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The Monkey in the Jarcha: Tradition and Canonicity in the Early Iberian Lyric

The Monkey in the Jarcha: Tradition and Canonicity in the Early Iberian Lyric dence enough of its cultural worth. In early Iberian literature, fragments, such as the hundred surviving lines of the Carolingian-themed Roncesvalles epic found in a copy dated circa 1310, and works of uncertain and undefinable linguistic and geographic provenance, for example the much-debated Auto de los reyes magos, are regularly discussed and included in even the most basic of medieval surveys of Spanish literature.2 Such inclusion, however, is not the result of openness to contemporary critical notions of incompleteness and fracture in the case of the Roncesvalles, or hybridity and ambiguity in the case of the Auto. Both texts serve an important purpose in the formation of a national canon. The Roncesvalles is cited as an example of how foreign epic material, that of Roland and Charlemagne, is nationalized, even in its scant 100 lines.3 The Auto is needed as a “first” (and only) example of a prefifteenth-century dramatic text in an Iberian dialect that even closely resembles Castilian. Nonetheless, as textual production increases, so does “the contestation of value”; the complex debate surrounding a text’s literary/cultural worth becomes the principal determinant of a text’s relationship to the canon.4 As such canons wend their way through the Castilian http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies Duke University Press

The Monkey in the Jarcha: Tradition and Canonicity in the Early Iberian Lyric

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2000 by Duke University Press
ISSN
1082-9636
eISSN
1527-8263
DOI
10.1215/10829636-30-3-463
Publisher site
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Abstract

dence enough of its cultural worth. In early Iberian literature, fragments, such as the hundred surviving lines of the Carolingian-themed Roncesvalles epic found in a copy dated circa 1310, and works of uncertain and undefinable linguistic and geographic provenance, for example the much-debated Auto de los reyes magos, are regularly discussed and included in even the most basic of medieval surveys of Spanish literature.2 Such inclusion, however, is not the result of openness to contemporary critical notions of incompleteness and fracture in the case of the Roncesvalles, or hybridity and ambiguity in the case of the Auto. Both texts serve an important purpose in the formation of a national canon. The Roncesvalles is cited as an example of how foreign epic material, that of Roland and Charlemagne, is nationalized, even in its scant 100 lines.3 The Auto is needed as a “first” (and only) example of a prefifteenth-century dramatic text in an Iberian dialect that even closely resembles Castilian. Nonetheless, as textual production increases, so does “the contestation of value”; the complex debate surrounding a text’s literary/cultural worth becomes the principal determinant of a text’s relationship to the canon.4 As such canons wend their way through the Castilian

Journal

Journal of Medieval and Early Modern StudiesDuke University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2000

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