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Mary Quinn

  • 16th- and 17th-century Spanish literature, especially the novel and Cervantes
  • Cultural and interdisciplinary studies
  • Secular music, in particular the vihuela repertoire and early zarzuela
  • Festival culture of the Hapsburg Empire

The Moor and the Novel: Narrating Absence in Early Modern Spain

The Moor and the Novel engages music, literature, and history from the early modern period to reveal fundamental connections between nationalist violence, religious identity, and the origins of the novel. Through fresh interpretations of ballads, histories, and novellas, this book argues that the expulsion of Muslims from Spain produced a cultural vacuum, one that demanded a response. Juxtaposing close readings of well-known and obscure texts, this book illuminates the literary consequences of ethnic cleansing. Expulsion not only transformed the population of Iberia, it also altered early modern notions of the self and of authorship while creating a space for new kinds of narrative strategies. The absent Muslim created a physical, historic, and artistic aperture that was addressed in new literary forms, including Cervantes's Don Quijote. Nuanced and insightful, The Moor and the Novel provides an essential genealogy for understanding early modern narrative.

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