Thursday

Dignity


Intuition and outstanding literature guides my perspectives about the Spanish Golden Age.  In reading of this, I have a new publication, (Be)lying Fame in Spanish Golden Age Literature, by John T. Cull. This piece by Cull interprets fame and during the Spanish Golden Age at least, we learn that fame and honor go hand in hand.

I flipped to the second page and this struck me.  The majority of the words I read in 1500 and 1600-ish Spanish Golden Age text, which covers the beauty, form and mastery of art, are a combination of words that are either, lovely, nice, innocuous, or just a regular subject or verb, etcetera.  Dichotomies are used like, love and hate, good and bad, even to kill and to live.  But you don’t find a series of violent words. 

In order to get my drift, Cull opens with, “…the notion of personal fame was inextricably bound to its social counterpart: honor.”  How lovely is that?  Or, on another subject, Cull writes, “His quest for fame through heroic deeds has been derailed by his lovesickness.”  Oh no, his quest derailed, but by lovesickness?  How terribly bad can that be?

Or, Cull sites Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, in 1615 and in the second part of the novel, after Cervantes gained an amount of actual fame, Cervantes himself recognizes the difference between fame and notoriety and his words, even the English translation, displays sentences that are a sheer joy to behold.

I beg your pardon, but what happened between 1615 and 1864?  And what has happened between 1615, 1864 and 2012?  To me it feels like this world had a golden dignity at one time, yes?  What do you think?