Engaging Culteranismo: Lope de Vega’s Poetics as Reflected in his Later Sonnets

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Lope de Vega, one of Golden Age Spain’s best-known defenders of conceptismoand equally a critic of culteranismo, dedicates a fair amount of lyric poetry to the topic of literary discourse and linguistic quality. Although Lope uses several poetic genres in developing the topic of poetry within poetry, it is the sonnet which stands out as perhaps the most frequently used lyrical vehicle for theoretical speculation on poetry itself. In these often less-studied sonnets taken from later in his career, Lope espouses a certain linguistic conservatism – the belief in Spanish poetry untouched by other languages or by the trend of culteranismo. At the same time, he attacks culteranismo and its followers in his defence of clarity, poetic orthodoxy and traditionalism. As a result, Lope’s sonnets become a blending of creative literature and critical theory with respect to the poetry of the day.