Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Trevor J. Dadson, "The Genoese in Spain: Gabriel Bocángel y Unzueta (1603-1658): A Biography" (Book Review)

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (1986), 63, (4), 371


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REVIEWS OF BOOKS 371 renacentistas (Virgilio, Lucano, Ariosro) y las caracteristicas mas destacadas del lenguaje figurado de Ercilla; en el, Pierce ha seleccionado con rigor y autoridad (y traducido brillantemente) textos fundamentales del poema, que permiten una primera aproximaci6n cuidadosa y pormenorizada al discurso poetico de Ercilla en sus caracteristicas esenciales. Este es uno de los aspectos mas originales y valiosos de este breve libro, y el que 10 hara de indispensable consulta en el futuro. Se han deslizado algunas erratas no demasiado importantes, excepto las que aparecen en los nombres indigenas (47-49); una supresi6n de comas resolveria el problema de los catorce (no dieciseis) nombres espaiioles (47). Probablemente sea necesario un nuevo recuento de la menci6n primera de algunos heroes araucanos: Rengo, Co rpill an, Talco, Titaguano. Guaticolo es el verdadero nombre del sobrino de Fit6n y no se menciona el nombre del cacique de los talcamavidas en el poema. Tal vez habria que haber induido en la bibliografia el importante (y polemico) trabajo de Jose Durand 'Caupolican, dave historial y epica de La A raucana', Revue de Litterature Comparee, LII (1978),367-89. Finalmente, un dato marginal e interesante sobre la recepci6n de La Araucana en el siglo XVIII, tema que el profesor Pierce ha estudiado con tanta lucidez; en sus Recuerdos (1778-1837), don Pedro Agustin Giron, Marques de las Amarillas, escribe que cuando comenzo a esrudiar con el padre Scio de San Miguel, el famoso traductor de la Vulgata, este 'me hizo aprender los rudimentos principales de Geografia en los versos de la Araucana, en el episodio que Ie lleva a hacer la descripci6n de la tierra' (Pamplona: Ediciones Universidad de Navarra, 1978, I, 66-67). Esta recepcion del discurso poetico como discurso informativo, no habria dejado de halagar a don Alonso. ISAIAS LERNER Lehman College, New York. J. The Genoese in Spain: Gabriel Bocingel y Unzuete (1603-1658): A Biography. London: Tamesis. 1983. xiii + 192 pp. TREVOR DADSON, Abril volante, viva primavera, tan viva que, engafiado en rus colores, te dio el tiempo el castigo de las flores, que el inviemo a su vida Parca es fiera. The opening of Gabriel Bocangel's sonnet to the dead nightingale highlights the poet's vivid sense of metaphor, his unstraining hyperbole, the numbing equiuoco of Parcalparca, his gift of drawing moral lessons from the world he observed, his ear finely tuned to hearing Time's winged chariot. Such qualities belong to one of the outstanding Spanish poets of the seventeenth century, who has, notwithstanding, been almost wantonly neglected by generations of critics. It is to Trevor Dadson's eternal credit that he has, obstinately and with enthusiasm, re-established Bocingel in the canon of Golden-Age poetry. The present volume has to be seen as only one portion of that wide-ranging task of rehabilitation, and should be set alongside this critic's other contributions of a historical, bibliographical, textual, and aesthetic nature. The core of the study is the Appendix of documents (93-175), fifty-four in all, some brief and some long, which are valuable not only for what they tell us of different members and generations of the Bocangel family, but for the intimate glimpses of another age, its religious habits and scruples, the ceremonial of university life, the minutiae of domestic furnishings, the itemizing of properties rural and urban, the pomp and solemnity of death. The poet was of Genoese origin on his father's side, the original form of the surname being Bocangelino. Dr Dadson has rightly judged that it was appropriate to uncover the family's history before one of them left Genoa for Spain in 1524. A pity, therefore, that the author has preferred to depend on the family's own flattering account of themselves (Doc. 42 [1649]), rather than to have dug for himself in the Genoese archives. Their connection with the Franchi family certainly suggests how they had come on in the world, but Genoa was a very unusual, and in its way democratic, place, with families of modest social status from the city's hinterland making their way up the social ladder. It may well be significant, therefore, that even a Spanish work, J. F. Rivarola Pineda's Descripcion bistorica . . . de La serenissima republica de Genova (Madrid 1729), made no mention of the Bocangelino family, supposedly 'noble de sangre y antigua en genoba' (Doc. 42). The considerable yuppy tendencies shown by the Bocingel in Spain might well have manifested themselves in Genoa at a much earlier date: that would have been a process well worth studying. Nevertheless, if that was one loss, there are many gains to make up for it-not least Dr Dadson's success in tracing the gradual improvement in the family fortunes, its early association in Toledo with some of the converso families of the juderia, its penetration into the pharmaceutical and later medical professions: indeed, the poet's father, Don Nicolas, won for himself a considerable reputation, and thereby an entree into court life by becoming in 1606 a doctor to the royal family. Copyright (c) 2004 ProQuest Information and Learning Company Copyright (c) Liverpool University Press

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Author details

DAVIES, GARETH A.