Occasioning the Lyrical Vendetta: Lope de Vega and the Segunda parte de la Filomena

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Towards the last several decades of the life of Lope de Vega (1562–1635), culteranismo had become well-established in Spain and Lope had found many occasions to make literary enemies. One rivalry can be seen in what is effectively an extensive revenge fantasy in verse, the Segunda parte de la Filomena, appearing in 1621 when the collection of La Filomena was published. This lengthy poem is a direct attack against Pedro de Torres Rámila, a grammarian and professor at the University of Alcalá de Henares and a known detractor of Lope and his work. This less-studied poem pits la Filomena (Lope) against a tordo, or thrush (Torres Rámila), in a symbolic contest between two birds. The latter had published the Spongia several years earlier in 1617 to criticize Lope's work. As a result of this, Lope uses this poem to launch a counterattack against Torres Rámila, focusing on intellect, talent, and esthetics. At the same time, this poem serves as a vehicle for self-validation against people Lope would consider outsiders, namely academics and others not directly involved in the writing of poetry. The Segunda parte de la Filomena allows Lope to inhabit a safe space of lyrical fantasy, which further enables him to establish his poetic authority, and to condemn detractors such as Torres Rámila as inferior and, in essence, dishonorable.