Cantigas: Galician-Portuguese Troubadour Poems (Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation #131) (Paperback)

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Cantigas: Galician-Portuguese Troubadour Poems (Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation #131) By Richard Zenith (Editor), Richard Zenith (Translator) Cover Image
By Richard Zenith (Editor), Richard Zenith (Translator)


A bilingual volume that reveals an intriguing world of courtly love and satire in medieval Portugal and Spain

The rich tradition of troubadour poetry in western Iberia had all but vanished from history until the discovery of several ancient cancioneiros, or songbooks, in the nineteenth century. These compendiums revealed close to 1,700 songs, or cantigas, composed by around 150 troubadours from Galicia, Portugal, and Castile in the thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. In Cantigas, award-winning translator Richard Zenith presents a delightful selection of 124 of these poems in English versions that preserve the musical quality of the originals, which are featured on facing pages. By turns romantic, spiritual, ironic, misogynist, and feminist, these lyrics paint a vibrant picture of their time and place, surprising us with attitudes and behaviors that are both alien and familiar.

The book includes the three major kinds of cantigas. While cantigas de amor (love poems in the voice of men) were largely inspired by the troubadour poetry of southern France, cantigas de amigo (love poems voiced by women) derived from a unique native oral tradition in which the narrator pines after her beloved, sings his praises, or mocks him. In turn, cantigas de esc rnio are satiric, and sometimes outrageously obscene, lyrics whose targets include aristocrats, corrupt clergy, promiscuous women, and homosexuals.

Complete with an illuminating introduction on the history of the cantigas, their poetic characteristics, and the men who composed and performed them, this engaging volume is filled with exuberant and unexpected poems.

About the Author

Richard Zenith, the author of Pessoa: A Biography, is a prolific translator of Portuguese and Brazilian poets and writers.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780691179407
ISBN-10: 0691179409
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication Date: May 17th, 2022
Pages: 384
Language: English
Series: Lockert Library of Poetry in Translation