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“Dezir quiero de Granada, todo quanto he visto en ella”: A Geocritical Approach to Sixteenth Century Iberian pliegos sueltos

  • Col�n-Cosme, Roxanna
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2022
eScholarship - University of California
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My dissertation performs a spatial reading of transgressive, sacred, gendered, intertextual, and literary spaces in a selection of Iberian pliegos sueltos (chapbooks) from the sixteenth century. Employing Bertrand Westphal’s notions of Geocriticism and the methods of spatiotemporality, transgressivity, and referentiality, my research demonstrates how the representations of space in the pliegos sueltos promote the political hegemony of the Christian kingdoms in the transition from Muslim to Christian Iberia and generate an imperialistic discourse. First and foremost, the pliegos sueltos constitute a dispersed, unstudied, and ephemeral literary corpus. Therefore, I take an intertextual approach in exploring the literary construction of space in the pliegos sueltos and apply what I call ‘intertextual geographies’ as a methodology to examine texts that, despite their scatteredness, are geographically and thematically interlinked. I examine how the massive itemization of sacred spaces and the architectural public reforms represented in these pliegos sueltos reveal the preponderance of the Spanish crown’s authority in an emerging urban space. I argue that the portrayals of past and present Iberia, primarily focusing on Granada and Valencia, displayed the anxiety of a community aspiring to be politically and religiously homogeneous. I examine the subordinate intertextual relationship between medieval romances (ballads) and their sixteenth century glosas (glosses), which comment, supplement indeterminate passages, and even alter medieval ballads. I defend that sixteenth century glosas de romance appropriate the content of medieval romances and were responsible for a new understanding of the medieval past rendered in the romancero viejo. Furthermore, I assert that pliegos sueltos participated in the practices of chorography and literary cartography of the sixteenth century and intended to map an emerging (Christian) urban space in Iberia and amend its Muslim past. As a result, I provide a broad, hybrid, and heterotopic representation of medieval and early modern Iberian space. From this geocritical reading of the Iberian chapbooks, I bring attention to a genre—the glosas de romance—and a literary corpus—the pliegos sueltos—that have fallen out of the cultural hierarchy of books and can shed light on the geopolitical makeup of medieval-modern Iberia in the context of conquest and urban transformation.

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