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Current Issue Article Abstracts

Volume 87, Number 3, Summer 2019 
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Articles 

De Eva a Ave:anatomía médica y crística del cuerpo femenino en los Desenganňos amorosos
Elena Rodríguez-Guridi

En los Desengaños amorosos la mujer aparece bajo la dicotomía Eva/Ave: primero es sublimada por los hombres y a continuación transformada en objeto de deseo potencialmente desestabilizador del orden social, lo que justifica el ser acusada y sacrificada, hasta que, una vez exenta de su elemento contaminante, se convierte en modelo de virtud y vía de salvación. Las numerosas escenas de sacrificio crean una estética de crueldad que se nutre tanto del imaginario de la Pasión de Cristo como de las nociones anatómicas del cuerpo femenino promovidas por las teorías fisiológicas del momento. Al analizar la confluencia de discursos teológicos y médicos, cuyo núcleo explicativo establece la "imperfección" del cuerpo femenino, este estudio sugiere que la propuesta del sarao como defensa de la mujer aparece subvertida por una economía del sacrificio que perpetúa el privilegio masculino.

 

False Hope and Flawed Sainthood in Don Ouixote: Khiḍr, al-Mahdī, and the Knight of the Green Coat
Nasser Meerkhan

This article draws connections between the Muslim saint Khiḍr "The Green," and a minor character in Don Quixote Part II, an hidalgo named don Diego de Miranda, or the Knight of the Green Coat. The article traces literary representations of Khiḍr in medieval Iberia, as well as his significance for Moriscos, Iberian crypto-Muslims forced to convert to Christianity after Granada's surrender to the Catholic Kings. Marya Green-Mercado has already shown how Moriscos identified Khiḍr with the messianic figure al-Mahdī, who in Islamic belief will appear close to the Day of Judgment to end injustice on Earth. Morisco prophecies depicting this redeemer as a green knight on a white horse were well known among Spanish intellectuals contemporaneous with Cervantes. Don Diego, when read in the light of Moriscos' hopes of salvation, renders a literary representation of the prophecies' failure to save Moriscos, as the character is gradually revealed to be a hollow saint who manages to fool Sancho Panza with his magnificent appearance, but not don Quixote.

 

Wonder and the Ethics of Proximity in Las Casas's Apologética historia sumaria
Obed Lira

Guided by a rhetorical reading of the missiological treatise De unico vocationis modo (ca. 1534), this article contends that Bartolomé de las Casas crafts key representations in his monumental Apologética historia sumaria (1559) to evoke wonder, judiciously accentuated throughout the text as a positive emotion. Exploiting the rhetoric of the marvelous to bring out the positive affectivity inherent in aesthetic pleasure, moral goodness, and spiritual elation, the Apologética seeks to foster in the reader an affective proximity to an otherwise distant and unknown Amerindian world. Ultimately, these pleasing representations of Amerindian wonders are meant to serve as catalysts for a process of conversion in the reader, meaning a spiritual reorientation in favor of indigenous peoples very much like the one Las Casas himself experienced in 1514. Wonder becomes the starting point, not for a first philosophy or for a politics of fear, domination, and possession, but for an ethics of proximity.

 

Bécquer's Miserere: The Music Of Modern Life
Santiago Morales-Rivera

This essay attempts a minimal phenomenology of modern life by anchoring itself in the experiment that Bécquer undertook in 1862 when, in an early exercise in intermediality, he mixed his knowledge of music with his narrative mastery in Spanish and published "El Miserere." Retaining the traditionalist view of Bécquer as a writer who depicts picturesque landscapes can help us to criticize his ultramontane ideology, but this causes collateral damage, because it obliterates the value that soundscapes also have in the Becquerian imagination. Making use of the term das Musikalische introduced in Bécquer's time to capture a jointly aesthetic and moral meaning, Bécquer's musicality in "El Miserere" consists less of a state of harmony than of a specific rhythm or dialectic movement between consonance and assonance, agreement and discord, tension and resolution. I find this latter dialectic extremely paradigmatic of contemporary life because, while it enables the reader to experience the merciless howls of modernity, it nonetheless also makes him/her identify with its most strident dissonances.

 

Crear o criar: Maternity and Choice Feminism in Meruane's Fruta podrida and Contra los hijos
Anna Castillo

Scholars of Latin American literature have long studied the topic of motherhood, but the paucity of literary representations of pregnancy itself has resulted in a tradition of what we might call postpartum criticism. Moreover, in most of this critical work, pronatalism (a hegemonic belief that human reproduction is always desirable) remains largely unquestioned. In this study of the antinatalist views in two works by awardwinning Chilean author Lina Meruane—Contra los hijos (2014) and Fruta podrida(2007)—I show how Meruane joins a growing cohort of writers who object to "choice feminism," a popular feminist philosophy that validates all women's choices on the basis of liberated individualism. Meruane's provocative representations of women who choose to procreate displace the sentimentality of childrearing and foreground the economic stakes of childbearing. This shift requires readers to consider the praxis of gestation, its value, and the corporal cost of production borne, always, by mothers.

 

REVIEW

Spaniards in Mauthausen: Representations of a Nazi Concentration Camp by Sara J. Brenneis (review)
Reviewed by David Wingeate Pike