A True Mirror of Princes: Defining the Good Governor in Miguel de Luna's Verdadera Historia Del Rey Don Rodrigo - Hispanofila

A True Mirror of Princes: Defining the Good Governor in Miguel de Luna's Verdadera Historia Del Rey Don Rodrigo

By Hispanofila

  • Release Date - Published: 2009-05-01
  • Book Genre: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Author: Hispanofila
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A True Mirror of Princes: Defining the Good Governor in Miguel de Luna's Verdadera Historia Del Rey Don Rodrigo Hispanofila read online review & book description:

DURING the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a small yet politically influential group of Morisco writers sought to challenge Old Christian Spain's perception of their culture as something inferior and alien to the Peninsula. (1) In many of their works, these authors attempted to reclaim a sense of cultural pride, and to emphasize the positive roles played by the Peninsula's Arabic-speaking peoples throughout Spain's history. Miguel de Luna (c. 1545-1615), an official court translator of Arabic to Phillip II and III, was one of these writers. In his Verdadera historia del rey don Rodrigo, Luna rewrites the history of the Islamic conquest of the Peninsula, and recontextualizes common stories, myths, legends, histories, literary figures and commonly held prejudices concerning Spain's Islamic period so as to vindicate the Muslim presence in the Peninsula. But the legend that stands out most in Luna's text is that of Rodrigo, the last Visigothic king. Whereas in Spain's romance tradition, Rodrigo is often represented as a passionate although misguided man whose desire oversteps the boundaries of his good judgment, Luna's Visigothic monarch is portrayed as a cowardly rapist and tyrant who corrupts the faith of his subjects. Luna criticizes Rodrigo's reign, and by extension all of Visigothic Spain, by rewriting and recontextualizing the legendary king in such a way as to reshape Spain's Islamic legacy. In order to understand how Luna refashions Spain's Islamic past, it is important to grasp, inasmuch as is possible, the implications of context, both literary and social. Context has, over the years, become an important element in the fields of pragmatics and in ethnographically oriented studies of language use, as well as recently, in the study of literature. From approximately the 1970s on, increasingly more interactive and dialogically based interpretations of context, situated talk and writing have come into acceptance (Duranti and Goodwin 1), and as the twenty-first century unfolds, this trend continues. Rather than presume a high degree of semantic transparency in a given encoded message, as was common to Saussurian and Chomskyan approaches to context and linguistic forms (Hanks 141), scholars in the field of anthropological linguistics have begun to focus more on the uses of, and the roles played by, language as utilized by the speaking subject (Duranti and Goodwin 1). Basing themselves on studies done on the ethnography of communication in 1972 and 1974 by Dell Hymes, and in 1982 by John J. Gumperz, in 1990 folklorist Richard Bauman and anthropologist Charles L. Briggs argued for a shift "[...] from the study of texts to the analysis of the emergence of texts in contexts" (59). This call for an understanding of utterance and context as socially embedded and constructed activities requires the analyst to consider how verbal and non-verbal communication mediates discursive interaction, and how the human being, in his or her role as an agent of communicative activities, makes and uses texts and other forms of discourse to construct his or her social world. To a large extent, these theories have been greatly influenced by the work of the Bakhtin Circle and its reevaluation of the idea of context and the role context plays in the social construction of reality, and of the social forces and heteroglossia that inescapably influence human communication, whether in the written or spoken form.

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