De cortes a la huerfana enclaustrada: La novela historica del romanticismo hispanoamericano

Raul Ianes, University of Pennsylvania


Spanish-American romantic historical novels signify an early attempt in pursuit of a national novelistic tradition. Within a theoretical framework which allows for a typification of the novel as a realistic displacement of romance along Frye's guidelines, this dissertation proceeds to examine a wide range of national historical romances that Spanish-Americans produced during the nineteenth century. Basing myself on Lukacs' distinction of the Scottian historical novel as a diverse ideological and narrative practice opposed to romantic pseudo-historicism, I center my study on the textual articulation of fiction and history determined by characters and plot. I start by demonstrating that the colonialista novel which develops a domestic plot was an early product of Spanish-American fiction, characterized by a limited choice of topoi through which characters and the melodramatic colonial plot satisfy the historical contextuality of the novels and their nation-founding aspect: the persecuted female orphan, her almost passive hero, villains who impersonate tyranny, intolerance, and violence, and a happy end which reunites the lovers. The historical novel whose theme is the Conquest, on the other hand, recurs to intertextuality by combining fiction and what is assumed as previous historical document. These romances are examined in an attempt to study--beyond historicalness--the artifacts they constitute, identifying the genre they institute in this incipient literature: the romance, which responds to the reader's desire for narrative and determines its textual strategies: the serialized text. Concurrently, throughout these fictions, I identify the textual models that Gonzalez Echevarria denominates "master narratives": the travelogue for the nineteenth century and the legal discourse for the colonial period. In its fictional re-creation of colonial life both discourses intersect and determine a distinctive textual specificity. I particularly examine the following texts: Guatimozin, by Gertrudis Gomez de Avellaneda; Los martires del Anahuac, and Memorias de un alferez, by Eligio Ancona; El inquisidor mayor, by Manuel Bilbao; La novia del hereje, by Vicente Fidel Lopez; La hija del Adelantado, by Jose Milla, and La hija del judio, by Justo Sierra O'Reilly.

Subject Area

Latin American literature|Comparative literature|Romance literature|Caribbean literature

Recommended Citation

Ianes, Raul, "De cortes a la huerfana enclaustrada: La novela historica del romanticismo hispanoamericano" (1993). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9331791.