Quevedo (Twayne's World Authors Series, TWAS 153: Spain)
Donald W. Bleznick
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TWAYNE'S WORLD AUTHORS SERIES (TWAS)
The purpose of TWAS is to survey the major writers—novelists, dramatists, historians, poets, philosophers, and critics—of the nations of the world. Among the national literatures covered are those of Australia, Canada, China, Eastern Europe, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Latin America, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Scandinavia, Spain, and the African nations, as well as Hebrew, Yiddish, and Latin Classical literatures. This survey is complemented by Twaynes United States Authors Series and English Authors Series.
The intent of each volume in these series is to present a critical-analytical study of the works of the writer; to include biographical and historical material that may be necessary for understanding, appreciation, and critical appraisal of the writer and to present all material in clear, concise English—but not to vitiate the scholarly content of the work by doing so.
Francisco de Quevedo (1580-1645) is undeniably one of the greatest Spanish writers that ever lived. He wrote during the Baroque period, a time in which Spanish literature reached its pinnacle of efflorescence. It is ironical that this same era manifested a progressive deterioration of Spain's political and economic power. This decline of a formidable empire built by Charles V and Philip II in the sixteenth century was accompanied by bitter disillusion and futile attempts to comprehend and remedy the causes. No other Golden Age writer, with the possible exception of Cervantes, reveals so profound a grasp of the ideals and mores of the Spanish people.
the struggle to rise above his environment and becomes a picaro indistinguishable from the mass of rogues that infested Spain in the seventeenth century. He lacked the superhuman qualities necessary to counteract the influence of the absurd types he met at every step: Cabra, his uncle, the cruel students, the mad schemer who would remove the water around Ostend by means and is also usually in the different episodes. denied the virtuous life for of large sponges, the crazy fencing master, the
the recipient of the mitted against others. However, Quevedo offender he attempts to give each to sins that each he has com- realizes that all this is useless since only the roles of the types have been interchanged: the wicked have become good but the good have become wicked. Resigned to the fact that corruption and evil will eternally plague mankind, Jupiter makes Fortune reverse what he has wrought. The mutability of fortune was a commonplace with Quevedo and his contemporaries, and he
seems to be old women. They are portrayed as impious, lewd, malodorous, and decaying inhuman figures. The duefia is as mercilessly slandered in his poetry as in the Visions. Deceitful women of all types abound: whores, courtesans, fake virgins, adulteresses, sorceresses, bawds, scullery maids, and nuns. And then there are the golddigging women who appear throughout the satirical poetry. In the famous poem "Poderoso caballero es don Dinero ("A Powerful Knight is Sir Money"), the narrator is a girl
appeared as Trotaconventos in of Good Love, and her characteristics are found in women who appear in the Archpriest of Talavera's anti-feminist writing. This type appeared in the Spanish Golden Age theater and novel, especially in Lope de Vega's La Dorotea and El caballero de Olmedo. Quevedo satirizes this type in his Visions, and Pablo de Segovia's mother and the bawd Mary in Chapter 8 of The Swindler have Celestinesque traits. In La vieja Munatones (Old Muhatones), the procuress who provides
Luis Velez de Guevara's El diahlo conjuelo (The Crippled Devil), 1641, a social satire that has some resemblance to the picaresque novel. The Portuguese writer Francisco Manuel de Melo (1608-1666), who wrote poetry and prose works in Spanish as well as in Portuguese, openly admitted and revealed in his writings the influence of his friend Quevedo. Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, the celebrated seventeenth-century Mexican writer, has been shown to have undergone the influence of Quevedo as well as that