Michigan State University
Michigan State University
Romance and Classical Studies
Nancy Marino, Spanish
Home > Newsletter > Newsletter 2017 > Faculty > Nancy Marino, Spanish

Code.selection.tiffMotes.selection.tiffMy research focuses on Castilian court poetry from about 1450-1550. Much of this poetry appears not only in printed books, but in one-of-a-kind manuscripts that are now kept in the archives in Spain, especially in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid. Scholars have not worked with some manuscripts because they are difficult to read or cannot be clearly attributed to any court or any poets. This are the manuscripts that I particularly like to work with because they present a challenge. One of these was a carefully produced and decorated codex whose first page was missing and whose folios were all in a jumble. Through persistent study I was able to determine that the texts were written by a very famous poet during his time at the court in Valencia, 1526-1536. In 2014 I published an edition and study of the manuscript at the Fundació Afons el Magnànim in Valencia.

The project that I recently completed has to do with another manuscript of poetry and some prose texts, which presents a particular difficulty: some of the texts are written in coded language, in which letters are either substituted by other letters or by some other symbol. The attached image is a good example. I was able to crack the code and read those texts. Attached also is an image of a series of poems whose authors are identified in the margins. Using these and other clues I determined that the manuscript was assembled by an important author and statesman between 1548 and 1554, at the Spanish court of the Emperor Carlos V. My book about it will be published later this year or earlier next year.