Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Battling Narratives in the Amadís Cycle: The Case of Florisando and Sergas De Esplandián

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Battling Narratives in the Amadís Cycle: The Case of Florisando and Sergas De Esplandián

Article excerpt

Ruy Páez de Ribera's Florisando (1510, book VI of the Amadís cycle) is the first sequel of Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo's romances, Amadís de Gaula (1508, books I-IV) and Sergas de Esplandián (1510, book V). Páez de Ribera's romance bowdlerized Montalvo's works while amplifying the cycle by underscoring the religious aspect of Florisando. Páez's work does not represent a continuum of Rodríguez de Montalvo's views on chivalry and romance. Instead, Florisando began a second trend in Castilian romances of chivalry, known as textos realistas, and a new branch in the Amadís cycle, the heterodox one (Sales 2002). This category of romances prioritized verisimilitude and didactics, thus emphasizing religious values and rejecting magic (Lucía 2008: 198-99).

Páez's Florisando reinterpreted the cycle, taking it in a different narrative and ideological direction. His rewriting of the cycle contested certain elements from Montalvo's Sergas and precluded magic and love adventures (Ramos 2001: 7-9). Hence, Florisando was conceived as a battling narrative with respect to Sergas; that is to say that 'their stories are made to do battle' (Abbott 2008: 189). However, the main literary model of Florisando was Sergas, which remained its primary hypotext. In this respect, Florisando is, in narratological terms, a transposition of Amadís and Sergas (Genette 1982: 31-48). It is then the purpose of this article to analyse how Florisando's narrative bellicosity defined its superiority over Montalvo's romances, while also legitimizing itself as a sequel of Sergas. In particular, I will focus on the intertextual strategies employed in Florisando to assert its victory over Sergas. Additionally, I will show how these strategies copied the ones used by Montalvo to establish the pseudo-historical supremacy of his romances over the medieval version of the Amadís.

Manuscripts and magic

In the prologue, Páez stated his intention of correcting the hypotext:

Aquí comiença el sexto libro del muy esforçado y gran rey Amadís de Gaula en que se recuentan los grandes y hazañosos fechos del muy valiente y esforçado cavallero Florisando, su sobrino, fijo del rey don Florestán, y se reprueva el antiguo e falso dezir que por las encantaciones y arte de Urganda fuessen encantados el rey Amadís y sus hermanos y hijo, el emperador Esplandián, y sus mugeres.1 (Páez de Ribera 1510: f. 2ra)

The romance offers a self-definition as a continuation of Montalvo's work and, then, it shows the metaliterary consciousness of its place in the cycle: book VI. This incipit generates continuum with Montalvo's romances, shows the amplificatio of the cycle, and establishes links with previous parts of the cycle. More importantly it criticizes the falsehood of Urganda's spell in the penultimate chapter of Sergas, which left the main characters of Montalvo's romances enchanted. The above citation also defines the cause of Florisando's narrative battle with Sergas: the elements that did not comply with religious convention, particularly those involving magic and the enchantress Urganda. From the start, Florisando shows its desire to confront certain elements of Sergas. It is not a third party that points outs the narrative and ideological divergences between the narratives of Montalvo and Páez, but Florisando itself.

Páez's main objection to Montalvo's works was related to the moral instruction of the audience or readership. According to Páez, only part of the audience was capable of going beyond the exaggerated adventures and benefiting from the didactic examples of the romance, whereas others could not distinguish truth from lies:

Como en este tan errado pensamiento a muchas personas oviesse visto, pesándome que tal escritura anduviesse tan públicamente entre las manos de los discretos e rústicos, porque aunque los discretos y prudentes notassen lo bueno e dexassen lo otro, los de menos saber y rústicos davan credito a aquello malo e no digno de ser creydo, procuré de saber la verdad desto como havía passado. …

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