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Gonzalo de Berceo: Milagros de Nuestra Senora.

Gonzalo de Berceo: Milagros de Nuestra Senora, ed. Juan Carlos Bayo and Ian Michael, Clasicos Castalia 288 (Madrid: Castalia, 2006). 516 pp. ISBN 84-9740-195-6. 13.37 [euro]. Only in the last century have scholars come to appreciate the works of Gonzalo de Berceo, Spain's first named poet to write in the vernacular. In the past two decades there has been a drive to re-edit and re-evaluate them in order to produce an edition worthy of the forty years of scholarship that have passed since Brian Dutton published Berceo's Obras completas in 1967. Two such noteworthy attempts to edit the Milagros are by Michael Gerli 0985) and Fernando Banos Vallejo (1997). However, Juan Carlos Bayo and Ian Michael's edition is an important addition to Berceo studies, providing a useful, scholarly work, with an emphasis on the text and features of linguistic interest.

The edited text itself pays special attention to the variants of the fragmentary eighteenth-century copy by Mecolaeta, now Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid 13149, which is derived from the lost quarto recension. As the other manuscripts (one contemporary, also descended from the lost quarto, and one fourteenth-century) are more widely available as common base texts and in facsimile form, this lends the Castalia text a fresh aspect. The emphasis on language and variants is complemented by a comprehensive glossary and a well-presented critical apparatus, in addition to the useful explanatory footnotes. Given the workmanlike usefulness of this edition for the student of Berceo's language and context, it is hardly surprising that the introduction focuses on the poet's life, his use of the miracle story format, Marianism, and the versirication and language. Readers with an interest in the literary value of Bcrceo's works would be well advised to look at the select bibliography. This said, Bayo and Michael have succeeded in providing a near-definitive edition of the Milagros de Nuestra Senora, which is well presented, and eminently usable without compromising scholarly depth. [Sarah V. Buxton]
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Author:Buxton, Sarah V.
Publication:Medium Aevum
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2008
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