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.
M. L. GASPAROV