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An Electronic corpus of 15th century Castillian Cancionero manuscripts

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An AHRC-funded Project: An Electronic Library of the 15th Century Castilian Cancionero Manuscript Corpus. Towards Completion of the Dutton-Severin/Maguire Cancionero Project.

When Brian Dutton died prematurely in his 60th year (1994), he had completed his magnum opus, the seven-volume El cancionero castellano del siglo XV, in book format (Salamanca: Universidad, 1990-91), but although he had used electronic preparation of texts, he was unable to fulfil the dream of conversion to electronic usage. His former research assistant Fiona Maguire has collaborated with me for almost 20 years on this and on a previous project funded by the Leverhulme foundation, and we can now present the online website version of the Dutton project of courtly verse, alongside our own project of the longer moralistic, didactic and religious Castilian verse of the fifteenth century. Thanks to the expertise and electronic wizardry of our co-director Peter Robinson of the University of Birmingham, we have used his Collate programme on our own materials, and also have a newly-devised method to show line variants of the Dutton materials, thanks to technical assistant Andrew West. We could not have begun our work if it had not been for Barbara Bordalejo (expert in the use of Collate) whose transcription and encoding norms you will find on this page. The manuscripts are described by Manuel Moreno, who dedicated a year in Spain to this task. Thanks also to Spanish co-director Vicenç Beltran who has helped us to acquire copies of manuscripts, and bibliography, and to Duncan Appelbe, who constructed this site and maintains the webserver. And an especial thanks to Pedro Cátedra for permission to use the Dutton materials published by the University of Salamanca, and to Ana María Gómez Bravo for allowing us the use of her modified version of the Dutton electronic material.

A caveat: this is still a work in progress. As every specialist knows, this is a huge undertaking. We set out to complete, within a three-year period, three-quarters of the extant corpus of fifteenth-century Castilian cancionero poetry, measuring content by folios rather than stanzas. There are over 4000 original poems in manuscript sources and approximately 150 manuscript witnesses to be dealt with, although in the latter case we have concentrated on those manuscripts that are of the fifteenth and early-sixteenth century composition and production, and are not later copies or single-poem manuscripts, rather than cancionero collections. Early printings are also not included officially in the project at this stage, although in fact a number of them have been included in the Dutton editions. We have also neglected prose in the collections at this stage, although we do have a considerable quantity of transcriptions that we hope to add at a later date. You will note that a few of the best-sellers are still missing, like Mena’s Laberinto. However, you will find links to the electronic edition of this, with Hernán Núñez’s glosses (thanks to Julian Weiss and Antonio Cortijo) and also to Santa María’s Siete edades del mundo (thanks to Juan Carlos Conde).

Our intention is to complete the project over the next three years with the help of some of our friends from Convivio, the scholarly organization for international cancioneristas. We have already had invaluable help from Elena Carrillo (University of Utrecht) who is working on Santillana’s Proverbios, from Andrea Zinato (University of Verona) and María Jesús Díez Garretas (University of Valladolid) who have helped with manuscript descriptions.

Roughly speaking, the original transcriptions of Oñate-Castañeda (HH1) Egerton (LB3) and Seville Capitular (SV2) were done by Severin and adapted by Bordalejo, while Maguire transcribed the Paris manuscripts. Bordalejo oversaw the Dutton Editions website with technical assistance from Andrew West. Severin transcribed the religious poetry (including the 500-stanza Vita Christi and a large number of ‘uniques’), and the longer Gómez Manrique poems, while Maguire transcribed and collated the poetry of Santillana (with Elena Carrillo’s contribution of the Proverbios of Santillana, the poem with the most witnesses), selected poems of Gómez Manrique, Fernán Pérez de Guzmán’s huge poetic corpus, and some poems by Mena. Peter Robinson dedicated time to collation and creating the edition websites, generating phylogenetic stemmata where feasible.

Our thanks to both Robinson and West for devising ingenious methods of integrating the two Editions - Dutton and Severin-Maguire.

You will also find some digitized images of manuscripts; although this was not part of the original project submission, electronic capabilities march onwards, and we are in the process of negotiating permissions to insert these alongside the transcription in text/image view wherever possible.

Our thanks to a number of libraries who have cooperated and given us permission to use the digitalized images free of charge; their identities are to be found on the images themselves.  Poems extant in four or more versions in the Liverpool didactic corpus also are able to take advantage of the evolutionary biology phylogenetic stemmata software applied by Robinson to his manuscript projects, which represents a departure from traditional stematics.

In addition to the team members listed on the contacts page we are grateful to the following contributing specialists:

  • Elena Carrillo (University of Utrecht).
  • María Jesús Díez Garretas (University of Valladolid).
  • Andrea Zinato (University of Verona).