Jorge Manrique Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Jorge Manrique (mahn-REE-kay) is the last great poet of the Spanish Middle Ages, and he is Spain’s best representative of the courtly tradition of arms and letters. He was born into one of Castile’s oldest and most powerful families. Both his great-uncle, the marqués de Santillana, and his uncle, Gómez Manrique, were poets, and their works influenced the writings of Jorge Manrique. The death of Jorge’s father, Rodrigo Manrique, served as the inspiration for Jorge’s most famous poem, the ode Coplas on the Death of His Father.

Rodrigo Manrique was count of Paredes and Grand Master of the Order of Santiago. Jorge Manrique was a knight of the Order of Santiago, a comendador, and a captain. Manrique, his father, and his uncle all fought for Alfonso against Enrique IV in the struggle for the throne of Castile. After Alfonso’s death, Jorge became a supporter of Isabel; he died in 1479 at the castle of Garci-Muñoz serving her cause against the pretender Juana la Beltraneja. Manrique was buried in the church of the convent at Uclés.

Jorge Manrique had a quiet, sensitive temperament that was at variance with the ideal of heroic strength instilled in him by his father. This tension is apparent in his poetry. He married Guiomar de Castañeda, the sister of his father’s third wife, but after Jorge Manrique’s death, his wife asked for the return of her dowry, an indication that the marriage was not a happy one.

Manrique’s poetic production consists of about fifty compositions. Besides the famous ode and three short burlesque poems, he wrote love poems in the courtly style of the period; two of these poems are dedicated to his wife. In his poetry, Manrique treats love as a source of moral instruction and as a painful path toward perfection. He cherished the chivalric tradition and imitated it without, however, becoming a strictly academic...

(The entire section is 775 words.)


(European Poets and Poetry)

It is generally believed that Jorge Manrique de Lara y Figueroa was born in the town of Paredes de Nava in about 1440; however, some scholars conjecture that Manrique’s birthplace was Segura de la Sierra. Manrique’s father, Rodrigo Manrique, was the count (conde) of Paredes de Nava, constable (condestable) of Castile, grand master (maestre) of the Order of Santiago, and one of the principal figures of the Kingdom of Castile in the fifteenth century. Manrique followed a great line of forebears who had distinguished themselves in their literary virtuosity. He was the great-nephew of Iñigo López de Mendoza (the marqués of Santillana); nephew of Gómez Manrique, the famous soldier and poet; and a descendent of Pero López de Ayala, the famed author of the Libro Rimado de Palacio (c. 1378-1403). Manrique’s mother died while he was still a child, and the boy was raised largely by his father in the courtly tradition of humanism and the arts of war. Like his forebears, the young Manrique became a soldier, a courtier, and a literary figure.

Politically, the Manrique family allied itself with the Infante Alfonso, brother to King Henry IV and a pretender to the throne of Castile. In 1470, Manrique married Guiomar, one of his stepmother’s younger sisters. Upon Alfonso’s death, the Manriques took up the cause of Isabella, Henry’s half-sister, and denied their support to Henry’s daughter, Juana (“La Beltraneja”). Manrique fought at his father’s side in support of Isabella in numerous clashes with Henry’s supporters, such as those at Montizón, where in 1474, he distinguished himself for his bravery; Calatrava; Uclés; and at the castle of Garci-Muñoz, where, according to the historian Hernando del Pulgar, he was killed in battle in 1479. Some scholars, such as Jerónimo Zurita, believe that Manrique survived the battle only to die several days later in Santa María del Campo de Rus. It is believed that both Manrique and his father, Rodrigo, are buried in the cathedral of Uclés, in the province of Cuenca, although this has not been scientifically verified.