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I, Hernán Cortés

The (Second) Trial of Residency


Francisco Manzo-Robledo

I, Hernán Cortés: The (Second) Trial of Residency is a literary analysis of the most important documents in the Hernán Cortés trial of residency (juicio de residencia) using some proposed literary tools created for that purpose and the original documents in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville as well as a great variety of books on Hernán Cortés. Francisco Manzo-Robledo reveals how Hernán Cortés re-creates himself, from being the first illegal immigrant in the continent to becoming, for a short time, the highest authority in New Spain before falling into a legal limbo in the Council of Indies. This book is useful in any course dealing with Spanish colonial history or literature.


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Chapter I: Relative—Realism 7


CHAPTER I: RELATIVE—REALISM Usually, Cortés writes away from formality proper of official documents; even more, it is possible to notice certain irony in his words, as well as in the use of sayings and colloquial expressions. Texts that present an intuitive Cortés, who knows very well the strings he needs to pull, the most convenient sceneries and who he has to include in his circle of influence and relationships. Jesús Paniagua Pérez: Presentación, Cartas y memoriales (11) NOTES FOR CRITICAL ANALYSIS One important question for criticism of a literary document is what type of critical theory will be involved in the process. However, it often becomes problematic to apply a critical theory to documents produced much before, time-wise, such a theory was proposed. When dealing with documents produced at the outset of the Spanish colony, this becomes a point of contention, questioning the validity of the application of critical terms and theories produced much later. There are instances when critics do not accept labelings, for example the application of the term “racist” to characters such as Martín Fierro, because of his clear position against the blacks in the poem; the same is said for the narrator in “El matadero,” also using derogatory adjectives against marginal members of society. One excuse is that, first, those expressions or ways to address minorities were “common” at the time, and that it is not fair to apply modern terminology to such works. Which prompts the question: Are...

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