Rewriting the Italian Novella in Counter-Reformation Spain

Synopsis

As they reshaped the Italian novella under the inquisitorial atmosphere of the Counter-Reformation, Spanish narrators labelled their texts as exemplary. However, critics have usually agreed that there is a contradiction between the morals preached in the narrative frames, prologues and sententiae of Spanish novellas and the content of the plots. Rabell sees this ambiguity as a result of the use of the rhetoric of the fictitious case: Spanish novellas rewrite the Italian genre with the specific purpose of either challenging or validating the rules regarding marriage introduced by the Council of Trent.Since civil, canonical and family hierarchies were based on the same metaphor that conceives power as one body in which, by analogy, the husband is the head of his family, as the monarch is the head of the state and the Pope is the head of the church, Spanish novellas explore the contradictions between civil and canon laws regarding the private context of marriage in order to suggest further contradictions within the public sphere of state and church. The fictitious case provides a rhetoric to test the validity of the legal grounds of Counter-Reformation Spain.CARMEN R. RABELL is associate professor, department of comparative literature, University of Puerto Rica - Rio Piedras.BR>En la atm¿sfera sofocante y inquisitorial de la Contrarreforma, los narradores espa¿oles - al reformular la novela italiana -- ten¿an la costumbre de llamar sus textos 'ejemplares'. Sin embargo los cr¿ticos por lo general han estado de acuerdo en se¿alar que existe una contradicci¿n entre la ¿tica que se promulga en estas naracciones espa¿olas, incluyendo los pr¿logos y las sententiae, por un lado y, por otro, el contenido de la trama. En esta monograf¿a Rabell arguye que esta ambig¿edad nace a ra¿z de la manipulaci¿n sutil de la ret¿rica de la ficci¿n: las novelas espa¿olas reformulan el g¿nero italiano con el prop¿sito espec¿fico o de desafiar las reglas y las normas de la Contrarreforma en Espa¿a o de validar las mismas.