Folklore and Literature

Studies in the Portuguese, Brazilian, Sephardic, and Hispanic Oral Traditions

By Manuel da Costa Fontes

Subjects: Literature
Series: SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Paperback : 9780791444924, 335 pages, March 2000
Hardcover : 9780791444917, 335 pages, March 2000

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Table of contents


1. Puputiriru : An Eastern Folktale from the Disciplina clericalis

2. On Alfonso X's "Interrupted" Encounter with a soldadeira

3. Martínez de Toledo's "Nightmare" and the Courtly and Oral Traditions

4. Knitting and Sewing Metaphors and a Maiden's Honor in La Celestina

5. El idólatra de María : An Anti-Christian Jewish Ballad?

6. Gil Vicente's Remando Vão Remadores and Barca Bela

7. The Oral Transmission of Flérida

a. The Sephardic Ballad

b. The Spanish Ballad

c. The Portuguese Ballad

8. Three New Ballads Derived from Don Duardos

1. O Hortelão das Flores

2. Lizarda

3. El falso hortelano



1. Puputiriru

2. A Princesa

B. Flérida (Sephardic Versions)

C. O Hortelão das Flores

D. El falso hortelano



Works Cited


1. Ballads, Popular Songs, and Folktales

2. Euphemisms and Metaphors

3. Subjects and Proper Names

Explores how modern folklore, through its preservation of ballads and folktales, supplements our understanding of the oral tradition and enhances our knowledge of early literature.


Folklore and Literature shows how modern folklore supplements an understanding of the early oral tradition and enhances the knowledge of the early literature. Besides documenting how writers incorporated folklore into their works, this book allows us to understand crucial passages whose learned authors took for granted a familiarity with the oral tradition, thus enabling us to restore those passages to their intended meaning.

Studying the vicissitudes of oral transmission in great detail, this is the first book exclusively dedicated to the relationship between folklore and literature in a Luso-Brazilian context, taking into account the pan-Hispanic and other traditions as well.

Some of the folkloric passages included are: Puputiriru; Celestina; El idolatra de Maria; Remando Vao Remadores; Barca Bela; Flerida; and Don Duarodos.

Manuel da Costa Fontes is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at Kent State University. He is the author and editor of many books including most recently Cancioneiro Tradicional de Tras-os-Montes (coedited with Samuel G. Armistead).


"Few scholars have the ability to present the complex topic of folklore dissemination with the thoroughness, accuracy, and amenity displayed throughout Fontes's work. This is a very solid contribution to the field of medieval and renaissance studies and it is equally valuable for any scholar interested in Jewish, Portuguese, and Spanish oral traditions." — Carmen Benito-Vessels, coeditor of The Picaresque: A Symposium on the Rogue's Tale

"Through the use of solid scholarship, applied to the study of examples in several genres, the author demonstrates and exemplifies the constant interchange between learned culture and popular culture and discusses the questions arising from such an interchange." — Margit Frenk, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico