The refashioning of mythological fiction in "El casamiento enganoso": a contribution to study of the realist genre in the Novelas ejemplares.
The realist style occurs in two forms: as a subversive streak in fictions that grow out of the romance tradition and usually have Spanish social settings; and as a distinct anti-heroic genre that always has Spanish settings. In the latter form it foregrounds the middle and lower classes, includes criminals and other pariahs on its social catwalk, and resem bles more serious-minded picaresque. The picaresque is a more specialized type of realist fiction that Cervantes's fiction actually assimilates, though it never adopts the guise of autobiography. Structurally, the realist novelas are based upon a male quest for happiness that is more or less deluded, is normally sinful, and leads through experience and disillusionment to greater personal wisdom, though it may not lead to perfect enlightenment. The thematic foundations of the realist genre are its validation of the doctrine of Original Sin, the related motif of moral-intellectual trial, and negative perspectives on the moral-intellectual health of Spain. Although the genre depicts both humor and the risibly absurd, it is not fundamentally comic. Its stylistic unity chiefly lies in its fault-finding negativity as fictional social commentary and in its cultivation of the marvelous. While probably a more exclusive genre that is more closely geared to the sensibilities of a moral-intellectual elite, it foreshadows twentieth-century tremendismo, the sensational kind of socially introspective fiction that was pioneered--to some extent under the influence of picaresque--by Camilo Jose Cela in La familia de Pascual Duarte (1942).
I classify only two of the Novelas ejemplares as pure examples of romance: "El amante liberal" and "La espanola inglesa," both of which are essentially neo-Byzantine. I classify another five as adulterating adaptations of traditional romance motifs in which realism is the common denominator. All these are novelas that deflate the romance tradition, the principal target of such deflation tending to be the idealized aristocratic lover. The latter compositions are "La gitanilla," "La fuerza de la sangre," "La ilustre fregona," "Las dos doncellas," and "La senora Cornelia." (1) The works that I regard as realist in the generic sense are therefore the following: "Rinconete y Cortadillo," "El licenciado Vidriera," "El celoso extremeno," and the linked "El casamiento enganoso" and "El coloquio de los perros." (2)
This article is centered on the thematic preoccupation with sin in "El casamiento enganoso" and its cultivation of the marvelous. The fundamental importance of the theme of sin in both "El casamiento enganoso" and the linked "Coloquio" was long ago noted by Joaquin Casalduero and has been re-stated in greater depth by Alban K. Fordone. (3) My purpose here is to expound a further, closer reading of "El casamiento enganoso" that advances understanding of the origins and orientation of its handling of the theme of sin and lays bare the novelas extremeness--its tremendismo, as it were. This I regard as exceptional but as understated in a way that merges the sensational with the mysterious, the effect being to make the fiction more speculative and adventurous as an exploration of depravity, without being more brazen. Such understatement is one of the functions of Cervantes's use of a first-person narrator.
"El casamiento enganoso" is deeply indebted to literary myth and mythography. The main literary inspiration is Homer's tale of Circe and Odysseus. Dona Estefania is a transformation in realist style of Homer's divine enchantress. Her seductive voice (2: 284), the luxurious home that she appears to own, her reference to weaving as a pursuit in which she would have engaged had it been possible to do so "en casa" (2: 285), and her attempt to subjugate her husband by addicting him to gluttonous sloth are all adapted from Book io of The Odyssey. The first is a transformation of Circe's beautiful singing, the second of her island palace, the third of the loom at which she works, and the last of her successful use of a narcotic drink to deprive her victims of their natural defenses against the power of her wand (Odyssey 10.210-329; 148-51). The heroine's seductive voice also links her with Homer's Sirens and is a minor trace of another literary source of inspiration: a vilification of Circe's victims in the Epistulae of Horace. The influence of the Horatian passage chiefly lies in the social background in sexual commerce that Cervantes assigns to his heroine and in the crucial importance of gluttony and sensual sloth in her recipe for subjugating her husband. After linking Circe with the Sirens, Horace proceeds to lambast her victims as sensual or gluttonous fools, the senseless slaves of a whore (meretrix), filthy dogs, and mire-loving swine:
Sirenum uoces et Circae pocula nosti; quae si cum sociis stultus cupidusque bibisset, sub domina meretrice fuisset turpis et excors; uixisset canis inmundus uel amica luto sus. (1:2.23-26)
It is a safe assumption that Campuzano is a descendant not only of Circe's victims, but also of Odysseus. The Cervantine treatment of double deceit must be inspired in some degree by the Homeric tale of double deceit in which Odysseus outwits the enchantress. The novelty in Cervantes's work lies in the additional layer of irony that turns each of the deceivers into the other's dupe. Cervantes is inspired not only by the Homeric tale as such, however. An additional source of inspiration is the allegorizing interpretation of the figure of Circe in ancient and Renaissance mythography. As an enchantress of masculine sensuality who initially works on the man's sexuality, Cervantes's heroine is an adaptation of the real-life type for whom Circe was believed to stand: a beautiful woman who dominates a male will by causing the man to fall in lustful love with her, thereby imprisoning him in, or causing him to surrender to, his lower, brutish nature (in Scholastic jargon, his irrational "sensitive appetite"). La Canizares refers to the mythographic roots of "El casamiento enganoso" when she recalls her own unbelief in the reputedly Circean powers of La Camacha, who is another realist version of the enchantress:
Tuvo fama que convertia los hombres en animales, y que se habia servido de un sacristan seis anos, en forma de asno, real y verdaderamente, lo que yo nunca he podido alcanzar como se haga, porque lo que se dice de aquellas antiguas magas, que convertian los hombres en bestias, dicen los que mas saben que no era otra cosa sino que ellas, con su mucha hermosura y con sus halagos, atraian los hombres de manera a que las quisiesen bien, y los sujetaban de suerte, sirviendose dellos en todo cuanto querian, que parecian bestias. (2: 337)
Forcione's description of "El coloquio de los perros" as an "exploration of the spectacular activities of man as beast" is still more applicable to "El casamiento enganoso" when the tale is viewed from this mythographic perspective (16).
The echoes of Homer's epic poem in "El casamiento enganoso" underscore the squalid nature of the story that is told by the Alferez. The Cervantine Circe is a poor woman with a sexually immoral background. On the evidence of her own statements, which may be deceitful, given her interest in marrying, but must be very believable in her own considered judgment, her poverty is not the result of profligacy on her part, but reflects either the poverty or the meanness of her own deceased relatives and the meanness of her clientele as a discreet whore/ mistress. (4) Her relationship with Campuzano is one in which she is intent on using temptation and progressive corruption to reverse her social misfortune. Having used a veil, an elegant hand, and a velvet voice to excite Campuzano's sexual interest, she invites him into the comfortable home that appears to be her own. There then begins a series of trysts in which she fans his lust for her by denying him satisfaction. When at length he tries to overcome her resistance by claiming that he will have to return to military service very soon, she reveals her wish to marry him and elicits his consent. This she does, so she thinks, by seeming to be wealthy, appearing to place a high value on social respectability, seeming to have forsaken hypocrisy (private sexual immorality), and demanding only respect and kindness in exchange for her loyal services as a wife--services that would combine those of a sexual partner, a housekeeper, and a cook. After marrying Campuzano, she attempts to addict him to gluttony and sensual sloth in order to make him spinelessly docile before she reveals the deceitfulness of her seeming affluence. If this end is not self-evident in the description of the means, (5) it is disclosed in the cock-and-bull story that Dona Estefania tells about Dona Clementa when the latter disrupts her plans. No one in their right mind could fail to see that the heroine's portrayal of Dona Clementa is an idealized version of her own deceitful self:
Me dijo [dona Estefania] que aquella su amiga [dona Clementa] queria hacer una burla a aquel don Lope que venia con ella, con quien pretendia casarse, y que la burla era darle a entender que aquella casa y cuanto estaba en ella era todo suyo, de lo cual pensaba hacerle carta de dote, y que hecho el casamiento se le daba poco que se descubriera el engano, fiada en el grande amor que el don Lope la tenia. (2: 288)
The heroine is able to deceive her husband with this tale only because he is mentally unfit. His faculties are hugely limited by the depraved disposition of his will.
What the heroine does not know is that Campuzano's interest in marriage is no less mercenary than her own. This is something of which the reader is seminally aware. While the deceitfulness of the hero's wardrobe is something that readers can only suspect before they reach the end of the tale, the mercenary nature of his motive for contracting marriage is confirmed to them when he remembers how he had gloated over the market value of the property that had appeared to be his wife's ("la cantidad de hacienda, que ya la contemplaba en dineros convertida" [2: 285]).
Although the heroine's final intention is a matter for speculation, it is evident that her instrumental purpose as Campuzano's attentive wife was to bring about his literal or voluntary imprisonment in the sensual kind of second nature that also imprisons La Canizares in the different form of an addiction to orgiastic brujeria--literally, in her own opinion, as La Canizares regards herself as far too weak to repent. (6) Campuzano's recollection that "por verme tan regalado y tan bien servido, iba mudando en buena la mala intencion con que aquel negocio habia comenzado" (2: 287) is evidence that his wife could have achieved her aim if her husband had been the man of means that she had presumed him to be on false sartorial evidence. However, more marvelous than what Cervantes's heroine actually does and attempts to do is what she may have planned to do having achieved her first matrimonial goal and the implications of her possible plans for the sinful moral potential of her husband.
An ideal reader will wonder what the heroine's intentions were as a deceiver who had an accomplice--a male "friend" of many years' standing who must have been her lover, who may have been her alcahuete, and whose certain identity is easily detected when he attends her wedding as a witness whom the heroine presents as her cousin. Failure to explain how the heroine's "cousin" fits into her matrimonial plan is what chiefly discredits the benevolent view of Cervantes's heroine favored by Manuel Lloris and some other critics in later publications. (7) A reader who strives to resolve the mystery that surrounds the lover's role in her scheme ought to discover several increasingly sensational possibilities: (1) behind her husband's back, the heroine would have maintained her lover at Campuzano's expense; (2) far from deceiving Campuzano, she would have unmanned him to such a degree as to make him complicit both in the act of cuckoldry and in supporting the lover, in which case he would have become a wealthy and more depraved relation of the married Lazarillo; and (3) having taken stock of all Campuzano's property, the heroine or her accomplice would have killed him. The heroine would thus have become a rich widow and the conspirators would have married.
Only the first of these possibilities informs the end-of-story reflections of the disillusioned hero. Having described the heroine as an offensive presence in his private thoughts that he has been unable to exorcise (2: 291), he reveals that he has learned from someone, who was probably the landlady who provided him and the heroine with their emergency accommodation, that his wife's "cousin" was her lover, and that the lover has whisked her away. He also hints in the same statement that their secret relationship is the principal source of the rancor that he bears towards his wife and of the disgust that he feels towards himself as a husband who was duped. He refers to it as the most important or pertinent part of his tale: "Finalmente, por venir a lo que hace mas al caso de mi historia [...], digo que supe que se habia llevado a dona Estefania el primo que dije que se hallo a nuestros desposorios, el cual de luengos tiempos atras era su amigo a todo ruedo" (2: 292). Following the statement that identifies Dona Estefania with a dishonouring insult (afrenta) that continues to humiliate him, these words surely mean that Campuzano sees himself as the victim of a pair of lovers whose purpose had been to cuckold him behind his back while living off his wealth. His sheer inexplicitness bespeaks his deep embarrassment. The fact that he shows no signs of suspecting his wife of worse intentions is explicable within the terms of the fiction as a symptom of miserable self-absorption and as an ironic kind of providential boon, for his blinkered view of his wife's intentions saves him from further bitterness, from further self-disgust, and, perhaps, from feelings of despair, the suicidal sin by which he was tempted when he learned that his wife had hoodwinked him with a false appearance of wealth (2: 289-90). Campuzano's myopia may have very little to do with Cervantes's sense of what befits the character, however. It could have a good deal more to do with a professional fear of outraging readers of delicate or innocent disposition by offending their sense of propriety or their sense of the possible. The crucial significance of Campuzano's shortsightedness may very well lie in the fact that it keeps the extreme ingredients in the theme of sin locked up between the lines.
The calibrated sensationalism of the mystery that surrounds the heroine has a somewhat simpler counterpart in a mysteriously self-accusing statement that is made by Campuzano. The hero declares that he embarked on marriage with a purpose that was so perverse, so "torcida y traidora," that he cannot disclose it outside the confessional box (2: 286). Given that he greedily muses on the cash value of the heroine's property, and given that he had encouraged her wish to marry him by claiming to own a smallholding to which they could afford to retire on the strength of their joint resources, it is likely that his intention had been to liquidate her domestic assets on the false pretense of preparing for their move to the countryside and with the real aim of disappear ing with all the money that he had been able to amass. (8) Moreover, he may have plotted greater evil than this, especially if the rural property to which he referred was not a fiction and he had wished to occupy it. His plans may have been as vile as his wife's may have been. He may have intended to murder her and to acquire her wealth by inheritance. Unprovoked by moral wrongdoing, this would have been a worse murder than the angry one that he might have committed after learning that his wife had deceived him, had he been able to track her down and inflict what he calls "un ejemplar castigo," not caring to be more explicit (2: 290).
Dona dementas early return to her home, along with Campuzano's subsequent disillusionment by his and the heroine's landlady (who reveals that Dona Estefania has usurped dementas economic identity), as well as the landlady's subsequent disillusionment of the heroine (who learns not only that Campuzano has found her out, but also that he has reacted badly [2: 290]), are all outworkings of a testing, threatening, but merciful providence. They confirm that the spouses' deceitfulness would have produced a worse outcome if God had been vindictive. Though we cannot know what exactly would have taken place, in this respect the role of providence in "El casamiento enganoso" is shaped by the Molinist doctrine of scientia media., or God's "middle knowledge." (9) This is an attempt to bring the concept of divine prescience and that of spiritual predestination into greater intellectual harmony with the concept of free will. It replaces the Thomist understanding that God "pre-moves" the human will with another mechanistic theory of divine foreknowledge and predestination that refers them to an intelligent control of the circumstances in which people find themselves. It attributes them to divine insight into how a person will act under different conditions and to divine control of the conditions that prevail. While Cervantes's fictional providence does not preclude a determinist view of human behaviour of a heretically "hard" kind that subordinates the human will to force majeure, as distinct from mere divine foreknowledge, it is deeply influenced by the Molinist doctrine of scientia media. The role of providence in "El casamiento enganoso" is to order suerte--the unplanned and unexpected--in such a way as to submit the characters to moral-intellectual trials in which they usually discredit themselves and suffer natural punishments, while limiting the extent of their sin by further control of changing circumstance. In the hero's case, providence is finally seen to work through abject misery to prompt the sinner's reform. As a source of trials in which the characters discredit themselves, the Cervantine providence exemplifies the enduring medieval concept of divine permission, or providentia concessionis, in which evil is attributed to the will of a Devil who acts with God's consent. As a higher power that limits sin, it illustrates the converse: the divine volition, or providentia approbationis, that constrains the Devil and ordains all that is good. The more cynical content of Cervantes's novela is a speculative view of what the protagonists could have done--and would have done--had it not been for the compassionate workings of divine volition (providentia approbationis) in unforeseen events.
While the heroine commits her sins cold-bloodedly and is not necessarily a believer in God, Campuzano embodies incontinence, or sin that is committed carelessly under the influence of passion. He conforms to Saint Thomas Aquinas's view that the incontinent man (incontinens) later regrets his actions, though Campuzano needs to learn that he has been outwitted before he begins to experience such contrition. (10) That he is in fact incontinent--morally thoughtless--is evidenced in two things: the chastened man's explicit belief in the Catholic God; and the depraved man's sheer stupidity. He does not doubt the heroine's sexual health; he trusts her apparent identity and claims; he fails to apply the warning example of lovers who masquerade as cousins that is provided at the inn where the couple meet (2: 284); and he fails to see that his wife's account of the identity and aspirations of Dona Clementa masks her own iniquity, as is screamingly obvious when she takes alternative accommodation that suits only a pauper. (11)
Alban Fordone sees a "drama of redemption" in Campuzano's account of events from the point at which he discovers that his wife is really a pauper (139-41). I myself do not see a sure redemption in Campuzano's trajectory, but I do see a probable one that begins with a beneficial effect of the first anagnorisis. Coming as a huge shock, the discovery that his wife has duped him tempts the hero to despair, but in doing so it revives his spiritual intelligence. This is imperfect, but is satisfactory morally. As soon as he begins to succumb to despair, he remembers what he has learned about it in the course of his Christian education and assumes to be perfectly true: that despair is the worst possible sin, placing the sinner on the same moral level as demons (2: 289-90). He is right to see the will of God in his remembrance of what he was taught, if only because it restores his will to live. His detectable error lies in thanking his guardian angel for this "buena inspiracion." He really owes it to divine prescience, to divine powers of remote control of circumstance, to the hidden depth of his own faith, and to the effects of misery.
Despite the "buena inspiracion" that sets his will against despair, he fails to control the violent feelings that he has towards his wife. As he knows in retrospect, the attempt to inflict an "exemplary punishment" upon his wife was a desperate act and a symptom of moral weakness, but it ended with the return of moral sanity when he had been unable to find her. Drained of energy, he had taken himself to San Lorenzo and commended himself to the Virgin, before falling asleep (2: 289-90). He next discovered from the landlady that his wife had absconded with the contents of his trunk--though the truth may be that the landlady, having not been paid for her services, herself took possession of some or all of these personal effects. (12) He declares that God again took his hand on the occasion of this second discovery, but he is now referring to a spiritual boon from which he did not benefit at the time: " Aqui me tuvo de nuevo Dios de su mano! Fui a ver mi baul, y hallele abierto y como sepultura que esperaba cuerpo difunto, y a buena razon habia de ser el mio, si yo tuviera entendimiento para saber sentir y ponderar tamana desgracia" (2: 290). This statement is a tricky one that conceals the fact that the stolen possessions were worth very little. Campuzano is giving a cautionary twist to the theme of his own credulity. He is about to disclose a narrative ruse that warns against complacency when observing and judging the gullible. The desgracia that he has in mind appears to be only the theft. In reality, it is less the theft than his own share in the depravity that lies behind it. He is probably using the word desgracia with the triple meaning of "misfortune," "disgrace," and "fall from a state of grace" (divine favor, granted as the forgiveness of sin). Having originally seen the empty trunk only as a revelation of theft (a minor misfortune), he has come to see it in retrospect as a memorable escarmiento: a God-given symbol of spiritual frailty, spiritual atrophy (spiritual "death"), and the need for spiritual self-discipline.
Though Campuzano does not seem able to forgive his wife, despite conceding that he has no grounds on which to bear a grudge against her (2: 291-2), there is spiritual promise in the facts that he looks back on events from a perspective that is basically sound, that he has commended himself to the Virgin Mary, and that he and the Licenciado stopped on their way to the latter's home in order to hear Mass (2: 283). These things collectively mean that he was probably in a state of grace before he succumbed to Dona Estefanias wiles and that he is probably on his way to regaining it--though this does not mean that he cannot fall again, and his experience shows that misery can be the only route to spiritual recuperation.
The heroine also may be heading towards forgiveness, but in her case the evidence is slim. There are no indications that she believes in God, and the only grounds for optimism lie in the fact that she, like Campuzano, is protected against her worst inclinations, but chastised for the sins she commits. Her castigation mirrors that of her husband. It largely lies in her disappointment as a fortune-hunter, in the disfiguring second-stage syphilis that she must have developed after her disappearance, and in the bondage of her marriage, which means that she is legally required to be a virtual spinster for the rest of her life. Although it would not have burdened her until and unless she had responded well to the other chastisements, she has also acquired a sacred duty to practice chastity. Logic suggests that chastity is the long-term penance that God would have both the heroine and her husband perform for their act of sacrilege: their profaning of the sacrament of marriage. In the heroine's case, it would also be the appropriate penance for a history of trading on sex. However, the absence of any encouraging signs in what we see of the heroine's behavior reminds the reader that what God wills for the individual (the objects of divine volition) may not have any crucial effect on the person's actual destiny (what God foresees and predestines). The heroine may well be heading in the direction of perdition. Given her apparent lack of faith, her fate may lie in suicidal despair.
Although "El casamiento enganoso" depicts the capacity for regeneration in the figure of Campuzano, it is largely about depravity. It is first and foremost a speculation on the sinfulness of contemporary Spaniards in which a distinction is provocatively drawn on Molinist lines between the sin that they actually commit and that of which they are capable. It is centrally concerned with the depraving effects of poverty. It also contains between the lines a diagnosis of avarice and related sin in poorer people that incriminates the rich. It traces the origins of the pauper's sin to meanness on the part of the rich and to cupidity on the part of the poor that must owe something to envy. The key characters in this respect are the wealthy Dona dementa and the apparently rich nobleman, Don Lope Melendez de Almendarez, in whose company she returns to her home. The latter is a man whom she is probably trying to marry, in the hope of increasing her financial security, raising still further her standard of living, and enhancing her respectability. (13) Don Lope is the kind of man whom Campuzano surely envies, while Dona dementa must be envied by Dona Estefania. The name dementa is an ironic one, considering her moral relationship with the heroine. Far from being the compassionate type that her name evokes, Dona dementa is a marvelous portrait of unconscionable meanness towards a needy friend. Her sentimental and moral indifference to the poverty of Dona Estefania is seemingly based on social behaviour in the real world that Cervantes suggests is not merely normal in the better-off, but is widely accepted without complaint by their economic inferiors, such is the privilege that is commonly conferred on rich people, or such is the common corruption of friendship by selfish materialism. Dona dementas insouciant meanness is significantly complemented by the moral myopia of the heroine's landlady. When the latter describes Dona Estefania and Dona dementa as "buenas amigas," showing no trace of waspishness (2: 289), she seems to embody a demoralized understanding of friendship for which only her social training can be responsible.
While "El casamiento enganoso" cultivates extreme forms of situational irony, the theme of sin is its more profound and potent source of admiratio. Socially inspired by a negative view of the spiritual health of contemporary Spain and by a particularly acute awareness of economic materialism and the selfishness that accompanies it, the theme is essentially an imaginative and sensational reflection on how economic interes corrupts marriage and attitudes towards it. The speculative pessimism is extreme enough to include the idea that a bride or groom might intend at the time of their marriage to kill their spouse in order to acquire the spouse's wealth and to recover their social freedom. It is alleviated only by the fictional God whose remote control of circumstances protects the hero and heroine against their worse inclinations, initiating what is likely to be the hero's return to grace.
UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL
Aquinas, Saint Thomas. Summa Theologiae. Vol. 25: Sin (1a2ae. 71-80). Latin text, English translation, introduction, notes, appendices and glossary by John Fearon O. P. London: Blackfriars, 1969.
--. Summa Theologiae. Vol. 44: Well-Tempered Passion (2a2ae. 155-70). Latin text, English translation, introduction, notes and glossary by Thomas Gilby O.P. London: Blackfriars, 1972.
Casalduero, Joaquin. Sentido y forma de las Novelas ejemplares. 2nd ed. Madrid: Gredos, 1974.
Cervantes, Miguel de. Novelas ejemplares. Ed. Harry Sieber. 22nd ed. 2 vols. Letras Hispanicas. Madrid: Catedra, 2003.
El Saffar, Ruth. Cervantes: "El casamiento enganoso" and "El coloquio de los perros." Critical Guides to Spanish Texts 17. London: Grant and Cutler, 1976.
Flint, Thomas P. Divine Providence: The Molinist Account. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1998.
Fernandez de Avellaneda, Alonso. El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha, que contiene su tercera salida y es la quinta parte de sus aventuras. Ed. Fernando Garcia Salinero. Madrid: Clasicos Castalia, 1972.
Forcione, Alban K. Cervantes and the Mystery of Lawlessness: A Study of El casamiento enganoso y El coloquio de los perros. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1984.
Gerli, Michael E. "A Novel Rewriting: Romance and Irony in La gitanilla." Refiguring Authority: Reading, Writing, and Rewriting in Cervantes. Lexington: U of Kentucky P, 1995. 24-39.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. E.V. Rieu. 2nd ed. London: Penguin, 1991.
Horace, Epistles Book 1. Ed. Roland Mayer. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994.
Lewis-Smith, Paul. "Cervantes' Improper Romance: On the Ending of 'La gitanilla.'" Anuario de estudios cervantinos 4 (2008): 187-99.
--. "Literature and Sin: Moral-Theological Wisdom and Literary Ethics in El Licenciado Vidriera." Modern Language Review 105.2 (2010): 439-54.
--. "The Circean Apocalypse: An Investigation of the Christian Mind in 'El coloquio de los perros.'" Bulletin of Spanish Studies 87 (2010): 1-30.
--. "Realism, Idealism, and the Transformation of Romance in 'La ilustre fregona.'" Cervantes 30.1 (2010): 17-31.
Lloris, Manuel. "El casamiento enganoso." Hispanofila 39 (1970): 15-20.
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(1) The extreme example of romance absorbing realism is probably "La ilustre fregona." This work sets conventional romance motifs in a working-class world, shows moral disorder at both lower and higher social levels, and tends to vilify males. It is most caustic as a portrait of aristocratic attitudes towards women, those of noble only sons towards their parents, and patriarchal attitudes to children. The most complex adulteration of romance is probably "La gitanilla." The subversiveness of this work does not lie simply in splicing the romance style with the contrasting realist style. It also lies in subtle forms of literary buffoonery and in an overlapping ironic attack on the values that were on display in idealistic fiction and drama. On "La ilustre fregona," see Lewis-Smith ("Realism"). On the subversive dimension of "La gitanilla," see Gerli; and Lewis-Smith ("Cervantes's Improper Romance").
(2) I regard "El licenciado Vidriera" as a relatively inconspicuous example of the genre. Put simply, this is because it revises the picaresque convention of depicting the stubborn sinner as a criminal. Cervantes shows the same type as a low-born man who respects the law and whose life is a quest for social excellence. The works that I class as realist are those that E. C. Riley viewed as "predominantly novelistic," through eyes that saw differently from mine. Where I see works that foreground the marvelous and derive from the comic-satiric tradition, Riley saw works that tend to show social normality. He distinguished them from "predominantly romance" novelas and from two that he saw as experimental hybridizations of novel and romance: "La gitanilla" and "La ilustre fregona." See Lewis-Smith ("Literature and Sin"); and Riley (75).
(3) Speaking of the two novelas as a single composition, Casalduero had named "el mal en la Tierra" as "el tema de la obra" (258). I assume that Campuzanos story is genuine, given that it disgraces him. I do not entertain Ruth El Saffar's suggestion that he may in fact have invented it in order to obtain a meal (33).
(4) She tells Campuzano that she has been, and continues to be, a sinner, "pero no de manera que los vecinos me murmuren ni los apartados me noten," and that "ni de mis padres ni de otro pariente herede hacienda alguna" (2: 285). She hints at a past in which men have treated her badly: "Yo busco marido que me ampare, me mande y me honre, y no galan que me sirva y me vitupere" (2: 285). The owner of the lodgings to which she retires with her husband when Dona dementa appears on the scene reveals that "ni ella tiene casa, ni hacienda, ni otro vestido del que trae puesto" (2: 289).
(5) "Almorzaba en la cama, levantabame a las once, comia a las doce, y a las dos sesteaba en el estrado [...] El rato que dona Estefania faltaba de mi lado, la habian de hallar en la cocina, toda solicita en ordenar guisados que me despertasen el gusto y me avivasen el apetito. Mis camisas, cuellos y panuelos era un nuevo Aranjuez de flores, segun olian, banados en la agua de angeles y de azahar que sobre ellos se derramaba" (2: 286-87).
(6) "Second nature" was a standard theological term for ingrained habit, either good or bad. La Canizares draws upon the same theological concept when she warns Berganza that "la costumbre del vicio se vuelve en naturaleza," before describing how she herself is morally imprisoned (2: 342). As I have fully explained elsewhere ("The Circean Apocalypse"), I see in the "Coloquio" an attack on contemporary commonsense which guardedly questions various aspects of the institutional Faith, one of which is its dogmatic assertion of free will in the positive sense of a natural freedom to cooperate with the will of God.
(7) Lloris regards the heroine as a pathetic figure whose motivation for marrying was exactly the one she gave. In support of this view, he observes that she did not need to marry him in order to steal from Campuzano and that she intends to have captured her husband's affection before having to reveal to him that her opulence is a deception (17). Similar views have been aired by Julio Rodriguez-Luis (2: 49) and Francisco Marquez Villanueva (616-17). El Saffar suggests that Dona Estefania may have wished to become a good wife (30).
(8) "Le dije que yo era el venturoso y bien afortunado en haberme dado el cielo, casi por milagro, tal companera, para hacerla senora de mi voluntad y de mi hacienda, que no era tan poca que no valiese, con aquella cadena que traia al cuello y con otras joyuelas que tenia en casa, y con deshacerme de algunas galas de soldado, mas de dos mil ducados, que juntos con los dos mil y quinientos suyos, eran suficiente cantidad para retirarnos a vivir a una aldea de donde yo era natural y adonde tenia algunas raices; hacienda tal, que, sobrellevada con el dinero, vendiendo los frutos a su tiempo, nos podia dar una vida alegre y descansada" (2: 286). The paradise envisaged here is a version of that of the Beatus ille tradition.
(9) Luis de Molina had expounded his theory in his Concordia Liberi Arbitrii Cum Gratiae Donis, Divina Praescientia, Providentia, Praedestinatione et Reprobatione (Lisbon, 1588). See Flint.
(10) Sins of passion (passio appetitus sensitivi) are products of impulsiveness and moral thoughtlessness. They are distinct from sins of ignorance (ignorantia) and sins of malice (malitia). The latter involve neither moral ignorance nor loss of self-control. See Summa Theologiae, 2, 2, Q. 156; 44: 19-33; and 1, 2, Qs 76-78; 25: 142-203.
(11) This may be the heroine's normal lodging. To what extent Campuzano understands his folly in hindsight is unclear. He speaks of it at some length only when he reaches the point in his tale at which the heroine proposes marriage: "Tenia entonces el juicio, no en la cabeza, sino en los carcanares, haciendoseme el deleite en aquel punto mayor de lo que en la imaginacion le pintaba y ofreciendoseme tan a la vista la cantidad de hacienda, que ya la contemplaba en dineros convertida, sin hacer otros discursos de aquellos a que daba lugar el gusto, que me tenia echados grillos al entendimiento" (2: 285).
(12) I am grateful to Jonathan Thacker for alerting me to this possibility in the discussion of an earlier version of this article which I read at the annual conference of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (University of Oxford, 2013).
(13) Given that she re-appears in Don Lope's company and that Don Lope is "ricamente vestido de camino" (2: 288), she may have been away on a lovers' holiday and not on the respectable trip to Plasencia and Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe of which the landlady speaks (2: 289).
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|Publication:||Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2014|
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