An Early Self: Jewish Belonging in Romance Literature, by Susanne Zepp

By Susanne Zepp

What function has Jewish highbrow tradition performed within the improvement of contemporary Romance literature? Susanne Zepp seeks to reply to this query via an exam of 5 influential early sleek texts written among 1499 and 1627: Fernando de Rojas's La Celestina, Leone Ebreo's Dialoghi d'amore, the nameless story Lazarillo de Tormes (the first picaresque novel), Montaigne's Essais, and the poetical renditions of the Bible via João Pinto Delgado. compelled to straddle cultures and religions, those Iberian conversos (Jews who switched over to Catholicism) prefigured the subjectivity which might come to signify modernity.
As "New Christians" in an illiberal global, those thinkers labored in the tensions in their historic context to query norms and dogmas. long ago, students have serious about the Jewish origins of such significant figures in literature and philosophy. via shut readings of those texts, Zepp strikes the talk clear of the slender query of the authors' origins to target the leading edge methods those authors subverted and transcended conventional genres. She translates the alterations that came about in quite a few literary genres and works of the interval in the broader historic context of the 16th and 17th centuries, demonstrating the level to which the improvement of early sleek subjective cognizance and its expression in literary works might be defined partly as a universalization of initially Jewish experiences.

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