tell everyone that I miss them and that being a missionary is very fun. It's only hard work if you're lazy Jared and Brig Our doctrinal discussions get pretty crazy.
I'm trying to take advantage of the reading time while I'm in the MTC because in the field I'll be studying for my investigators. I swear we have a million years a day to just read. Similarly, none of the well-known authors of the period wrote a romance of chivalry: neither Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, nor Guevara, nor Jorge de Montemayor, nor even Ercilla attempted the composition of a romance, to say nothing of Lope, who tried virtually every other genre.
Like historical writing, the chivalric romance was a form of literature in which innovation was seen as unnecessary -at least overt innovation, since there is a subtle evolution, found in the increasing sophistication of conversation and in the expanding love element and greater role of women. We should also remember that the world portrayed in the romances of chivalry was one which would appeal strongly to a section of Spanish society, but only to a section.
It was a simple world, devoid of subtle philosophical or religious concerns. An individual could win fame and fortune primarily through his military abilities, whether exercised in serious battles or in less serious activities such as tournaments; scholarship and the world of books played, in the romances, a very secondary role. The knights-errant were often possessed of a crusading spirit and a religious element is always present. This is one of the ways these romances most reflect the values of Spanish culture, though ostensibly set in very remote kingdoms and epochs; this crusading spirit presumably influenced the young reader Teresa de Cepeda, and even more Loyola, also a reader of romances of chivalry Rivadaneyra's life of Loyola, BAE , 60, 14 b , who sometimes acted like a knight-errant a lo divino Rivadeneyra, pp.
Yet the knights' faith was the simple faith of the soldier, an uncritical acceptance of the correctness of Catholicism and the necessity of helping it, with arms, to vanquish infidels. For all of these reasons, then, it is not surprising that the intelligentsia were to turn against the romances.
The criticisms to which we have previously referred began, logically enough, when the romances had become sufficiently popular to attract the critics' attention; the earliest comments are from the 's. However, these attacks rapidly deteriorated from sensible observations about the inherent defects of the books themselves to a series of complaints about the pernicious effects that they allegedly had on the souls of the readers, and how the books occupied time which might have been more usefully employed in reading more spiritually uplifting material. In fact, the criticisms of the romances degenerated into a series of topoi , which were repeated by various moralist writers who had no direct knowledge of the works they attacked One effect of the criticisms was to place the authors of the romances somewhat on the defensive.
In the prologues and dedications of the later romances, in which the authors often discuss their works and their motives, there is a constant emphasis on the benefits readers would receive from them. In his concern for his subjects and for the persons he encountered in his travels, in his interest in seeing that justice was done and that right triumphed over wrong, in his humility, chastity, and calm temperament mesura , the hero of the romances of chivalry offered to the readers the supposedly beneficial picture of the ideal medieval ruler.
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The knights are saints or Biblical figures, and encounter adventures either taken directly from the religious material or of clear religious inspiration. None of these romances achieved any great popularity, and there is considerable doubt whether they succeeded in supplanting the original romances of chivalry as escape reading for idle readers; perhaps instead they were read by a new class of readers who were unable, because of the criticisms of them, to read the original romances.
Although the criticism of the romances was followed by a decline in the composition of new romances, it has not been possible to establish the relationship between these two trends. There are many other alternative explanations for the declining interest of potential authors in the romances.
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The general rise in literary standards, due in greatest measure to contacts with Italy, gave rise not only to the poetry of Garcilaso but to the pastoral novel, which made a spectacular appearance on the literary scene in the 's. The same period also saw the introduction of the Renaissance epic. The Lazarillo , with its anti-hero, as a response to the romances of chivalry has been suggested by many scholars But certainly one of the principal causes, if not the single most important cause, of the decline in composition of new romances was the abdication of Carlos V in favor of his son Felipe.
That Carlos' reign ended in is no coincidence. Olivante de Laura , published in , bears a dedication from the printer rather than the author, which suggests that it had been written earlier. It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that the romances of chivalry disappeared even though the composition of new romances had been abandoned.
The reprinting of the major romances, and even some of the minor ones, continued throughout the last half of the sixteenth century. As I have explained elsewhere infra , this publication of new editions of familiar texts did not occur evenly, but in several waves of publication, and the dates of these waves allow the conclusion that the romances were still read by the upper and upper-middle classes. Detailed information on the sixteenth-century book trade within Spain is not available, the only surviving documents being prepublication contracts, inventories of books made at death, and fragmentary information about private libraries But information is available, in considerable detail, about the book trade between Spain and the Spanish colonies in the New World in the later sixteenth century, because of the legal requirement for inventories of goods shipped, and the systematic conservation of such documents.
These inventories are particularly valuable for the years after Leonard, p. Although the Spanish colonies' reading tastes may not have been identical with those of Spain, the mother country and her colonies were closer culturally at that time than they were ever to be again, and the publications, for example, of the Cromberger family, which benefited from its Sevillian location to publish to a considerable extent for the New World trade, do not differ as dramatically as Leonard believes from those of publishers in other parts of Spain whose New World trade was less Lacking evidence to the contrary, then, these documents provide some information about Spanish reading tastes in the later sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.
It was Irving Leonard, however, who has most thoroughly investigated these documentary materials He found that romances of chivalry remained an important item in the book trade throughout the last years of the sixteenth century and in the opening years of the seventeenth, since the book dealers continued to sell, and the public to buy, those romances which had remained available since their last printings of ten to twenty years before. Were this the case, of course, Cervantes' repeated declarations that he intended to attack the romances by writing the Quijote could be interpreted as a disguise of his true, perhaps philosophical, intention.
Yet the facts do not support this conclusion, since the romances were read right up until , and their disappearance was even more remote in the last decades of the sixteenth century, when Cervantes probably began the composition of Part I It is true, of course, that no new romances, and few reprints, were published after There is evidence, however, to attack the notion, even more commonly held than the one just referred to, that the Quijote achieved with its publication its declared purpose of completely ending the popularity of the romances of chivalry.
When Lope praises the romances in Thomas, p. A useful parallel can be drawn with the Western movie of the United States, also an art form of escapist intent, whose connection with the past on which it claims to be based can at times be very loose indeed. The Western was one of the earliest types of motion picture, which reached its greatest heights during the first half century after the beginning of motion pictures.
The genre has been so exploited and become so hackneyed that parodic Westerns, such as Cat Ballou , can be made. Yet it would be a serious mistake to consider the Western film dead. Perhaps most significant is the undisputed fact that even those who are bored with and contemptuous of Westerns, and would never see one, know what they are, and have a general acquaintance with the main works and the stock situations of the genre.
When, then, did the Spanish romance of chivalry die? The answer to this question must be that it did not die suddenly, on any specific day or within any specific year or even decade. Like an aged person, it lingered on, gradually failing for years, well into the seventeenth century, before it could be said to be completely dead.
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It is more a case of it fading away, losing gradually the interest of larger proportions of the public , being restricted to ever smaller circles of active readers. Whether this is the case or not I have not the data to determine, but from the nineteenth century onward those romances which were available have been read fairly widely, culminating in the current interest in the romances by modern novelists Certainly the present revival has not run its course, and we will see further editions and influence of the romances in this, the twentieth century.
Previous books on romances of chivalry, such as that of Henry Thomas, have tended to talk about the externals of the romances -their popularity, their publication-, rather than give the readers a complete picture of what a romance of chivalry was. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the complicated plots of the romances are inevitably confusing and hard to Summarize, and those writers who do include such summaries often abandon them after a few pages, feeling that they are surely boring their readers and perhaps boring themselves as well To avoid this pitfall and yet give the reader of this volume a taste of what a romance of chivalry was like, this chapter offers a composite summary of the action of a romance of chivalry, made up of the elements commonly found in them.
What follows, therefore, is not a description of any one romance, but is true in spirit to all of them. I have offered in footnotes a series of selections from various romances which illustrate the points being discussed. The romance of chivalry is always set in the past, even far in the past, though never before the birth of Christ. As is well known because of Cervantes' imitation of this feature in the Quijote , the romances are surrounded by trappings intended to give them an air of pseudo-historicity. Following classical and medieval precedent, the protagonist of a romance of chivalry is always male and invariably of royal blood -a prince.
His lineage is usually specified. Through some mishap he is separated from his parents and his homeland when still a baby; he may be stolen away by evildoers, or carried off by a boat, or simply be abandoned by his mother because of the circumstances surrounding his birth, which often was illegitimate He grows up in the court of another king, far away, though he may have been sheltered at first by farmers or other such humble people He will eventually learn his true identity and be reunited with his parents and family, either at the midpoint or near the end of the book The protagonist shows signs from a very early age of his royal blood and the corresponding great abilities which were thought of as the natural endowments of a great ruler.
He is exceptionally handsome , so much so that he captivates and gains the affection of all who see him, save those of evil nature.
He may walk or talk at a younger age than normal. Being fearless, like mythological infants such as Hercules, he may perform extraordinary feats as a baby or young boy. Lions, symbols of royalty, instinctively respect him. He is exceptionally strong and vigorous, possessed of excellent health, never ill unless wounded. He can easily defeat a boy of the same age, who will more than likely be physically smaller, since the protagonists of the romances of chivalry are swarthy individuals, taller and huskier than the persons they come in contact with see the text quoted in note As stated above, the prince and king-to-be, in short, conforms very closely to the image of the ideal medieval ruler.
While still at the court in which he has grown up he will receive instruction from tutors, such as a Spanish prince would; his attitude toward his studies will be respectful, not rebellious. He will learn what is taught him, which often includes a variety of languages , later to serve him in good stead, but his inclination is obviously not to books nor to the world of learning.
His studies do not continue past his youth. The protagonist has Wanderlust. There is always opposition to this desire of his, some attempt made to convince or force him not to leave -scarcely surprising considering that he is so young He may have to depart secretly an action that Don Quijote was to imitate By this time he will have been or will seek to be dubbed a knight, by the person of highest status he can manage to find and convince to do so -a king or an emperor is ideal -, and will have received as gifts his first set of arms and armor, his shield white as befits a new or novel knight Later, after some especially noteworthy or significant adventure, he will take as a heraldic symbol an animal, natural phenomenon, flower, or some similar item, such as are found in any inventory of coats of arms, which in their origin were based on just such a practice.
Once he has left the court where he has grown up, the knight-errant for such he now is will travel extensively.
His travels will be both through familiar and unfamiliar parts of the world: Europe, Asia, sometimes North Africa, sometimes to imaginary places made up by the author. The New World, of course, had not yet been discovered. He may visit London, Paris, or Constantinople, cities already with some chivalric tradition, but never Rome, Jerusalem, nor a Spanish city such as Toledo or Santiago. The travels of the knight offered the author of the romance an opportunity to entertain his readers, always eager for discussions of new and marvellous places, and display whatever geographic knowledge he might have, and his powers of imagination.
The knight will primarily travel by land, on horse or occasionally on foot, but he may well have occasion to journey by sea or by means of some supernatural means of transportation. His travels may be for various purposes: to see, serve, elope with, or retire from his lady, to attend a tournament announced in some more or less distant city, to go to the aid of kings or queens in need of military assistance to repel invaders or to claim what is rightfully theirs, to obtain a healing agent for someone ill, to help free someone held captive, to catch a glimpse of some beautiful woman, to get to know the identity of or to find his parents There may be no more significant reason than the fact that someone he encounters has requested his company.
The knight never seeks money; indeed, money is so seldom mentioned, as Don Quijote correctly points out to Sancho, that it seems that the protagonists of the romances live in a primitive era, outside the money economy altogether.