Date of Award
Master of Arts
Gregory B. Kaplan, Nuria Cruz Cámara
Due to the extraordinary socio-religious situation of the Inquisition’s aggressive attempt at unification looming over late Medieval Spain, the existence of a converso influence in Fernando de Rojas’ masterpiece, Celestina, is rarely up for debate. However, the way in which this influence manifests itself in Rojas’ only known work remains open for discussion among scholars of the work. Despite critics who struggle to view Celestina as an expression of converso literature, arguments have been made to establish the likelihood of converso status for Pleberio, Calisto, and Melibea, but have yet to look profoundly to Celestina’s own origins. Thanks to her perceived magical abilities, the famous go-between operates within the parody of religion and its relation to courtly love. Parody and irony function as instruments that create a space for the traditionally marginalized voices rendered by the Spanish sentimental romance to be heard, notably due to gender and cultural Christian values. Interpreting Celestina as both a conversa who deviates from the proper Christian way of life and as a deviant from established gender roles further expands the realm of ironic possibilities offered by the sentimental romance genre and furthers the humoristic nature of the religious parody throughout the work. Furthermore, the transgressive nature of converso literature challenges Spanish conventional values related to blood purity and serves as social criticism rather than as condemnations of deviant behavior. This reconsideration of Celestina as a conversa voice expands the possibilities of understanding Rojas’ contribution to the sentimental romance genre.
McCullough, Morgan B., "“Este diablo de vieja”: Revealing the Conversa Voice in Celestina. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 2020.