Cervantes’ Persiles and the Travails of Romance

Editor: Marina Brownlee, the Robert Schirmer Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Comparative Literature

Publisher: University of Toronto Press, August 2019

Book cover

This collection of original essays presents new ways of looking at Cervantes’ final novel, Persiles, work that engages with geopolitical models of race, ethnicity, nation, and religion, and takes its inspiration from the highly influential Ethiopian story (the “Aethiopika”) by Heliodorus. With particular relevance to the period, Persiles questions the issue of cultural pluralism in the Spanish empire and emphasizes the need to rethink “the barbarian,” which included not only the Jew, the Muslim and the Gypsy, but also the criollo, the mestizo and the indiano, a new multiracial and multiethnic reality that posed a profound challenge to early modern Spain.