Upwards to Helicon: Lope de Vega, the Laurel de Apolo, and Acts of Judgement
One of Lope de Vega's (1562-1635) longest poetic works, the Laurel de Apolo (1630), has received less critical attention than much of his other poetry due to its sheer length. This massive poem, composed of ten silvas and totalling nearly seven thousand lines, is sometimes viewed as a simple litany of praise for several hundred contemporary poets. However, one often overlooked element is the way in which Lope uses this text to engage in acts of judgement and even personal vendettas against his rivals. The purpose of this study is to examine how Lope moves his locus of enunciation to a mythological space (Mount Helicon) and also shifts the poem's narrative voice to various subjects in order to pass judgements that are as personal and ethical as they are aesthetic. The concept of movement in this regard is thus essential to arrive at a more thorough understanding of the Laurel and these less-examined nuances.
An exhaustive analysis of the Laurel and each of its ten silvas would be impossible for the length of this study. Instead, this study will focus in part on Lope's use of a mythological location to highlight his interpersonal rivalry with one poetic figure of the day, Jusepe de Pellicer. Pellicer was a noted Gongorist who had attacked Lope in his poem El Fénix (published earlier in the same year as the Laurel, 1630, though written and publicly known to Lope prior to the Laurel), as well as in his Lecciones solemnes a las Obras de don Luis de Góngora.
Mascia, M.J. (2014). Upwards to Helicon: Lope de Vega, the Laurel de Apolo, and acts of judgement. In Andrews, J. & Torres, I. (Eds.). Spanish golden age poetry in motion: The dynamics of creation and conversation (pp. 101-116). Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK; Rochester, NY: Tamesis.