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Creative Rewriting Project

Creative Rewriting Project

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Rosemary Mc Keown. Originally submitted for Hispanic Studies at Queen's University Belfast, with lecturer Isabel Torres in the category of Languages & Linguistics
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Rosemary Mc Keown. Originally submitted for Hispanic Studies at Queen's University Belfast, with lecturer Isabel Torres in the category of Languages & Linguistics

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 31, 2012
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10/27/2013

 
Creative Project
The Seventeenth Century marks an era of political and economic decline in Spanishsociety. A confrontation with harsh social realities and an atmosphere of 'desengaño'had begun to take effect. Quevedo presents a parallel situation through his poetry bychallenging the rules of traditional courtly love motifs. However, he justifies hisreason for writing within the framework of Petrarchan modes, stating that he was a'poeta sobretodo' According to Julian Olivares, "By assuming the convention,Quevedo inherited its style and code of conduct but in the long run he found himself compelled to react against the very ethos which the genre was propagating."
1
He
1
Olivares, Julian,
The Love Poetry of Francisco de Quevedo: An existential and  Aesthetic Approach
(Cambridge University Press, 1983)
 
depicts suffering through the conventional motif of the absence of a lover, yet one of his greatest torments was his subjection to the confines of the courtly genre. In thesame way as Quevedo produced a poem based on the disillusionment of Spanishsociety and the confines of the courtly love genre, I have produced a painting which
 presents a landscape for contemporary modern society and I have used Quevedo‟s
sonnet 297 as a starting point.The title of sonnet 297 draws on the conventional motif of suffering and explicitly
refers to the myth of Orpheus. Quevedo recalls Hades through the „infierno‟ withinhim and states his aim to overcome this internal fire through his „canto‟ in the same
way that Orpheus used his song to suspend the fires of Hades. The sonnet opensdepicting the theme of failure; wherever he turns he is impeded by the fear and
entrapment of „las
 
amenazas‟ which are imprisoning him „a todas
 
 partes‟. The sonnet
is based on the absence of a lover, yet its focus is on presence. However the
„presence‟ of love is depicted as his „tormento‟ thus portraying a paradox with the
absence of the lover.Quevedo evokes the Orphic myth through the theme of eternal suffering
„perpetuamente‟. Although Orpheus manages to win back his wife, he loses her again
to an irrational act of desire, Quevedo recalls this failure,
„deseo‟/„no lo creo‟. He
implies he does not believe what he sees, and that reason cannot come to terms with
desire, „Veo‟, „no lo creo‟.Quevedo explicity addresses his entrapment „la vida es mi prisión‟.
Tied down by
chains of „hierro‟ he has depicted himself as a captive of Love in a psychological
 
prison. He continues with this imagery
„pesado
 
arrastro‟ in order to depict the voicewithin that he fails to liberate. He expresses his wish to „be‟ Orpheus,
however his
ability to do so is undermined through the use of „pruebo‟.
In this way he expresses alack of confidence in his poetic ability.
According to Torres, “the emotional whirlpool of the quatrains too quickly dissolves
into the matter-of-fact
sketching of his internal landscape in the tercets”.
2
He gives his
 poetry a landscape by extending it into Hades through the „furias‟ and thus opening uphis metaphor. He refers to love as a tyrant, „el Amor fuego y tirano‟, controlling the
underworld whi
ch he has internalized. He blames himself for his suffering, „culpamía‟, that is, he is responsible for his own condemnation into Hades. Love is depicted
as the 'dueño sin piedad', however this merciless tyrant is not explicitly referred to,rather a fema
le presence is implied syntactically „enemiga‟. In this way Quevedo
presents a level of ambiguity, is 'she' really present?. Torres states that "the doubleblow on which this sonnet ends takes amorous lyric a step closer to amoroustragedy".
3
„No es
precio ni rescate
l‟armonia‟, that is, unlike Orpheus,
'l'armonia'
which refers to Quevedo's „song‟, fails in its attempt to rescue him.
Through his exploitation of the Orphic myth he intensifies his suffering. Furthermore,as a result of this association, the reader expects his suffering to be finally consoled
2
Torres, Isabel, “Shades of significance in Quevedo‟s Internal Hades: OrphicResonance and Latin Intertexts in the Love Poetry”,
Caliope
, 2 (1996), 5-36
3
Torres, Isabel, “Shades of significance in Quevedo‟s Internal Ha
des: Orphic
Resonance and Latin Intertexts in the Love Poetry”,
Caliope
, 2 (1996), 5-36
 

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