Cervantes, Miguel De. the Bagnios of Algiers and the Great Sultana: Two Plays of Captivity

By McGrath, Michael J. | Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America, Fall 2011 | Go to article overview

Cervantes, Miguel De. the Bagnios of Algiers and the Great Sultana: Two Plays of Captivity


McGrath, Michael J., Cervantes: Bulletin of the Cervantes Society of America


Cervantes, Miguel de. The BAGNIOS OF ALGIERS and THE GREAT SULTANA: Two Plays of Captivity. Edited and Translated by Barbara Fuchs and Aaron J. Ilika. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2010. xx + 175. ISBN: 978-0-8122-4209-6.

Miguel de Cervantes published Los banos de Argel [The Bagnios of Algiers] and La Gran Sultana [The Great Sultana] in Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses nuevos, nunca representados (1615). Barbara Fuchs and Aaron J. Ilika chose to translate these two plays because they "offer very different Mediterranean locales and visions of captivity" (xiii). In the introduction, Fuchs and Ilika explain why Cervantes published a collection of plays never performed: "This highly unusual venture, in a period where plays were generally published only after having been exhaustively performed, served Cervantes as an alternative to the theatrical success that eluded him" (ix). While Cervantes never achieved the high acclaim as a playwright he hoped would be his legacy, his Mediterranean captivity plays established, according to Florencio Sevilla Arroyo and Antonio Rey Hazas, a "mini-genre," which Cervantes "perfected and enriched" (xiii). Fuchs and Ilika base their prose translation on Sevilla Arroyo and Rey Hazas's criticai edition of the plays, because, among other reasons, "this solid edition corrects the errors in the original texts of the plays and provides variant readings from all the manuscripts as well as noting corrections by previous editors of the collection" (xxvii). (8)

Fuchs and Ilika's translation of The Bagnias af Algiers and La Gran Sultana, which they intend to be a source of study not performance, begins with a lengthy introduction that provides for the reader the necessary literary, historical, political, and social background to appreciate and enjoy Cervantes's captivity plays. The introduction is divided into several subsections, including "Cervantes, playwright," "Cervantes's Mediterranean," "Captivity in Algiers," "A View of the Turk," "Forbidden Pleasures," and "The Problem with Renegades." It concludes with a comprehensive and insightful analysis of both plays, a discussion of the translation, and an explanation on coins, which includes a chart that lists the different denominations of Spanish coinage.

In their introduction, Fuchs and Ilika address a breadth of topics relevant to the plays. The political and religious rivalries that developed as expansionist Spain clashed with the Ottoman Empire and its North African protectorates throughout the sixteenth century serve as the historical background for each of the plays. Cervantes's personal experiences as a captive for five years in a royal bagnio (prison) in Algiers inform the geographical, cultural, and social milieu of the plays. A main theme of The Bagnios of Algiers and La Gran Sultana is the question of identity, and Fuchs and Ilika explain in the introduction that identities and allegiances were by no means clearly delineated: "Identities and allegiances were frequently more complex than the rote recitation of historical facts might suggest. Cervantes's texts repeatedly underscore this complexity in the face of any ideological certainty, with unsettling effects" (xiv). Cervantes possessed a keen understanding of the complex identities that populated the Mediterranean, and the historical figures he knew personally appear as characters in the plays. Furthermore, exogamous unions and a cross-dressing man who infiltrates a harem to be with the woman he loves further raise questions of identities and allegiances in the plays.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Cervantes, Miguel De. the Bagnios of Algiers and the Great Sultana: Two Plays of Captivity
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.