Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ah, medieval Spanish literature

At the present time, I am up to my eyeballs in Mester de Clerecía.* I have had a passage about it running through my head for the better part of the past week, even though it's not from the work in that genre that I'm currently reading:

Mester trayo fermoso, non es de joglería
mester es sin peccado, qua es de clerecía
fablar curso rimado por la cuaderna vía
a sílabas contadas, qua es grant maestría.

That description of Mester de Clerecía in four little lines is probably the most famous and most often quoted bit of the entire Libro de Alexandre, not that many of my readers would care...

Having the above quote memorized should come in handy someday, given what I study, although this piece of knowledge likely falls into the category of being too obscure for (English language) Jeopardy! and other assorted trivia games.

By the way, if you know some Spanish and are worried because you don't recognize half the words up there, don't freak out: the passage in question was probably written in the early 1200's.

*Wikipedia's current definition of the genre is a gross overgeneralization, but it's short and sweet. At least according to my professors, the "opposition" between Mester de Clerecía and Mester de Juglaría is nowhere close to one of a binary nature.