Cervantes in Algiers
A Captive's Tale
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: Vanderbilt University Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Preface and Acknowledgments
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THIS BOOK WAS WRITTEN during the difficult period of mourning that followed the death of my beloved son Ãlvaro JosÃ©, my firstborn and closest interlocutor. It is ironic that a book on the effects of trauma on Cervantes, one planned before the fatality that took my sonâs life, ended up being composed in the midst of what may be the worst of traumas: the...
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RETURNING TO SPAIN AFTER FIGHTING in the Battle of Lepanto and other Mediterranean campaigns against the Turks, soldier Miguel de Cervantes was captured by Barbary pirates and taken as a captive to Algiers. The five years he spent in the baÃ±os [prison houses] of Algiers (1575â80) left an indelible impression on his work. From the first plays and...
1. The Barbary Corsairs
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MANY CRITICS HAVE ALLUDED to the marks left on Cervantesâs thoughts and works by his North African captivity. âFue el mÃ¡s trascendental hecho en su carrera espiritualâ [it was the most transcendental event in his spiritual career], says AmÃ©rico Castro, referring to this catastrophic experience, while Juan Bautista Avalle-Arce argues that the capture by Barbary pirates...
2. Writing Algiers: Masters, Slaves, and Renegades
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âDEL CAUTIVERIO Y HAZAÃAS de Miguel de Cervantes se pudiera hacer una particular historiaâ [On the captivity and heroic deeds of Miguel de Cervantes, one could write a particular history]. These are the words of Antonio de Sosa in his DiÃ¡logo de los mÃ¡rtires de Argel (180). Certainly, this history begs to be written. My study, which explores...
3. Staging Captivity: El trato de Argel
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AS WE SAW IN CHAPTER 2, the Informaci
4. An Erotics of Creation: La historia del cautivo
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THIS IS PERHAPS THE PLACE to rethink the mysterious links that associate the dungeonâthe prisonâwith literary invention in Spainâs major writer. Let us recall that in his prologue to Don Quijote, the author affirms that this book was engendered âen una cÃ¡rcel, donde toda incomodidad tiene su asientoâ [in a prison, where every misery is lodged]...
5. âAnudando este roto hiloâ [Tying up this Broken Thread]
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IN A BOOK PUBLISHED a year before his death, Primo Levi remarked that âit has been observed by psychologists that survivors of traumatic events are divided into two well-defined groups: those who repress their past en bloc, and those whose memory of the offense persists, as though carved in stone, prevailing over all previous or subsequent experiences. Now,â says...
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Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2002