Counterfeiting Women: Economies of Gender and Genre in Cervantes’ Romance Novellas
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Lagresa-Gonzalez, Elizabeth S.
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CitationLagresa-Gonzalez, Elizabeth S. 2017. Counterfeiting Women: Economies of Gender and Genre in Cervantes’ Romance Novellas. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractEmploying an interdisciplinary frame, my dissertation seeks to explore the relationship between purse and person within Cervantes’ "Novelas ejemplares," in particular his engagement with romance as understood through Heliodorus’ legacy. Taking into account the intricacies of a period marked by processes of transculturation brought about by trade, piracy, translation, exploration, colonization, and migration, the intent of my research is to bring to light the important role women perform within material and symbolic exchanges by investigating the intersection between gender, genre, and illicit monetary networks. As close readings of Cervantes’ romance novellas unveil, female figures represent 'belongings,' which signify both a state of being accepted in a place or group, and a thing somebody owns, a moveable possession. Romance heroines circulate across cultural, social, linguistic, religious and geographic territorialities, and through these trans-actions and cross-fertilizations they accrue different forms of value and meaning. I contend that Cervantes’ romance novellas, in light of their representation of counterfeit Gypsies, Moors and Protestants, reveal how the interchange, mobility and plurality of female identities is associated with socio-economic tensions in an increasingly globalized early modern world reshaped by cross-cultural encounters.
The loaded intersection between romance, money, and women presents a series of questions that have yet to garner thorough critical examination: Why is money pervasive and crucial within the female-centric world of romance envisioned by Cervantes? How does our notion of romance and its heroines change when the happy endings are paid for by women through illicit means? How does romance represent conflict—between self and other (where ‘other’ includes both subjects and objects)—and what possibilities does it envision for reconciliation? What role do women play in an increasingly global context dominated by the mediation of semantic, material and human exchanges? How and why does romance become a significant space for the representation of cross-cultural encounters and the contestation of fixed categories? How do these representations participate in the production of a global consciousness or awareness? What stereotypes and dichotomies do they reshape and contest? In a context molded by monetary crises, the development of technologies of reproduction, and periods of both internal and external conflict and cooperation, I posit that counterfeiting women and the romances they inhabit blur the divides and re-fashion the relationship between purse and person, subject and object, self and other, confronting the complexities of early modern state and subject formation in an emergent global commercial culture.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42061515
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