LBA Bibliography

About El Libro de buen amor

The poems contained in the LBA found their sources in popular poetry, fabliaux, Classical, Arabic, Jewish, Latin, and French writings. The meter is sometimes Alexandrine, but with an expressive latitude not exercised by previous poets. Among the characters are Trotaconventos, the first great go-between of Spanish literature, Don Melón and Doña Endrina, surrounded by fruit and garden imagery in their Pamphilus-inspired love affair, the wise nun Doña Garoça with the Arabic name alluding to her as a "bride of Christ";  Pitas Payas, a career-oriented businessman with a smart wife (over time lambs become rams...) and even the Archpriest himself as narrator in various guises, often as an unlucky lover in spite of help from several go-betweens (good and bad), in addition to the loving Don Amor and Doña Venus. One can find much wisdom and many lessons to be learned from this book, written with the universality of great literature that lasts through the ages and never ceases to attract, intrigue and inform a multitude of readers.

An article in Hispania (March '98) (Brown & Johnson) singles out the Libro de buen amor as the most frequently listed book under the heading of poetry on graduate student reading lists in Spanish.  On p. 5 Brown & Johnson include Juan Ruiz among a handful of authors which "constitute the next generation of scholars' common base."  The other authors are: Cervantes, Galdós, Calderón, Rojas, Lope, Tirso, Cela, García Lorca, Unamuno, García Márquez, Darío, Neruda, Vallejo, Borges.  Indeed, the LBA is an extremely important work of literature.

Needless to say, the Libro de buen amor is a much-studied work, and the bibliography presented both at the top and the bottom of this website is a comprehensive collection of references to these studies.