Ferocious

Soledad Fox

  • BuySelected Poems of Luis de Góngora edited and translated by John Dent-Young
    Chicago, 270 pp, £19.00, June 2007, ISBN 978 0 226 14059 9

The collected works of Luis de Góngora y Argote were not published until a few months after his death in 1627. Although the volume had been prudently dedicated to the inquisitor general, Cardenal Zapata, it was banned by church authorities for denigrating priests, nuns, maidens, married women, courtiers and bishops. Behind this censorship stood the animosity of Juan de Pineda, a Jesuit whom Góngora had described in a sonnet as ‘un positivo padre azafranado’, or ‘an intransigent ginger Jesuit’, as John Dent-Young translates it in his new bilingual Selected Poems. The taint of immorality has long been forgotten, but Góngora’s work has never quite recovered from another accusation: that it is incomprehensible.

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