Cantar de Mio Cid

Cantar de Mio Cid
The Manuscript
Don Rodrigo (Ruy) Díaz de Vivar died in 1099
Cantar was written down onto parchment in 1207
There are some pages missing! – 1st folio ( 1st two pages)
The original is known to have been copied at least once
Around 1110 Latin Historia Roderici was written for the purpose making
sure the tales of Don Rodrigo lived on
• Cantar is (only) oldest existing preserved Spanish epic
• Ramón Menéndez Pidal mentions Cantar to be mester de juglaria wherein
stories are passed down orally from generation to generation, and in the
process, change.
• However, some critics believe El Cantar de Mio Cid was composed by a Per
Abbad who signed only existing manuscript copy.
The date of the manuscripts creation is believed to be 1207. This is supported by
the last few lines which seem to have been added after the manuscript had been
written. These lines say:
«Quien escrivio este libro del Dios parayso, amen
Per Abbat le escrivio en el mes de mayo
En era de mill e CCXLV años.»
Last few lines are in different hand to original manuscript writing
To what extent can the supposed non-fiction mentioned in the poem be classed as
unbiased and accurate? We shall never know? It was a story to entertain after all.
Selection of Rhetorical Devices
used in the Cantar
A rhetorical device is used as a means to reinforce any auxiliary meanings, ideas or feelings
that the author wants to convey.
There are two linguistic registers that are used:
When the minstrel addresses the audience ---------- simplified language
When the characters converse with one another ----- complex language
Addressing the audience - ‘My Cid sighed, for he was greatly troubled. By Cid
spoke with dignity and such wisdom…’ (Lines 6 and 7)
Characters conversing – ‘Count Don García rose to his feet: “I beg a favour, O
King, the noblest in all Spain! My Cid has grown too accustomed to such
solemn courts. He has allowed his beard to grow, and wears it long. Some are
afraid of him, others he fills with terror.”’ (Lines 3270-3274)
- When he speaks it works two-fold:
1. To influence the actions or opinions of the other characters
2. To reach out to the audience
-This is to help the author to convey his ideas with added subtlety.
‘My Cid stopped before them, holding the reins of his horse: “I offer my humble
respect, ladies! I have won you great renown; for, while you held Valencia, I was
victorious in battle. This was the will of God, with all his saints, that on your arrival
he has offered you such gains.”’ (Lines 1748-1751)
• Throughout Cantar, there are several references to what has
already happened as well as frequent mention of time,
numbers and places.
• Examples:
• ‘Here begins again the story of My Cid of Vivar. His men are so
rich that they can no longer tell their wealth. My Cid has
occupied the pass of Olocau…’ (Lines 1085-1087)
• ‘The wedding celebration lasted a full fifteen days, and
towards the end of the fifteen days the noblemen began to
leave.’ (2251-2252)
• ‘Fernando González saw nowhere to flee, no open chamber or
tower, and he hid under the couch, so great was his terror.
Diego González ran out through the door, crying: “Never again
shall I see Carrión!”’ (Lines 2286-2289)
Rhyme and verse in the Poema de
Mio Cid
Form typical for French epic
Makes recitation/singing easier
French model: regular metre (10 syllables with strong caesura
into two hemistiches)
In PMC: considerable variation of syllables in each verse and
each hemistiche
62% of verses are of 14-16 syllables, divided as:
assonance not totally regular but neither very varied: 11 types
burgeses e burgesas por las finiestras son,
plorando de los ojos, tanto avién el dolor,
de las sus bocas todos dizían una razón,
-¡Dios, qué buen vassallo, si oviesse buen señor!
Spidiós' el caboso de cuer e de veluntad.
Sueltan las riendas e piensan de aguijar,
dixo Martín Antolínez, -Veré a la mugier a todo mio solaz,
castigarlos he cómmo abrán a far.
Si el rey me lo quisiere tomar, a mí non m'incal,
antes seré convusco que el sol quiera rayar.-
- á-o
De los sos ojos tan fuertemientre llorando
tornava la cabeça e estávalos catando,
vio puertas abiertas e uços sin cañados,
alcándaras vazías, sin pielles e sin mantos
- á-a
Conbidarle ien de grado, mas ninguno non osava,
el rey don Alfonso tanto avié la grand saña,
antes de la noche, en Burgos d'él entró su carta
con grand recabdo e fuertemientre sellada,
que a mio Çid Ruy Díaz que nadi nol' diessen posada
Menéndez Pidal’s thesis:
• Often in assonances in –ó and –á a paragogic -e is
i.e. “besar” rhymes with “sale”
• => double assonances only => regulation of the rhyme
• ! in Per Abbat’s manuscript only 2 examples of
paragogic –e written (“laudare” v.335 and “Trinidade”
v.2370; two Latinisms)
• verses → laisse of varying length (3-190) but with unity
of assonance and idea
Orality vs. Literacy
1. la escuela tradicionalista de Menéndez
Pidal que no habla de composición-creación
oral, sino de tradición (difusión-transmisión)
oral de los cantares de gesta,
2. y la "oralista" de Parry-Lord : la segunda
insiste en la composición-creación oral
durante la recitación juglaresca.
Menéndez Pidal :
"la tradicionalidad que se deposita en los manuscritos ofrece
caracteres idénticos a la puramente oral" (Poesía juglaresca y orígenes p.369)
Según Menéndez Pidal los largos poemas narrativos como el Mio Cid se
transmitían, en general, por medio de la tradición oral
"Existía otra poesía juglaresca tradicional, productora de
relatos 6picos algo extensos, que no solo se transmitían
oralmente, sino a veces ayudándose de la escritura.".
Proceso de difusión-propagación:
"la difusión del cantar de gesta o poema extenso es mixta: esencialmente ha de ser
oral, cantada, pero se sirve también mucho de la escritura."
La Real Academia de Buenas Letras de Barcelona:
"La memoria del juglar que dicta la copia del Mio Cid a fines del siglo XII
era de las que abundaban entonces, una memoria vasta y firme, algo así
como una escritura analfabatica de deseada fijeza. La poesía oral que nos
trasmite es una épica que vive de modo muy distinto al en que vive la
moderna épica yugoeslava, improvisadora y refundidora de totalidad”.
Escuela oralista
Milman Parry, A. B. Lord:
• el canto oral no depende de un texto escrito para aprender de memoria el
poema que luego recitara a un auditorio vivo
• La doctrina lordiana rechaza, por tanto, la teoría de la tradición escrita y
oral tal como la defendió Menéndez Pidal antes de 1965
• Para reafirmar la oralidad del Cantar de Mio Cid destacan el uso de
elementos técnicos y estilísticos propios de la composición oral: formulas
y expresiones formulisticas, epítetos épicos caracterizadores, temas y
motivos tradicionales
“The auditory memory of the oral poet largely relies on powerful
mnemonic aids; verbal formulas, stylistic patterns, formulas of narrative
mode, clichés of common speech. Therefore formulaic style is
inseparable from epic” (De Chasca)
No way to assume what original poem was like because “by its very
nature oral transmission does not permit identical reproduction of a
particular song. Whether it be recreated by the same singer or by
different singers” (De Chasca).
Indeed, it has been said that “Since Albert B. Lord invoked the metrical irregularity
of the Cantar de mio Cid as possible evidence that the poem was an orally
composed song either " recited for the records " or " taken down by a scribe who
does not seek to obtain good rhythmic lines ", several Hispanists have taken up his
line of reasoning” (Duggan).
“A. D. Deyermond, exploring the implications of such a view, found corroboration
for oral composition in the fact that the Cid version incorporated into the Primera
Cronica General accords with Per Abbat's text in the early part of the tale, but
deviates progressively as the end approaches, a phenomenon which Lord found in
various versions of orally composed Yugoslavian epics and which he explained by
observing that the end of a song is sung less frequently than the beginning—and is
thus less stable within the tradition—since the singer's performance is often
interrupted” (Duggan)
• Indeed, it “is generally assumed that oral composition and writing were
mutually exclusive endeavours, representative of two distinct worlds, the
un-lettered and the learned. This assumption has lead scholars to conclude
that the oral essence of extant epic texts was altered during their
transition to parchment” (Bailey).
• Bailey also argues that “We can better grasp the concept of oral
composition and its relation to the Spanish epic by approaching the poems’
composition from the perspective of their cultural environment. It is clear
enough from a reading of the Cid that knights were the power brokers of
society. They lived in an essentially oral world; even those who were
considered experts on legal matters, los sabidores, in the Cid, practiced
their craft orally”.
Key parallels of expression:
766 las carbonclas del yelmo echógelas aparte
2422 las carbonclas del yelmo tullidas ge las ha
767 cortól‘ el yelmo que llegó a la carne
2423 cortól‘ el yelmo e librado todo lo ál
Similar examples can also be found in the final Cantar, when the Cid’s vassals
defend his honour against the Infantes de Carrión
3625 firénse en los escudos sin todo pavour
3673 firénse en los escudos unos tan grandes colpes
3630 un colpe reçibiera, mas otro frió
3678 Este colpe fecho otro dia Muño Gustioz
“One way the poet insures our continuing interest in what will happen to
his characters is by the repeated use of foreshadowing – a device perhaps
more essential to a poet whose story is told to a group of listeners than to
a novelist, who writes for a solitary, and hence presumably attentive,
reader” (Hart)
Laisse’s 51, 108 and 110 together deal with the same events, by direct
speech between different characters, 121, 143(recalling the infants
cowardice in battle), 144 (recalling the events with the Lion).
• This does not serve in any way to develop the narrative,
although it does tie in to the themes of monetary and military
accumulation, it can be seen as one of the mnemonic devices
which De Chasca places emphasis upon.
• Laisse 37 consists solely of a list of the Cid’s men with brief
defining factors
Alberto Montaner:
Afirma que los rasgos que se atribuyen a la oralidad del poema “se deben
a una extrapolación básicamente infundada de lo que se ha observado en
el caso yugoslavo, lo cual no se puede adjudicarse sin más en las obras
medievales” (93)
Other scholars like Deyermond, Colin Smith and Margaret Chaplin
maintain that:
"The poem was composed in writing, but was intended for oral diffusion by
juglares to a popular audience."
• Chasca, partidario de la escuela oral, afirmaba: “El estilo formulario es
inseparable de la épica. El estilo formulario es un estilo oral”
“Detecto un 47% de formulas, y según esta cifra, el cantar depende del estilo de la
tradición oral. Lo que se desprende de la poesía yugoslava es que un texto que
contiene de un 50% a un 60% de formulismos, con una proporción del 10% al 25%
de formulas estrictas, indica composición literaria.”
La teoría de influencia monástica: Jules Cornu y Rudolf Beer
• P.M. Russel – Cid fue escrito por un clerical:
“Este autor letrado acataba la autoridad de la palabra escriba, hurgaba los
archivos para dar con el nombre olvidado de un asesor jurista del Cid, y se
familiarizo con estipulaciones que no pudieron ser corrientemente
conocidas” también dice que “el CMC, tal y como se nos ha conservado,
posiblemente acusa mas indicios de la influencia de Cardeña de lo que
permiten las teorías actuales”
• El poeta utiliza vocabulario y fraseología
religiosa (ejemplos Colin Smith)
• Plegaria de Jimena
• Ej. Glorificar v.335, criminal v.342, laudare
• Definición de la hora del día y de la noche
a la mañana, quando los gallos cantaran v.316
• Episodios de la Biblia ( del León Cantar III)
Colin Smith:
“el énfasis de nuesro poema es tal que no vacilo en sotener que nuestro
autor era un profesional del derecho jurista o notario-abogado, o al menos
una persona que había estudiado las leyes y había tenido que ver con el
funcionamiento técnico de ellas en un alto nivel” (14)
¿Dónde encuentra los elementos jurídicos? “En primer lugar, el poeta ve
un aspecto jurídico en numerosos actos humanos: la vida está
condicionada por la ira o la gracia del rey, y el poeta alcanza la cumbre de
su arte al crear la escena de la corte[..] En segundo lugar, muestra su
deseo de que veamos la habilidad jurídica del Cid y su retórica forense
como otra faceta del carácter épico del héroe [..] En tercer lugar el poeta
nos propone lo que es casi un programa de reforma jurídica, una gran
modernización, de acuerdo con los principios del “nuevo” derecho
romano ..” (44-45)
• Utiliza elementos legales, que los hace entrar
en sus argumentos. Ej. Apreciadura v.3240,
manifestarse 3224, natura 3275
• Uso de frases binarias, o binomios. Sobre todo
de tipo “inclusivo”, típicas del lenguaje jurídico
latino y español. Sirve entre otras cosas, para
deshacer la abstracción. Ej. Mugieres e
varones / burgueses e burguesas 16b.-17
Bailey, M – Oral Composition in the Medieval Spanish Epic (PMLA, 2003, 118 (2), pg 254-269.
De Chasca, E – The Poem of the Cid (G.K Hall &Co, 1976)
Duggan, J – Formulaic diction in the Cantar de Mio Cid and the old French Epic (Forum for
Modern Language Studies, 1974, X(3), pg 260-269).
Hart, T.R – Studies on the Cantar de Mio Cid (Papers of the Medieval Hispanic Research
Seminar, Queen
Riaño Rodríguez, Timoteo El Cantar de Mío Cid. 2 : fecha y autor del Cantar de Mío Cid,
Alicante : Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2006
Montgomery, T. (1925). Medieval Spanish Epic: Mythic Roots and Ritual Language.
Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania State University.
Bailey, M. (1993). The Poema del Cid and the Poema de Fernán González: The Transformation
of an Epic Tradition. Madison: The Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, Ltd.
Lacarra, María Eugenia, Poema de mío Cid. Estudio preliminar, edición y notas, Madrid :
Taurus, 1983
Cantar de Mio Cid. edicion, prologo y notas de Alberto Montaner ; estudio . - Barcelona
Poema de Mio Cid. Edicion de Colin Smith. Catedra.
‘Problemas en torno a la composición del poema del Cid.’ Edmund de Chasca; en

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