Nature, Song, and the Senses in Luis de Góngora’s “Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea”. Transcending Time

Terri Schroth
Aurora University
It is not a secret that Luis de Góngora’s writing, throughout history, has been exposed to much criticism for its complicated syntax, knots of mythological references, latinismos, and various forms of other complex details. A sort of “rebirth” or “rediscovery” of Góngora’s work in the early to mid-1900s, led by Dámaso Alonso, initiated the emergence of valuable study about the intricate workings of the poet.[1] However, Smith notes an inequality in the specific content of post-rehabilitation studies: “[w]hen in our century the astonishing rehabilitation of Góngora was begun, very little attention was given to the subject-matter of the great poems.”[2] Since the form of the poetry is his trademark as the culteranista (or founding gongorista), one can perhaps understand this discrepancy, but one must not lose sight of the beauty of Góngora’s skillful use of various themes. Dana Bultman challenges us to continue our discussion of the text and be open to a fresh look at Góngora’s work and its “interpretive possibilities”:

…the possibility that Góngora’s lyric texts provide readers with an unorthodox rendering of poetic voice that challenges the humanist, print based paradigm in ascendency. Instead of understanding language as simply a clear, rational medium with which to construct a literature which expresses a national or ethnic character and history, Góngora’s poetic texts present a complexity of interpretive possibilities.[3]

Bultman also reminds us that Góngora reaches far past a national Spanish literature from the Golden Age. In our current age in which technology dominates, why does Góngora remain a highly researched and read author, particularly in regard to works such as Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea. While Góngora’s works have been analyzed thoroughly, few scholars have examined the reader’s experience in relation to the aesthetics in Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea. This work has kept pleasing readers for generations and has transcended time. In this essay, I will discuss how Góngora develops the reader’s experience through the senses and how he appeals to the reader’s senses to in nature and song. These esthetics have allowed Góngora and this work to endure the test of time.

When considering Góngora’s Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea, it is understandable to see how the reader may become diverted. The poem’s immense length of sixty-three stanzas, Góngora’s ever-present play with structure and language, along with certain “absences”[4] can make it seem a bit overwhelming to readers. Raulston discusses the “reader’s dilemma” when attempting to “conquer” Góngora’s Polifemo:

. . . the reader, faced with something of a dilemma when approaching a long poem which cannot be situated in any place or time[5] and which does not seem to be greatly concerned with action or speech, is forced to look to other levels of the poem in search of a focus . . . analyze the poem’s thematic content for insistent themes.[6]

It is clear when analyzing Polifemo that Góngora’s intention is to appeal to the senses of the reader; he or she becomes an active participant in the world of Polifemo, Galatea, and Acis. Smith acknowledges this idea in referring to the poem as “poetry of the senses . . . [that] presents no difficulty to experienced readers and to fully adult ‘feelers,’” and by making reference to Emilio Orozco’s statement of Góngora as “un poeta de los sentidos.”[7] Orozco describes Góngora’s intricate use of senses: “dos esenciales características del estilo culterano: el halago de los ojos y el halago de los oídos; esto es, valores pictóricos y valores musicales.”[8] In this essay, we will discuss certain themes in Góngora’s celebrated Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea focusing on his appeal to the reader’s senses and its effect on the reader’s experience. More specifically, we will also examine Góngora’s appeal to the reader’s sense of sight, creating images for the reader as a painter might do. Numerous examples of sound appear in Polifemo, but we have chosen to examine the appearance of song and musicality in the work.

First, Góngora’s pictórico and use of imagery in Polifemo will be discussed. Quite simply, the reader is treated to such vivid imagery in Polifemo that he/she may create personal mental pictures of Góngora’s descriptions. Such an effect is described by Soto:“[u]na definición poética de la écfrasis pudiera ser la expresión horaciana: Ut pintura poesis. El ‘Polifemo’ de Góngora es como una pintura de palabras.”[9] Góngora is truly creating a painting with his words of poetic imagery, thus he is a sort of painter-poet, as best expressed by Orozco:

De aquí el que sea frecuente entonces el pintor-poeta y el poeta-pintor, y el que todos los escritores no se cansen de repetir que la pintura es poesía muda, y la poesía, pintura que habla. La poesía gongorina, con su gusto por la actitud contemplativa y su afán descriptivo y de creación de imágenes, se ofrece, así, como la más completa realización de ese ideal pictórico. Porque Góngora es el que marca este paso decisivo al poema descriptivo, y con ello a la pintura hablada. Sus obras de más directa derivación, y con renacentista, como el Polifemo, nos ofrecen claramente ese significativo cambio: la importancia de la descripción.[10]

Through Góngora’s vivid and detailed description, the reader can determine from the beginning of the poem the important aspect of Nature in Polifemo Smith indeed acknowledges Nature as the main focus of Góngora’s “painting”: “[i]n the Polifemo Nature occupies the whole canvas and the human figures move about in the picture dwarfed by trees, mountains, sky and stars.”[11] Góngora introduces Polifemo in his setting in Nature, allowing the reader to become acquainted with the physical aspects of Polifemo’s world.

The reader may continue to create a distinct picture of this world. The fifth stanza, for example, Góngora introduces the reader to its negativity, darkness, and melancholy: “escollo duro,” “caverna profunda,” “seno obscuro,” “negra noche,” “gimiendo tristes y volando graves.”[12] In the next stanza, Góngora refers to this setting as “el melancólico vacío” and to Polifemo as the “horror de aquella sierra” who lives in a “bárbara choza” or an “albergue umbrío.”[13] This detailed description allows the reader to visualize the darkness of this location and one may feel the emptiness and darkness of the scene. Dolan sees such references to darkness as an “acknowledgement of a dark underside to the typically serene pastoral landscape”[14] and to Polifemo himself as “a menacing outcast who threatens the pastoral bower with his insistent, monstrous melancholy.”[15] Therefore, in this sense, Polifemo can also be thought of as a disturbance or a menace to the tranquility in Nature surrounding him, or to the evil in human nature.

After this dark image is captured in one’s mind, Góngora introduces the beast’s physical characteristics: the Cyclops has one eye and the eminent mountain on which he lives is almost made of his limbs because they are so large.[16] In fact, Góngora enables the reader to imagine Polifemo’s enormous size by making an amazing reference to a common tree in Nature: even “el pino más valiente” was so miniscule by comparison that it bowed to him, going from a cane (“un bastón”) to a crook (“un cayado”).[17] In the eighth stanza, one sees Polifemo’s wild appearance: “[n]egro el cabello [. . .] al viento que lo peina proceloso, vuela sin orden, pende sin asea; un torrente es su barba impetüoso.” One fears the Cyclops when Góngora makes such references to Polifemo as, “fiera armó de crüeldad,” “feroz,” “moral horror.”[18] Jones summarizes the clear image of Polifemo that is created in the reader’s mind and how this image contrasts with the lovers:

In Acis and Galatea, Góngora evokes ideal forms that each reader must embody in an image; Polyphemus—untypical, not a universal that the reader can be left to imagine for himself—needs more detail. Góngora devotes three stanzas to his mountainous size, his single eye, his black hair, his uncombed beard, and his garb. Góngora emphasizes by every detail the difference between the hirsute and unbeautiful Cyclops and the figures of the lovers.[19]

Soto sums up Polifemo’s primitive, lonely nature stemming from his experience of his setting by stating, “[n]o conocen [los cíclopes] la plaza pública ni las salas de justicia, ni siquiera las casas, sino que viven en las hendiduras de los montes.”[20] As previously mentioned, we must take into account the lack of a historical context in the world in which Polifemo lives: “[i]n Góngora’s Sicily there is farming both pastoral and arable, and there is trade in its products . . . there are no cities, no governments, no persons in positions of authority, no roads, no money, no organized religious cults.”[21] As a result, at this introductory section of the poem, the reader already has a clear image of this barbaric, immense monster called Polifemo who lives in a primitive setting atop a mountain.

In the tenth stanza, the reader learns of Polifemo’s life as a shepherd and the abundance of goods from Nature he possesses. Here, as throughout the entire poem, we can see the pastoral element of Polifemo. He has an orchard (“el zurrón”) full of fruit; so full that in late autumn (“el tarde otoño”), it is on the verge of a miscarriage (“casi abortada”). Furthermore, Góngora includes references to different fruits (“la serba,” “la pera”) as products from Nature. It is quite significant that Polifemo has abundance in the physical sense—he possesses and benefits from the abundances of Nature in products and various animals and he is immense in size, yet he is lacking the love of Galatea. It should be noted that Góngora paints many juxtapositions present in Nature, plentitude/scarceness, beauty/ugliness, and darkness/light being just a few examples. Smith summarizes the opposites in Nature as a theme in the work:

The Polifemo. . . has a large and serious theme: the world of Nature and the man’s place in it. The poem is about unity and disruption, harmony and discord, light and dark, nature cruel and nature kind, nature untamed and nature productive, masculine and feminine, violence and tenderness.[22]

The opposite of ugliness and darkness, represented by Polifemo, is beauty and light, represented by the nymph Galatea.

Góngora shows such contrasts in Nature by describing Galatea shortly after Polifemo. The reader, already having a distinct image of Polifemo in mind, is introduced, in stanza thirteen, to a stark contrast: Galatea, “[n]infa . . . la más bella, adora.” From the darkness of Polifemo,[23] Galatea appears:

In the Polyphemus, from the darkness and privation of Cyclopean consciousness a deity, Galatea, rises to the surface and compels worship . . . We do not ‘see’ the Cyclops watching his desired nymph, but rather are presented with a fantasy of the nymph as though she were emerging from the depths of his melancholy . . .[24]

Cancelliere continues this examination with how Góngora weaves in contrast skillfully and intentionally, in particular between black (monster, emptiness, and nothingness) and white (light, nymph, and plentitude):

. . .el Blanco y el Negro, el resplandor de la ninfa y de su hábitat y las tinieblas de la morada y de los miembros desmesurados del gigante.

De hecho el Negro condensa todos los valores simbólicos de lo lóbrego, infernal, monstruoso. En este abismo, que es la caverna y juntamente la misma naturaleza del cíclope, se va a precipitar nuestra mirada; allá donde está ausente la luz, cromatismo del caos primordial, en fin, una indistinta Nada—el Negro—, que se contrapone a la plenitud del Ser—el Blanco—.[25]

In the fourteenth stanza, Góngora carefully prepares the exphrasis de Galatea.”[26] Here, the reader is overwhelmed with warm colors and light: “[p]urpúreas rosas,” “lilios cándidos,” “púrpura nevada,” “nieve roja,” “su frente la perla es,” and “oro.” This use of color, present throughout the poem, allows the reader to actually add color to the picture which has been forming in his/her mind. Orozco notes the importance of color in creating the picture: “[p]ero lo más importante a destacar no es sólo la intensificación y acumulación de las sensaciones de color, sino el empleo de éste de acuerdo con un sentido pictórico.”[27] Since Góngora uses dark, melancholy colors to describe Polifemo and his setting, the reader gets a lugubrious “sensación”, and when he/she reads the warm colors of Galatea, he/she gets a contrasting “sensación.”

Góngora’s use of colors has been well documented in scholarly research. In her article that focuses on the analysis of colors in the Polifemo, Cancelliere explains again how Góngora creates the effect of contrast with light and dark, as in a painting:

Dentro de la época barroca que privilegia en todas las artes los contrastes a partir de la técnica del claroscuro en pintura, este poema ya desde el título Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea pone de relieve el tema del contraste cromático, el choque entre lo obscuro y lo resplandeciente; un poema escrito, pues, según la técnica del claroscuro.[28]

Pabst’s early study goes into great detail in regard to color: “[e]n Góngora podemos distinguir los siguientes colores que enumeramos según la frecuencia de su aparición y por tanto según su importancia para el poeta: blanco, rojo, verde, oro, azul, gris, plata, negro, amarillo, pálido.”[29] Pabst later counts the number of references to each color in the poems Las Soledades and El Polifemo. The purpose of this essay is not to analyze the minute use of colors in Polifemo; however, it needs to be stated that colors play an essential role in the creation of Góngora’s pintura. The poet has, after all, selected each color to carefully complement or contrast according to each respective instance. Orozco properly notes that “[e]s lógico que la sensación centro de esta visión pictórica sea el color. Como decía Dámaso Alonso, ‘no hay estrofa, ni apenas verso, en que no se dé una sugestión colorista.’”[30] When one returns to the poem, it is certainly true that every stanza is full of color, and in stanzas such as number fourteen, most lines have references to colors.

Another aspect of Góngora’s painting of Nature is that of human nature. In an attempt to show “man living in the closest possible contact with Nature,”[31] Góngora compares the actions of humans to animals. Animal references in Polifemo, in addition to connecting the poem to the pastoral, show the animal instinct of humans, or our human nature. One most obvious example of this is Góngora’s incorporation of the “el ronco arrullo” of the “palomas” and its effect on humans in stanzas 41 and 42: “[w]hat has stimulated Acis and Galathea to the act of love is not any emotional contact, . . . but the sight of the mating preliminaries of the two doves, birds dedicated to Venus.”[32] It is true that no emotional contact between Acis and Galatea has time to develop—all attraction seems to be physical, much like animals. There is a certain aspect of a Darwinian effect among both animals and humans in the poem: “Polyphemus kills the wild beast, for clothing; the wolf kills the sheep, for food;[33] and Polyphemus kills Acis, his competitor in love. Being preys on being, and the strongest survives.”[34] Perhaps, Polifemo is not a monster, but simply the stronger of the two men. Or, one can consider the possibility that “[t]he idea of evil is, in fact, necessary to complete the picture of Nature . . . The idea of violence and death is the last link in the chain of life.”[35] Dolan adds the idea that the scenes created by Góngora are void of human feeling: “the human is indeed nearly engulfed by the inhuman, in this case the exquisitely inhuman forms of a dense and proliferating landscape, whose processes seem to exist independently of human sentiment.”[36] In any case, aspects of Nature are present throughout Polifemo—everything stems from Nature, is surrounded by Nature, relates to nature, lives in Nature, and ultimately dies in Nature. Góngora uses ingeniously various strategies to create imagery that stimulates the reader’s sense of sight in order to implant a picture of the poem in the mind.

In addition to the mental images created by Góngora, the reader’s experience is also enhanced by the poet’s frequent incorporation of sounds and music. Ricapito acknowledges the importance of sound in regards to the reader’s experience with Polifemo: “[s]ounds, whether explicit or implied, create another dimension to the poem . . . and it is an active element in the play between writing, reading, hearing, and listening.”[37] The reader is greeted with an assortment of sounds from various characters and sources throughout the entire work; Pabst skillfully summarizes the diverse sounds presented in Polifemo and their subsequent outcomes:

El sonido es un elemento que interviene en la acción; con frecuencia produce silencio, como la luz la sombra. La música de Polifemo perturba toda la naturaleza, ante ella sordo huye el bajel; el balido del ganado atrae al lobo desde el bosque; el susurro del arroyo despierta a la ninfa; los gemidos de las palomas alteran los oídos como trompas del amor; el ronco arrullo excita al joven; la zampoña previene; el trueno de la voz fulmina; el canto de Polifemo fue una vez yugo del mar y la tormenta; el ruego de la ninfa y la invocación de Acis serán oídos.[38]

It is well documented in research that one of the principle ways in which Góngora allows the reader to “hear” what is happening during the work is through song, as Góngora’s talent “‘musicaliza’ un sonido.”[39] In fact, much as Orozco refers to Góngora as a “pintor-poeta/poeta-pintor,”[40] Del Río Parra refers to him as a “cantor:”

[Góngora] produce, de este modo, una identificación entre el mundo musical, el poético y el físico, donde el plano más novedoso sería éste último, puesto que el poético y el musical vienen ya identificados desde la antigüedad, tópico en el que Góngora incide hasta la saciedad ya que, incluso en su poesía más informal, el poeta, como también su musa, es siempre cantor.[41]

Góngora, himself, indeed plays the role of “cantor” in Polifemo, as he begins with his song, the poem itself.

Góngora opens Polifemo with his persuasive, personal song to el conde de Niebla. In the first three stanzas of the poem, Góngora pleads with el conde to take a break from his hunting and listen to the song of his pipes, or more cleverly, “escucha, al son de la zampoña mía, / si ya los muros no te ven, de Huelva, / peinar el viento, fatigar la selva.”[42] He continues in the second stanza by asking the hunter’s horn to surrender to the poet’s harp, or “Y al cuerno, al fin, la cítara suceda.” Finally, Góngora pleads for el conde to rest under an august canopy and requests silence from Nature while he listens to the song of the brutish giant: “Treguas al ejercicio san robusto, / ocio atento, silencio dulce, en cuanto / debajo escuchas de dosel augusto, / del música jayán el fiero canto.”[43] The reader can envision immediately el conde relaxing under a canopy listening to Góngora’s tale. Josa and Lambea affirm that Góngora achieves a creación interdisciplinaria while provoking the reader: “la conjunción entre el conceptismo poético y el alma de la música para mover los afectos y provocar en el lector, en el oyente o en el espectador, un impulso esencialmente emotivo, no racional.”[44]

One can also see the inclusion of Nature: “Góngora’s composition is an imposition upon Nature. He implores his patron to abandon the hunt for all of Nature to become silent and attentive to his song (stanzas 2 and 3).”[45] One can truly appreciate the brilliance of Góngora as he writes the intricate tale of the song of the Cyclops in his song to el conde. Foster and Foster have neatly summarized this complication:

… the poet’s own music which is the poem itself. Or to put it in other terms, the poet’s own song which is the poem, and Polyphemus’ song quoted in detail in stanzas 44-58 (almost one-fourth of the total lines of the composition). This correlation is established by the poet’s appeal to his patron, the Conde de Niebla, to set aside his hunting hear and to attend to his, the poet’s, zampogna (stanza 1) and its verses, dictated by Thalia, the bucolic or pastoral muse.[46]

Furthermore, from the onset of the poem, it is clear that the setting in Nature is a key element : “[h]is [Góngora’s] song will deal with a natural setting, but as the song of the poet it will be superimposed upon that setting, will be creative art, even though his song will in turn contain the ‘natural’ song of Polyphemus…”[47]

In stanza 46, Góngora introduces the song of Polifemo and thus “se introduce una nueva fuente de expresividad: Góngora cede la palabra al cíclope. La primera persona es un medio habitual para aumentar el tono emotivo.”[48] In stanza 48, Polifemo begs Galatea to listen to his passionate song, for he has tender feelings for her: “Sorda hija del mar, cuyas orejas / . . . escucha un día / mi voz, por dulce, cuando no por mía.” The reader is therefore introduced to the sensitive side of the Cyclops, whose voice can shake the mountains or have this loving tone: “[l]e chant à Galatée est empreint d’une résignation émouvante, et cette voix qui faisait trembler les montagnes devient, sous l’effet de l’amour, étonnamment douce et caressante.”[49]

From stanza 46 to 58, Polifemo sings his charm song, as well as a “canción pastoril,”[50] to Galatea. Polifemo enumerates his wealth as a farmer and shepherd, informing Galatea of his abundant fertility.

However, although he has benefited from the cornucopia of Sicily and Nature’s plentitude, he has a great lacking in his life and a great desire for Galatea: “Pastor soy, mas tan rico de ganados, / que los valles impido más vacíos, / . . . los ojos míos, / . . . lágrimas; que iguales / en número a mis bienes son mis males.”[51] Once again, the reader is torn by contrasts in nature: plentitude and desire. Polifemo has such riches, yet remains extremely sad: “Polifemo’s song, is, in ironic contrast to the excessive natural plenitude that weights the world of this poem, a song of desire.”[52] This particular stanza of the Polifemo’s song is the topic of an interesting debate: Does Polifemo, by revealing his inner desires and feelings for Galatea, become humanized in the mind of the reader or does he forever remain a barbaric monster?

With Polifemo’s jealous reaction to Galatea’s union with Acis, Góngora gives the reader another perspective into the nature of humans. Perhaps Polifemo is not a monster, but simply reacting as a human being. He has been scorned by a lack of love by Galatea and is consequently jealous of her union with Acis. Robert Jammes sees the “humanization” of the “monster” during his ranting song of jealousy:

Autant que la « monstruosité » de Polyphème, je crois qu’il importe de souligner son « humanisation »: le Cyclope n’est plus exclusivement le repoussoir, l’ennemi détestable d’Acis et de Galatée, il devient l’amant malheureux dont les sentiment sont aussi intenses et aussi touchant que ceux des deux autres personnages.[53]

Since Polifemo is reacting to rejection and a broken heart, human sentiments that most readers can relate to, one may feel a closer compassion for the “monster” and view him as human. Jones states, “in his love-song, which contains some of Góngora’s finest poetry, Polyphemus and his sorrows are humanised and brought close to us. The Cyclops is inhuman in his stature and his ferocity; he is as defenseless as any man, however, against the effects of love.”[54]

In a similar manner, Jammes argues that because of Polifemo’s deep suffering, the reader feels a more intimate bond with him and, as a result, he becomes more human (even though he crushes Acis): “on peut même dire que Polyphème écrasant Acis demeure plus humain, plus près de nous—dans la mesure où son geste est l’expression d’une souffrance profonde—que tel mari jaloux.”[55] Collin Thompson also affirms that the vision of Galatea is not so simplistic and glorious as may be perceived by the naïve reader:

I believe it is too simplistic to read the poem as one of an idyllic, natural love on the one hand (that of Acis and Galatea), destroyed by the monstruous passion of jealousy on the other (Polifemo), because myths and images associated with violence and death are used as much in connection with the lovers as they are for the giant, and long before the poem moves towards its fatal denouement.[56]

Yet again, Góngora makes a strong statement about human nature and humans in their natural setting. Foster and Foster note: “understanding of Góngora’s attitude toward his character . . . the poet is only pursuing his recurring interest in understanding the basic principles of human nature. One version of that understanding is to focus on the ‘monstrous’ aspects of the human being.”[57] Raulston, in fact, questions the sincerity of Polifemo and views him as a deceiver: “[j]ust as the devil can assume a handsome face to deceive, Polyphemus tries to be a músico jayán and to charm Galathea with pipes and voice. His tenderness is temporary and fails to convince.”[58]

The value of such contrasts in character (Polifemo as being tender yet monstrous and the contrasts between Polifemo and Galatea) is quite significant to the musicalidad of the poem: “[d]ebemos ahora preguntarnos qué valor o qué sentido tienen estos contrastes del Polifemo gongorino que, dentro de la literatura española, señalan a esta pieza como de una estructura excepcional: poesía que va hacia música sinfónica.”[59] References to the devil and Polifemo’s monstrosity allows one to realize that he does not represent the “good” in Nature, but nevertheless, represents Nature—the “evil” in Nature and jealousy exhibited in human nature. Ancell appreciates Góngora’s use of duality: “Góngora relies on the simultaneity of both beauty and monstrosity, wonder and horror, softness and roughness, surface and depth—opposites held in tension, figured primarily by the Cyclops and the Nymph—to accomplish a poetic effect not easily gained.”[60]

After analyzing several elements of Góngora’s treatment of the senses, it is quite evident that the reader comes away with a personal, mental image of the landscape and characters of Polifemo, as well as an idea of the sounds that surround the poem. While the form of the language in Góngora is important, it is not the only aspect of his poetry that merits study yet has historically been the focus of research. However, it seems rather unlikely that the reader, after some initiation to the complicated form, would be able to ignore the superb content in Góngora’s work, since it would be impossible to miss the splendor of its imagery. Góngora has skillfully chosen each word, color, and sound as well as its respective order so that the reader meanders through the intricate text and comes away with an individual interpretation: “the greatest challenge is the flatness of the verbal creation, and it will rest there until the reader takes these words and assimilates them into his or her own imagination. Poetry occurs when the words of poetical clusters are impressed upon the reader’s own imagination.”[61] Therefore, after making impressions upon the imaginations of generations of readers, Góngora’s Polifemo reiterates that poetry and literature of high quality transcends time and lives on despite our changing world.

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—. “Forma y color en el Polifemo de Góngora.” Góngora: La Estrella Inextinguible. Magnitud Estética y Universo Contemporáneo. Ed. Joaquín Roses Lozano. Córdoba: Universidad de Córdoba, 2012. 109-23. Web. 20 April 2015.

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Dolan, Kathleen Hunt. “Figures of Disclosure: Pictorial Space in Marvell and Góngora.” Comparative Literature 40.3 (1988): 245-58. Print.

Foster, David William, and Virginia Ramos Foster. Luis de Góngora. New York: Twayne, Print.

Góngora, Luis de. Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea, Renaissance and Baroque Poetry of Spain. Ed. Elias Rivers. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1988. 157-197. Print.

Jammes, Robert. Études sur l’Oeuvre Poétique de Don Luis de Góngora y Argote. Bordeaux : Institut d’Études Ibériques et Ibéro-Américaines de l’Université de Bordeaux, 1967. Print.

Jones, R.O. Poems of Góngora. London: Cambridge UP, 1966. Print.

Josa, Lola, and Mariano Lambea. “Góngora y la música.” Góngora: La Estrella Inextinguible. Magnitud Estética y Universo Contemporáneo. Ed. Joaquín Roses Lozano. Córdoba: Universidad de Córdoba, 2012. 147-57. Web. 20 April 2015.

Núñez Ramos, Rafael. Poética Semiológica: “El Polifemo” de Góngora. Oviedo, Spain: Universidad de Oviedo, 1980. Print.

Orozco Díaz, Emilio. Introducción a Góngora. Barcelona: Editorial Crítica, 1984. Print.

Pabst, Walter. La Creación Gongorina en los Poemas: Polifemo y Soledades. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Patronato “Menéndez y Pelayo,” Instituto “Miguel de Cervantes,” 1966. Print.

Raulston, Stephen B. “Vision, Desire and the Reader of the Polifemo.Lucero 1 (1990): 17-27. Print.

Ricapito, Joseph V. “Galatea’s Fall and the Inner Dynamics of Góngora’s Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea.Women in the Discourse of Early Modern Spain. Ed. Joan F. Cammarata. Gainesville: UP of Florida, 2003. 160-80. Print.

Rivers, Elias L, ed. Renaissance and Baroque Poetry of Spain. Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland Press, 1988. Print.

Smith, Colin C. “An Approach to Góngora’s Polifemo.Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (BHS) 42 (1965): 216-38. Print.

Soto Rivera, Rubén. “El Cíclope de Filóstrato el Viejo en el Polifemo de Góngora.” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura 16.2 (2001): 99-105. Print.

Thompson, Colin. “Myth and the Construction of Meaning in the Soledades and the Polifemo.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies 90.1 (2013): 83-105. Web. 22 November 2014.

[1] David William Foster and Virginia Ramos Foster, preface, Luis de Góngora (New York: Twayne): 1.

[2] Colin C. Smith, “An Approach to Góngora’s ‘Polifemo,’” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (BHS) 42 (1965): 218.

[3] Bultman, Dana. “Góngora’s Invocation of Prudente Cónsul: Censorship and Humanist Doubts about his Lyric Language.” Hispanófila 142 (2004): 1-2.

[4] Smith mentions that certain critiques have been made of what is lacking in Polifemo, such as subject-matter, moral point of view, action, and subject matter, 217-18.

[5] Stephen B. Raulston, “Vision, Desire and the Reader of the Polifemo,” Lucero 1 (1990): 17. Raulston discusses the lack of context in Polifemo (few references to political or social context) and consequent inability to situate poem in any time period or place. Sicilia is not a real Sicily at any particular time and man is from no specific historical time.

[6] Raulston 18.

[7] Smith 218-19.

[8] Emilio Orozco Díaz, Introducción a Góngora (Barcelona: Editorial Crítica): 57.

[9] Rubén Soto Rivera, “El Cíclope de Filóstrato el Viejo en el ‘Polifemo’ de Góngora,” Confluencia: Revista Hispánica de Cultura y Literatura 16.2 (2001): 99-105.

[10] Orozco 58.

[11] Smith 234.

[12] Luis de Góngora, Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea, Renaissance and Baroque Poetry of Spain, ed. Elias Rivers (Prospect Heights, Illinois: Waveland, 1988): 165. All personal references and citations to Polifemo come from this source. We will refer to the poem by its stanzas here after.

[13] Rivers 165.

[14] Kathleen Hunt Dolan, “Figures of Disclosure: Pictorial Space in Marvell and Góngora,” Comparative Literature 40.3 (1988): 246.

[15] Dolan 246-47.

[16] Stanza 7.

[17] Stanza 7.

[18] Stanza 9.

[19] R.O. Jones, Poems of Góngora (London: Cambridge UP, 1966): 34.

[20] Soto 1.

[21] Smith 221.

[22] Smith 220.

[23] Keeping in mind that, at this stage of the poem, Polifemo is creating this description of Galatea in his música.

[24] Dolan 254.

[25] Enrica Cancelliere, “Forma y color en el Polifemo de Góngora.” Góngora: La Estrella Inextinguible. Magnitud Estética y Universo Contemporáneo, ed Joaquín Roses Lozano. (Córdoba: Universidad de Córdoba, 2012): 116.

[26] Soto 3.

[27] Orozco 59.

[28] Enrica Cancelliere, “Dibujo y color en la Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea.” Actas del X Congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas 1989, ed Antonio Vilanova. (Centro Virtual Cervantes: Instituto Cervantes, n.d.): 790.

[29] Walter Pabst, La Creación Gongorina en los Poemas: Polifemo y Soledades (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Patronato “Menéndez y Pelayo,” Instituto “Miguel de Cervantes, 1966): 93.

[30] Orozco 59.

[31] Smith 221.

[32] Smith 223.

[33] Stanza 22.

[34] Smith 231.

[35] Smith 230.

[36] Dolan 249.

[37] Joseph V. Recapito, “Galatea’s Fall and the Inner Dynamics of Góngora’s Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea,” Women in the Discourse of Early Modern Spain, ed. Joan F. Cammarata (Gainesville: UP of Florida, 2003): 164.

[38] Pabst 106.

[39] Elena Del Río Parra, “Espacios sonoros y escalas de silencio en la poesía de Luis de Góngora y sor Juana Inés de la Cruz,” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 24.2 (2000): 312.

[40] Orozco 57.

[41] Del Río Parra 309.

[42] Stanza 1.

[43] Stanza 3.

[44] Lola Josa and Mariano Lambea. “Góngora y la música.” Góngora: La Estrella Inextinguible. Magnitud Estética y Universo Contemporáneo, ed. Joaquín Roses Lozano. (Córdoba: Universidad de Córdoba, 2012: 148.

[45] Foster and Foster 109.

[46] 108.

[47] Foster and Foster 109.

[48] Rafael Núñez Ramos, Poética Semiológica: “El Polifemo” de Góngora. (Oviedo, Spain: Universidad de Oviedo, 1980): 239.

[49] Robert Jammes, Études sur l’Oeuvre Poétique de Don Luis de Góngora y Argote (Bordeaux : Institut d’Études Ibériques et Ibériques et Ibéro-Américaines de l’Université de Bordeaux, 1967) : 541.

[50] Soto 1.

[51] Stanza 49.

[52] Núñez 19.

[53] Jammes 541.

[54] Jones 35.

[55] Jammes 547.

[56] Thompson, Colin. “Myth and the Construction of Meaning in the Soledades and the Polifemo.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies 90.1 (2013): 92.

[57] Foster and Foster 102.

[58] Raulston 230.

[59] Dámaso Alonso, Góngora y el “Polifemo,” 5th ed., vol. 1 (Madrid: Gredos, 1967) 222.

[60] Ancell, Matthew. “‘Este…Cíclope’: Góngora’s Polifemo and the Poetics of Disfiguration.” Hispanic Review 79.4 (2011): 563

[61] Ricapito 160.


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