Converting Fiction

Counter Reformational Closure in the Secular Literature of Golden Age Spain

By David H. Darst

Converting Fiction

182 pp., 6 x 9, bibl

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-9263-3
    Published: January 1998

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Distributed for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Romance Studies

This study examines the many ways in which seventeenth-century Spanish authors manipulated the expected outcomes of secular literature to create religiously motivated endings prompted by some kind of conversion. In the late sixteenth century, the prevalent technique was to transform the secular material entirely, a lo divino. After 1598, however, writers developed the ingenious procedure of ostensibly following a secular account of events but subverting it by inserting an unanticipated religious ending.

The specific kinds of conversion at closure examined here are the appropriation of earlier genres; conversion of non-Christian literary types; personal conversion of the native Spaniard through the Catholic ritual of confession, penitence, and absolution; conversion of the nation's historical material; and conversion of the very landscape upon which Christians walk in their pilgrimage through life.