'The Dream' of Bernat Metge / Del Somni d'en Bernat Metge
Introduction and notes by
Lo Somni (The Dream) is a dream allegory divided into four chapters or books. It was written ca. 1399 and is considered Bernat Metge’s best work. It is extremely innovative within the context of Catalan (and Iberian Peninsular) literature of the 1300’s. It consists of a dialogue between Metge-the-character and several participants (in fact the book is a dialogue between Metge and the Classical and Biblical tradition) on the topics of the immortality of the soul, the essence of religion and the dignity and moral essence of the human being. In addition to using many Classical and medieval literary sources, Lo Somni can be considered one of the first (if not the first) Humanist books to be ever written in the Iberian Peninsula. Metge wrote Lo Somni supposedly while in prison (house arrest?) following a dubious accusation about his involvement in the death of King Joan I. Metge wrote this work as a personal defense to exonerate himself and as an attempt to gain the confidence of the new King Martí l’Humà and his wife Queen María de Luna. Lo Somni ends when Metge-the-character is awaken from his dream. This foundational work also touches upon political themes pertaining to the Crown of Aragon, literary fashion and reception of Italian humanist works at the court, as well as on matters of fashion, cultural customs, taste and style.
[IVITRA Research in Linguistics and Literature, 4] 2013. v, 193 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins
Table of Contents
“Bernat Metge (c. 1347-1413) is best known for his masterwork Lo Somni , an autobiographical dream-vision cast as a prose dialog that stands as a testament to the breadth, depth, and lofty level of Catalan culture, plus its taste for politics and moral philosophy, during the late Middle Ages. Antonio Cortijo Ocaña’s and Elizabeth Lagresa’s notable English translation of the Lo Somni, or The Dream of Bernat Metge, offers a substantial introduction to the work just as it presents an eminently readable version of it aimed at an audience of both scholars and lay readers alike. The introduction by Cortijo Ocaña provides a substantial, comprehensive overview of Metge’s life and work, as well as a compact but authoritative introduction to The Dream itself. The English text is accompanied by some 200 explanatory annotations that enable both medievalists and generalists alike to become familiar with this important, major work of a major late medieval author. Most importantly, however, Cortijo Ocaña’s and Lagresa’s skillful translation provides a notable point of entry for the larger community of historians and literary scholars into the intellectual and social milieu of a lamentably neglected sector of medieval studies, humanism, Catalan literature and culture.”
E. Michael Gerli, University of Virginia
“This new fine-tuned English translation of Bernat Metge’s dialogue is good news for the continuing popularization of a work which will be of great interest to historians of the classical tradition in late fourteenth- and early fifteenth-century Europe.”
Albert Lloret, University of Massachusetts, in International Journal of the Classical Tradition, Vol. 22.1 (2015)
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Main BIC Subject
DSBB: Literary studies: classical, early & medieval
Main BISAC Subject
LIT011000: LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval