Rogues in Dialogue: The Literature of Roguery in Spain and England in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
After the groundbreaking invention of the printing press, which led to the creation of a burgeoning literary market, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw an exceptional increase in the production of literature about criminals and the underworld across Europe. This was particularly intense in the cases of England, with the appearance of popular genres such as the jest-book and the rogue pamphlet, and Spain, where picaresque literature, a genre that is instrumental to the study of the history of the novel, first came to fruition. This dissertation explores the intertextual dialogue in which English and Spanish authors of rogue texts engaged in the early modern period. The study attempts to integrate the English and Spanish traditions under the all-inclusive umbrella term of “rogue literature,” which will facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of two traditions that would prove highly influential even into the present day. In all the texts considered here, the authors create diverse and often antithetical images of the literary figure of the rogue that are decisively influenced by considerations such as each author’s ideology, literary conception, and political agenda. Moreover, this study analyzes the different ways in which Spanish writers of rogue literature introduced elements akin to those found in English rogue pamphlets into their works, reworking and modifying them in order to suit their own purposes. By taking two disparate Spanish picaresque texts—Miguel de Cervantes’s exemplary novella Rinconete y Cortadillo (1613) and Dr. Carlos García’s lesser-known La desordenada codicia de los bienes ajenos (1619)—as cases in point, the dissertation integrates two literary traditions that can be more thoroughly understood when viewed in the light of one another.
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