Cervantes' Epic Novel: Empire, Religion, and the Dream Life of Heroes in Persiles

Michael Armstrong-Roche

© 2009

Miguel de Cervantes conceived his final work, The Labours of Persiles and Sigismunda: A Northern Story (1617), as a great prose epic that would accomplish for its age what Homer and Virgil had done for theirs. And yet, by the eighteenth century Don Quixote had eclipsed Persiles in the favour of readers and writers alike and the later novel is now virtually forgotten except by specialists.

This study sets out to help restore Persiles to pride of place within Cervantes's corpus by reading it as the author's summa, as a boldly new kind of prose epic that casts an original light on the major political, religious, social, and literary debates of its era. At the same time it seeks to illuminate how such a lofty and solemn ambition could coexist with Cervantes evident urge to delight. Grounded in the novel's multiple contexts - literature, history and politics, philosophy and theology - and in close reading of the text, Michael Armstrong-Roche aims to reshape our understanding of Persiles within the history of prose fiction and to take part in the ongoing conversation about the relationship between literary and non-literary cultural forms. Ultimately he reveals how Cervantes recast the prose epic, expanding it in new directions to accommodate the great epic themes - politics, love, and religion - to the most urgent concerns of his day.

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Product Details

  • Series: University of Toronto Romance Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.3in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP002282

  • PUBLISHED MAY 2009

    From: $63.00

    Regular Price: $84.00

    ISBN 9780802090850
  • PUBLISHED MAY 2009

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    Regular Price: $81.00

Quick Overview

This study sets out to help restore Persiles to pride of place within Cervantes’s corpus by reading it as the author’s summa, as a boldly new kind of prose epic that casts an original light on the major political, religious, social, and literary debates of its era.

Cervantes' Epic Novel: Empire, Religion, and the Dream Life of Heroes in Persiles

Michael Armstrong-Roche

© 2009

Miguel de Cervantes conceived his final work, The Labours of Persiles and Sigismunda: A Northern Story (1617), as a great prose epic that would accomplish for its age what Homer and Virgil had done for theirs. And yet, by the eighteenth century Don Quixote had eclipsed Persiles in the favour of readers and writers alike and the later novel is now virtually forgotten except by specialists.

This study sets out to help restore Persiles to pride of place within Cervantes's corpus by reading it as the author's summa, as a boldly new kind of prose epic that casts an original light on the major political, religious, social, and literary debates of its era. At the same time it seeks to illuminate how such a lofty and solemn ambition could coexist with Cervantes evident urge to delight. Grounded in the novel's multiple contexts - literature, history and politics, philosophy and theology - and in close reading of the text, Michael Armstrong-Roche aims to reshape our understanding of Persiles within the history of prose fiction and to take part in the ongoing conversation about the relationship between literary and non-literary cultural forms. Ultimately he reveals how Cervantes recast the prose epic, expanding it in new directions to accommodate the great epic themes - politics, love, and religion - to the most urgent concerns of his day.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: University of Toronto Romance Series
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 384 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.3in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘I find Armstrong-Roche’s close readings astute and illuminating, and his overall hypotheses about workings of paradox in the text are persuasive.’
    Barbara Fuchs
    Modern Philology, vol 110:03:2013
  • Author Information

    Michael Armstrong-Roche is an associate professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Wesleyan University.

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