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Fra Francesc Moner’s Bilingual Poetics of Love and Reason

The «Wisdom Text» by a Catalan Writer of the Early Renaissance

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Peter Cocozella

Fra Francesc Moner (1462/3-1491/2) is a Catalan author, who flourished in Barcelona during the second decade subsequent to the marriage of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile in 1469. Moner’s extant production amounts to seventy-four pieces, a collection of poems and prose works of various genres, written in Catalan and in Castilian. A comprehensive study that profiles the creativity of a whole career is a rare occurrence for a Hispanic author like Moner, whose lifetime straddles the boundaries between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. This book highlights the two main aspects of Fra Francesc’s contribution: first, the resourceful bilingualism stemming from Moner’s mastery of not only his native Catalan but also Castilian, the language that in the late 1400s kept gaining the ascendancy and prestige of officialdom throughout the Spanish realm; second, the fashioning of an iconic text of subjectivity in the wake of the landmark innovations brought about by Ausiàs March, the Valencian luminary of the first half of the fifteenth century. Moner develops a love-centered poetics that integrates the distinctive strains of multiple traditions. By probing into Moner’s poetics of love and reason, the reader catches a glimpse of an author engaged in intense soul-searching. Moner, in turn, shares with his readers some extraordinary insights into the compelling moments of the human condition – precisely the condition of the human being torn between the allure of the flesh and the aspiration toward the Divine.

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Appendix 179

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Appendix Fra Francesc Moner Tratado Sobre La Paciencia [1] Dýas ha, si por otri no me engaño, que Su Señoría demandó cómo se halla la paciencia; y he hoýdo algunos le han scrito sobre ello, cuyas sentencias no sé. Mas porque lo cierto es en una sola manera, no será maravilla, yo scriviendo, por [el] m[e]jor partido dezir lo que los otros han dicho; que si de algún avantaje presumía preciarme, major caýda daría porque ante quien se le entienda [el] más esmerado se emienda; quanto más yo que de menor quilate me conosco. Pero si es verdad que el entendimiento al bien famoso se endereça, ahunque me atreva, perdón meresco allende de mi major escusa, que es la necessidad de mi caso porque tengo por menor mal su juyzio sobre mis yerros que careçer de la memoria que scriviendo es possible al[c]ançarse. Assí que bien empleado el peligro, [y] si el fi n desseado no se alcança, sea perdonado el buen desseo, que de los estremos aquel que pareçe más al medio va menos errado. [2] Trahe la paciencia en su nombre la diffi nición suya, ca paciencia no es otra cosa sino “sciencia de pasión” porque aquel sólo es paciente que claramente y sin ningún velo conosce de qué es y por qué es y dónde viene la passión que...

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