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Agenda Cultural

 

Because it was golden, it truly shone. In the decades between the publication of Nebrija's Gramática castellana, in 1492, until the death of Calderón in 1681, new aesthetics and new literary genres were born in Spain. In that time such a quantity of artistic work was produced, and of such a great influence in literature and universal art that it deserves, without a doubt, to go down in history as the classic era of Spanish culture.
Indirectly, the expression "Golden Age" mentioned on the one hand, in a silva (type of verse) by Lope, El Siglo de Oro, included in the posthumous publication La Vega del Parnaso, and, on the other, in the Discurso de la Edad de Oro, by Cervantes, in El Quixote.

The first time the expression "Golden Age" was used, was the middle of the 18th century in the publication Orígenes de la poesía castellana (1754), by Velázquez de Velasco, academic in the Real Academia de la Historia (Royal Academy of History).

However, it was George Ticknor, professor of Spanish Literature at Harvard University and author of History of Spanish Literature, who, in the 19th century and inspired by Don Quixote, baptized the period between 1492 and 1681 as the 'Golden Age' of Spanish literature, classic, fertile period of Spanish culture, of the Renaissance of the 16th century and the Baroque of the 17th century.

  • Silva (medieval verse form) entitled El Siglo de Oro, by Lope de Vega (last part)

Viendo, pues la divina verdad santa
la tierra en tal estado;
el rico idolatrado,
el pobre miserable,
a quien ni aun el morir es favorable,
mientras más voces da menos oído,
el sabio aborrecido,
escuchado, y premiado el lisonjero,
vencedor el dinero,
Josef vendido por el propio hermano;
lástima y burla del estado humano,
y entre la confusión de tanto estruendo,
Demócrito riyendo,
Heráclito llorando;
la muerte no temida,
y para el sueño de tan breve vida,
el hombre edificando
ignorando la ley de la partida;
con presuroso vuelo
subiose en hombros de sí misma al cielo.

  • Discurso de la Edad de Oro (II part, chapter XI of El Quixote)

"Dichosa edad y siglos dichosos aquellos a quien los antiguos pusieron nombre de dorados, y no porque en ellos el oro, que en esta nuestra edad de hierro tanto se estima, se alcanzase en aquella venturosa sin fatiga alguna, sino porque entonces los que en ella vivían ignoraban estas dos palabras de tuyo y mío".

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Insults and accusations between writers were frequent in the era. There were aggressive yet very witty confrontations. Really, the poison came from the pen of their talents. They dedicated highly toxic verses to one another, full of irony and sarcasm.

Góngora called Quevedo and Lope drunks, while they call him "morisco" (Moor converted to Christianity)... They said Quevedo knew nothing of Greek and on top of that, was "half blind." For Góngora, Lope as a priest, was a "sickness." And Cervantes won descriptions such as "angry, jealous and a liar." All of this circulated in signed poems, in texts, but also on other occasions, in anonymous pamphlets. What bothered Lope the most was Spongia.

The Spongia is a libel in the form of a Latin tract that appeared in Madrid in 1617 and was written by Pedro Torres Rámila, a master of Grammar. In a few pages, the author, pretending to be a foreign authority, fiercely attacked Lope de Vega's literature and 'not very exemplary' private life.

Lope and Cervantes met in 1583 at the home of Jerónimo Velázquez, father of Elena Osorio. Cervantes then recognized Lope's talent in Galatea (book VI, Canto de Calíope) and Lope praised Cervantes in the Arcadia (1598). It appears that what unleashed Cervantes' indignation was the cover of El peregrino en su patria (1604), that had an etching of the shield of the name Carpio, with nineteen towers, a statue of Envy, a inscription in Latin, and to top it off, a portrait of Lope with a laudatory sonnet signed by Quevedo. Cervantes could not abide so much arrogance and he dedicated a sonnet to him in which he attacked all of his theatrical works:

Hermano Lope, bórrame el soné—
de versos de Ariosto y Garcila—,
y la Biblia no tomes en la ma—,
pues nunca de la Biblia dices le—.
También me borrarás La Dragóme—
y un librillo que llaman del Arca—
con todo el Comediqje y Epita—,
y, por ser mora, quemarás la Angé—,
Sabe Dios mi intención con San Isi—;
mas quiéralo dejar por lo devo—.
Bórrame en su lugar El peregri—.
Y en cuatro leguas no me digas co—;
que supuesto que escribes boberi—,
las vendrán a entender cuatro nació—.
Ni acabes de escribir La Jerusa—;
bástale a la cuitada su traba—.

Before the appearance of Quixote (whose exclusive is dated September 26, 1604) the work was known probably in manuscript form in the Court, and Lope must have had access to it, and read it. Lope, completely out of control, wrote:

Yo que no sé de los, de li ni le—
ni sé si eres, Cervantes, co ni cu—;
sólo digo que es Lope Apolo y tú
frisón de su carroza y puerco en pie.
Para que no escribieses, orden fue
del Cielo que mancases en Corfú;
hablaste, buey, pero dijiste mu.
¡Oh, mala quijotada que te dé!
¡Honra a Lope, potrilla, o guay de ti!,
que es sol, y si se enoja, lloverá;
y ese tu Don Quijote baladi
de culo en culo por el mundo va
vendiendo especias y azafrán romí
y, al fin, en muladares parará.

Góngora to Lope:
Dicen que ha hecho Lopico
contra mis versos adversos,
mas si yo vuelvo mi pico
con el pico de mis versos
a ese Lopico lo-pico”

Góngora to Quevedo and Lope:
“Hoy hacen amistad nueva
más por Baco que por Febo
don Francisco de Que-Bebo
don Félix Lope de Beba

Quevedo to Góngora:
Yo te untaré mis versos con tocino
porque no me los muerdas, Gongorilla,
perro de los ingenios de Castilla,
docto en pullas, cual mozo de camino

Góngora to Lope:
Cura que en la vecindad
vive con desenvoltura
¿para qué llamarle cura
si es la misma enfermedad?”

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 El-madrid-de-Lope

Yes. A mentidero (gossiping place) is, according to the Spanish dictionary, a "place where idle people gather to converse". In Calle León , there was the Mentidero de los Representantes (Mentidero of the Performers, also known as the comedians). It was there that the men and women of letters discussed poetry and theater at length, but not only that, it was also the place where actors were contracted for the companies and where enemies met to settle their scores. Mentideros are the precursors to cafes with their tertulias, especially active in the 19th and 20th century. Today there is a plaque: "In the era of the Hapsburgs, this place was the MENTIDERO DE LOS REPRESENTANTES, meeting place of theater people."

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iglesia-san-sebastian

Lope de Vega died on August 1635. On the 24th he got up very early, said mass, tended his garden as he did every day, and closed himself In his study [lleva a la casa], to work. In the afternoon, he left the house to attend a discussion on some conclusions on Medicine and Philosophy in the Seminary de los Escoceses, and fainted during the ceremony. A doctor friend attended to him and made sure they took him home, where he was bled. The next day, in which he could still write a poem and a sonnet, His Majesty’s chamber doctor visited him, and recommended they give him the Holy Sacrament.

On Sunday, August 26, he made a will naming his daughter Feliciana heir. He bid farewell to his friends and received the last rites. The next day, at five fifteen in the afternoon, he died. The funeral service lasted for nine days and his remains were laid to rest in the Church of San Sebastián
 
The Duke of Sessa organized and paid for the funeral service. The venerable congregation of the priests of Madrid carried the coffin and, by Sister Marcela’s special request, the entourage passed by the Convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas. They then left Calle de Francos and turned right toward the Calle de San Agustín. From there the grillwork of the Trinitarias can be seen from fewer than 100 steps away. The procession continued up Cantarranas to Calle León, Calle Atocha or Calle Huertas, until finally arriving at the Church de San Sebastián.

All of Madrid came out to bid farewell to the author (“the streets were so full of people –dice Montalbán—that the way to the burial was practically obstructed.”) The remains of Lope de Vega were deposited in the Church of San Sebastián, on Calle de Atocha. In the middle of the 17th century, they were moved to a common grave, when the Duke of Sessa stopped paying the fee.

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Su madre fue Francisca Fernández Flórez y su padre Félix de Vega Carpio, maestro bordador, ambos procedían de las montañas de Cantabria.

Lope tuvo cuatro hermanos: Francisco, Juliana, Luisa y Juan. El poeta pasó parte de su infancia en casa de su tío, don Miguel de Carpio, Inquisidor de Sevilla.