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La tradición manuscrita de los Sueños de Quevedo y la primera edición

James O. Crosby

Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645), the Spanish poet and satirist whose books were by far the most widely read in Spain in the seventeenth century, died unaware that his genius had created modern satire in Spanish, and that for the ensuing five centuries, as we now know, his name would be a household word wherever Spanish was spoken. Between 1604 and 1621, Quevedo wrote a sequence of five “Dreams” or “Visions” (Sueños y discursos), in each of which he hilariously envisions Spanish society as populated by people rightfully condemned to Hell. These astonishingly witty and irreverent satires of contemporary Spanish culture, morality, prejudice, and religious fanaticism, were composed in a style so allusive, elliptical and equivocal as to successfully entertain both those who barely understood their full range and import, and others who celebrated the poet’s rebellious insinuations. Censorship prohibited the publication of such satire in its original form, but hundreds of copies were made by hand and circulated widely. In 1993 a critical edition of all of the surviving manuscripts was published.

Today the Sueños are commonly read in modern editions of the first censored version, printed in 1627. The present book compares this version with all of the 43 extant manuscripts, and for the first time identifies those groups of manuscripts from which the publishers of the first edition derived their text. This text can now be seen as a version not only censored, but corrupted successively by copyists and editors who did not understand Quevedo’s satire, and did not hesitate to add entire clauses, omit others, and transfer sentences from one place to another. The result is hardly what Spain’s most famous satirist originally wrote.

"This work is an important effort by a major scholar, one of the best quevedistas in the world." James Iffland, Boston University

"Para el especialista en estudios áureos o la transmisión manuscrita, la importancia de este libro supera sus ciento treinta y dos páginas. ... como conclusión e invitación, Crosby insiste en la necesidad de más estudios para poder desmitificar la corrupción textual que ha afectado los Sueños durante su transmisión manuscrita." John C. Parrak, Calíope

For the full review, see Calíope 2.1 (2005): 112-14.

"Professor Crosby's study of the manuscript tradition of the first edition of Quevedo's Sueños places before the reader, in minute detail, the trail of evidence which he has followed to establish his line of thought. Crosby has, once again, shed light on some of the darkest and most difficult corners both of Quevedo's original texts and of the world of seventeenth-century Spanish manuscripts.—Roger Moore, Bulletin of Spanish Studies

For the full review, see Bulletin of Spanish Studies 83 (2006): 989-90.

See also

La Perinola (2005), Eventos y publicaciones, p. 340, where a full-page illustration of the cover of this book is featured.

Year's Work in Modern Language Studies 67 (2005).

James O. Crosby, Emeritus Professor of Spanish at Florida International University in Miami, has studied the works of Francisco de Quevedo, the top poet of Spain’s Golden Age and the creator of modern satire in Spanish. Crosby was awarded national fellowships to work on Quevedo, and his many literary studies and critical editions drawn from original seventeenth-century manuscripts have been published since 1955 in Spain, England, Mexico, and the USA, and have been reviewed by some of the best scholars in the field.

2005. Vol. 31. xvi, 132 pp. Paper $42.95

Para español

Information last updated June 24, 2015.

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