Date of Award

5-15-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Hartnett, Daniel

Abstract

This is a study of three works by the famous Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra we called narratives of captivity: El trato de Argel (1582), La historia del cautivo (from the first part of Don Quijote, 1605) and Los ba̱os de Argel (1615). It explores the Cervantine representation of captivity and the larger Mediterranean world arguing that for the author Algiers was a contested frontier between the Spanish and Ottoman Empires. Putting the texts in dialogue with theory relating to questions of subjectivity, this study brings to light the complexity of the social characters that inhabit Cervantes‰Ûª Algiers. The study is divided into three parts. The first chapter gives a detailed overview of the historical, theoretical, and critical context that frames the investigation. The second deals with the Christian captive as portrayed by Cervantes in these texts and shows the way he undermines an exclusivist religious discourse that paints the Muslim as the unequivocal enemy and Other of the good Christian. By questioning the logic of Spanish military campaigns in the Mediterranean and showing the possible value of having confidence in the religious Other, Cervantes‰Ûª captives propose a review and revisal of Spanish cultural policy. The third and final chapter deals with the character of the renegado and the morisco(a) and the way the author indirectly shows the potential of these kinds of frontier characters. The way they manage the frontier space of Algiers shows the strength these hybrid characters possess in the mind of the famous Spanish author. At the end of this study, it is clear Cervantes did not blindly follow the religious and social doctrine of the Habsburg crown, but rather had many ideas of his own as to how things should be. There is still plenty to be said on the topic of Cervantes and his cautivos.

Comments

Includes bibliographical references (p. 92-96)

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