Speaking Truth to Power: The Legacy of the Young Cid
Published: November 2023© 2024
200 Pages, 6.25 x 9.30 x 0.52 in
Emerging from a richly diverse oral narrative tradition circa 1300, the heroic and dynamic tale of the young Cid eclipses the uninspired, matter-of-fact narration of the reign of Fernando I into which it is incorporated. In its analysis of the Mocedades de Rodrigo, the epic poem of Cid’s youth, Speaking Truth to Power identifies the narrative cohesion and the aesthetic principles that elevated the story of the young Cid to its place of prominence among the epic narratives of medieval Spain.
Matthew Bailey highlights the various textual versions of the narrative that propelled the young Cid’s unparalleled popularity, tracing this vibrant narrative tradition from its earliest manifestation in the aftermath of Charlemagne’s imperial mission in Spain to the early modern drama of Guillén de Castro. The book convincingly discerns the leadership qualities and the social impact of its legendary protagonist, incorporating a wealth of previous scholarship in its innovative findings.
Speaking Truth to Power provides readers with a heightened appreciation for the vibrancy of the poetic tradition that lives beyond the texts we study, the oral narratives that are continually refashioned for new audiences and contexts.
1. The Legendary Response to Charlemagne in Spain
2. Affect and the Quest for Narrative Coherence
3. Chronicle Prose and Rodrigo’s Epic Deeds
4. Holy Warriors: Rodrigo and His Celestial Champions
5. Guillén de Castro’s Mocedades del Cid and the Traditional Ballad
“This book offers a brilliant re-evaluation of the evolving oral and written narrative traditions of the young Cid. Matthew Bailey’s remarkable analysis of the true essence of Rodrigo’s heroism, his readiness to speak truth to power, to thereby challenge and to correct, invites wholescale reconsideration of Rodrigo’s identity and legacy in medieval narrative contexts and beyond. This book is essential and illuminating reading for scholars of the medieval Spanish epic.” Geraldine Hazbun, Professor of Medieval Spanish Literature, University of Oxford
“This rich, nuanced analysis of young Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar’s legendary deeds sheds new light on the long oral tradition behind the narrative of Spain’s most storied hero. Starting with the epic tales born in response to Charlemagne’s invasion of Spain and culminating with Guillén de Castro’s early modern Mocedades del Cid, Bailey provides a way of understanding the dynamic, affective nature of creative storytelling on El Cid that is as convincing as it is insightful.” Sol Miguel-Prendes, Professor of Spanish, Wake Forest University
“An original, rigorous study, Speaking Truth to Power explores how the figure of Rodrigo, the youthful Cid, emerged from oral storytelling in the wake of Charlemagne’s thwarted invasion of Iberia, and went on to be refashioned by chroniclers and poets, making his way into early modern Spanish theatre. This impressive work of scholarship sheds new light on the legend through a series of expert close readings, a deep knowledge of medieval epic and historiography, and a masterful command of historical and cultural contexts. The book will prove indispensable for scholars and students interested in the oral and literary development of heroic legends on the Iberian Peninsula, and how these relate to a larger tradition beyond the Pyrenees.” Ryan Giles, Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Indiana University Bloomington
“Matthew Bailey traces the permutations of the Rodrigo narrative, and especially of the hero’s construction, from a lively oral narrative tradition to its contrasting written versions in a large number of texts, and from its early versions in the aftermath of Charlemagne’s Spanish campaign to early modern dramatic versions by Guillén de Castro and Pierre Corneille. Pulling from a dizzying variety of sources, Bailey weaves together a surprisingly readable and engaging study that follows the development of an original heroic figure in the young Cid across the centuries, in a style that conveys Bailey’s enthusiasm for the subject and forces one to share it.” Simone Pinet, Professor of Spanish and Medieval Studies, Cornell University