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Scandinavia and <em>Persiles</em>: from the Geography to History

By Juan Antonio Garrido Ardila


Following from the many discussions of the Nordic setting of Persiles, this article considers Cervantes’s choice of the Northern European backdrop and the Scandinavian nationality of the main characters, in a time when the New World and the Mediterranean appeared as the obvious locations for Byzantine novels. This article examines firstly the negative portrayal of the English in Persiles, as well as in La española inglesa, compared to that of Arnaldo, crown prince of Denmark. It then considers the political relations between Spain and Denmark-Norway, including the marriage of Isabel de Austria to Christian II and the treaty of Speyer, in order to explain the idealisation of Arnaldo, Persiles and Sigismunda. The “dánaos” are here identified as the people of Jutland who revolted against Christian II, and Arnaldo is presented as partly a fictionalised Christian II. In sum, Cervantes chose Scandinavia as the setting for Persiles and the land of its main characters because he acknowledged Denmark-Norway as Spain’s ally in Protestant Europe

Topics: Cervantes, Persiles, La Española inglesa, Escandinavia, literatura española, Literature (General), PN1-6790
Publisher: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas
Year: 2016
DOI identifier: 10.3989/anacervantinos.2016.009
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