The Melancholy Void


The Melancholy Void

Lyric and Masculinity in the Age of Góngora

Felipe Valencia

New Hispanisms Series

352 pages


July 2021


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

July 2021


$65.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

July 2021


$65.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

At the turn of the seventeenth century, Spanish lyric underwent a notable development. Several Spanish poets reinvented lyric as a melancholy and masculinist discourse that sang of and perpetrated symbolic violence against the female beloved. This shift emerged in response to the rising prestige and commercial success of the epic and was enabled by the rich discourse on the link between melancholy and creativity in men.

In The Melancholy Void Felipe Valencia examines this reconstruction of the lyric in key texts of Spanish poetry from 1580 to 1620. Through a study of canonical and influential texts, such as the major poems by Luis de Góngora and the epic of Alonso de Ercilla, but also lesser-known texts, such as the lyrics by Miguel de Cervantes, The Melancholy Void addresses four understudied problems in the scholarship of early modern Spanish poetry: the use of gender violence in love poetry as a way to construct the masculinity of the poetic speaker; the exploration in Spanish poetry of the link between melancholy and male creativity; the impact of epic on Spanish lyric; and the Spanish contribution to the fledgling theory of the lyric.

The Melancholy Void brings poetry and lyric theory to the conversation in full force and develops a distinct argument about the integral role of gender violence in a prominent strand of early modern Spanish lyric that ran from Garcilaso to Góngora and beyond.

Author Bio

Felipe Valencia is an assistant professor of Spanish at Utah State University.


"The Melancholy Void: Lyric and Masculinity in the Age of Góngora provides valuable critical insights into literary theory, the concept of melancholy, and masculine versus feminine violence as focal points of Ealy Modern Spanish literature."—Salvatore Poeta, Hispania

“This is a terrific piece of scholarship that delves into the period of one of Spain’s most important authors, Luis de Góngora. Felipe Valencia offers a fascinating genealogy of the lyric tradition, grounding it in a dazzling array of deep readings of primary texts, together with an insightful application of theoretical and critical secondary material.”—Mary B. Quinn, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of New Mexico

“An innovative way of looking at this important corpus of texts, shedding new light on crucial matters such as the ties between poetics, philosophy, affect, and rhetoric. The astute interlacement between poetic theory and melancholy as a way of understanding the masculine rhetoric present in the texts studied is convincing and insightful.”—Rodrigo Cacho, faculty of modern and medieval languages at the University of Cambridge

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Melancholy and Masculinist Poetics in Early Modern Spanish Lyric
1. The Gendering of Lyric and Epic in Alonso de Ercilla’s La Araucana (1569–1590)
2. The Apollonian and Orphic Masculinity of Fernando de Herrera’s Algunas obras (1582) 
3. Feminine Voice and Masculinist Aims in Miguel de Cervantes’s La Galatea (1585)
4. Between Liuvigild and Ingund in Juan de Arguijo’s Versos (1612)
5. “El melancólico vacío”: The Origins and Fate of Lyric according to Luis de Góngora’s Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea and Soledades (1612–1617)

Also of Interest