Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

The Heroic Stand of Bernardo (Fierabras and Rodrigo)

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (10), 1017–1029.

Abstract

This article examines the parallels between the stories of Bernardo del Carpio, Fierabras, and Rodrigo, the young Cid. These warrior heroes have not previously been studied together, since at first glance they appear to have little in common, emerging as they do in different periods and, in the case of Fierabras, belonging to a competing epic tradition while representing another culture and religion altogether. Yet, the initial observation that all they confront the same enemy, the army of Charlemagne (or of the king of France), leads to the discovery of additional and more significant parallels. The subsequent analysis of the common aspects of these three very distinctive and seemingly unrelated epic narratives provides new insights into the nature of the evolution of epic narrative, the transmigration of heroic deeds among divergent protagonists, and the ability of these same deeds to transcend more abstract concerns such as nationality, allegiance, and enmity.

Este ensayo examina los paralelos entre las historias de Bernardo del Carpio, Fierabras, y Rodrigo, el joven Cid. Estos héroes guerreros no se han estudiado en conjunto antes, ya que a primera vista no parecen tener mucho en común, perteneciendo como se sabe a períodos diferentes y, en el caso de Fierabras, emergiendo de una tradición épica rival y dentro de ella representando a una cultura y religión enemiga. Sin embargo, la observación inicial de que los tres héroes se enfrentan al mismo enemigo, el ejército de Carlomagno (o del rey de Francia), lleva al descubrimiento de otros paralelos de más importe. El análisis subsiguiente de los aspectos que tienen en común estas tres narrativas épicas muy distintas y al parecer sin relación alguna, proporciona nuevas perspectivas sobre la naturaleza de la evolución de la épica, la transmigración de hazañas heroicas entre diversos protagonistas, y la capacidad de estas mismas hazañas para transcender temas tan abstractos como lo son la nacionalidad, la lealtad, y la enemistad.

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Bailey, Matthew