Desire and Death in the Spanish Sentimental Romance (1440-1550)

By Patricia E. Grieve | Go to book overview

4
The Real and the Written: Mimetic Desire in Juan de Flores'

Grimalte y Gradissa

WE HAVE SEEN in the studies of San Pedro Arnalte y Lucenda and Cárcel de Amor that mimetic desire-- the action of imitating an ideal or rival--functions as a primary impulse in the actions of the male characters.1 The female characters--Lucenda in Arnalte y Lucenda and Laureola in Cárcel de Amor--tend to react to the approaches of the male protagonists rather than initiate the love interest themselves.2 This is not to say that imitation plays no part in the women's actions. When they do respond to their pursuers, either verbally or by letter, they may indeed be following a prescribed format or model of behavior.3

____________________
1
The notions of imitated and spontaneous desire, according to René Girard's definitions, are explained in Chapter II of this study.
2
I refer specifically to the women who are objects of desire in the two texts, not to all female characters in the text. The mothers of Leriano and Laureola ( Cdrcel de Amor) take steps to investigate the charges against their children, but this role is very different from that of the women involved in love triangles. Belisa's unusual role in Arnalte y Lucenda has been discussed in Chapter II.
3
San Pedro Arnalte y Lucenda and both Flores' romances were dedicated to the ladies as examples of behavior. This dedication presumes a reality: were the ladies of the court conducting affairs of love service so that they would need these texts as exemplary stories?

-74-

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