Zoraida's white hand and Cervantes' rewriting of history

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The intercalated 'Captive's Tale' (Don Quijote I, 37-42), has been analysed from a variety of perspectives: issues of verisimilar fiction and historical truth, the armas y letras topos, Cervantes' own experience in captivity, Moorish culture and its representation, and, more broadly, Christian versus Muslim ideology and empire. The current interest in hybridity - in racial, political, and religious terms - provides an instructive angle from which to contemplate the dazzling polysemy of this intercalation, at the same time gesturing toward a model for understanding the hybrid nature of the Quijote as a whole. Cervantes invites us to consider the complex hybridity constituted by the Mediterranean world as he initially presents the Muslim woman Zoraida and her anatomically mysterious white hand. In this densely conceived tale, Cervantes stages the insoluble tensions of a hybrid identity in terms of subjectivity, race, politics, and religión - the epistemologically challenging laberinto de muy dificil salida'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-585
Number of pages17
JournalBulletin of Hispanic Studies
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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