The Artisan Poetry of the Romancero
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The Spaniard who does not know of the existence of the romancero is rare. Some have come to know of it by learned means, through school books and literature classes in high school or even in the university; others because they have listened to folk singers, and still others because they have witnessed its oral transmission as part of local popular culture. But, despite this familiarity, ideas about the romancero continue to prevail today that have little correspondence with its essence. And precisely the most "cultured" people--according to official standards--are the ones who are most confused in their evaluation of the romancero. It is the specialists in Spanish literature who are propagating the most inexact ideas about ballads. Accustomed to examining texts that are both fixed and datable, which printed literature has accustomed us to since Gutenberg's time, erudite men of letters find it difficult to comprehend the special problems of poems elaborated by traditional "literary artisanship."
Oral Tradition, 2/2-3 (1987): 399-423.