Archive for poetry

Dissertation

Posted in Literature, poetry, Useful with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2009 by xugro

So my dissertation’s all done and turned in, despite the false start I had the day I submitted it. I’ve decided to publish the abstract online (full text available upon request) just in case there’s the off chance someone would actually read it. There’s more of a chance that someone would read it by stumbling upon it on the internet than when it’s actually published on microfilm or in book form. Whether the latter ever happens is another story.

I mean, I did spend almost three years working on it. Not that that makes it good. Anyway, hit the “read more” button for the abstract then a link to email me for the PDF of the whole thing.

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The Athenaeum of Greatness

Posted in Literature with tags , , , , , , , on March 11, 2009 by xugro

I named this blog after one of my favorite literary works by Josep Romaguera (1642-1723), one of the authors I wrote about it my dissertation. It’s an emblem book written in Catalan, a Romance Language with 10 million speakers similar to Spanish and French spoken in Eastern Spain, France, Andorra, Italy and elsewhere.

The Athenaeum of GreatnessAtheneo de grandesa in the original Catalan–attempts to make literary Catalan a tool capable of negotiating a space for Catalonia and Catalan writing within the wider context of the Habsburg empire based in Castile, in the center of Spain. During the Baroque in Spain, most literary works were written in Spanish, like Don Quixote. Romaguera wanted to reverse this trend by creating a literary Catalan that imitated the Baroque stylings of Spanish writers like Luis de Góngora and Baltasar Gracián. By extension, he wanted to reclaim autonomy for Catalonia as a member of the states that composed the Spanish empire.

Romaguera was an important politician, clergyman, and intellectual in the years between the Catalan revolt of 1640-52 and the War of Spanish Succession (1701-14) in which Catalonia tried to preserve its autonomy, though he is still a virtually unknown figure even in Catalan literature.

The Athenaeum, one of a few texts by Romaguera that survive, is an interesting mix of poetry, prose and illustrations. It’s the only emblem book written in Catalan. Here are a few images that I’ve scanned myself. The book is out of copyright (it was published in 1681 by the press of Joan Jolis in Barcelona). The book is about improving yourself by developing certain virtues by applying maxims like “aspire to be the greatest”–in a sense, a Baroque motivational or self-help book.

The Atheneo de grandesa is a fascinating work of Baroque artifice. In its dynamic performance of Baroque esthetics found in texts written in Spanish, its appropriation of language and images, and its construction of the ideal Catalan poet-hero, the text dramatizes the dilemma of a Baroque author writing from the margins of empire.

I have scanned in the entire book–it’s out of copyright–and it’s now on the wikimedia commons. You can download it via the link below:

Atheneo de grandesa (Josep Romaguera, 1681)