VEGA, Garcilaso de la

(c. 1501-1536)
Garcilaso de la Vega, a Spanish courtly poet-soldier, in his adaptation into Spanish of Italian meters, styles, and preoccupations, realized the poetic revo­lution initiated by his friend and predecessor, Juan Boscan. Born in Toledo to a noble family, Garcilaso served the court of Charles V.* He married Elena de Zuniga in 1525 and had three children with her while addressing the majority of his love poems to the Portuguese Isabel Freyre, his courtly muse. In 1532 he was banished for attending a forbidden marriage without permission and ended up in Naples, where he served Pedro de Toledo, uncle of the duke of Alba. It was there that he completed his humanistic education and wrote his most im­portant poems. In 1536 Garcilaso was fatally injured during an invasion in south­ern France. Garcilaso's most significant contribution was his successful adaptation into Spanish of Italian poetry, including the Petrarchan love convention and Neopla-tonic love. He thus established the standard and opened the doors for writers who followed. Garcilaso brought to Spanish poetry new rhythms, vocabulary, themes, and metaphorical expression and favored such poetic forms as the son­net, Horatian ode, elegy, epistle, and eclogue. His poetic trajectory matured from his early cancionero works to Petrarchan courtly love poetry and, finally, his later Neoplatonic and classical poetry. Within each of these stages one also finds considerable variation and challenge to convention. His influence was immediate and widespread.
Garcilaso's complete poetry was first published in 1543, along with that of Boscan. It was later reedited with commentaries by El Broncense (1574) and Fernando de Herrera* (1580). The literary canonization of Garcilaso's work took place during that period. Modern editions include that of Elias Rivers (Obras completas, 1964) and Poesías castellanas completas (in Clasicos Calstalia, 1969). Garcilaso's works and role continue to attract the attention of contem­porary scholars.
Bibliography
D. L. Heiple, Garcilaso de la Vega and the Italian Renaissance, 1994.
Lydia Bernstein

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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