Manuscript Translations of Spanish Romances in the National Museum Library

Pages 45–50
Keywords discovery of a manuscript from 1850 – National Museum Library in Prague – biographies – Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (1547–1616) – Luís de Camões (ca 1524–1580) – Spanish romances – Czech translation – Josef Hausmann Hořínský (1825–1905)
Type of Article Peer-reviewed
Citation ULIČNÝ, Miloslav . Manuscript Translations of Spanish Romances in the National Museum Library. Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum. Prague: National Museum, 2014, 59(3-4), 45–50. ISSN 0036-5351. Also available from:
Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae – Historia litterarum | 2014/59/3-4

The priest Josef Hausmann Hořínský (1825–1905) published in Časopis Musea Království Českého [Journal of the Museum of the Kingdom of Bohemia] in 1849 the treatise O literatuře španělské, zwláště dramatické [On Spanish, in Particular Dramatic, Literature], which is the first Czech summary of the basic facts about Spanish drama in the multiplicity of its genre forms, beginning with the founders of the genre (Lope de Rueda, Juan de la Cueva etc.) and ending with Lope de Vega, Cervantes and Calderón. The merits of Josef Hausmann further increased with the recent discovery (2012) of his manuscript in the National Museum Library (shelf mark II A 1). It is a fifty-page unpaginated notebook with an outline of the biographies of Miguel de Cervantes and Luís de Camões and a treatise on historical Spanish romances with four extracts in the original and translation. One romance is about Roderic, the last Gothic king of Spain before the Arab occupation, whereas the other three romances deal with the adolescent exploits of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, called El Cid. All of the romances have been translated into octosyllabic verses without assonance. The translation mostly contains accentual-syllabic verse in primarily trochaic metre along with syllabic verse, reflecting only the number of syllables, so that the overall rhythm somewhere gives an impression of disorder. This finding has corrected the previous opinion presented in the history of Czech translations that the first Czech translators of Spanish romances were J. B. Pichl, V. B. Nebeský and J. R. Čejka in the middle of the 1850s. The primacy not only in this direction but also in significant papers on Spanish and Portuguese literature hence rightfully belongs to Josef Hausmann Hořínský now.

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