[Image: J.G. Lockhart, Ancient Spanish Ballads; Historical and Romantic (London: John Murray, 1841)]
The University Press of Kentucky has reprinted Shasta M. Bryant’s study and anthology of romances in English-language literatures entitled The Spanish Ballad in English. Originally published in 1973, it was republished in 2014 (ISBN: 978-0813151540).
The volume offers a broad sampling of romances in translation, including historical ballads, Moorish ballads, and ballads of chivalry, love, and adventure. The translations are by a variety of authors and from different periods, and are accompanied by the Spanish texts. Bryant’s introduction introduces the form of the romance and its development in the Spanish literary tradition, as well as sketching the history of its diffusion in England and the rest of the English-speaking world from the eighteenth century onwards, with particular emphasis on the Romantic and Victorian eras. The volume also contains a useful appendix providing a sizeable list of romances for which one or more English translations exist, as well as the names of the translators.
Though aimed at non-specialists, Bryant’s is a useful reference work that complements other more specialized studies such as Gisela Beutler’s Thomas Percy’s spanische Studien, ein Beitrag zum Bild Spaniens in England in der zweiten Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts (Thesis: University of Bonn, 1957); Erasmo Buceta’s ‘Traducciones inglesas de romances en el primer tercio del siglo XIX. Notas acerca de la difusión del hispanismo en la Gran Bretaña y en los Estados Unidos’, Revue hispanique 62 (1924), pp. 459-555; and the sections on the diffusion of the romance in Britain and the United States in Ramón Menéndez Pidal’s Romancero Hispánico (hispano-portugués, americano y sefardí): teoría e historia, 2 vols (Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1953).