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Medieval Spanish Literature (La Celestina & Libro de Buen Amor): Home


"The Libro de Buen Amor belongs to the first half of the fourteenth century; La Celestina, to the last years of the fifteenth and first of the sixteenth; each of these works is very representative of its period, and each of these periods is decisive in the cultural history of Spain. This is because in the Hispanic world, medieval thought, art and forms of life have exerted a deep and lasting influence, persisting as a foundation for more recent modes.

In the Hispanic world, the Middle Ages are not just a part of the distant past, and their immediacy is reflected materially, one might say, in the fact that the difference between medieval Spanish and the Spanish Language of today is much less marked than that between medieval and present-day English. Parts of the Libro de Buen Amor and scenes from La Celestina are recited and performed today before the general, non-academic public of Spain and of Spanish America.

The Libro de Buen Amor and La Celestina are not historical relics, two antiques whose dates and contents one must memorize to pass college examinations: they are two living books."

With the above words María Rosa Lida begins her introduction to the Libro de buen amor and La Celestina in Two Spanish Masterpieces. The statement is still valid today and captures the importance and vitality of the two Spanish-medieval works, which had --and continue to have-- impact on European and World literature --from Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, to Rosario Castellanos, to even Tony Kashner's 1990s play, The Illusion. Film and theatrical adaptations of the texts continue through the present day.

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Paloma Celis-Carbajal
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Madison, WI 53706
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Guide Created by...

This Subject Guide was created by Andrew Walsh, Elizabeth Huggins, and Paloma Celis Carbajal.  Special thanks to Professor Pablo Ancos for his input on this guide.