Garcilaso/Góngora: Imagining the Self, Imagining Empire

Anne Cruz, María Cristina Quintero, Anne J. Cruz, María Cristina Quintero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Separated by more than half a century, Garcilaso de la Vega and Luis de Góngora chose the lyric genre to interrogate systems of power and the political and cultural changes that occurred from the early sixteenth century to the beginnings of the seventeenth century. Garcilaso's ‘new’ poetry and his conflictive engagement with the emerging Spanish empire made manifest the tensions between the epic's externalized political function and the lyrical expression of emotional intimacy. Moreover, the analysis of several sonnets reveals the tensions between spiritual faith and intellectual reason that echoed the period's unorthodox theology and led him to lament imperial power. For his part, Góngora seemed to eschew overt poetic subjectivity, often using his lyric talents to cultivate Spain's most powerful nobles. His involvement in the economics of patronage presented a challenge: how to bridge the tensions between the lyric, with its topoi of desire and the constitution of a poetic self, on the one hand; and on the other, with the epic mode, considered more appropriate for the ‘alabanza de los grandes.’ In addition its generic hybridity, Góngora's panegyric poetry reveals an at times jaundiced perspective on the mechanisms of power within a unique literary subjectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-38
Number of pages38
JournalBulletin of Spanish Studies
StateAccepted/In press - Sep 22 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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