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Beneath the Fiction

The Contrary Worlds of Cervantes's "Novelas ejemplares</I>


Wiliam H. Clamurro

Cervantes's Novelas ejemplares rival Don Quijote in complexity and significance. This book analyzes all twelve novelas, seeking to illuminate the inherent tensions between the usually affirmative resolutions and lessons proposed by Cervantes's narrators, on the one hand, and the inescapable socio-cultural dissonances and ironies of story and language, on the other. This reading of the entire collection reveals the richness and complexity of many of the less-studied novelas as well as the striking modernity (or postmodernity) of the final text.


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Chapter Four: The Sins of the Father: La española inglesa 99


Chapter Four The Sins of the Father La espanola inglesa Within the Novelas ejemplares, La espanola inglesa represents the best example, in highly abbreviated form, of the romance or novela bizantina.1 Along with El amante liberal, the other text of the collection that most closely approaches the familiar romance conventions, it contains idealized, beautiful protagonists, sea voyages, the clash of hostile cultures, and the rather improbable resolutions of thorny problems of personal and cultural conflict. If anything, La espanola inglesa ventures even further than El amante into the realm of the romance. Although it eschews the quasi-magical and unrealistic world of the Persiles, it is very much like a fragment of Cervantes's posthumous book? Yet there is a most unromantic, or un-romance- like, counter-current in the text. In particular, in those aspects having to do with the question of identity defined in terms of social rank and forms of economic activity, this text raises the most troubling questions.3 More than any of the others it works a series 1 El Saffar places her commentary on this nove/a near the end of her study, reflecting her judgment that this is one of the last written. Numerous subsequent studies concur with the notion that La espanola fits more or less well into the romance, nove/a bizantina or nove/a de peregrinaje category. Concerning the romance structure in Cervantes, see also E. I. Deffis de Calvo, "El cronotopo de Ia novela espanola de peregrinaci6n: Miguel de Cervantes," Anales Cervantinos 28 (1990): 99-108. Although I...

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