Juan Boscán Almogáver

Juan Boscán Almogáver

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Joan Boscà i Almogàver (1490?–September 21, 1542), was a Catalan
Catalan people
The Catalans or Catalonians are the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia that form a historical nationality in Spain. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France are sometimes included in this definition...

 poet
Poet
A poet is a person who writes poetry. A poet's work can be literal, meaning that his work is derived from a specific event, or metaphorical, meaning that his work can take on many meanings and forms. Poets have existed since antiquity, in nearly all languages, and have produced works that vary...

 born about the end of the 15th century.

The exact date of birth for Boscà is unclear, but there is a consensus that he was born anywhere between 1487 and 1492. Boscà was born in Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 and was one of three children. His father, Joan Valentí Boscà, was a public official, and his mother was named Violant Almogàver. Boscà's father died in 1492. Around 1507, Boscà left to live in the court of Fernando and Isabel, where he was a student of Lucio Marineo Siculo from Vizzini
Vizzini
Vizzini is a town and comune in the province of Catania, on the island of Sicily. It is located 60 km from Catania in the Hyblaean Mountains, on the most northwesterly slopes of Monte Lauro....

, Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

, who taught him the skill of translating Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 love
Love
Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment. In philosophical context, love is a virtue representing all of human kindness, compassion, and affection. Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase, "God is love" or Agape in the Canonical gospels...

 poetry
Poetry
Poetry is a form of literary art in which language is used for its aesthetic and evocative qualities in addition to, or in lieu of, its apparent meaning...

, Latin, and Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 lyrics into Spanish. Marineo's teachings evidence the close cultural interactions that existed between Spain and Italy and helped to develop the talent of Boscán.

By 1522, Joan Boscà was working as a tutor to Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, Duke of Alba. In this same year, he participated with Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega was a Spanish soldier and poet. He was the most influential poet to introduce Italian Renaissance verse forms, poetic techniques and themes to Spain.-Biography:...

 in giving naval assistance to the Isle of Rhodes during a Turkish invasion
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. Boscà fought against the Turks again in 1532 with Álvarez de Toledo and Charles I in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

. During this period, Boscán had made serious progress in his mastery of verse in the Italian style.

Boscà is most famous for the incorporation of hendecasyllable
Hendecasyllable
The hendecasyllable is a line of eleven syllables, used in Ancient Greek and Latin quantitative verse as well as in medieval and modern European poetry.-In quantitative verse:...

 verses into Spanish. Although he was preceded by Íñigo López de Mendoza (also known as Marqués de Santillana), who wrote 42 sonnets in the Italian style, Boscà was one of the first people to use the present-day structures of the sonnet in Castilian
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

. His originality and open-minded nature made him an innovator, and his use of hendecasyllabic verse gave his poetry a distinctly creative flare that allowed him to emphasize the emotions and significance of each poem.

In the 1520s he came under the influence of Andrea Navagiero, the Venetian
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 ambassador to Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. It is because of Navagiero's persuasion that Boscà abandoned the traditional eight-syllable verses of Spanish poetry. Boscán was also influenced by another Italian ambassador (a friend of Navagiero) named Count Baldassare Castiglione
Baldassare Castiglione
Baldassare Castiglione, count of was an Italian courtier, diplomat, soldier and a prominent Renaissance author.-Biography:Castiglione was born into an illustrious Lombard family at Casatico, near Mantua, where his family had constructed an impressive palazzo...

. Boscán was urged by Castiglione and Garcilaso to translate the ambassador's "Il Cortegiano" into Spanish, which was published on April 2, 1534 to great success.

With Boscán's fame came great controversy, because he constantly had to combat with those who preferred the old style of poetry over the new. In 1539, he married Ana Girón de Rebolledo of Valencia and fathered three daughters. Boscán died on September 21, 1542 after becoming ill in Perpignan
Perpignan
-Sport:Perpignan is a rugby stronghold: their rugby union side, USA Perpignan, is a regular competitor in the Heineken Cup and seven times champion of the Top 14 , while their rugby league side plays in the engage Super League under the name Catalans Dragons.-Culture:Since 2004, every year in the...

, while he was preparing some of his poetry for publication.

Works


Joan Boscà's most famous works appear in Las obras de Boscán y algunas de Garcilaso de la Vega repartidas en quatro libros (The Works of Boscà and Some of Garcilaso de la Vega Divided in Four Volumes). In volume three, this includes Leandro y Hero (Leander
Leander
Leander, from the Hero and Leander myth, is a character from Greek myth, and has given his name to several individuals, at least one city and a number of warships and warship classes of the Royal Navy:-With the given name:...

 and Hero
Hero
A hero , in Greek mythology and folklore, was originally a demigod, their cult being one of the most distinctive features of ancient Greek religion...

), based on an ancient Greek fable and Ottava Rima (Royal Octave). A stanza of "Ottava Rima" reads:



Amor es todo quanto aquí se trata;                Love is everything treated here;
es la sazón del tiempo enamorada; it is love's season;
todo muere d'amor o d'amor mata; all dies of love or kills for love;
sin amor no veréyes ni una pisada; without love you'll see hardly a footstep;
d'amores se negocia y se barata; with love, you trade and barter;
toda la tierra en esto es ocupada; the entire world is thus occupied;
si veys bullir d'un árbol una hoja, if a tree's leaf buds
diréys que amor aquello se os antoja you will say that love tickles your desire.



Boscà's and his close friend Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega
Garcilaso de la Vega was a Spanish soldier and poet. He was the most influential poet to introduce Italian Renaissance verse forms, poetic techniques and themes to Spain.-Biography:...

 are thought to have together inaugurated the Spanish Renaissance
Spanish Renaissance
The Spanish Renaissance refers to a movement in Spain, emerging from the Italian Renaissance in Italy during the 14th century, that spread to Spain during the 15th and 16th centuries...

. They met at the Spanish court and remained close friends.

Boscà's poems were actually published after his death by his widow
Widow
A widow is a woman whose spouse has died, while a widower is a man whose spouse has died. The state of having lost one's spouse to death is termed widowhood or occasionally viduity. The adjective form is widowed...

 around 1543 (Garcilaso died in 1536 and Boscà was given the task of editing some of his works before his own death on September 21, 1542). While the collection was supposed to focus mainly on his poetry, Boscà was soon overshadowed by his friend Garcilaso. In contrast to Garcilaso, who explored several genres and themes in the new Italian style, Boscà wrote mostly about love. He has been compared to Fray Luis de León, a poet and professor of the 16th century, who also enjoyed the process of translating and writing poetry.

One of his works, Oh Sombra!, was adapted into a song by the British
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 rock band Electrelane
Electrelane
Electrelane are a British all-female indie rock band, formed in Brighton in 1998 by Verity Susman and Emma Gaze. The band comprised Susman, Gaze, Mia Clarke, and Ros Murray. Their music draws from wide range of influences including Neu!, Stereolab, Sonic Youth, and The Velvet Underground...

in 2004.

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