The Seven Knights of Lara: annotated translation and study
Mahoney, Peter J.
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In his monumental study of 1896, La leyenda de los infantes de Lara, Ramon Menendez Pidal rescued the story of the Seven Knights de Lara (SKL) from near oblivion and sought to resolve the more problematic issues of the narration included in the thirteenth-century Estoria de España for the first time. Approximately a half-century later, the same story was retold in the Crónica de 1344 with more vivid and novelistic details, as well as episodes that were absent from the earlier version. Many scholars have dedicated their careers to studying the medieval epic, yet they have never read the SKL because there was no English translation of it. I have pioneered the first bilingual edition of the legend with the hope of making it accessible to a broader audience ofscholars and students ofthe Middle Ages. My objective was to capture accurately the details of the original texts while providing a translation that can be read independently of them. In order to achieve this goal, I took minor liberties and suppressed unnecessary repetitions, modernized the syntax, and divided the text into paragraphs. Keeping in mind the needs of an audience of scholars and students, I have provided explanations about key historical figures and events, geographical names, concepts of medieval law, specific points of contention among critics regarding certain passages or characters, and references to other literary works. A principal component of the edition is the preliminary study that presents the social, political, and literary contexts in which the narration was composed as well as the major problems that literary scholars discuss today: the questions about the origins of the legend and its authorship, the date of composition, medieval historiography, history and fiction in the SKL, the structure of the two versions and their differences, and the representation of the SKL in later literary works. In the study I not only present the major trends of scholarship that have emerged, but also develop and expound my own perspective on the legend. I assert that the chroniclers included the SKL in the Estoria de España to preserve a well-known story with a moralizing lesson about the dangers of internal enemies and treason.
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