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Author: Brown, Donna F.
Title: A History of the Zéjel in Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan Literatures
Date: 1971
Publication details: Washington, D.C., 1971. Additional publ. details from Snow 1977: Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures, XCVII, Microfilm Series, XXXII, unpubl. diss., Catholic Univ., 1971. Abstract in Dissertation Abstracts International, XXXII (1971-2), 2082-3A.
Snow ID: 348
Commentary: Notes from Snow 1977: "Alfonso's 281 religious and two profane zéjeles form an important part of this thorough study (including a sound review of former research into the area) of what the zéjel form really is. The review of theories of origins is especially worth consulting: it begins with Ribera (1912) and ends with recent publications. The author's consideration of a polygenetic theory of origins is not - as it has been so often for others - an easy escape from decision; rather, it derives from careful thought and evaluation of the facts as known. A survey of the 562 compositions using the zéjel form (from the earliest to 1933) covers all of the Peninsula and treats equally of stylistic, thematic, and musical evolution. Significantly, no clear and direct link to Arabic poetry of this type can be established. The CSM are dealt with passim and especially on pp. 92-103 and 231-4, in the chapter on music, and in Appendix E (dealing with the unusually great number of unorthodox enjambements in Alfonso's poetry). Two observations are noteworthy and useful: that the refrain of the poem may not have been sung after each strophe in actual practice; and that some of the cantigas are basically mini-dramas and may well have been performed in some primitive dramatic form when sung (CSM 65 is used as illustration of this potential)."
Associated Poems: 65 - The Excommunicate who Won Absolution
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