Spanish Romances

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Romances, Spanish


a eenre of Spanish medieval lyric epic poetry, which also used plots drawn from erotic and military poetry, as well as verses on the miracles of the saints. The principal subjects of the Spanish romances are the struggle against the Moors, chivalrous friendship with enemies, Spanish history, and the deeds of Charlemagne’s or King Arthur’s knights. By the 14th century the genre had developed in folklore, growing out of a lyric epic interpretation of facts and a reworking of themes from chivalrous narrative poems, such as the Cantar de mío Cid.

The first printed editions of Spanish romances appeared in the 16th century, and the first general compilation dates from 1600–05. At this time the genre was adopted in literary poetry and used by many writers, including L. de Góngora y Argota, Lope F. de Vega Carpió, and F. Quevedo y Villegas. Chivalrous, “Moorish,” lyrical, pastoral, and comic Spanish romances developed.

Imitations of Spanish romances emerged in other literatures, especially during the romantic period. The genre has survived in literary poetry, but in folklore it is gradually disappearing. The generic resemblance between the Spanish romance and the English and Scottish ballad accounts for the similarity of their influence on romantic literature.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Simone Pinet has noted that there are very few images placed within the body of the text in the Spanish romances (Pinet, "The Knight, the Kings" 537-54).
Like his counterpart in the Spanish romance, he also turns to magic (1.2.77).
"Social Definition and Clothing: A Study of English and American Ballads and Spanish Romances." International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences 5.1 (2010): 115-26.
"Performing Identity in Early Modern English Ballads and Spanish Romances." 25th SEDERI (Spanish and Portuguese Society for English Renaissance Studies) Conference.
However, such references to preceding and upcoming books in the series had also often appeared in the French editions of the Spanish romances that Munday used for his own translations (Wilson 2013b, 216-217; Braden, Cummings and Gillespie 2010).
Meyers confidently assures readers, without a shred of justification, that Johnson's athletic feats were an outlet for frustrated sexual drives; that his play Irene is a refracted portrait of his odd marriage; and that reading Spanish romances "cut him off from reality," though it would be hard to name an author less cut off from reality than Samuel Johnson (23).
Hamilton provides a worthwhile account of Munday's translations of Spanish romances, one of which the character Rafe in Beaumont's Knight of the Burning Pestle is presumably reading at one point.
In addition to three tragicomedies based on Spanish romances, Bredero wrote three farces that mark the zenith of this medieval genre: Klucht van de Koe (1612; "Farce of the Cow"), Klucht van den Molenaar (1613; "Farce of the Miller"), and Klucht van Symen sonder Soetigheyd (1612 or 1613; "Farce of Symen Without Kindness").
Munday spent much effort in translating, especially Spanish romances, but what theories of translation operated at this time?
In "The Genesis of Don Quixote" (from The Anatomy of Don Quixote: A Symposium, 1932), Ramon Menendez Pidal traces the origin of Don Quixote back to the Spanish romances, which he considered to be the essence of Spain.
After 1579 his writings streamed from the press, including popular ballads, original lyrics, verse, translations of French and Spanish romances, plays, and a number of edifying or moral works.
Belianis has a greater scope of vision and a relatively more coherent action than do most Spanish romances of chivalry.