Nordic Journal of Renaissance Studies 16 • 2019

Sofie Kluge
Twisted Turquoiseries: Emulation and Critique in Miguel de Cervantes' La gran sultana Catalina de Oviedo

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Cervantes' only surviving Turkish play, La gran sultana Catalina de Oviedo (1607/8), narrates the story of a Spanish captive in the Topkapi harem whose beauty conquers the heart of Murad III. Plot and setting allow the author not only to pursue his own fascination with the 'other' of Western Christianity, but also to critically examine the cultural forms of this fascination circulating in Spain at the time. Thus, the play's emulation of popular forms such as captivity tales and Byzantine martyr legends becomes an ambiguous inversion of the ideology that they harbour and even a tongue-in-cheek ideology critique.