El Libro de Buen Amor es claro exponente de una cultura que no es plenamente humanista, pero que ya ha dejado de ser totalmente teocéntrica Considerado como poeta, el Arcipreste se levanta a inmensa altura, no sólo sobre los ingenios de su siglo, sino sobre todos los de la Edad Media española Quien lee de punta a cabo el Libro de buen amor, sin ideas preconcebidas, advierte inmediatamente que lo esencial de la obra está constituido por dos cuerpos de relatos independientes, pero que tienen, cada cual por su lado, una unidad de concepción y de desarrollo muy acusada Actually liked it much better than the Quixote, which I'm currently reading too not as fun to read as Song of Roland or even Song of mio Cid but not as bad as I thought, although I still don't get where the satirical writing hides Maybe I'm too shaped as a millennial and I don't get the trifles of this lecture. This ridiculous (in a good way) work sits like a big elephant in the room of medieval studies The protagonist isn't black and white, it's not clear what buen amor is, it's not clear when the author ends and the protagonist begins, the text doesn't stick to one particular genre, and there is lots of sex And satire Worth your time, but make sure you have a good introduction to help make sense of what you're reading. A curious combination of bawdy tales, animal fables, lovely religious poetry, moral admonitions, and social commentary Overall, amusing but not fabulous The running gag is the author's attempt to convince an acceptable woman to become his paramour It may be instructive that the author, purporting to be an archpriest, is repeatedly frustrated in his efforts to acquire this item, although many chapters define the attributes of a fine woman, tongue in cheek for the most part, I think He is 'assisted' by an old woman gobetween who is portrayed as very persuasive and quite willing to trick a woman into his hands; in a diatribe against death he mourns her passing while ignoring how ineffective she was And at the very end, after several quite beautiful religious poems, there is a burlesque of the local priests outraged by a papal 'edict' sent via the bishop that they must give up their mistresses.However, perhaps making the bawdy parts acceptable to the authorities, Ruiz spends almost as much time enumerating the seven deadly sins and how to combat them Several of the animal fables fall flat Not sure if it is the translation or whether there wascontext for the fables in the 14th century so they madesense I read the version published by the State Univ of New York Press, translated by Rigo Mignani and Mario A Di Cesare. I’ve spent the last two months making my way through Elisha Kent Kane’s remarkable translation of Juan Ruiz’s 6000plus lines of verse, The Book of Good Love It is an odd assortment of fables, ribald tales, prayers, and autobiographical vignettes, which Ruiz, the Archpriest of Hita, collected and revised while in prison for religious reasons a common occurance among Spanish writers from the 14th through the 17th centuries! Kane was able to sustain a regular meter and rhyme scheme throughout the entire translation, which took him almost a lifetime to achieve, according to the introduction The whole thing was so impressive that it almost felt like overload I had to pace myself and take only a few pages at a time per day Ruiz’s poem is a classic medieval text with some scandalously vulgar passages sex with nuns, sodomy with mountain girls, allegories about Sir Carnal battling Lady Lent Very often, the most vulgar passages are followed by solemn prayers to the Virgin Mary, almost as if Ruiz were trying to make up for the naughtiness At the end of it all, he tells us that this work is intended to be a guide to the pathway of the holy for those who might be led astray by vice Riiiiight The reader chuckles as Ruiz rationalizes his whimsical verses Despite the fun, it was at times a wearying read, simply for the acrobatic wordplay that Kane makes as he translates the verses to end in rhymes a testament to both Kane and the flexibility of the English language, which is surely harder to rhyme than Spanish My favorite section was near the end, as Ruiz relates an extended anecdote (hopefully fictionalized!) about a “conventtrotter” whom the narrator pays to secure a liaison with a nun It's goofy, funny, bawdy, and reveals a truth about both monastic life in the Middle Ages and the hypocrisy of certain religious vows that deny basic human needs and desires It reminded me very much of La Celestina, which I also happen to be finishing up this week I don’t think I’ll be returning to Ruiz as I do with Dante, Chaucer, or The Poem of the Cid, but it was enjoyable enough to read a few pages per day for a couple months.