Selected Poems of Garcilaso de la Vega: A Bilingual Edition

University of Chicago Press
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Garcilaso de la Vega (ca. 1501–36), a Castilian nobleman and soldier at the court of Charles V, lived a short but glamorous life. As the first poet to make the Italian Renaissance lyric style at home in Spanish, he is credited with beginning the golden age of Spanish poetry. Known for his sonnets and pastorals, gracefully depicting beauty and love while soberly accepting their passing, he is shown here also as a calm student of love’s psychology and a critic of the savagery of war.

This bilingual volume is the first in nearly two hundred years to fully represent Garcilaso for an Anglophone readership. In facing-page translations that capture the music and skill of Garcilaso’s verse, John-Dent Young presents the sonnets, songs, elegies, and eclogues that came to influence generations of poets, including San Juan de la Cruz, Luis de Leon, Cervantes, and Góngora. The Selected Poems of Garcilaso de la Vega will help to explain to the English-speaking public this poet’s preeminence in the pantheon of Spanish letters.

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Garcilaso de la Vega, the first native of the New World to attain importance as a writer in the Old, was born in Cuzco in 1539, the illegitimate son of a Spanish cavalier and an Inca princess. Although he was educated as a gentleman of Spain and won an important place in Spanish letters, Garcilaso was fiercely proud of his Indian ancestry and wrote under the name El Inca.

Royal Commentaries of the Incas is the account of the origin, growth, and destruction of the Inca empire, from its legendary birth until the death in 1572 of its last independent ruler. For the material in Part One of Royal Commentaries—the history of the Inca civilization prior to the arrival of the Spaniards—Garcilaso drew upon "what I often heard as a child from the lips of my mother and her brothers and uncles and other elders . . . [of] the origin of the Inca kings, their greatness, the grandeur of their empire, their deeds and conquests, their government in peace and war, and the laws they ordained so greatly to the advantage of their vassals."

The conventionalized and formal history of an oral tradition, Royal Commentaries describes the gradual imposition of order and civilization upon a primitive and barbaric world. To this Garcilaso adds facts about the geography and the flora and fauna of the land; the folk practices, religion, and superstitions; the agricultural and the architectural and engineering achievements of the people; and a variety of other information drawn from his rich store of traditional knowledge, personal observation, or speculative philosophy.

Important though it is as history, Garcilaso's classic is much more: it is also a work of art. Its gracious and graceful style, skillfully translated by Harold V. Livermore, succeeds in bringing to life for the reader a genuine work of literature.

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Oct 15, 2009
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Pages
248
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ISBN
9780226141893
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Language
English
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Genres
Poetry / European / General
Poetry / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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