CONCERNING MELIBEA'S BREASTS

Robert Hathaway
1993 CELESTINESCA   unpublished
In her recent feminist study of the carpe diem theme in Celestina, Diane Hartunian cites (50-51) the two conflicting descriptions of Melibea's breasts-that of the erotically enthused Calisto whose paean in general "is representative of the Renaissance concept of beauty"' ("la redondez y forma d e las pequefias tetas" [I: 541) and that of the aggressively derogatory Areusa which "exemplifies a much more vulgar, exaggerated form of imagery" ("unas tetas tiene, para ser doncella, como si tres
more » ... , como si tres veces hobiese parido; no parecen sino dos grandes calabazas" [IX: 1451)-and then comments: The shift in vocabulary is the result of what Bakhtin defines as the downward thrust of images. In Rabelais and His World Bakhtin describes this evolution in vocabulary as a reflection of the conceptual reconstruction of the medieval topography of the universe from vertical to the new Renaissance cosmos ' Green makes the point that there was a flexible medieval poetic for this type of description; it was the custom to include the breasts. He cites E. Faral's Arts poktiques as evidence: "pour le corps, le cou et la nuque, les bpaules, les bras, les mains, la poitrine, la taille, le ventre (a propos de quoi la rhetorique prcte le voile de ses figures a des pointes licencieuses), les jambes et les pieds" (255). Calisto interjects his own enthusiasm, going beyond mere inventory to erotic meditation.
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