Castilian treatises on poetry and versification

Clara Isabel Martínez Cantón

Archivos, repositorios, sostenibilidad y preservación

We want to present a new-born project whose aim is to lay the foundations for a digital collection of Castilian treatises of poetry and versification written in the Fourteenth-Fifteenth Centuries.

The birth of this project is linked to the ReMetCa project, the Repertory on Medieval Castilian Poetry, as a way to complete the map of Castilian verse in the Medieval Ages.

Although the study of the poetic and versification theory has been growing lately, a systematization of the different Castilian treatises has never been done. The analysis of phenomena related to the reflection on poetry and versification through the Centuries yields important results for the study of the origins of European and Hispanic culture and its literary traditions.

Digital technologies have greatly facilitated this task: comparative analysis can be now accomplished accesing all these different resources online. In our field, the creation of online databases and, in particular, metrical and poetic repertoires has been a major accomplishment. Some of the most significant are the French lyrical collections (Nouveau Naetebus), Italian (BedT), Hungarian (RPHA), Medieval Latin (Corpus Rhythmorum Musicum, Annalecta Hymnica Digitalia, Pedecerto), Gallego-portuguese (Oxford Cantigas de Santa María, MedDB2), Castilian (ReMetCa), Dutch (Dutch Song Database), Occitan (BedT, Poèsie Neotroubadouresque, The last song of the Troubadours), Catalan (Repertori d’obres en vers), Skaldic (Skaldic Project), and German (Lyrik des Minnesänger). We are currently working with the Castilian Metric Repertoire (ReMetCa).

All these sources clearly show that all of these traditions use their own poetical vocabularies and taxonomies, complicating their comparative study. But even within the same tradition we can find very different terms for the same concepts, complicating the analysis even further.

Our long-term goals are:

  1. Perform an extensive database search in order to find all the existent treatises of poetry and versification in Castilian since the Medieval Ages to the 19th Century. 
  2. Create a common vocabulary (based on TEI, if possible) for all the relevant metrical concepts. 
  3. Mark up these treatises with XML-TEI tags, following standardized guidelines.
  4. Create a digital library to access all these texts. This library will allow us to perform concurrent queries using a single interface with advanced search options (based on SPARQL queries)
  5. Generating different visualization of the treatises: dynamic graphs, maps, bars, etc.

Our ultimate goal is therefore to build an open digital repository with editions of the treatises, releasing the source code. Our digital library will secure the long term preservation of these texts, allowing us a better undestanding of our versification, our literature, and even our culture. In particular, it will make possible a comparative analysis of the thought on poetry and metrics in different authors and dates, the mutual influence between them and how this interplay contributed to their development.

This project has been specifically designed to share the richness of our cultural resources through the access to corpora and collections. We want to transform the Castilian cultural heritage in digital objects that can be easily accessible. It simplifies the access to data and the exchange of texts and poetical concepts and traditions.