The Book of Good Love by Juan Ruiz
(Juan de La Cuesta Hispanic Monographs)

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Love is the life-giving spirit, the axle on which the world turns, the infinite tenderness of God for His creation. It is also the love between women and men. Desires ethereal, ardent, even animalistic, "The Book of Good Love" honours them all. This study edition contains commentary on the text.

About Juan Ruiz

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Little is known of the life of Juan Ruiz, often described as Spain's greatest writer of the Middle Ages and likened to Chaucer (see Vol. 1) and Boccaccio. In his term as archpriest of Hita, a small Castilian town east of Madrid, he apparently collected his own verses and songs into book form around 1330 and then revised and expanded it during a term in prison under sentence by the archbishop of Toledo. In the prose introduction to The Book of Good Love, Ruiz defined two categories of love: "good love" or the love of God and "crazy love" or carnal love. While avowing that his purpose was to expose the evils of worldly love and to lead his readers to the exclusive love of God, he admitted that his text may provide those who reject divine love with useful knowledge of the other sort of love. Thus the ironic tone of the book, as well as its humorous, satiric, and didactic nature, become apparent in this introduction. Juan Ruiz's self-consciousness as a writer and his awareness of the qualities of his art provide a glimpse of the Renaissance spirit. The primary literary source for The Book of Good Love is Pamphilus and Galatea, an anonymous twelfth-century play in Latin by a French poet. Americo Castro and others have suggested the possible influence of Arabic models as shown by the work's composite form, ambiguousness, and sensual elements. In its anticlerical attitudes, the book reflects the crisis of faith facing the Catholic church toward the end of the Middle Ages, a crisis complicated in Spain by the necessity of maintaining the religious fervor of the reconquest.
Published August 1, 2005 by Juan de la Cuesta. 336 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction