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The Life and Adventures of Guzman d'Alfarache

Mara Dolores Costa 2014

Part 1 published in 1599 Part 2 published in 1604

In the middle of

the Spanish Golden Age




Protagonist = rogue

Rogue = "Pcaro"

The pcaro comes from a humble background.

Poor Marginalized Delinquent

Has to survive by being clever - conning people - taking advantage of whatever opportunity presents itself

Written as an autobiography

Humorous, sarcastic tone

Satire : Underscore society's vices and abuses through farce and ridicule

Although the humor employed in satire is meant to be entertaining, the ultimate purpose is to change society in a way the author finds to be more just.

Mateo Aleman (the author) was probably from a family of Jewish converts. One of his ancestors may have been burned at the stake during the Inquisition.

- Humanist living in a world in which the anti-humanist church held power - Imprisoned for debt - Family history of persecution

All of these things probably influenced his pessimistic, highly critical view of society.

The world presented to us in his work is corrupt, cruel, dishonest, and in serious need of reform.

Picaresque novel = diametricall y opposed to the novel of chivalry (like Amadis)

Criticism of Spanish empire (deplorable conditions at home)

As the pcaro passes through different parts of society, the reader sees what (for the author) is wrong with each.

The novels of chivalry idealize society

Chivalry Protagonist is a hero

Picaresque Protagonist is an ant-hero

Chivalry Knight must be a devout Christian

Picaresque Critical of the Catholic Church and its abuses

Dominant social value is honor

Picaresque Dominant social value is hypocrisy

Chivalry : Supernatural and unrealistic elements

Picaresque : Realism

Novel within a novel

Common practice at the time

Story of Ozmin and Daraja has been published separately as a stand-alone text.

Novela morisca (Moorish novel)

- Protagonists are Muslim

- The tone is idealistic

- Positive portrayal of Muslims and their relationship with Christians

Pacifist purpose

Seeks greater tolerance toward the Muslims, Jews and converts (as well as an end to constant warfare).

Tells the story of history's losers from a sympathetic perspective

Shares some elements from the novel of chivalry

Male protagonist follows the knight's code of chivalry in his relationship with his lady

The combat that the protagonist engages in serves the purpose of justice.

Love (like the lovers themselves) is idealized

Chronologically situated in the Middle Ages (this time on the Muslim side of the Iberian Peninsula