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This dissertation concerns the Castilian sonnets of Luís de Camões, a sixteenth century Portuguese poet known for his epic work Os Lusíadas (1572). Camões’ sonnets comprise the greater part of his minor works. I present those written in Castilian, which have not been fully explored. The study commences by focusing on its historical-literary context, revealing the background for the tradition of the lyric in the Iberian Peninsula, and incorporates a section dedicated to the history of the sonnet. In later chapters, I analyze the sonnets, and include endnotes that explicate the poetic language. Camões follows Petrarch, although stylistic factors betray him simultaneously as a Mannerist.
The first edition of the Rimas (1595) appeared in Lisbon fifteen years after Camões’ death. Because this book was published posthumously, its sonnets have presented a challenge in ascertaining their authenticity. I detail how in 1595, Rimas features sixty sonnets; by the eighteenth century they number 400, and by the end of the nineteenth century, they are reduced to half. Most of this corpus was authenticated at end of the nineteenth century by the German critics: Wilhelm Storck and Carolina Michaëlis de Vasconcellos. Out of the 30 sonnets in Castilian that I present, four are judged to be genuinely Camões. Since these four Castilian sonnets are incorporated into a number of Camões’ complete works and are classified as being authentic by the nineteenth and twentieth century critics, I have also classified them the same way, stating who has authenticated them into the Camões’ canon. The source is María de Lurdes Saraiva’s complete collection of Camões’ lyrics, in which she indicates the critics who label them as camoneanos, as well as the CD-ROM of his Vida e Obra, which both classify and separate them as authentic or apocryphal. The remaining 26 sonnets are apocryphal. I highlight that the poet’s authentic sonnets employ mythology, an element not so prevalent in the apocryphal ones.