Passing for Spain
Cervantes and the Fictions of Identity
Publication Year: 2002
Published by: University of Illinois Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quote
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Preface: Serious Play
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Despite their tongue-in-cheek, bantering tone, Cervantes’s prologues provide tantalizing hints of a mode d’emploi for his texts. The billiards table, with its seemingly random permutations and combinations, is located squarely in the middle of the commonwealth, as though to encourage the reader to think through the larger...
1. Passing and the Fictions of Spanish Identity
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Given the various pressures of centralization, imperial ambition, and religious dissidence, the construction of national identity in early modern Spain was an enterprise fraught with difﬁculties. As a reaction to the peninsula’s long-term occupation by Islam, and to bolster its claims to the New World, sixteenth-century Spain ostentatiously assumed the mantle of Defender of the...
2. Border Crossings: Transvestism and Passing in Don Quijote
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The disjunction between truth and ﬁction in Don Quijote has often been circumscribed as a literary problem: how is Don Quijote interpreting the world around him as a literary text; and, conversely, how does that world resemble literature? Yet there are moments of deception in Don Quijote that require deciphering within the social text of Counter-Reformation Spain—a text in...
3. Empire Unmanned:Gender Trouble and Genoese Gold in “Las dos doncellas”
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Much like the Ana Félix episode in Don Quijote, the novella “Las dos doncellas” provides a powerful example of an apparently conventional romance narrative that disguises its engagement with political and social controversies under the cloak of transvestism. The plot features two young women who set off on the treacherous path of the cross-dressed romance heroine to follow the...
4. Passing Pleasures: Costume and Custom in “El amante liberal” and La gran sultana
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While Cervantes’s “Las dos doncellas” examines the gender economy of peninsular Spain and the enervating cost of its empire, both “El amante liberal”—another of the Novelas ejemplares—and the play La gran sultana Doña Catalina de Oviedo catalog the cultural and religious transactions of Spanish subjects at the frontier of Christendom. Set in the eastern Mediterranean of...
5. “La disimulación es provechosa”:The Critique of Transparency in the Persilesand “La española inglesa”
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First-time readers of Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda (The trials of Persiles and Sigismunda) might well wonder where on earth the title characters are. This is not a question of identifying the bewildering landscapes traversed by “Periandro,” “Auristela,” and their companions—generations of critics have carefully mapped the exotic northern lands of books I and II and the European trajectories of books III...
Afterword :Passing and the Arts of Subjectification
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“Ever passed for something you’re not?” With this simple advertisement in a Miami newspaper, artists Hillary Leone and Jennifer Macdonald collected hundreds of stories from individuals who considered passing to be a central part of their identity. They selected thirty representative narratives to create a video project entitled, quite simply, Passing (1996). In the piece, a group of peo-...
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About the Author, Further Reading, Production Note
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Barbara Fuchs is an associate professer of Romance languages at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Mimesis Spain in America: The Origins of Hispanism in the United States Edited by Passing for Spain: Cervantes and the Fictions of Identity Barbara Fuchs...
Page Count: 160
Publication Year: 2002