Heroic Forms: Cervantes and the Literature of War
Before he was a writer, Miguel de Cervantes was a soldier. Enlisting in the Spanish infantry in 1570, he fought at the battle of Lepanto, was seized at sea and held captive by Algerian corsairs, and returned to Spain with a deep knowledge of military life. He understood the costs of heroism, the fragility of fame, and the power of the military culture of brotherhood.
In Heroic Forms, Stephen Rupp connects Cervantes’s complex and inventive approach to literary genre and his many representations of early modern warfare. Examining Cervantes’s plays and poetry as well as his prose, Rupp demonstrates how Cervantes’s works express his perceptions of military life and how Cervantes interpreted the experience of war through the genres of the era: epic, tragedy, pastoral, romance, and picaresque fiction.
- Series: Toronto Iberic
- World Rights
- Page Count: 272 pages
- Dimensions: 6.4in x 1.1in x 9.3in
‘A superb contribution to early modern Spanish studies… Rupp’s approach offers rich, thought-provoking, unique perspectives… Highly recommended.’
Choice vol 52:08:2015
‘Rupp’s book is a very solid, innovative, and intriguing study of Cervantes’s contributions to advances in genre development through the lens of a specific and very relevant topic that proves quite elucidating.’
Renaissance Quarterly vol 69:01:2016
‘Rupp’s book is original, thought provoking, and will make a significant contribution to the criticism of Cervantes’s literature on the topic of war and heroism.’
Eduardo Olid Guerrero
Hispania vol 99:02:2016
“War is among the greatest and most enduring themes of literature, and yet very few studies have delved into its centrality to the oeuvre of Miguel de Cervantes. Now Stephen Rupp has brought his erudition and acuity to this important task in a learned and eye-opening examination of Cervantes’s relation to the long tradition of writing about war. In Heroic Forms, Rupp explores how Cervantes, a valiant soldier who had personally lived and suffered the ravages of war, used that experience to re-interpret the bellicose myths and illusions of the literary tradition, from epic and pastoral to romance and picaresque, in turn helping spark the innovations that would change the face of literature.”
William Egginton, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, Department of German and Romance Languages and Literatures, Johns Hopkins University
“Heroic Forms is a compelling exploration of how new military technologies and tactics changed individuals and communities, and, in turn, transformed literary genres. Rupp scrutinizes how Cervantes worked in diverse literary forms to represent changes in siege- and galley warfare in the early modern era, at the same time as he considers how new tactics and weapons inspired the transformative literary experiments by Spain’s consummate soldier-writer. His nuanced analysis will intrigue and inspire Cervantes scholars and other Hispanists.”
Elizabeth Wright, Department of Romance Languages, University of Georgia
"The book’s informed and accessible tone will resonate with a public audience and specialists alike. Historiographic sections on the conquest and its key terms, Veracruz and Mexico-Tenochtitlan, and US-Mexico relations could be used in surveys of Latin American history, culture, or diaspora/border studies."
Allison Margaret Bigelow, University of Virginia
Author InformationStephen Rupp is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto.
Table of contents
Note on Texts and Translations
1 Warriors: Epic and Tragedy
2 Defenders: Pastoral and Satire
3 Captains and Saints: Lyric and Romance
4 Soldiers and Sinners: Picaresque
Subjects and Courses