The Baroque Poetry of Fernando de Herrera, 1534-1597: Decoro in the Spanish Poetry of the 16th and 17th Centuries

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This study examines the way in which poetry, in this case the poetry of Fernando de Herrera, could function as an expression, and not simply as the result, of significant change in the social and economic ordering in sixteenth and seventeenth century Spanish life. The rise of the monarchical order, now based on imperial interests, replaced the earlier medieval dependence on theological justifications for the sate with a newly defined structure of secular beliefs and behaviors. Part of this emerging secular order was felt in poetry as a system of regulating principles and practices known as poetic decorum. The emergence of this defined aesthetic of the secular is revealed in Fernando de Herrera’s poetry, in both his awareness and use of this system of decoro.


“Fernando de Herrera as theoretician and practitioner of poetry is the focus of this study by Scott Sigel. He shows how, in both roles, Herrera reflects the historical time and the literary environment in which he lived and wrote . . . Through careful and close readings of representative poetic texts . . . Professor Sigel in this study shows how el divino Herrera achieved the eternal in his poetry.” – Dr. Madeline Sutherland-Meier, University of Texas at Austin

“Dr. Sigel’s exegesis of Herrera’s poetry is presented with admirable clarity and great scholarly depth . . . he very neatly leads us through the traditional poetic concerns with which scholars will always wrestle, explicating every nuance and reference with great exuberance . . . With great style, Dr. Sigel places the late Renaissance Spaniard Herrera firmly in his historical setting and . . . shows . . . how he anticipates the next era, the Baroque.” - Dr. Eric Furuseth, Associate Professor of Humanities and English, Minot State University

Table of Contents

Foreword by Madeline Sutherland-Meier
Part I – Lives and Times
1 The World of Fernando de Herrera
2 Time and Poetry in the Eclogues
Part II – The Examined Life
3 The Neo-Platonism of the Sonnets
4 The Move towards Desengaño in the Fourth Elegy
Primary Texts

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