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Title: The intellectual scope of the 'mester de clerecía'
Author: Curtis, Florence Sally Haines
ISNI:       0000 0004 5356 8900
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis investigates the first poetry written in Castilian by intellectuals, the 'mester de clerecía', ‘craft of clerics’. Exploring the unique circumstances of Iberia in the Middle Ages as a hub for the intellectual vanguard and a holy territory for encounters with saints, pilgrimage and Reconquest, I examine the canonical texts of an alleged thirteenth-century poetic school as the Castilian bedrock of a wider Iberian and European literary movement. Notably including analysis of the fourteenth-century "Libro de buen amor", a canonical work in its own right thought to parody the earlier poems, I also reassess the significance of the verse form 'cuaderna vía' for the 'mester de clerecía', in which the thirteenth-century poems are exclusively written. Over an introduction and four chapters, I combine close reading of the "Libro de Alexandre" (Chapter 1), Berceo’s Vidas of Millán, Domingo and Oria (Chapter 2), the "Libro de Apolonio" and "Poema de Fernán González" (Chapter 3), and the "Libro de buen amor" (Chapter 4), with research into intellectual, pedagogical, and religious contexts. Notably, I have found the poems analyzed to be especially concerned with the landscape of the reading mind. The result is an expanded view of the 'mester de clerecía' as theological and philosophical poems that offer ways of understanding and approaching the life of the mind as well as that of the body that are thought-provoking and informative to this day. Concluding that the thirteenth-century, canonical poems are the witnesses of a 'textual community' of authors rather than a poetic school, I advocate an inclusive definition of the 'mester de clerecía'. The 'mester de clerecía' are of extremely rich intellectual scope and are of potential interest to scholars of all European literatures, and literary, intellectual, and social history, as well as theology and philosophy.
Supervisor: Hazbun, Geraldine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Intellectual History ; Late antiquity and the Middle Ages ; Languages (Medieval and Modern) and non-English literature ; Literatures of Romance languages ; Spanish & Portuguese literatures ; Spanish ; Christianity and Christian spirituality