There is perhaps no other episode in the fourteenth-century Libro de buen amor that captures quite as well how the book and its notoriously fragmentary author figure, Juan Ruiz the Archpriest of Hita, set themselves up as parodies of authority and translatio studii than the Disputacion que los griegos e los rromanos en uno ovieron (The Disputation between the Greeks and the Romans) (sts.
A rereading of the Disputacion from the perspective of translation history and theory, as I will argue, not only allows us to appreciate how the Archpriest translates sign theory into fiction, but also how the Libro fashions the role of the clerical narrator and poet as a transmitter of Latin auctoritas in the Castilian romance vernacular.
Indeed, the Disputacion serves as a fictional mirror of the Libros prose prologue, in which the Archpriest urges his audience to understand his lessons correctly, but, at the same time, imagines three possible interpretations of his book and their consequences.
While the thirteenth-century Berceo leads his audience unambiguously from verba to res, the fourteenth-century Archpriest continually leaves readers hanging in the poetic space between words and their meanings, unsure whether the res is actually more valuable and morally upright than the verba.
28) Above and beyond the translation activities depicted in the exemplum, the Archpriest, who parodies as he glosses, displays his own work of translation, gloss, and poetic invention.
The Archpriest, writing in parodie imitation of his mester predecessors, on the other hand, pairs his poetic dexterity with ambiguity.
However, as poet and translator, the Archpriest simultaneously deflates the cultural authority of the ancients, who, it seems, are no match for the Roman usurpers of the Law.
The Archpriest is a cultural mediator who has assumed the task of making his sources meaningful and relevant to his audiences.
Yet these picaresque elements of satire, parody, caricature, and the like were not unique to picaresque novels; they also existed in earlier literature--such as Juan Ruiz, the Archpriest of Hita's El libro de buen amor and Fernando de Rojas' La Celestina--which influenced the development of the picaresque novel.
As town crier, he has a steady, assured income, even if his wife is a hand-me-down mistress of the archpriest of Salvador.