This essay examines Andrés de Claramonte's comedia El valiente negro en Flandes in light of Luis Pacheco de Narváez's fencing treatise Grandezas de la espada (1600). Narváez's influential manual contains an unprecedented scientific typology of black people that questions the supposed uniformity of perceptions of black and Afrodescendant Spaniards in the early seventeenth century. Interestingly, the protagonist of Claramonte's comedia—an Afro-Spaniard heretofore considered exceptional and unique—meets each and every trait of the negro colérico, a positive black (stereo)type formulated by Narváez. An analysis of the conspicuous black African presence in the early modern world of Hispanic martial arts challenges the idea that the only possible representations of Afro-Hispanics were dehumanizing portrayals as natural slaves, evil beings, suffering saints, or buffoons. Thus, Grandezas de la espada gives us the key to reinterpret El valiente negro en Flandes and other texts featuring those who found some degree of liberation in their swordsmanship.


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pp. 67-91
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