Pedro de Peralta Barnuevo de Benavides y Roches (1664–1743), a writer and statesman in Peru, crafted the epic poem Lima fundada (1732) with a traditional epic plot that narrates the Spanish expedition in Peru by conquistador Francisco Pizarro. The poem’s epic structure, however, violates traditional generic norms: it includes three intercalated praise discourses that total over half of the poem’s octaves. The author reshapes the epic tradition of Virgil with the encomium of Menander, illustrating Peru’s natural, human and spiritual value and characterizing the Viceroyalty as central to the Spanish composite monarchy. Those resources allow him to define mutual obligations of the Spain and Peru, a process which fosters the imagined community of the unified Spains with Peru at the center. Lima fundada was not a “defective” poetry or a poor example of epic, but instead illustrates Peralta’s genius in brilliantly managing the literary codes of his day.


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pp. 59-84
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