Garcilaso de la Vega


Garcilaso de la Vega
(ca. 1501-1536)
   Spanish poet and soldier. His literary output was modest in quantity but decisive in establishing an Italianate poetic style modelled on Petrarch as the standard of excellence for Spansh poetry of the Golden Age. His literary mentor, the poet Juan Boscán, preceded him in the adoption of Petrarchan style and persuaded him to use it. Most of Garcilaso's poems were dedicated to the Duke of Alba, who sheltered him during times of disfavor at court. Garcilaso was of noble birth and spent most of his career not as a poet but as a courtier and soldier in the service of the Emperor Charles V. In 1520 he became a member of the king's guard; in 1523 he was made a knight of the aristocratic Order of Santiago; and in 1525 he was married to a lady-in-waiting to the emperor's sister whom the emperor had provided with a rich dowry.
   Unlike his brother Pedro, who supported the anti-Habsburg Co-munero Rebellion in 1521 and was exiled from Spain, Garcilaso supported King Charles against the Comuneros, attended him on his trip to be crowned emperor by the pope in 1530, and served in several military expeditions. But he irritated the ruler by remaining in touch with his exiled brother and in 1531 was exiled for attending a wedding of his nephew which the emperor had opposed. He spent this exile in Naples, where he deepened his familiarity with Italian poetry and probably produced most of his poems. He eventually won a pardon from the emperor, who made him governor of a castle in Calabria. In his last years, he served on several military expeditions against the Moors and the French, and he died in 1536 from wounds suffered near Marseilles.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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