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The Enchantments Of Love: Amorous And Exemplary Novels
by Maria De Zayas Y Sotomayor, Trans. By Henrietta Patsy Boyer
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From Library Journal
Using as backdrop a series of soirees held to entertain an ill hostess, these ten disjunct novellas, called "enchantments," unite the literary traditions of the Decameron and Cervantes's Exemplary Novels. In a crude style, mollified by poetic interludes and touches of fantasy, the widely read author often treats various aspects of love, honor, deception, and vengeance from an amazingly contemporary feminist perspective. The translator modernized the convoluted syntax of the original but retained the delightfully quaint Baroque imagery: "a small crystalline brook that spilled forth its pearly drops." This edition, the first translation into English of the entire 1637 Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, is suitable for general readers and scholars alike.
- Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC, Dublin, Ohio
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
An instant best-seller in Spain in 1637, The Enchantments of Love is a collection of shrewd and timeless tales in the tradition of Bocaccio's Decameron and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Although some of the tales have appeared in English through the centuries, this delightful translation by H. Patsy Boyer is the first complete text.
The structure of the book is provided by a series of lavish soirees at which five men and five women entertain with stories their ailing hostess, the lovely Lysis. Each of the ten tales explores some aspect of "enchantment," or love, between a handsome gallant and a lovely lady. The sharp contrast between the women's and men's stories transmits a subtle, often ironic feminism. Their originality, frankness, and powerful style make them as readable today as they were 350 years ago.
The women storytellers emphasize the perspective of female protagonists, all of whom are deceived or abused by their husbands or by suitors. Each is finally driven to perform some act of heroism before finding satisfaction in marriage, or a haven in the convent. The men's stories all point to moral flaws in the characters' behavior: egotism, avarice, shortsightedness, lust, and unfaithfulness.
Maria de Zayas portrays every theme from eroticism and brutal rape to the most exalted love. Her success with this book and its sequel, The Disenchantments of Love (1647), is well documented, although the details of her life are sadly lacking. Her bold treatment of the relationships between men and women challenged the literary conventions of her day, and her defense of women has earned her a reputation as a pioneering feminist.
Text: English, Spanish (translation)
From the Inside Flap
"Professor Boyer makes it possible for Hispanists to share the flavor as well as the lively substance of Maria de Zayas's writing with colleagues interested in the history of the novel and the representation of women in early modern Europe. . . . The style of the original is characteristically clear and lively. The translation conveys its tone remarkably well. . . . These novellas are of primary importance to an understanding of the evolving structures of narrative."--Emilie Bergmann, University of California, Berkeley
From the Back Cover
"Professor Boyer makes it possible for Hispanists to share the flavor as well as the lively substance of Maria de Zayas's writing with colleagues interested in the history of the novel and the representation of women in early modern Europe. . . . The style of the original is characteristically clear and lively. The translation conveys its tone remarkably well. . . . These novellas are of primary importance to an understanding of the evolving structures of narrative." (Emilie Bergmann, University of California, Berkeley)
About the Author
Maria de Zayas was an active literary figure in Madrid from 1621 to 1647 and received lavish praise from such notable contemporaries as Lope de Vega. H. Patsy Boyer, Professor of Spanish at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, has translated and written widely about Spanish literature including the poetry of Vicente Aleixandre.
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