Fifteenth-Century Spanish Poetry Criticism: The Cancioneros - Essay

Dorothy Clotelle Clarke (essay date 1964)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Clarke, Dorothy Clotelle. “The verso de arte mayor” and “General Comments.” In Morphology of Fifteenth-Century Castilian Verse, pp. 51-61; 219-222. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 1964.

[In the following excerpt, Clarke analyzes the verso de arte mayor—the dominant metrical form of cancionero poetry—and examines its decline in relation to octosyllablic verse.]


The verso de arte mayor is a metrically simple but rhythmically complex form. It may be roughly defined as a verse whose time measure is 6 + 6 syllables,1 and whose basic pattern is:...

(The entire section is 6156 words.)

Theodore L. Kassier (essay date 1976)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Kassier, Theodore L. “Cancionero Poetry and the Celestina: From Metaphor to Reality.” Hispanófila 56 (1976): 1-28.

[In the following essay, Kassier stresses the influence of the conventions of cancionero verse on the seminal Spanish realist novel, the Tragicomedia de Calixto y Melibea.]

The poetry contained in the Castilian cancioneros compiled in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, consolidated by Foulché-Delbosc in his Cancionero Castellano del Siglo XV,1 unites the conventions of the Galaico-Portuguese, Provençal, and courtly love poetical traditions, as well as Petrarchian influences.2 To...

(The entire section is 11406 words.)

Jane Whetnall (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Whetnall, Jane. “Lírica femenina in the Early Manuscript Cancioneros.” In What's Past is Prologue: A Collection of Essays in Honour of L. J. Woodward, edited by Salvadore Bacarisse, et al., pp. 138-50. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1984.

[In the following essay, Whetnall studies the feminine lyric tradition—featuring the poetic laments of grieving, betrayed, and wronged women—in cancionero verse.]

There is a small number of poems en boca femenina in the manuscript cacioneros that collect the lyric output of the first half of the fifteenth century.1 They are so few and so unobtrusive that they have attracted...

(The entire section is 6392 words.)

Ian Macpherson (essay date January 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Macpherson, Ian. “Secret Language in the Cancioneros: Some Courtly Codes.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 62, no. 1 (January 1985): 51-63.

[In the following essay, Macpherson highlights strong suggestions of coded signification and innuendo in cancionero poetry.]

The title of this article contains a conscious stylistic device. By ‘code’ I wish to suggest not only ‘código’, a conventionalized set of principles, but also ‘cifra’, a system whereby meaning may be transferred from one person or one group of persons to another in a way which will deliberately exclude any person who does not have access to the key to an agreed system. By...

(The entire section is 7525 words.)

Michel Garcia (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Garcia, Michel. “In Praise of the Cancionero: Considerations on the Social Meaning of the Castilian Cancioneros.” In Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain: From the Cancionero de Baena to the Cancionero General, edited by E. Michael Gerli and Julian Weiss, pp. 47-56. Tempe, Ariz.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998.

[In the following essay, Garcia concentrates on the importance of evaluating cancionero verse in collective form as poetic anthology.]

Nothing could be more timely than this collection of studies, now that Brian Dutton's compilation of cancioneros (1990-91) is finally completed, and now...

(The entire section is 5271 words.)

Regula Rohland de Langbehn (essay date 1998)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: de Langbehn, Regula Rohland. “Power and Justice in Cancionero Verse.” In Poetry at Court in Trastamaran Spain: From the Cancionero de Baena to the Cancionero General, edited by E. Michael Gerli and Julian Weiss, pp. 199-220. Tempe Ariz.: Medieval & Renaissance Texts & Studies, 1998.

[In the following essay, de Langbehn explores a combined interest in moral and political themes in cancionero verse, with particular regard to the concept of justice and the social position of the aristocracy and monarchy in fifteenth-century Spain.]


Many of the...

(The entire section is 10925 words.)