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Insular Fictions from Chivalric Romance to the Novel

Simone Pinet

Publication Year: 2011

Archipelagoes examines insularity as the space for adventure in the Spanish book of chivalry, much like the space of the forest in French chivalric romance. In this innovative work, Simone Pinet explores the emergence of insularity as a privileged place for the location of adventure in Spanish literature in tandem with the cartographic genre of the isolario.

Pinet looks closely at Amadís de Gaula and the Liber insularum archipelagi as the first examples of these genres. Both isolario and chivalric romance (libros de caballerías) make of the island a flexible yet cohesive framework that becomes intrinsic to the construction of their respective genres. The popularity of these forms throughout the seventeenth century in turn bears witness to the numerous possibilities the archipelagic structure offered, ultimately taken up by the grand genres of each discipline—the atlas and the novel.

Moving from verbal descriptions to engravings and tapestry weavings, and from the chivalric politics and ethics proposed in the Amadís de Gaula to the Insula Barataria episode in Don Quixote, Pinet’s analysis of insularity and the use of the island structure reveals diverging roles for fiction, illuminating both the emergence of the novel and contemporary philosophical discussion on fiction.

Published by: University of Minnesota Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. iii-iv


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p. vii-vii

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pp. ix-x

In the process of writing this book I have benefited from institutions whose faculty and resources have made my work a challenge and a pleasure. This project has its roots in a seminar with Francisco Márquez-Villanueva at Harvard University. At home south of the border, as I wrote a seminar paper on Amadís over the summer, I wrote him a postcard mimicking chivalric prose, and he was ...

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Introduction: Spatial Concepts, Medieval Context

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pp. xi-xxxv

From Antiquity onward, there exists an inaugural relation between geography and history. Confirmed by the modern era’s most famous of cartographers, Abraham Ortelius, or the travel writer Samuel Purchas, who both made of geography the eye of history, however, this well-loved sisterhood often obscures that other intimate relative of geography, ...

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1.Forest to Island: Sites of Adventure from Arthur to Amadís

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pp. 1-28

Medieval romance stems out from the articulation of two traditions, that of chanson de geste and that of historiography, the latter not at all new, as its origins are much more ancient and scholarly, but which gained renewed importance due to the series of developments that characterize the confluence of phenomena we have come to know as the Renaissance of ...

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2. Islands and Maps: A Very Short History

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pp. 29-74

Spaces are constantly in the process of production. They are thus characterized by change, substitution, and replacement. However, as Lefebvre reminds us, spaces never disappear: they leave traces behind. A space like the forest is crisscrossed by traces, from the paths that are trod upon in order to traverse it, whether trails through pastures, footpaths, or merchant routes, ...

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3. Adventure and Archipelago: Amadís de Gaula and the Insular Turn

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pp. 75-107

For the contemporary reader, Amadís’s positioning between Arthurian romance and Cervantes’s Don Quixote is between a rock and a hard place. The unquestionable allure of the first and the celebrated status of the second have contributed to Amadís’s fading from the memory of readers, who for the most part will have never heard of it. To the late medieval and ...

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4. Shores of Fiction: The Insular Image in Amadís and Cervantes

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pp. 109-154

Buondelmonti’s account of his travels in the Aegean can be seen as the first of a genre, since explored in many different ways and cultivated well into the twentieth century. It confirms a model of modern travel writing inaugurated by Petrarch that is related to “the emergence of a subject that writes and records and memorializes the self,” in Cachey’s words, summarizing ...

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Conclusion: Archipelagic Possibilities

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pp. 155-162

Throughout this book I have been presenting different discourses that in the late Middle Ages and the early modern world led up to an intimate relation among insularity, fiction, and event: from voyages to maps to literature, from romance to book of chivalry to novel. The cultural atmosphere that in the late medieval period looks to insularity as a new way of ...


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pp. 163-202


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pp. 203-221


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pp. 223-238

E-ISBN-13: 9780816676750
E-ISBN-10: 0816676755
Print-ISBN-13: 9780816666720

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2011