Published in Journal of Hispanic Philology, 7 (1983 ), 213-214.
[[Note in 2006: Hovering in the background of this highly complimentary review is that which I did of the same publishers Bibliography of Old Spanish Texts, 2rd edition, published in the same journal, 3 (1979), 178-182, a link to which is found on the same Web page where you found the link to this review.]]
Brian Dutton, con la colaboración de Stephen Fleming, Jineen Krogstad, Francisco Santoyo Vázquez y Joaquín González Cuenca. Catálogo-Índice de poesía cancioneril del siglo XV. Madison: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 1982. Two vols. in one, 285 and 291 pp. ISBN: 0-942260-25-2.
It is rare to see a reference work which combines as much intelligent thought in its conception, diligence in its execution, and wisely-employed technology in its publication, as does the present Catálogo-Índice. The contrast with the cancionero index of Stenou and Knapp (Paris, 1975-78) could not be more striking. If all publications were done to this standard, otros siglos correrían.
Analyzed and indexed for us is the largest collection of sources ever treated in a single work in this field: 190 manuscripts and 221 printed books. The poetic contents of each are itemized in a listing arranged by location and manuscript number, or imprint date. Volume I ends with an index of first lines. Volume II begins with a master index, arranged in catalog number order; there are 9522 entries. This is followed by an index of authors, an index of destinatarios, indices of titles and of genres (both of these limited to indications found in the sources), an index of poems in languages other than Castilian, an index of relationships among texts, of which more shortly, an index of printed sources and manuscripts, which duplicates some material form the listing of their contents, a listing of the libraries in which the printed sources are found, a keying of the printed sources to the reference works of Vindel, Norton, Rodríguez-Moñino, Norton and Wilson, and Fernando Colón, an index of the contents of Foulché-Delboscs Cancionero castellano del siglo XV, an extended Bibliografía selecta, an appendix discussing the technology used, another with a discussion of the music of these poems and an index of composers, and a list of errata.
It can already be seen what an abundance of data is given us, and how much care has been taken to make the use of this data convenient; technology has been made to serve the project rather than the reverse. The master index includes, for each text, its length, genre (if specified), first and last lines, number of locations it appears and the identification of each, the various titles applied to it, and the various titles applied to it, and the various attributions of it found in the sources. One can look up any poem and find who has glossed it and where those glosses are [p. 214] found, where it has been (poetically) answered, cited, used as a refrain, continued, rewritten, etc., through a system of cross-references between poems. we can find easily all the poems with a specific generic label (and there a re many such labels whose unfamiliarity reveals how much generic work remains to be done). The index of authors furnishes data on many little-known or unknown names.
The work is based consistently on examination, through microfilms in most cases, of the original manuscripts or printed books. By not relying on published descriptions, many errors have been avoided and incorrect descriptions revealed. The same care is found in other features. Orthography has been standardized in the index of first lines, but not in the citations of the texts themselves. the Castilian language was not allowed to be a restriction, as it should not be; one major Portuguese cancionero (Resende) is included, and a number of other texts in a variety of languages, found in the body of source materials, are included as well.
I have found no misprints of more than trivial significance. It is at times confusing to distinguish the compilers comments from those which are reproduced form a source, as the same type face is used for both. The introductory list of sources (in which I have noted the absence of the Cancionero de obras de burlas, and University of Barcelona MS 116, cited in Alonso de Córdoba, Conmemoraçión breve de los reyes de Portugal, ed. Pedro M. Cátedra [Barcelona: Humanitas, 1983], pp. 9-10) includes a number of manuscripts with the note no se incluye; in some cases we are given a reason (contiene sólo notas en prosa), but in others we are not. The presumption is that the list of sources is intended to be an exhaustive list of cancionero poetry sources, and that manuscripts with poetic texts are not included only when their owners cooperation was not forthcoming, but this is never clearly stated.
In sum, this is a fundamental reference work which, like La Barreras drama catalog, will be supplemented but never replaced. The study of cancionero poetry has been greatly facilitated, and the long-term results will be significant.