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Enrique de Villena, El tratado de la consolacion; a critical edition with introductory study and notes Carr, Derek Cooper


Although a number of articles have been written on Enrique de Villena, he has not been adequately treated since the publication of Cotarelo y Mori's monograph in 1896, and only one of his works has been given a critical edition in recent years. This dissertation is intended to bring up to date our knowledge of Villena, and to provide an intelligible text of his Tratado de la Consolacion, hitherto accessible only in an inferior transcription of one manuscript published by Foulche-Delbosc in 1917. The preliminary study is organized as follows: Chapter I gives a critical outline of the main advances in our knowledge of Villena from the 1766 Escurial edition of the Arte Cisoria to work in progress at present in Spain. It concludes that Menendez Pelayo and Cotarelo are still to be regarded as the principal authorities on Villena. Chapter II deals with Villena's life and works, and is in three parts. The first is a new biography of Villena, in which the use of documentary sources inaccessible to nineteenth-century scholars has made it possible to fill several lacunae in Cotarelo's work. The second part is a detailed catalogue of the extant manuscripts and incunabula of Villena's works; it contains no surprises, but a number of manuscripts are described there for the first time. Some attention has been paid to the problems of dating certain works: there is evidence to suggest that the Tratado de la Consolacion was written in 1424, a year later than previously thought; the Tratado de la Fasciriacion is dated precisely between May 26 and June 3, 1425. March 15, 1432 is offered as a tentativealternative to Cotarelo's dating of the Epfstdla a Suero de Quinones. This work was found to contain the earliest reference in Spanish literature to Pedro de Corral's Croriica Sarrazina. Chapter II, Part III is an assessment of Villena's literary-formation and knowledge of foreign languages. The matter requires further study, hut the following points can be made: There is no objective evidence of Villena's knowledge of European languages other than Latin, Castilian, Italian and lemosi (Catalan-Provencal); his Hebrew and Arabic references seem to derive chiefly from a) medieval Latin translation, b) second-hand information, and c) conversations with Jewish acquaintances. Evidence of first-hand knowledge of original "oriental" sources is at best circumstantial. His cultural formation, therefore, is largely that of the Latin Middle Ages, and is hardly influenced by Romance tradition. Chapter III, Part I examines the general characteristics of the Classical and early Christian consolatio mortis, and the transmission of the consolatory topoi during the Middle Ages. However, little evidence has been found of the continuing tradition of a formal prose consolatio mortis in medieval literature. The study of Villena's Tratado in Part II shows that it is ideologically much closer to the Classical and Patristic consolatio than to the plaintive medieval attitude to death and adverse fortune, and may be the first example of the genre written in Castilian. The chief features of Villena's style are linked with his interest in rhetoric, a point ignored by previous scholars. Finally the editorial criteria are discussed. The text of the Tratado de la Consolacion is based on Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, Ms. 6599, but is carefully corrected with the assistance of Santander, Biblioteca de Menendez Pelayo, Ms. 68 and a manuscript belonging to the private collection of the late D. Antonio Rodriguez-Monino. The critical apparatus lists all the variants of significance in the reconstruction of an intelligible text; the notes deal with specific editorial problems, identify the sources, and explain lexical and syntactical difficulties.

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