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A Marriage of Convenience

Ideal and Ideology in the "Novelas ejemplares</I>

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Theresa Sears

Cervantes' Novelas ejemplares have provents to classify, as they challenge, both their genre and their declared exemplariness. This study argues that the key to the Novelas' generic innovations, as well as their ultimate lesson, is Cervantes' development of a social ideology of marriage based on ideal love. By leading his idealized young protagonists away from families threatened or shattered by the violence of desire and inexorably toward the formation of a new family by means of a marriage endorsed by parental, caste and Church authorities, Cervantes proposes a cure both social and literary for the disorder and disintegration of his uncertain age. The study concludes that the Novelas contain a vision that is both conservative and radical in its insight.