The Cantar de mio Cid: Poetic Creation in its Economic and Social Contexts

Overview

In his study of the Cantar de mio Cid, Duggan explores in depth the important theme of the acquisition and distribution of wealth within the poem. He interprets the Cantar as a work that transmutes moral values first into the economic values of a gift economy, then into genealogical values. In disproving the legend of the hero's bastardy, the poet echoes the concerns of the Castilian court of Alfonso VIII and reaffirms the dignity of the Cid's progeny and relatives, which included the king and the Lara family of ...
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Overview

In his study of the Cantar de mio Cid, Duggan explores in depth the important theme of the acquisition and distribution of wealth within the poem. He interprets the Cantar as a work that transmutes moral values first into the economic values of a gift economy, then into genealogical values. In disproving the legend of the hero's bastardy, the poet echoes the concerns of the Castilian court of Alfonso VIII and reaffirms the dignity of the Cid's progeny and relatives, which included the king and the Lara family of Molina. Considering the poem's distortions of history more significant than its retention of the historical features, Duggan ascribes its depiction of the penurious hero who acquires wealth, power, and kinship alliances to the Castilian monarchy's preoccupations with furthering the Reconquest in the dark period between the defeat of Alarcos and the victory of Las Navas de Tolosa. He maintains that the Cantar de mio Cid was composed around the year 1200 in substantially the form in which we have it, in the course of a singer's perfomance. Arguing against a number of recent tendencies in Cid scholarship Professor Duggan denies the necessity of assuming that the poet was a man of learning, that he was directly influenced by French literature, or that he was familiar with written law. This original monograph provides a major contribution to medieval Hispanic studies.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Maintaining that the poem was composed about 1200. Duggan (French, comparative literature and romance philology, U. of California) relates its portrayal of acquiring and distributing wealth to the concerns of the Castilian monarch, Alfonso VIII. His interpretation shows moral values being transmitted into economic values in a gift economy, and then further transformed into genealogical values. The cover identifies this as no.5 in the series, but the best available evidence suggests it is no.6 (see PA5165). Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Modern equivalents to names in the maps; Maps; 1. Historical and theoretical framework; 2. The acquisition of wealth; 3. Economy and gift-giving; 4. Social status, legitimacy and inherited worth; 5. The poet's milieu; 6. Geography and history; 7. The Cantar de mio Cid and the French epic tradition; 8. Mode of composition; 9. Conclusion; Notes; List of references; Index.

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