Fighting from the Margins: Discourse, Subversion, and Realism in Early Modern Spanish Narrative
Duclos, Gerald Cory
This dissertation uses theoretical models of cultural studies to examine social factors that contribute to the development of the novel in early modern Spain and beyond. Documents from the conquest of the Americas provide a historical frame for understanding how authors found ways to subvert hegemony in an age of rigorous censorship and inquisitorial restrictions. Analysis of the picaresque genre focuses on strategies through which the anonymous Lazarillo de Tormes and Mateo Alemán’s Guzmán de Alfarache present the reappropriation of conventional discourse as a means of justifying social mobility. A study of Don Quixote punctuates the thesis that Sancho Panza’s combination of a proto-capitalist outlook with the language of knight errantry affects the novel’s ideology and highlights its metafictional nature. As memórias póstumas de Brás Cubas by the Brazilian author Machado de Assis and Mala onda by Alberto Fuguet of Chile show that similar socio-political issues contribute to contemporary trends in narrative fiction.