Exemplary Tales of Love and Tales of Disillusion 9780226768670

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Exemplary Tales of Love and Tales of Disillusion

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Laura Battiferra and Her Literary Circle: An Anthology

Selected Writings: A Bilingual Edition

Edited and Translated by Victoria Kirkham MADELEINE DE L’AUBESPINE

Selected Poems and Translations: A Bilingual Edition Edited and Translated by Anna Kłosowska

Edited and Translated by Rouben Cholakian and Mary Skemp MADELEINE AND CATHERINE DES ROCHES

From Mother and Daughter: Poems, Dialogues, and Letters of Les Dames des Roches Edited and Translated by Anne R. Larsen


Floridoro: A Chivalric Romance Edited with an Introduction by Valeria Finucci, Translated by Julia Kisacky, Annotated by Valeria Finucci and Julia Kisacky


Autobiography and Other Writings Edited and Translated by Darcy Donahue


Warnings to the Kings and Advice on Restoring Spain: A Bilingual Edition Edited and Translated by Nieves Romero-Díaz


Scanderbeide: The Heroic Deeds of George Scanderbeg, King of Epirus Edited and Translated by Rinaldina Russell


Complete Poetry and Prose: A Bilingual Edition Edited with Introductions and Prose Translations by Deborah Lesko Baker, with Poetry Translations by Annie Finch


The Court Midwife Edited and Translated by Lynne Tatlock KATHARINA SCHÜTZ ZELL

Zayde: A Spanish Romance

Church Mother: The Writings of a Protestant Reformer in Sixteenth-Century Germany

Edited and Translated by Nicholas D. Paige

Edited and Translated by Elsie McKee


María de Zayas y Sotomayor


 Edited and Translated by Margaret R. Greer and Elizabeth Rhodes


Chicago & London

María de Zayas y Sotomayor, 1590– 1660? Margaret R. Greer is professor of Spanish at Duke University. Among her publications are María de Zayas Tells Baroque Tales of Love and the Cruelty of Men (2000) and Rereading the Black Legend: The Discourses of Religious and Racial Difference in the Renaissance Empires (2008), the latter published by the University of Chicago Press. Elizabeth Rhodes is associate professor of Hispanic studies at Boston College. Her most recent book is This Tight Embrace: Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza (1566–1614) (2000). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 60637 The University of Chicago Press, Ltd., London © 2009 by The University of Chicago All rights reserved. Published 2008 Printed in the United States of America 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 09 1 2 3 4 5 ISBN-13: 978-0-226-76864-9 (cloth) ISBN-13: 978-0-226-76865-6 (paper) ISBN-10: 0-226-76864-3 (cloth) ISBN-10: 0-226-76865-1 (paper) The University of Chicago Press gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States Universities toward the publication of this book. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Zayas y Sotomayor, María de, 1590–1650. [Novelas amorosas y ejemplares. English. Selections] Exemplary tales of love ; and, Tales of disillusion / edited and translated by Margaret R. Greer and Elizabeth Rhodes. p. cm. — (The other voice in early modern Europe) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-226-76864-9 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN-13: 978-0-226-76865-6 (pbk. : alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-226-76864-3 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-226-76865-1 (pbk. : alk. paper) I. Greer, Margaret Rich. II. Rhodes, Elizabeth, 1955– III. Zayas y Sotomayor, María de, 1590–1659. Parte segunda del sarao y entretenimeintos honestos. English. Selections. IV. Title. V. Series. PQ6498.Z5A2 2008 863⬘.3—dc22 2008043144 o The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.


Acknowledgments vii Series Editors’ Introduction ix Volume Editors’ Introduction 1 Volume Editors’ Bibliography 33 Note on the Translations 39

I. Exemplary Tales of Love 43 Title Page (1637 Edition) 45 To the Reader 47 Prologue by a Disinterested Person 52 Introduction 54 Taking a Chance on Losing 61 Second Night 98 Forewarned but Fooled 103 Fifth Night 147 The Judge of Her Own Case 152 The Deceitful Garden 175

II. Tales of Disillusion 193 Title Page (1647 Edition) 195 Introduction 197 Her Lover’s Slave 207 Second Night 251 Fifth Tale of Disillusion 259 Tenth Tale of Disillusion 285

Appendixes A. Contents of Maria de Zayas y Sotomayor’s Novella Collections 327 B. Map of the Locations of Zayas’s Stories 329 C. Glossary 331 Series Editors’ Bibliography 333 Index 355



ur indebtedness to those who helped us shape this volume are joint and individual. We both are grateful to Al Rabil for suggesting the project and for prodding and supporting us through the years of bringing it to fruition, despite multiple other demands on our time. Elizabeth Rhodes would like to thank Stacy Brown, Julián Olivares, Laura Bass, Jodi Bilinkoff, Ben Ehlers, Sarah Bou-Rhodes, Amy Molden, and Sara Mailander for their assistance and support. Margaret Greer also thanks Laura Bass, Jodi Bilinkoff, and Julián Olivares, as well as Hillary Eklund, Cathy Knoop, Belén Atienza, Henry Sullivan, and Ann Lyon. She thanks Ivy Corfis, John Dagenais, and Daniel Eisenberg for help in trying to identify who Zayas might have had in mind in writing “Adante” in her fourth novella. She also thanks Isabel Ortega of the Sala Goya of the Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid for help in locating good images of the Virgen del Cármen. We both thank the participants in the 2005 NEH Summer Institute on Early Modern Women Writers for their enthusiasm for Zayas in English translation, and the Spanish-reading members of that group for their helpful suggestions on our draft version of her stories. We are also extremely appreciative of the careful reading and many significant suggestions made by the anonymous reader for the Press. Finally, we thank our good-natured editor Randy Petilos for his support and patience. Margaret R. Greer and Elizabeth Rhodes





n western Europe and the United States, women are nearing equality in the professions, in business, and in politics. Most enjoy access to education, reproductive rights, and autonomy in financial affairs. Issues vital to women are on the public agenda: equal pay, child care, domestic abuse, breast cancer research, and curricular revision with an eye to the inclusion of women. These recent achievements have their origins in things women (and some male supporters) said for the first time about six hundred years ago. Theirs is the “other voice,” in contradistinction to the “first voice,” the voice of the educated men who created Western culture. Coincident with a general reshaping of European culture in the period 1300–1700 (called the Renaissance or early modern period), questions of female equality and opportunity were raised that still resound and are still unresolved. The other voice emerged against the backdrop of a three-thousandyear history of the derogation of women rooted in the civilizations related to Western culture: Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and Christian. Negative attitudes toward women inherited from these traditions pervaded the intellectual, medical, legal, religious, and social systems that developed during the European Middle Ages. The following pages describe the traditional, overwhelmingly male views of women’s nature inherited by early modern Europeans and the new tradition that the “other voice” called into being to begin to challenge reigning assumptions. This review should serve as a framework for understanding the texts published in the series the Other Voice in Early Modern Europe. Introductions specific to each text and author follow this essay in all the volumes of the series.



Series Editors’ Introduction TRAD I TI ON A L VI EW S OF W OM EN , 5 0 0 B . C . E . – 1 5 0 0 C . E .

Embedded in the philosophical and medical theories of the ancient Greeks were perceptions of the female as inferior to the male in both mind and body. Similarly, the structure of civil legislation inherited from the ancient Romans was biased against women, and the views on women developed by Christian thinkers out of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament were negative and disabling. Literary works composed in the vernacular of ordinary people, and widely recited or read, conveyed these negative assumptions. The social networks within which most women lived—those of the family and the institutions of the Roman Catholic Church—were shaped by this negative tradition and sharply limited the areas in which women might act in and upon the world. G R E E K P H I L O SO P HY AND FE MAL E NATURE . Greek biology assumed that women were inferior to men and defined them as merely childbearers and housekeepers. This view was authoritatively expressed in the works of the philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle thought in dualities. He considered action superior to inaction, form (the inner design or structure of any object) superior to matter, completion to incompletion, possession to deprivation. In each of these dualities, he associated the male principle with the superior quality and the female with the inferior. “The male principle in nature,” he argued, “is associated with active, formative and perfected characteristics, while the female is passive, material and deprived, desiring the male in order to become complete.”1 Men are always identified with virile qualities, such as judgment, courage, and stamina, and women with their opposites—irrationality, cowardice, and weakness. The masculine principle was considered superior even in the womb. The man’s semen, Aristotle believed, created the form of a new human creature, while the female body contributed only matter. (The existence of the ovum, and with it the other facts of human embryology, was not established until the seventeenth century.) Although the later Greek physician Galen believed there was a female component in generation, contributed by “female semen,” the followers of both Aristotle and Galen saw the male role in human generation as more active and more important. In the Aristotelian view, the male principle sought always to reproduce

1. Aristotle, Physics 1.9.192a20–24, in The Complete Works of Aristotle, ed. Jonathan Barnes, rev. Oxford trans., 2 vols. (Princeton, 1984), 1:328.

Series Editors’ Introduction itself. The creation of a female was always a mistake, therefore, resulting from an imperfect act of generation. Every female born was considered a “defective” or “mutilated” male (as Aristotle’s terminology has variously been translated), a “monstrosity” of nature.2 For Greek theorists, the biology of males and females was the key to their psychology. The female was softer and more docile, more apt to be despondent, querulous, and deceitful. Being incomplete, moreover, she craved sexual fulfillment in intercourse with a male. The male was intellectual, active, and in control of his passions. These psychological polarities derived from the theory that the universe consisted of four elements (earth, fire, air, and water), expressed in human bodies as four “humors” (black bile, yellow bile, blood, and phlegm) considered, respectively, dry, hot, damp, and cold and corresponding to mental states (“melancholic,” “choleric,” “sanguine,” “phlegmatic”). In this scheme the male, sharing the principles of earth and fire, was dry and hot; the female, sharing the principles of air and water, was cold and damp. Female psychology was further affected by her dominant organ, the uterus (womb), hystera in Greek. The passions generated by the womb made women lustful, deceitful, talkative, irrational, indeed—when these affects were in excess—“hysterical.” Aristotle’s biology also had social and political consequences. If the male principle was superior and the female inferior, then in the household, as in the state, men should rule and women must be subordinate. That hierarchy did not rule out the companionship of husband and wife, whose cooperation was necessary for the welfare of children and the preservation of property. Such mutuality supported male preeminence. Aristotle’s teacher Plato suggested a different possibility: that men and women might possess the same virtues. The setting for this proposal is the imaginary and ideal Republic that Plato sketches in a dialogue of that name. Here, for a privileged elite capable of leading wisely, all distinctions of class and wealth dissolve, as, consequently, do those of gender. Without households or property, as Plato constructs his ideal society, there is no need for the subordination of women. Women may therefore be educated to the same level as men to assume leadership. Plato’s Republic remained imaginary, however. In real societies, the subordination of women remained the norm and the prescription. The views of women inherited from the Greek philosophical tradition became the basis for medieval thought. In the thirteenth century, the supreme Scholastic philosopher Thomas Aquinas, among others, still echoed 2. Aristotle, Generation of Animals 2.3.737a27–28, in The Complete Works, 1:1144.



Series Editors’ Introduction Aristotle’s views of human reproduction, of male and female personalities, and of the preeminent male role in the social hierarchy. R O M A N L AW AND THE FE MAL E CO ND ITIO N. Roman law, like Greek philosophy, underlay medieval thought and shaped medieval society. The ancient belief that adult property-owning men should administer households and make decisions affecting the community at large is the very fulcrum of Roman law. About 450 B.C.E., during Rome’s republican era, the community’s customary law was recorded (legendarily) on twelve tablets erected in the city’s central forum. It was later elaborated by professional jurists whose activity increased in the imperial era, when much new legislation was passed, especially on issues affecting family and inheritance. This growing, changing body of laws was eventually codified in the Corpus of Civil Law under the direction of the emperor Justinian, generations after the empire ceased to be ruled from Rome. That Corpus, read and commented on by medieval scholars from the eleventh century on, inspired the legal systems of most of the cities and kingdoms of Europe. Laws regarding dowries, divorce, and inheritance pertain primarily to women. Since those laws aimed to maintain and preserve property, the women concerned were those from the property-owning minority. Their subordination to male family members points to the even greater subordination of lower-class and slave women, about whom the laws speak little. In the early republic, the paterfamilias, or “father of the family,” possessed patria potestas, “paternal power.” The term pater, “father,” in both these cases does not necessarily mean biological father but denotes the head of a household. The father was the person who owned the household’s property and, indeed, its human members. The paterfamilias had absolute power—including the power, rarely exercised, of life or death—over his wife, his children, and his slaves, as much as his cattle. Male children could be “emancipated,” an act that granted legal autonomy and the right to own property. Those over fourteen could be emancipated by a special grant from the father or automatically by their father’s death. But females could never be emancipated; instead, they passed from the authority of their father to that of a husband or, if widowed or orphaned while still unmarried, to a guardian or tutor. Marriage in its traditional form placed the woman under her husband’s authority, or manus. He could divorce her on grounds of adultery, drinking wine, or stealing from the household, but she could not divorce him. She

Series Editors’ Introduction could neither possess property in her own right nor bequeath any to her children upon her death. When her husband died, the household property passed not to her but to his male heirs. And when her father died, she had no claim to any family inheritance, which was directed to her brothers or more remote male relatives. The effect of these laws was to exclude women from civil society, itself based on property ownership. In the later republican and imperial periods, these rules were significantly modified. Women rarely married according to the traditional form. The practice of “free” marriage allowed a woman to remain under her father’s authority, to possess property given her by her father (most frequently the “dowry,” recoverable from the husband’s household on his death), and to inherit from her father. She could also bequeath property to her own children and divorce her husband, just as he could divorce her. Despite this greater freedom, women still suffered enormous disability under Roman law. Heirs could belong only to the father’s side, never the mother’s. Moreover, although she could bequeath her property to her children, she could not establish a line of succession in doing so. A woman was “the beginning and end of her own family,” said the jurist Ulpian. Moreover, women could play no public role. They could not hold public office, represent anyone in a legal case, or even witness a will. Women had only a private existence and no public personality. The dowry system, the guardian, women’s limited ability to transmit wealth, and total political disability are all features of Roman law adopted by the medieval communities of western Europe, although modified according to local customary laws. C H R I S T I A N D O CTRINE AND WO ME N’S P L ACE. The Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament authorized later writers to limit women to the realm of the family and to burden them with the guilt of original sin. The passages most fruitful for this purpose were the creation narratives in Genesis and sentences from the Epistles defining women’s role within the Christian family and community. Each of the first two chapters of Genesis contains a creation narrative. In the first “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Gn 1:27). In the second, God created Eve from Adam’s rib (2:21–23). Christian theologians relied principally on Genesis 2 for their understanding of the relation between man and woman, interpreting the creation of Eve from Adam as proof of her subordination to him.



Series Editors’ Introduction The creation story in Genesis 2 leads to that of the temptations in Genesis 3: of Eve by the wily serpent and of Adam by Eve. As read by Christian theologians from Tertullian to Thomas Aquinas, the narrative made Eve responsible for the Fall and its consequences. She instigated the act; she deceived her husband; she suffered the greater punishment. Her disobedience made it necessary for Jesus to be incarnated and to die on the cross. From the pulpit, moralists and preachers for centuries conveyed to women the guilt that they bore for original sin. The Epistles offered advice to early Christians on building communities of the faithful. Among the matters to be regulated was the place of women. Paul offered views favorable to women in Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Paul also referred to women as his coworkers and placed them on a par with himself and his male coworkers (Phlm 4:2–3; Rom 16:1–3; 1 Cor 16:19). Elsewhere, Paul limited women’s possibilities: “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a woman is her husband, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Cor 11:3). Biblical passages by later writers (although attributed to Paul) enjoined women to forgo jewels, expensive clothes, and elaborate coiffures; and they forbade women to “teach or have authority over men,” telling them to “learn in silence with all submissiveness” as is proper for one responsible for sin, consoling them, however, with the thought that they will be saved through childbearing (1 Tm 2:9–15). Other texts among the later Epistles defined women as the weaker sex and emphasized their subordination to their husbands (1 Pt 3:7; Col 3:18; Eph 5:22–23). These passages from the New Testament became the arsenal employed by theologians of the early church to transmit negative attitudes toward women to medieval Christian culture—above all, Tertullian (On the Apparel of Women), Jerome (Against Jovinian), and Augustine (The Literal Meaning of Genesis). The philosophical, legal, and religious traditions born in antiquity formed the basis of the medieval intellectual synthesis wrought by trained thinkers, mostly clerics, writing in Latin and based largely in universities. The vernacular literary tradition that developed alongside the learned tradition also spoke about female nature and women’s roles. Medieval stories, poems, and epics also portrayed women negatively—as lustful and deceitful—while praising good houseT H E I M A G E O F WO ME N IN ME D IE VAL L ITE R ATURE.

Series Editors’ Introduction keepers and loyal wives as replicas of the Virgin Mary or the female saints and martyrs. There is an exception in the movement of “courtly love” that evolved in southern France from the twelfth century. Courtly love was the erotic love between a nobleman and noblewoman, the latter usually superior in social rank. It was always adulterous. From the conventions of courtly love derive modern Western notions of romantic love. The tradition has had an impact disproportionate to its size, for it affected only a tiny elite, and very few women. The exaltation of the female lover probably does not reflect a higher evaluation of women or a step toward their sexual liberation. More likely it gives expression to the social and sexual tensions besetting the knightly class at a specific historical juncture. The literary fashion of courtly love was on the wane by the thirteenth century, when the widely read Romance of the Rose was composed in French by two authors of significantly different dispositions. Guillaume de Lorris composed the initial four thousand verses about 1235, and Jean de Meun added about seventeen thousand verses—more than four times the original—about 1265. The fragment composed by Guillaume de Lorris stands squarely in the tradition of courtly love. Here the poet, in a dream, is admitted into a walled garden where he finds a magic fountain in which a rosebush is reflected. He longs to pick one rose, but the thorns prevent his doing so, even as he is wounded by arrows from the god of love, whose commands he agrees to obey. The rest of this part of the poem recounts the poet’s unsuccessful efforts to pluck the rose. The longer part of the Romance by Jean de Meun also describes a dream. But here allegorical characters give long didactic speeches, providing a social satire on a variety of themes, some pertaining to women. Love is an anxious and tormented state, the poem explains: women are greedy and manipulative, marriage is miserable, beautiful women are lustful, ugly ones cease to please, and a chaste woman is as rare as a black swan. Shortly after Jean de Meun completed The Romance of the Rose, Mathéolus penned his Lamentations, a long Latin diatribe against marriage translated into French about a century later. The Lamentations sum up medieval attitudes toward women and provoked the important response by Christine de Pizan in her Book of the City of Ladies. In 1355, Giovanni Boccaccio wrote Il Corbaccio, another antifeminist manifesto, although ironically by an author whose other works pioneered new directions in Renaissance thought. The former husband of his lover



Series Editors’ Introduction appears to Boccaccio, condemning his unmoderated lust and detailing the defects of women. Boccaccio concedes at the end “how much men naturally surpass women in nobility” and is cured of his desires.3 The negative perceptions of women expressed in the intellectual tradition are also implicit in the actual roles that women played in European society. Assigned to subordinate positions in the household and the church, they were barred from significant participation in public life. Medieval European households, like those in antiquity and in nonWestern civilizations, were headed by males. It was the male serf (or peasant), feudal lord, town merchant, or citizen who was polled or taxed or succeeded to an inheritance or had any acknowledged public role, although his wife or widow could stand as a temporary surrogate. From about 1100, the position of property-holding males was further enhanced: inheritance was confined to the male, or agnate, line—with depressing consequences for women. A wife never fully belonged to her husband’s family, nor was she a daughter to her father’s family. She left her father’s house young to marry whomever her parents chose. Her dowry was managed by her husband, and at her death it normally passed to her children by him. A married woman’s life was occupied nearly constantly with cycles of pregnancy, childbearing, and lactation. Women bore children through all the years of their fertility, and many died in childbirth. They were also responsible for raising young children up to six or seven. In the propertied classes that responsibility was shared, since it was common for a wet nurse to take over breast-feeding and for servants to perform other chores. Women trained their daughters in the household duties appropriate to their status, nearly always tasks associated with textiles: spinning, weaving, sewing, embroidering. Their sons were sent out of the house as apprentices or students, or their training was assumed by fathers in later childhood and adolescence. On the death of her husband, a woman’s children became the responsibility of his family. She generally did not take “his” children with her to a new marriage or back to her father’s house, except sometimes in the artisan classes. Women also worked. Rural peasants performed farm chores, merchant wives often practiced their husbands’ trades, the unmarried daughters of the W O M E N ’ S R O L E S: THE FAMILY.

3. Giovanni Boccaccio, The Corbaccio, or The Labyrinth of Love, trans. and ed. Anthony K. Cassell, rev. ed. (Binghamton, NY, 1993), 71.

Series Editors’ Introduction urban poor worked as servants or prostitutes. All wives produced or embellished textiles and did the housekeeping, while wealthy ones managed servants. These labors were unpaid or poorly paid but often contributed substantially to family wealth. W O M E N ’ S R O L E S: THE CHURCH. Membership in a household, whether a father’s or a husband’s, meant for women a lifelong subordination to others. In western Europe, the Roman Catholic Church offered an alternative to the career of wife and mother. A woman could enter a convent, parallel in function to the monasteries for men that evolved in the early Christian centuries. In the convent, a woman pledged herself to a celibate life, lived according to strict community rules, and worshiped daily. Often the convent offered training in Latin, allowing some women to become considerable scholars and authors as well as scribes, artists, and musicians. For women who chose the conventual life, the benefits could be enormous, but for numerous others placed in convents by paternal choice, the life could be restrictive and burdensome. The conventual life declined as an alternative for women as the modern age approached. Reformed monastic institutions resisted responsibility for related female orders. The church increasingly restricted female institutional life by insisting on closer male supervision. Women often sought other options. Some joined the communities of laywomen that sprang up spontaneously in the thirteenth century in the urban zones of western Europe, especially in Flanders and Italy. Some joined the heretical movements that flourished in late medieval Christendom, whose anticlerical and often antifamily positions particularly appealed to women. In these communities, some women were acclaimed as “holy women” or “saints,” whereas others often were condemned as frauds or heretics. In all, although the options offered to women by the church were sometimes less than satisfactory, they were sometimes richly rewarding. After 1520, the convent remained an option only in Roman Catholic territories. Protestantism engendered an ideal of marriage as a heroic endeavor and appeared to place husband and wife on a more equal footing. Sermons and treatises, however, still called for female subordination and obedience.

T H E OT H ER VOI CE, 1300 – 1 7 0 0

When the modern era opened, European culture was so firmly structured by a framework of negative attitudes toward women that to dismantle it was a



Series Editors’ Introduction monumental labor. The process began as part of a larger cultural movement that entailed the critical reexamination of ideas inherited from the ancient and medieval past. The humanists launched that critical reexamination. Originating in Italy in the fourteenth century, humanism quickly became the dominant intellectual movement in Europe. Spreading in the sixteenth century from Italy to the rest of Europe, it fueled the literary, scientific, and philosophical movements of the era and laid the basis for the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Humanists regarded the Scholastic philosophy of medieval universities as out of touch with the realities of urban life. They found in the rhetorical discourse of classical Rome a language adapted to civic life and public speech. They learned to read, speak, and write classical Latin and, eventually, classical Greek. They founded schools to teach others to do so, establishing the pattern for elementary and secondary education for the next three hundred years. In the service of complex government bureaucracies, humanists employed their skills to write eloquent letters, deliver public orations, and formulate public policy. They developed new scripts for copying manuscripts and used the new printing press to disseminate texts, for which they created methods of critical editing. Humanism was a movement led by males who accepted the evaluation of women in ancient texts and generally shared the misogynist perceptions of their culture. (Female humanists, as we will see, did not.) Yet humanism also opened the door to a reevaluation of the nature and capacity of women. By calling authors, texts, and ideas into question, it made possible the fundamental rereading of the whole intellectual tradition that was required in order to free women from cultural prejudice and social subordination. T H E H U M A NIST FO UND ATIO N.

A D I F F E R E NT CITY. The other voice first appeared when, after so many centuries, the accumulation of misogynist concepts evoked a response from a capable female defender: Christine de Pizan (1365–1431). Introducing her Book of the City of Ladies (1405), she described how she was affected by reading Mathéolus’s Lamentations: “Just the sight of this book . . . made me wonder how it happened that so many different men . . . are so inclined to express both in speaking and in their treatises and writings so many wicked insults about women and their behavior.”4 These statements impelled her to

4. Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies, trans. Earl Jeffrey Richards, foreword by Marina Warner (New York, 1982), 1.1.1, pp. 3–4.

Series Editors’ Introduction detest herself “and the entire feminine sex, as though we were monstrosities in nature.”5 The rest of The Book of the City of Ladies presents a justification of the female sex and a vision of an ideal community of women. A pioneer, she has received the message of female inferiority and rejected it. From the fourteenth to the seventeenth century, a huge body of literature accumulated that responded to the dominant tradition. The result was a literary explosion consisting of works by both men and women, in Latin and in the vernaculars: works enumerating the achievements of notable women; works rebutting the main accusations made against women; works arguing for the equal education of men and women; works defining and redefining women’s proper role in the family, at court, in public; works describing women’s lives and experiences. Recent monographs and articles have begun to hint at the great range of this movement, involving probably several thousand titles. The protofeminism of these “other voices” constitutes a significant fraction of the literary product of the early modern era. T H E C ATA L O G S. About 1365, the same Boccaccio whose Corbaccio rehearses the usual charges against female nature wrote another work, Concerning Famous Women. A humanist treatise drawing on classical texts, it praised 106 notable women: ninety-eight of them from pagan Greek and Roman antiquity, one (Eve) from the Bible, and seven from the medieval religious and cultural tradition; his book helped make all readers aware of a sex normally condemned or forgotten. Boccaccio’s outlook nevertheless was unfriendly to women, for it singled out for praise those women who possessed the traditional virtues of chastity, silence, and obedience. Women who were active in the public realm—for example, rulers and warriors—were depicted as usually being lascivious and as suffering terrible punishments for entering the masculine sphere. Women were his subject, but Boccaccio’s standard remained male. Christine de Pizan’s Book of the City of Ladies contains a second catalog, one responding specifically to Boccaccio’s. Whereas Boccaccio portrays female virtue as exceptional, she depicts it as universal. Many women in history were leaders, or remained chaste despite the lascivious approaches of men, or were visionaries and brave martyrs. The work of Boccaccio inspired a series of catalogs of illustrious women of the biblical, classical, Christian, and local pasts, among them Filippo da

5. Ibid., 1.1.1–2, p. 5.



Series Editors’ Introduction Bergamo’s Of Illustrious Women, Pierre de Brantôme’s Lives of Illustrious Women, Pierre Le Moyne’s Gallerie of Heroic Women, and Pietro Paolo de Ribera’s Immortal Triumphs and Heroic Enterprises of 845 Women. Whatever their embedded prejudices, these works drove home to the public the possibility of female excellence. T H E D E B ATE . At the same time, many questions remained: Could a woman be virtuous? Could she perform noteworthy deeds? Was she even, strictly speaking, of the same human species as men? These questions were debated over four centuries, in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and English, by authors male and female, among Catholics, Protestants, and Jews, in ponderous volumes and breezy pamphlets. The whole literary genre has been called the querelle des femmes, the “woman question.” The opening volley of this battle occurred in the first years of the fifteenth century, in a literary debate sparked by Christine de Pizan. She exchanged letters critical of Jean de Meun’s contribution to The Romance of the Rose with two French royal secretaries, Jean de Montreuil and Gontier Col. When the matter became public, Jean Gerson, one of Europe’s leading theologians, supported de Pizan’s arguments against de Meun, for the moment silencing the opposition. The debate resurfaced repeatedly over the next two hundred years. The Triumph of Women (1438) by Juan Rodríguez de la Camara (or Juan Rodríguez del Padron) struck a new note by presenting arguments for the superiority of women to men. The Champion of Women (1440–42) by Martin Le Franc addresses once again the negative views of women presented in The Romance of the Rose and offers counterevidence of female virtue and achievement. A cameo of the debate on women is included in The Courtier, one of the most widely read books of the era, published by the Italian Baldassare Castiglione in 1528 and immediately translated into other European vernaculars. The Courtier depicts a series of evenings at the court of the duke of Urbino in which many men and some women of the highest social stratum amuse themselves by discussing a range of literary and social issues. The “woman question” is a pervasive theme throughout, and the third of its four books is devoted entirely to that issue. In a verbal duel, Gasparo Pallavicino and Giuliano de’ Medici present the main claims of the two traditions. Gasparo argues the innate inferiority of women and their inclination to vice. Only in bearing children do they profit the world. Giuliano counters that women share the same spiritual and mental capacities as men and may excel in wisdom and action. Men and women are of the same essence: just as no stone can be more perfectly a stone than another, so no human being can be more perfectly human than

Series Editors’ Introduction others, whether male or female. It was an astonishing assertion, boldly made to an audience as large as all Europe. T H E T R E AT I SE S. Humanism provided the materials for a positive counterconcept to the misogyny embedded in Scholastic philosophy and law and inherited from the Greek, Roman, and Christian pasts. A series of humanist treatises on marriage and family, on education and deportment, and on the nature of women helped construct these new perspectives. The works by Francesco Barbaro and Leon Battista Alberti—On Marriage (1415) and On the Family (1434–37)—far from defending female equality, reasserted women’s responsibility for rearing children and managing the housekeeping while being obedient, chaste, and silent. Nevertheless, they served the cause of reexamining the issue of women’s nature by placing domestic issues at the center of scholarly concern and reopening the pertinent classical texts. In addition, Barbaro emphasized the companionate nature of marriage and the importance of a wife’s spiritual and mental qualities for the well-being of the family. These themes reappear in later humanist works on marriage and the education of women by Juan Luis Vives and Erasmus. Both were moderately sympathetic to the condition of women without reaching beyond the usual masculine prescriptions for female behavior. An outlook more favorable to women characterizes the nearly unknown work In Praise of Women (ca. 1487) by the Italian humanist Bartolommeo Goggio. In addition to providing a catalog of illustrious women, Goggio argued that male and female are the same in essence, but that women (reworking the Adam and Eve narrative from quite a new angle) are actually superior. In the same vein, the Italian humanist Mario Equicola asserted the spiritual equality of men and women in On Women (1501). In 1525, Galeazzo Flavio Capra (or Capella) published his work On the Excellence and Dignity of Women. This humanist tradition of treatises defending the worthiness of women culminates in the work of Henricus Cornelius Agrippa On the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex. No work by a male humanist more succinctly or explicitly presents the case for female dignity. T H E W I T C H BO O KS. While humanists grappled with the issues pertaining to women and family, other learned men turned their attention to what they perceived as a very great problem: witches. Witch-hunting manuals, explorations of the witch phenomenon, and even defenses of witches are not at first glance pertinent to the tradition of the other voice. But they do relate in this way: most accused witches were women. The hostility aroused by supposed witch activity is comparable to the hostility aroused by women.



Series Editors’ Introduction The evil deeds the victims of the hunt were charged with were exaggerations of the vices to which, many believed, all women were prone. The connection between the witch accusation and the hatred of women is explicit in the notorious witch-hunting manual The Hammer of Witches (1486) by two Dominican inquisitors, Heinrich Krämer and Jacob Sprenger. Here the inconstancy, deceitfulness, and lustfulness traditionally associated with women are depicted in exaggerated form as the core features of witch behavior. These traits inclined women to make a bargain with the devil— sealed by sexual intercourse—by which they acquired unholy powers. Such bizarre claims, far from being rejected by rational men, were broadcast by intellectuals. The German Ulrich Molitur, the Frenchman Nicolas Rémy, and the Italian Stefano Guazzo all coolly informed the public of sinister orgies and midnight pacts with the devil. The celebrated French jurist, historian, and political philosopher Jean Bodin argued that because women were especially prone to diabolism, regular legal procedures could properly be suspended in order to try those accused of this “exceptional crime.” A few experts such as the physician Johann Weyer, a student of Agrippa’s, raised their voices in protest. In 1563, he explained the witch phenomenon thus, without discarding belief in diabolism: the devil deluded foolish old women afflicted by melancholia, causing them to believe they had magical powers. Weyer’s rational skepticism, which had good credibility in the community of the learned, worked to revise the conventional views of women and witchcraft. To the many categories of works produced on the question of women’s worth must be added nearly all works written by women. A woman writing was in herself a statement of women’s claim to dignity. Only a few women wrote anything before the dawn of the modern era, for three reasons. First, they rarely received the education that would enable them to write. Second, they were not admitted to the public roles— as administrator, bureaucrat, lawyer or notary, or university professor—in which they might gain knowledge of the kinds of things the literate public thought worth writing about. Third, the culture imposed silence on women, considering speaking out a form of unchastity. Given these conditions, it is remarkable that any women wrote. Those who did before the fourteenth century were almost always nuns or religious women whose isolation made their pronouncements more acceptable. From the fourteenth century on, the volume of women’s writings rose. Women continued to write devotional literature, although not always as cloistered nuns. They also wrote diaries, often intended as keepsakes for W O M E N ’ S WO RKS.

Series Editors’ Introduction their children; books of advice to their sons and daughters; letters to family members and friends; and family memoirs, in a few cases elaborate enough to be considered histories. A few women wrote works directly concerning the “woman question,” and some of these, such as the humanists Isotta Nogarola, Cassandra Fedele, Laura Cereta, and Olympia Morata, were highly trained. A few were professional writers, living by the income of their pens; the very first among them was Christine de Pizan, noteworthy in this context as in so many others. In addition to The Book of the City of Ladies and her critiques of The Romance of the Rose, she wrote The Treasure of the City of Ladies (a guide to social decorum for women), an advice book for her son, much courtly verse, and a full-scale history of the reign of King Charles V of France. W O M E N PAT RO NS. Women who did not themselves write but encouraged others to do so boosted the development of an alternative tradition. Highly placed women patrons supported authors, artists, musicians, poets, and learned men. Such patrons, drawn mostly from the Italian elites and the courts of northern Europe, figure disproportionately as the dedicatees of the important works of early feminism. For a start, it might be noted that the catalogs of Boccaccio and Alvaro de Luna were dedicated to the Florentine noblewoman Andrea Acciaiuoli and to Doña María, first wife of King Juan II of Castile, while the French translation of Boccaccio’s work was commissioned by Anne of Brittany, wife of King Charles VIII of France. The humanist treatises of Goggio, Equicola, Vives, and Agrippa were dedicated, respectively, to Eleanora of Aragon, wife of Ercole I d’Este, Duke of Ferrara; to Margherita Cantelma of Mantua; to Catherine of Aragon, wife of King Henry VIII of England; and to Margaret, Duchess of Austria and regent of the Netherlands. As late as 1696, Mary Astell’s Serious Proposal to the Ladies, for the Advancement of Their True and Greatest Interest was dedicated to Princess Anne of Denmark. These authors presumed that their efforts would be welcome to female patrons, or they may have written at the bidding of those patrons. Silent themselves, perhaps even unresponsive, these loftily placed women helped shape the tradition of the other voice. T H E I S S U E S . The literary forms and patterns in which the tradition of the other voice presented itself have now been sketched. It remains to highlight the major issues around which this tradition crystallizes. In brief, there are four problems to which our authors return again and again, in plays and catalogs, in verse and letters, in treatises and dialogues, in every language: the problem of chastity, the problem of power, the problem of speech,



Series Editors’ Introduction and the problem of knowledge. Of these the greatest, preconditioning the others, is the problem of chastity. T H E P R O B L E M OF CHA S TITY. In traditional European culture, as in those of antiquity and others around the globe, chastity was perceived as woman’s quintessential virtue—in contrast to courage, or generosity, or leadership, or rationality, seen as virtues characteristic of men. Opponents of women charged them with insatiable lust. Women themselves and their defenders— without disputing the validity of the standard—responded that women were capable of chastity. The requirement of chastity kept women at home, silenced them, isolated them, left them in ignorance. It was the source of all other impediments. Why was it so important to the society of men, of whom chastity was not required, and who more often than not considered it their right to violate the chastity of any woman they encountered? Female chastity ensured the continuity of the male-headed household. If a man’s wife was not chaste, he could not be sure of the legitimacy of his offspring. If they were not his and they acquired his property, it was not his household, but some other man’s, that had endured. If his daughter was not chaste, she could not be transferred to another man’s household as his wife, and he was dishonored. The whole system of the integrity of the household and the transmission of property was bound up in female chastity. Such a requirement pertained only to property-owning classes, of course. Poor women could not expect to maintain their chastity, least of all if they were in contact with high-status men to whom all women but those of their own household were prey. In Catholic Europe, the requirement of chastity was further buttressed by moral and religious imperatives. Original sin was inextricably linked with the sexual act. Virginity was seen as heroic virtue, far more impressive than, say, the avoidance of idleness or greed. Monasticism, the cultural institution that dominated medieval Europe for centuries, was grounded in the renunciation of the flesh. The Catholic reform of the eleventh century imposed a similar standard on all the clergy and a heightened awareness of sexual requirements on all the laity. Although men were asked to be chaste, female unchastity was much worse: it led to the devil, as Eve had led mankind to sin. To such requirements, women and their defenders protested their innocence. Furthermore, following the example of holy women who had escaped the requirements of family and sought the religious life, some women began to conceive of female communities as alternatives both to family and to the cloister. Christine de Pizan’s city of ladies was such a community.

Series Editors’ Introduction Moderata Fonte and Mary Astell envisioned others. The luxurious salons of the French précieuses of the seventeenth century, or the comfortable English drawing rooms of the next, may have been born of the same impulse. Here women not only might escape, if briefly, the subordinate position that life in the family entailed but might also make claims to power, exercise their capacity for speech, and display their knowledge. T H E P R O B L E M OF P OWE R . Women were excluded from power: the whole cultural tradition insisted on it. Only men were citizens, only men bore arms, only men could be chiefs or lords or kings. There were exceptions that did not disprove the rule, when wives or widows or mothers took the place of men, awaiting their return or the maturation of a male heir. A woman who attempted to rule in her own right was perceived as an anomaly, a monster, at once a deformed woman and an insufficient male, sexually confused and consequently unsafe. The association of such images with women who held or sought power explains some otherwise odd features of early modern culture. Queen Elizabeth I of England, one of the few women to hold full regal authority in European history, played with such male/female images—positive ones, of course—in representing herself to her subjects. She was a prince, and manly, even though she was female. She was also (she claimed) virginal, a condition absolutely essential if she was to avoid the attacks of her opponents. Catherine de’ Medici, who ruled France as widow and regent for her sons, also adopted such imagery in defining her position. She chose as one symbol the figure of Artemisia, an androgynous ancient warrior-heroine who combined a female persona with masculine powers. Power in a woman, without such sexual imagery, seems to have been indigestible by the culture. A rare note was struck by the Englishman Sir Thomas Elyot in his Defence of Good Women (1540), justifying both women’s participation in civic life and their prowess in arms. The old tune was sung by the Scots reformer John Knox in his First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women (1558); for him rule by women, defects in nature, was a hideous contradiction in terms. The confused sexuality of the imagery of female potency was not reserved for rulers. Any woman who excelled was likely to be called an Amazon, recalling the self-mutilated warrior women of antiquity who repudiated all men, gave up their sons, and raised only their daughters. She was often said to have “exceeded her sex” or to have possessed “masculine virtue”—as the very fact of conspicuous excellence conferred masculinity even on the female subject. The catalogs of notable women often showed those female heroes dressed in armor, armed to the teeth, like men. Amazonian heroines



Series Editors’ Introduction romp through the epics of the age—Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (1532) and Spenser’s Faerie Queene (1590–1609). Excellence in a woman was perceived as a claim for power, and power was reserved for the masculine realm. A woman who possessed either one was masculinized and lost title to her own female identity. T H E P R O B LE M OF S P E E CH. Just as power had a sexual dimension when it was claimed by women, so did speech. A good woman spoke little. Excessive speech was an indication of unchastity. By speech, women seduced men. Eve had lured Adam into sin by her speech. Accused witches were commonly accused of having spoken abusively, or irrationally, or simply too much. As enlightened a figure as Francesco Barbaro insisted on silence in a woman, which he linked to her perfect unanimity with her husband’s will and her unblemished virtue (her chastity). Another Italian humanist, Leonardo Bruni, in advising a noblewoman on her studies, barred her not from speech but from public speaking. That was reserved for men. Related to the problem of speech was that of costume—another, if silent, form of self-expression. Assigned the task of pleasing men as their primary occupation, elite women often tended toward elaborate costume, hairdressing, and the use of cosmetics. Clergy and secular moralists alike condemned these practices. The appropriate function of costume and adornment was to announce the status of a woman’s husband or father. Any further indulgence in adornment was akin to unchastity. T H E P R O B LE M OF K NOWLE D GE . When the Italian noblewoman Isotta Nogarola had begun to attain a reputation as a humanist, she was accused of incest—a telling instance of the association of learning in women with unchastity. That chilling association inclined any woman who was educated to deny that she was or to make exaggerated claims of heroic chastity. If educated women were pursued with suspicions of sexual misconduct, women seeking an education faced an even more daunting obstacle: the assumption that women were by nature incapable of learning, that reasoning was a particularly masculine ability. Just as they proclaimed their chastity, women and their defenders insisted on their capacity for learning. The major work by a male writer on female education—that by Juan Luis Vives, On the Education of a Christian Woman (1523)—granted female capacity for intellection but still argued that a woman’s whole education was to be shaped around the requirement of chastity and a future within the household. Female writers of the following generations—Marie de Gournay in France, Anna Maria van Schurman in Holland, and Mary Astell in England—began to envision other possibilities. The pioneers of female education were the Italian women humanists who managed to attain a literacy in Latin and a knowledge of classical and

Series Editors’ Introduction Christian literature equivalent to that of prominent men. Their works implicitly and explicitly raise questions about women’s social roles, defining problems that beset women attempting to break out of the cultural limits that had bound them. Like Christine de Pizan, who achieved an advanced education through her father’s tutoring and her own devices, their bold questioning makes clear the importance of training. Only when women were educated to the same standard as male leaders would they be able to raise that other voice and insist on their dignity as human beings morally, intellectually, and legally equal to men. T H E O T H E R VO ICE . The other voice, a voice of protest, was mostly female, but it was also male. It spoke in the vernaculars and in Latin, in treatises and dialogues, in plays and poetry, in letters and diaries, and in pamphlets. It battered at the wall of prejudice that encircled women and raised a banner announcing its claims. The female was equal (or even superior) to the male in essential nature—moral, spiritual, and intellectual. Women were capable of higher education, of holding positions of power and influence in the public realm, and of speaking and writing persuasively. The last bastion of masculine supremacy, centered on the notions of a woman’s primary domestic responsibility and the requirement of female chastity, was not as yet assaulted—although visions of productive female communities as alternatives to the family indicated an awareness of the problem. During the period 1300–1700, the other voice remained only a voice, and one only dimly heard. It did not result—yet—in an alteration of social patterns. Indeed, to this day they have not entirely been altered. Yet the call for justice issued as long as six centuries ago by those writing in the tradition of the other voice must be recognized as the source and origin of the mature feminist tradition and of the realignment of social institutions accomplished in the modern age.

We thank the volume editors in this series, who responded with many suggestions to an earlier draft of this introduction, making it a collaborative enterprise. Many of their suggestions and criticisms have resulted in revisions of this introduction, although we remain responsible for the final product.


Figure 1. Juan Carreño de Miranda, Retrato de Doña Inés de Zúñiga, Condessa de Monterrey (ca. 1660– 1670). As well as having a little lapdog to her right, and a lace handkerchief in her left hand, she wears a little gold pistol hanging from a sash on her overskirt. Courtesy Fundación Lázaro Galdiano.




ith the opening salvo of her novellas, María de Zayas confronts head-on the daring of writing—and publishing—in a woman’s voice: “Who doubts, my reader, that you will be amazed that a woman has the audacity not only to write a book, but to send it for printing. . . . Who doubts, I say again, but that there will be many who attribute to madness this virtuous daring to bring my scribblings into the light, being a woman, which, in the opinion of some fools, is the same as an incapable thing.” To readers in her own day, and in ours, her novellas proved that she was anything but incapable, that she was, in fact, a capable storyteller. Although her works were excluded from the literary canon formulated in the nineteenth century, those of us who rediscover them today find them a great pleasure to read and a seemingly infinite invitation to interpret this seventeenth-century woman’s voice. Her preface “To the Reader” is a succinct and impassioned defense of women’s right to equality with men. She argues that men and women are composed of the same material, that souls are neither male nor female, and that the only cause of the presumed inferiority of women is men’s tyranny in shutting them in and giving them embroidery hoops instead of books and teachers. Apparently responding to Juan Huarte de San Juan’s influential treatise on what is now called human psychology, Examen de ingenios para las ciencias (The Examination of Men’s Wits for Learning) (1575), she inverts the humoral theory of feminine intellectual inferiority, saying that given an education, women would be as qualified as men for official posts and professorships, if not sharper, since entendimiento (understanding or intellect) is best grounded in their cold and damp temperaments. Zayas legitimizes her daring as a female writer with an exemplary list of



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n “foremothers” from classical and early Christian history whom she describes as writers, as teachers of philosophers, and as authors of political counsel and influence: (Pola) Argentaria, wife of the poet Lucan; the Delphic priestess Themistoclea; the mythic Diotima, teacher of Socrates in Plato’s Symposium; “Aspano” (Aspasia), influential in Athenian intellectual and political life; Eudoxa, or Eudocia, learned wife of the fifth-century emperor Theodosius; Zenobia, third-century queen of Palmyra; and Cornelia, a learned Roman woman of the second century BCE. Women of her day with her own love of books can educate themselves and learn to write, says Zayas, with the help of the encyclopedic compendiums of knowledge contained in polyantheas in Latin and of religious doctrine for lay readers in Summae of Morals in the vernacular. Moreover, the male reader owes courtesy and respect to women (writers), for the “hospitality that women gave men in their first journey.” If we read with one eye on the context in which Zayas wrote and the other informed by modern insights into the historical construction of gender and subject positions, we can trace an unspoken logic in her apparently contradictory preface. She, like most writers, designed her tales to lure readers. Writing as a woman in an overwhelmingly male literary tradition, in an era in which literate males outnumbered reading women by a least three or four to one and in a predominantly misogynist, patriarchal culture that enjoined women to silence,1 she employs the subjunctive voice in the title of her preface, so that a literal translation would be “To him who may read.” Writing against religious and philosophical discourses that grounded feminine inferiority in divinely or naturally instilled essential differences, she opens her case by arguing essential identity, material and spiritual, and advances a constructionist argument to explain women’s disadvantaged position. Then taking up current scientific discourse of her day, she invokes humoral difference and, as M. M. Camino says, “by highlighting the fact that humidity could facilitate understanding, she makes it possible for women to possess an intellect comparable to that of men within the physiological 1. According to estimates provided by Sarah Nalle, around 1650, approximately 25 percent of the female population of Madrid could read as opposed to perhaps 60 percent of the male population. Female literacy rates were as high or higher in Cuenca. Literacy rates for men were apparently even higher in Valladolid, where the court was frequently located until Felipe III made Madrid the permanent court in 1606. Pedro M. Cátedra and Anastasio Rojo’s study of wills in Valladolid indicated that 75.8 percent of the men were literate at least to the extent of being able to sign their name, but only 24.2 percent of the women. Literacy rates in some other cities and in rural communities were very low. See Sarah T. Nalle, “Literacy and Culture in Early Modern Castile,” Past and Present 125 (1989): 68–72, and Pedro M. Cátedra and Anastasio Rojo, Bibliotecas y lecturas de mujeres: siglo XVI. (Salamanca: Instituto de Historia del Libro y de las Lecturas, 2004), 1–44.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n 2

discourses obtaining at the time.” Next, she supports this argument with a list of illustrious foremothers. Offering her novellas as a pleasing dish for a human taste sickened by the world’s bitter fare, Zayas concludes her preface with a strategic retreat to an implicitly essentialist posture as she appeals to the chivalrous respect men owe to women. In this preface and in the frame narrative that surrounds the collection and links the stories, she demonstrates repeatedly her concern for establishing and maintaining contact with a “listening” or reading public, male as well as female. Zayas’s concern with a “listening” public is appropriate in what was still a transitional stage between oral and written culture, when reading was often done aloud, for a group of listeners who might not be literate themselves. Her stated objectives are to warn women of the dangers of desire and to reeducate men in their conduct and speech about women; her implied addressee is therefore as often male as female. Hence, while her opening words are the rhetorical equivalent of throwing down a gauntlet to (male) readers, her closing is the equivalent of a stiff curtsy. In her darker and more violent second volume of stories, Zayas intensifies her challenge to misogynists’ assumption of male superiority. The frame tale narrator of the “Desengaño Cuarto” (Fourth Tale of Disillusion) paints male vituperation and restriction of women as a socially organized defense mechanism against threatening female ability, giving a list of women of her own day distinguished in learning and letters and a princess who demonstrates women’s capacity to govern wisely. She caps this with a striking comparison equating the disempowerment of women with castration of men: “men deprive them of learning and arms out of fear and envy, as the Moors make eunuchs of Christians who are to serve where there are women so they can be sure of them.”3 As the Moors physically castrate their Christian captives to protect their power over women as sexual objects, so men, she says, protect their social dominion by denying women access to words and swords, the signifiers of phallic power. Yet she keeps alive the dialogue with fictionalized male as well as female “listeners” and with presumed readers of both sexes through the end of her closing frame, alternating between aggression and seduction as she addresses now men, now women, attacking and curtsying, flattering and commanding, with a rhetoric that works not 2. M. M. Camino, “Spindles for Swords: The Re/dis-covery of María de Zayas’s Presence,” Hispanic Review 62 (1994): 524. 3. “Los hombres de temor y envidia las privan de las letras y las armas, como hacen los moros a los cristianos que han de servir donde hay mujeres que los hacen eunucos para estar seguros de ellos.” María de Zayas y Sotomayor, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), ed. Alicia Yllera (Madrid: Cátedra, 1983), 231.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n with cool reason and linear logic but with the piling on of passion and the cumulative effect of her exempla. The structure of her two-volume collection of tales contributes significantly to that cumulative effect, and since this one-volume anthology is necessarily a selection, a brief explanation of that overall structure and of the reasons for our selection is in order (see also appendix A). The book opens with the censorial approvals, license for publication, the prefatory poems contributed by friends and other writers, and two prefaces. The fiction begins with a frame tale that encompasses both volumes of her stories. The frame tale, simply entitled “Introduction” in each volume, relates a gathering of noble men and women, many of whom take turns telling supposedly true stories to entertain their ailing hostess, Lisis. Each story begins and ends with a fictional return to the comments and interactions of the frame tale characters. Both volumes contain ten stories, told over the space of five nights in the first volume, three in the second. In the first volume, women alternate with men in telling the Exemplary Tales of Love, but in the second, darker Tales of Disillusion, all the fictional storytellers are women. The frame tale itself constitutes a twenty-first story, as Lisis loves don Juan, who openly prefers her cousin Lisarda. As she copes with this rejection, over the course of the first volume, Lisis agrees to wed another suitor, don Diego. As the Tales of Disillusion draws to a close, however, schooled by the cumulative exempla of the unhappy end of its multiple heroines, she chooses instead to break that engagement and withdraw to live as a secular resident in the female world of a convent. To give our readers a sense of the overall structure and progression of her collection, we have chosen to present the first and last tale in each volume, along with the accompanying segments of the frame tale. We have included two other stories from the Exemplary Tales of Love to provide two examples each of tales told by female and male narrators, one of which demonstrates Zayas’s capacity for humor. Along with the first and last of the Tales of Disillusion, we have included the Fifth Tale of Disillusion, thus including examples of the “disillusion” of one unmarried woman, one married woman, and one woman whom most readers consider evil. The choice was not an easy one, but we hope to have provided a representative sample of the variety Zayas’s stories offer. Within the patriarchal cultural tradition of early modern Spain, Zayas’s two-volume Soiree of Honest Entertainment thus creates a literary community of women in three ways: first, in giving the list of writing “foremothers” in the “To the Reader” preface to the Exemplary Tales of Love; second, by naming contemporary women distinguished in learning, letters, and government in

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n the voice of the narrator of the “Fourth Tale of Disillusion”; and third, particularly in the Tales of Disillusion, as Amy Kaminsky suggests, by creating a chorus of women’s voices whose stories show an audience of both men and women that the socially prescribed gender relations are hazardous for women and detrimental to society, with the objective of modifying the behavior of both sexes and improving the lot of women.4 LI F E A N D W OR K S OF M A R Í A D E ZAYAS

We know that doña María did establish that dialogue with readers in her own lifetime and that her works have continued to draw readers over the centuries, in rapidly increasing numbers in recent decades. Reliable information on her life is, however, frustratingly incomplete. We do not even know whether these tales of passion were penned by a single or a married woman. Given the scarcity of documentary sources on María de Zayas, many readers have turned to circumstantial evidence to fill in the gaps in their constructions of this enigmatic figure, or to reading selected elements of her tales as autobiography, a questionable but almost irresistible procedure. Zayas seems almost certainly to have been born in Madrid in 1590, the daughter of Fernando de Zayas y Sotomayor and María de Barasa.5 4. Amy Kaminsky, “Maria de Zayas and the Invention of a Women’s Writing Community,” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 35 (2001): 487–88. A steadily growing number of publications are now making it possible for readers to gather a sense of the early modern community of women writers, including Kaminsky’s bilingual anthology, Water Lilies: Flores de agua: An anthology of Spanish Women Writers from the Fifteenth through the Nineteenth Century (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996); Zayas and Her Sisters: An Anthology of Novelas by Seventeenth-Century Spanish Women, ed. Judith Whitenack and Gwyn Elizabeth Campbell (Asheville, NC: Pegasus Press, 2000); and Women Writers of Early Modern Spain: Sophia’s Daughters, ed. Barbara Mujica (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004). Alison Weber’s study Teresa of Avila and the Rhetoric of Femininity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) is key to understanding her major importance in the lives and writings of religious women of her age, while the bilingual anthology Untold Sisters: Hispanic Nuns in Their Own Works, ed. Electra Arenal and Stacy Schlau (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1989, new edition forthcoming from Pennsylvania State University Press), provides a generous sample of their writings. Elizabeth Lehfeldt’s Religious Women in Golden Age Spain: The Permeable Cloister (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005) helps us see the fluidity of women’s community within and outside convent walls. Lisa Vollendorf’s The Lives of Women: A New History of Inquisitional Spain (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005) provides a variety of examples of the stories told by or about a wide range of women and their worlds, setting that of Zayas amidst those of other women, secular and religious, from a Moorish hermaphrodite to Sor Catalina de Jesús y San Francisco, whose priest son wrote a biography of his mother as a widow, reformer, and educator. 5. Manuel Serrano y Sanz published the certificate of her baptism, on 12 September 1590 in the Madrid parish of San Sebastián, but gave the mother’s name as Catalina, rather than María, as the certificate shows. Manuel Serrano y Sanz, Apuntes para una biblioteca de escritoras españolas



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n Fernando de Zayas was an infantry captain who served as administrator for the seventh count of Lemos, Pedro Fernández de Castro, and was awarded the habit of the elite military-religious Order of Santiago in 1628.6 Ten years later, he was named administrator of the order’s estate in Jeréz de los Caballeros, but apparently he enjoyed that post briefly, as another man was named to it in 1642.7 Because Zayas set her stories in all the major cities of the peninsula, as well as in Flanders, Naples, and Sicily, literary historians have speculated that she may have spent some time outside Madrid, in Valladolid, Zaragoza, Barcelona, and Naples, while others find her descriptions of those cities too formulaic to offer convincing proof of personal acquaintance with them. Perhaps the best case can be made for her residence in Naples, which she makes the setting for part or all of three stories, since the count of Lemos was viceroy in Naples from 1610 to 1616. Whether or not Zayas ever lived outside Madrid, that court city was the center of her literary life in her formative years as a writer. She was certainly resident there in 1617, when her signature appears along with that of other associates—secular and religious, male and female—of the Brotherhood of the Defenders of the Immaculate Conception.8 Between 1621 and 1632, she wrote laudatory poems included in the preliminaries of books by several authors,9 a custom that many repaid in preliminary verses for her Novelas amorosas. She also wrote a play, La traición en la amistad (Friendship Betrayed), which survives in a manuscript now in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid and was

desde el año 1401 al 1833, Biblioteca de Autores Españoles, vols. 270–71 (Madrid: Atlas, 1975), 271: 583–85. Patsy Boyer gives the mother’s name as Ana but does not specify her source. María de Zayas y Sotomayor, The Enchantments of Love, trans. H. Patsy Boyer (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), xi. Godparents at the baptism were Diego de Santoyo and Juana de Cardona, and Bernabé González and Alonso García were witnesses. Her father, baptized in the same parish, was the son of Luisa de Zayas and Francisco de Zayas; her maternal grandparents were Antonio de Sotomayor and Catalina de Zayas. Isabel Barbeito Carneiro, Mujeres del Madrid barroco. Voces Testimoniales (Madrid: Dirección General de la Mujer de la Comunidad de Madrid, 1992), 165–66; Alicia Yllera, Introducción, in Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), 15–16. 6. Barbeito Carneiro, Mujeres del Madrid barroco, 166–67. 7. Yllera, Introducción, 16. 8. Barbeito Carneiro, Mujeres del Madrid barroco, 166–67. 9. Her poems figured in the preliminaries of Miguel Botello’s La fábula de Píramo y Tisbe (1621) and Prosas y versos del pastor de Clenarda (1622), Orfeo en lengua castellana (1624) by Juan Pérez de Montalban, Esperiencias de amor y fortuna (1626) by Francisco de las Cuevas, and El Adonis (1632) by Antonio del Castillo de Larzával.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n published at the beginning of the twentieth century by Manuel Serrano y Sanz in his collection of previously unpublished works by women writers.10 Zayas apparently participated in one or more of the literary academies that flourished in Madrid in these decades, although the precise nature of her participation is uncertain. The anonymously authored “Prologue by a Disinterested Person” to her Novelas amorosas introduces her as “doña María de Zayas . . . whom the learned academies of Madrid have so applauded and celebrated”;11 and Willard King believes she took part in the activities of the Madrid academy sponsored by Francisco de Mendoza and perhaps that of Sebastián Francisco de Medrano as well.12 The Medrano group met between about 1617 and 1622 and was followed in 1623 by the Mendoza academy, which lasted until at least 1637.13 When the vogue of literary academies spread from Italy to Spain and France in the sixteenth century, women in Spanish academies did not acquire the importance they enjoyed in their Italian and French counterparts, and the studies of Willard King and José Sánchez list virtually no women as regular members.14 Zayas’s relationship to them may not have extended beyond participation in the poetic competitions they sponsored, in which visitors, including women, were invited to take part.15 Pérez de Montalbán, who placed considerable value on membership in academies,16 praises Zayas’s participation in poetic competitions but does not attribute academy membership to her. During the decades of the 1620s and 1630s, Zayas garnered the praise of a number of the well-known writers of her day, including Lope de Vega and Castillo Solórzano as well as Pérez de Montalbán. Lope, in his Laurel de Apolo (1630), carried his display of classical erudition to such lengths in praise of Zayas that one suspects an ironic intent:

10. Serrano y Sanz, Apuntes para una biblioteca de escritoras españolas, 271: 590–620. The play is also available in more recent editions, including a good edition prepared by Barbara López Mayhew, La traición en la amistad (Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2003), and a bilingual edition: María de Zayas y Sotomayor, La traición en la amistad, trans. Catherine Larson, ed. Valerie Hegstrom (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1999). 11. See below. 12. Willard F. King, Prosa novelística y academias literarias en el siglo XVII (Madrid: Imprenta Silverio Aguirre Torre, 1963), 59 n. 81. 13. Ibid, 49–62. 14. Ibid, 81–82; and José Sánchez, Academias literarias del Siglo de Oro español (Madrid: Gredos, 1961), 215–17. 15. King, Prosa novelistica, 54. 16. Ibid, 96–97.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n O beautiful, sweet Muses of Hippocrene, quickly strip the thorny Pangaion Oros17 and from its roses weave rich garlands and trophies for the immortal doña María de Zayas, for whoever wishes to see miracles wrought by a woman without traveling to Lesbos or the beaches of the vast Aegean sea that today weep Theseus’s black sail will enjoy a Mytilenean Sappho, because her lively clear talent is so unique and rare that she alone could not only aspire to the green bough but alone be the sun to your shores, and you through her could secure more fame than Naples through Claudia, holy Rome through Cornelia, and Thebes through Targelia.18 She also enjoyed the admiration and friendship of Ana Caro de Mallén y Soto, who had achieved some recognition in literary circles and had been paid for writing autos sacramentales (allegorical religious drama performed annually in Corpus Christi celebrations) in Seville and for chronicling festivities in the new Buen Retiro Palace in 1637 in Madrid.19 Caro wrote a laudatory preliminary poem for Zayas’s Novelas amorosas, and Zayas returned her compliments through the voice of the narrator of her fourth Desengaño, including Caro in her list of illustrious women. Alonso de Castillo Solórzano, who contributed not one but two preliminary poems for Zayas’s Novelas amorosas, combines another fictional testimony to the talents of Caro and Zayas with praise for both women writers in La Garduña de Sevilla. His character Monsalve prefaces the reading of his own novella by saying: It is very daring to write in these times, when I see such lucid talents give birth to creatures as admirable as they are witty, and not just men who profess knowledge and learning, but also illustrious ladies, since in these days doña María de Zayas y Sotomayor’s talent shines out and 17. The mountain in Greece whose peak was the home of the cult of Dionysus. 18. “¡Oh dulces Hipocrenides hermosas! / los espinos Pangeos / aprisa desnudad, y de las rosas / tejed ricas guirnaldas y trofeos / a la inmortal doña María de Zayas, / que sin passar a Lesbos, ni a las playas / del vasto mar Egeo, / que hoy llora el negro velo de Theseo, / a Sapho gozará Mytilenea, / quien ver milagros de mujer desea; / porque su ingenio vivamente claro es tan único y raro, que ella sola pudiera, / no sólo pretender la verde rama, / pero sola ser sol de tu ribera, / y tú por ella conseguir más fama, / que Nápoles por Claudia, por Cornelia / la sacra Roma, y Thebas por Targelia.” Lope de Vega Carpio, El laurel de Apolo, Coleccion de las obras sueltas, assí en prosa, como en verso, de D. Frey Lope Félix de Vega Carpio (Madrid: Antonio de Sancha, 1776), 165. We find no documentation for a “Targelia” of Thebes. Lope may have confused the name of some Greek equivalent of Claudia and Cornelia with “Thargelia,” one of the major festivals of Apollo at Athens. 19. See the article by Lola Luna, “Ana Caro, una escritoria ‘de oficio’ del Siglo de Oro,” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 72 (1995): 11–26.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n excels to happy applause, who rightly has earned the name of the Sibyl of Madrid, acquired due to her admirable verses, her happy talent and great prudence, having brought from the presses a book of ten novellas that are ten wonders for those who cultivate this genre; for the meditated prose, their craft, and the verses she intersperses in them are all so admirable that they intimidate the most valiant pens of our Spain.20 Zayas was apparently composing her first novellas during the 1620s, according to the testimony of Pérez de Montalbán in Para todos (For Everyone) (1632): “Doña María de Zayas, tenth muse of our century, has entered poetic competitions with great success, has completed a comedia in excellent verse, and has ready for publication a book of eight novellas in prose and verse.”21 As Jaime Moll reconstructs events, Zayas apparently had a volume of eight stories ready for publication in 1626 and had secured the necessary censorial approval, only to find her way blocked by the refusal of the Council of Castile to issue licenses for publication of works of entertainment in Castile between 1625 and 1634, in accord with the program of reform introduced by the count-duke of Olivares in the early years of Felipe IV’s reign. The Aragonese publisher Pedro de Esquer, postulates Moll, then took the manuscript to Zaragoza and secured the necessary licenses for publication of the stories in Aragonese territory in 1637. If Zayas published any more preliminary poems for other authors after the publication of her first volume of stories in 1637, they have not survived. She did contribute to volumes of homage to Lope de Vega and Montalbán after their deaths, in 1636 and 1639, respectively.22 Zayas’s invisibility thereafter and the somber vision of her second volume of stories have given rise to highly speculative biographical inventions, often involving reading the fate of selected Zayas protagonists as that of the author herself.23 20. Alonso de Castillo Solórzano, “La Garduña de Sevilla y anzuelo de las bolsas,” in Novelistas posteriores a Cervantes, ed. Cayetano Rosell y López, Biblioteca de Autores Españoles (Madrid: M. Rivadeneyra, 1854), 184–85. 21. Cited in Jaime Moll, “La primera edición de las ‘Novelas amorosas y exemplares’ de María de Zayas y Sotomayor,” Dicenda. Cuadernos de Filología Hispánica 1 (1982): 178. 22. In Fama posthuma a la vida y muerte del Doctor Frey Lope Félix de Vega Carpio. Y elogios panejíricos a la inmortalidad de su nombre . . . Solicitados por el Doctor Juan Pérez de Montalvan (Madrid, 1636) and Lágrimas panegíricas a la temprana muerte del gran poeta, y teólogo ensigne Juan Pérez de Montalban . . . Recogidas i publicadas por Don Pedro Grande de Tena (Madrid, 1639). Serrano y Sanz, Apuntes para una biblioteca, 589. 23. For details of her speculations and those of other critics and a longer analysis of the Fontanella vejamen, see Margaret R. Greer, María de Zayas Tells Baroque Tales of Love and the Cruelty of Men (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000), chap. 1.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n Some of these speculations can now be definitively laid to rest, but others have taken on new life as a result of Kenneth Brown’s publication of the manuscript of Francesc Fontanella’s Vejamen (Vexation), a poetic “roast” of Zayas and other poets, written and read at the conclusion of a poetic competition celebrated by the Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas in Barcelona in 1643.24 Fontanella paints a satirical portrait of the poetic failings of each of the competing poets and, in the case of Zayas, of her physical characteristics as well. Although burlesque caricatures of physical characteristics were standard in other such roasts, perhaps even more common than satire of poetic peccadilloes or other distinguishing characteristics,25 only Zayas merits such treatment in Fontanella’s dream fiction. He paints her as a bewhiskered woman who tries to usurp masculine discourse for which she does not have the “physical equipment,” that is, a “sword” under her “sayas” or skirts: I saw doña Mary of the Skirts with a manly face, who although she wore “skirts,” was twirling a haughty mustache. She looked like a gentleman, but it will be revealed that a sword can hardly be hidden beneath feminine “skirts.” In the third décima, she was unfortunate at glossing, and she has a poor procuress when she wants to win the prize. O Lady Dame Skirt, to reward your good desires, you will have a charming crown [made] of the hoop of your farthingale.26 Along with the twice-repeated play with the name Zayas, a close homonym for the Spanish word for “skirt,” Fontanella builds a sexual wordplay on the meanings of “third” as both ordinal number and go-between or procuress (in Spanish, tercera). Her third décima (a poetic form consisting of ten-line strophes) will be a poor procuress in securing the satisfaction of her desires, whether the prize she seeks be a literary award or erotic satisfaction. The only reward she will win is a crown made from the frame of the hoop of her own skirts. This burlesque portrait is both a treasure and a puzzle that raises as many 24. Kenneth Brown, “Context i text del Vexamen d’Academia de Francesc Fontanella,” Llengua & Literatura 2 (1987): 172–252. I am much indebted to Belén Atienza for the following brief summary and analysis of the Vexation. It apparently circulated quite widely, according to Brown, who lists nine surviving manuscripts. 25. For a description of similar roasts, see Mª Soledad Carrasco Urgoiti, “Notas sobre el vejamen de academia en la segunda mitad del siglo XVII,” Revista Hispánica Moderna 31 (1965): 97– 111. 26. Brown, “Context i text del Vexamen,” ll. 725–40.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n questions as it settles. The fact that Fontanella places Zayas among Catalanborn authors who write in Spanish seems to suggest that she was of Catalan origin, although no other data has surfaced to corroborate this literal interpretation of Fontanella’s poem. Since the first two or three editions of both volumes of her novellas were published in Zaragoza and Barcelona, she was perhaps out of Castile during those years. If she was resident in Zaragoza, however, she seems not to have been active in literary circles in that city because she did not participate in the two poetic competitions published there in 1644 and 1646, although both included a number of women poets.27 Her first novella opens in Montserrat (north of Barcelona), but none of her fictional narrators identify with the cause of Catalan nationalism; indeed, the voice of Lisis in the concluding frame section speaks from the perspective of Castilian loyalties as she rails against effeminate gentlemen who will not abandon the pleasures of court even to accompany their king in defense of their women threatened by the advance of the (French) enemy. The second collection of Zayas’s novellas, the Parte segunda del sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Second Part of the Soirée and Decorous Entertainment), was published in 1647, again in Zaragoza. This volume is commonly referred to as the Desengaños amorosos (Tales of Disillusion) because each of its stories is called a desengaño, meaning “disillusion” or “rude awakening.” In this book’s closing scene, the frame tale’s protagonist, Lisis, states that the soirée began on Carnival Tuesday, 1646, a statement that Alicia Yllera reads as marking the beginning of Zayas’s composition of the volume, although it could just as easily refer to the date she finished writing it.28 If Zayas was indeed resident in Barcelona or elsewhere in Aragon during 1646–47, then her absence from the literary circles of Madrid would explain the lack of conventional laudatory verses by fellow authors in the preliminaries of her Desengaños. This volume is prefaced only by a letter from Inés de Casamayor to the duke of Hijar, recommending its publication and seeking his protection against envious, misogynistic detractors: to protect it from the threat of envious backbiters who, in the manner of nocturnal shades, are horrified that our sex should have merited such generalized applause, been crowned with such well-earned lau27. They were Certamen poetico de Nuestra Señora de Cogullada . . ., published in 1644, in the Hospital Real y General, like Zayas’s Novelas; and the Contienda poética, que la Imperial Ciudad de Zaragoza Propuso a los Ingenios Españoles en el fallecimiento del Serenissimo Señor, Don Balthasar Carlos de Austria . . . , published in 1646. Manuel Jiménez Catalán, Ensayo de una tipografía zaragozana del siglo XVII (Zaragoza: Tipografía “La Académica,” 1925). 28. Yllera, Introducción, 17 n. 32.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n rels, and earned itself lasting fame with honors so high in such a shining, immortal talent. As if these profitable distinctions were linked only to males and some fiery sword blocked or forbade entrance to the paradise of letters to feminine discourse, or some dragon reserved the golden fruit of Learning for men only.29 Investigators have not been able to identify Inés de Casamayor, but Barbeito Carneiro suggests as a “remote possibility” that the name might be an anagram of Inés de Çayas y Sotomayor.30 The letter could well be a rejoinder to Fontanella’s vejamen by Zayas herself or some friend or relative, recasting the allegorical dreamer Fontanella as a misogynistic nocturnal phantom. While the reference to being “crowned with well-earned laurels” may be conventional, it could also be a response to his jibe that her only prize would be the crown of her farthingale. We have as yet no further trace of Zayas thereafter, although Barbeito Carnero thinks the phrasing of the recommendation for the 1659 publication of a combined volume of her stories indicates that she was still alive at that time. Nor do we have definitive documentation of the place or date of her death. Serrano y Sanz published two death certificates issued in Madrid for women named María de Zayas, dated 1661 and 1669.31 The first, the widow of Juan Valdés, left all her possessions to one Bartolomé de Çaragoça and his wife, Laura Grasa, including the right to collect from the heirs of “Magdalena of Ulloa, Marquise of Malagón, my lady,” who is also referred to as “Countess,” the daily one and a half reales she specified should be paid to this María de Zayas for the remainder of her life, but which has not been paid for the last five years. She concludes her will by saying that although she knows how to read, she has had a witness sign the documents because of her grave illness and vision loss. The María de Zayas who died in 1669, the wife of Pedro Balcazar y Alarcón, left as heir don Alonso Martínez, of the Capilla Real, in whose house on the “calle del Relox” (street of the Clock) she died. Serrano y Sanz published both without evaluating commentary other than observing the difficulty that the name María de Zayas was common in seventeenth-century Madrid. Given the specific references in Fontanella’s vejamen, the search for further documentation of her last years and her death should probably be ex29. Cited in Barbeito Carneiro, Mujeres del Madrid barroco, 174–75. 30. Isabel Barbeito Carneiro, “Escritoras madrileñas del siglo XVII (Estudio bibliográficocrítico)” (Ph.D. diss., Universidad Complutense, 1986), 835. 31. Serrano y Sanz, Apuntes, 2: 583–87.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n tended to Barcelona and Zaragoza. We can hope that a combination of luck and diligence may produce new testimonies as interesting as that satirical portrait. Meanwhile and in the final analysis, our most valuable witness to the importance of Zayas is the fascinating compound voice that addresses us in her stories. Z AYA S ’S W OR LD

Zayas’s first volume of novellas, the Exemplary Tales of Love, contained ten stories, as did her second published ten years later, the Tales of Disillusion. Over the course of the framing narrative, which begins in the first part and concludes at the end of the second volume, Zayas’s tone changed: the invective against abuse of women is much more bitter and violence against women reaches almost levels in the Tales of Disillusion. Whether Zayas planned this progression from the outset or whether personal experiences contributed to the darkness of her second volume we do not know; the intervening decade was, however, one in which the pessimistic mood and sense of national decline characteristic of seventeenth-century Spain increased markedly owing to a string of serious defeats in the monarchy’s overseas campaigns, economic and political crisis at home, and the revolt of Catalonia and Portugal in the traumatic year 1640, which brought war home within the boundaries of the peninsula. Born in 1590, near the end of the reign of Felipe II (1557–98) when the Spanish monarchy was at the height of its power, ruling over the first global empire, María de Zayas lived and wrote during the reigns of Felipe III (1598–1621) and Felipe IV (1621–65). The settings of her stories reflect the European extension of that empire,32 including not only most of the major cities of the Iberian peninsula but also the Canary Islands, Naples, Sicily, Flanders, and Milan, as well as footholds (Fez, Tunisia) and sites of conflict in North Africa, where Hapsburg Spain contested Islamic power in the Mediterranean world.33 Maintaining those possessions and upholding the empire’s commitment to the defense of the Catholic faith involved the Spanish monarchy in far-flung wars and financial hemorrhaging: the Eighty Years’ War waged against the Dutch rebels in the northern Netherlands in-

32. The enormously important American colonies (“the Indies”) figure in her stories only as a place where promised spouses are detained or to which a financially strapped father disappears, and the Philippines are never mentioned. 33. For a tabular registry of the diverse locations of her stories, see Greer, María de Zayas, appendix 3.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n terrupted only by a twelve-year truce from 1609 to 1621,34 intermittent conflict with England and France, periodic battles in Italy, and engagement in central Europe before and during the Thirty Years’ War to contain Protestant forces and sustain the Spanish-Austrian Hapsburg alliance. Even during the height of the flow of gold and silver from American mines in the sixteenth century, these wars had strapped the monarchy’s resources, and as that supply dwindled and was threatened by piracy and English and Dutch incursions against Spain’s desired monopoly of American trade, the economic strain became unsustainable. The Spanish monarchy repeatedly declared bankruptcy and devalued its currency several times. Furthermore, inflation caused by the influx of American wealth had the long-term effect of impoverishing Spain, as cash flowed out to repay loans advanced by foreign bankers, and local manufacturers found it impossible to compete with imported foreign goods. Depopulation due to wars, devastating plagues, emigration to the colonies, and internal migration from farming communities to urban centers meant that agricultural self-sufficiency, difficult even in good times given the lack of water in large zones of the peninsula, could not regularly be sustained. While we should not fall into the trap of looking for realism in Zayas’s tales, we can observe a certain interplay between the sociopolitical circumstances of Hapsburg Spain and the author’s construction of her tales of love and death.35 The requisite obstacles in the path of love could be supplied by the departure of noble suitors to wars—particularly to Flanders, the southern provinces of the Netherlands that remained loyal to Spain, but also to campaigns in North Africa and in Italy. New love encounters could be brought about by a gallant’s arrival in a city while accompanying a viceroy or another important official to a provincial post, or even in the company of the king on a trip to Portugal as in the Tenth Tale of Disillusion, or as a member of the court during its brief relocation from Madrid to Valladolid between 1601 and 1606. A father’s appointment as commander of forces sent to combat the Catalan rebellion of 1640 provides a crucial setting for the First Tale of Disillusion, ”Her Lover’s Slave,” and the setting of the Tenth Tale of Disillusion in Lisbon during Felipe III’s 1619 trip there implicitly links the sisterly betrayal related therein to the 1640 secession of Portugal from the Spanish monarchy.

34. This protracted war ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 in which Spain recognized the independence of the United Provinces of the North. 35. A still valuable study of Zayas in her historical context is that of Salvador Montesa Peydro, Texto y contexto en la narrativa de María de Zayas (Madrid: Dirección General de la Juventud y Promoción Sociocultural, 1981).

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n Also significant for the context of Zayas’s writing, if less visible in her plots, is the expansion of educational opportunity that took place in sixteenth-century Spain. These educational advances were a response partly to Renaissance humanism and religious reforms aimed at insuring that the faithful could understand at least the credo and basic elements of Catholic faith, but also to the need for staffing the rapidly expanding bureaucracy required to manage the Spanish empire. Sixteenth-century prosperity also brought increased social mobility and urbanization, although as economic expansion passed into decline and as Counter-Reformation orthodoxy and neo-Stoic and baroque desengaño or disillusion with the material world replaced sixteenth-century optimism in the following century, those opportunities were curtailed. The educational expansion allowed at least limited education for more women as well as men, but gender bias as well as economic realities kept female literacy to a small minority. As mentioned above, Huarte de San Juan argued that education was wasted on most women, and conservative moralists warned that women would absorb “bad ideas” through reading. Zayas and her narrators repeatedly campaign for education for women, yet in her stories she shows few women reading or writing more than love notes or love poetry—unless they cross-dress and perform as men, as in “The Judge of Her Own Case.” There is a disconnect between what she advocates for women and the limited roles—marriage or life in a convent—her female protagonists consider feasible and compatible with noble status.36 However, current research is revealing that women could carry considerable responsibility within marriage and, more particularly, as widows responsible for managing their children and the family estate.37 Again, Zayas gives us an example of such feminine exercise of authority in the widowed mother of “The Deceitful Garden” who guides her daughter’s happy choice of husband. Zayas’s stories also reflect the importance of the convent in early mod-

36. She does show women in unfortunate circumstances serving more prosperous noblewomen, and in the case of the sixth novella, “Desengaño amando, y premio de la virtud,” her protagonist is reduced to work as a common servant to support herself and track her unfaithful husband; she is, however, the daughter of a once rich merchant. 37. For women of the upper classes, see the collection of articles, Power and Gender in Renaissance Spain: Eight Women of the Mendoza Family, 1450–1650, ed. Helen Nader (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004); for the opposite end of the economic scale, see Allyson M. Poska, “When Love Goes Wrong: Getting Out of Marriage in Seventeenth-Century Spain,” Journal of Social History 29, no. 4 (1996): 871–83. Poska’s recent book on Galician peasant women includes some important consideration of class questions in the analysis of marriage data: Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006).



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n ern Spanish society. Mariló Vigil offers the following concise summary of convents’ social function: They were partly centers of religious life, part nurseries for young girls, part boarding schools for young ladies, part residences for spinsters, part refuges for widows or elderly women, and part hostels in which some women spent periods of time with their women friends and relatives. They were, finally, like parking places for women.38 As well as havens for women with a religious vocation and a true desire to become “brides of Christ,” convents were virtually the only alternative to marriage in an age that believed in the enclosure of respectable women, and as economic conditions deteriorated, providing a sufficient dowry for daughters to marry within their own social stratum became increasingly difficult. The only reliable statistics on the number of nuns and other women living in convents are from the census of 1591, which listed 20,369 nuns, or about 3.11 per thousand of the approximately 6,500,000 inhabitants of Castile.39 These figures do not include the many residents of convents who were servants or secular residents rather than nuns, nor do they count children being brought up in convents.40 The number of cloistered women increased dramatically in the seventeenth century, so the proportion was certainly substantially higher in the decades in which Zayas wrote. For her protagonists, however, convents are less frequently a choice motivated by a primary religious vocation than a temporary or permanent refuge from marital disappointment, abusive family members, or paternal pressure to marry a man the woman does not want, or a recourse determined by the lack of a sufficient dowry for an advantageous match.41 Although she occasionally dispatches repentant males to convents to 38. Mariló Vigil, La vida de las mujeres en los siglos XVI y XVII, 2nd rev. ed. (Madrid: Siglo Veintiuno de España Editores, 1994), 215. 39. Mariló Vigil, “Conformismo y rebeldía en los conventos femeninos de los siglos XVI y XVII,” in Religiosidad femenina: Expectativas y realidades (SS. VIII–XVIII), ed. Ángela Muñoz and Mª del Mar Graña (Madrid: Asociación Cultural AL-MUDAYNA, 1991), 168. 40. See María Leticia Hernández Sánchez: Patronato regio y órdenes religiosas femeninas en el Madrid de los Austrias: Descalzas Reales, Encarnación y Santa Isabel (Madrid: Fundación Universitaria Española, 1997). Lehfeldt notes that “the dowries that convents demanded, though smaller than secular marital dowries, were a mitigating factor in creating equal opportunity for the city’s daughters.” Religious Women in Golden Age Spain, 39. 41. For further illumination concerning the use of the convent ending in Zayas’s collection, see Stephanie Merrim. ”The Convent Script”: Early Modern Women’s Writing and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 1999), 103–20.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n pay for their inconstancy as lovers, much more commonly she assigns them to military service in foreign wars. In theory, the privileges granted the nobility (exemption from taxation, from corporal punishment, etc.) rested on their service as the military defense of the realm. The system of mayorazgo and entailment of estates (sole inheritance by the eldest son and the prohibition of sale or other permanent alienation of family property) served to preserve the aristocracy by preventing repeated division of property into economically unviable holdings, and also obliged many younger sons to opt for a military career or the church. In practice, however, by the seventeenth century, the nobility increasingly avoided military service, seeking instead to enhance their fortunes by securing a post at court or elsewhere in the state bureaucracy. Zayas, who held firmly to a conservative aristocratic ideology, often reflects this trend in the negative by condemning men’s departure from that code and their courtly feminization. ZAYA S A N D T H E N OVELLA T RAD I TI O N

Conversely, these sociopolitical changes may be seen as having created the market for the novellas of Zayas and other writers, as Agustín de Amezúa y Mayo recognized in labeling the whole genre the novela cortesana (court novel). More recently, Nieves Romero-Díaz has argued for seeing the postCervantine novella as a discourse that negotiates the contradictions through which a new urban middle nobility sought to define its own social and ideological model. She also shows that despite the subordination of women in patriarchal society, and specifically that of aristocratic women as members of a dominant class but a dominated group, women in the novellas were key to this negotiation.42 The fundamental model for frame tale novellas was Boccaccio’s Decameron (1353). Parts of a number of Zayas’s stories can be traced back to Boccaccio, others to the Novelle of Mateo Bandello and other Italian novella writers, while other elements reach back at least as far as Kalilah et Dimnah and the Disciplina clericalis of Petrus Alfonsi. The vogue of the novella arrived rather belatedly in Spain, however, vis-à-vis its development in Italy and France. With scattered exceptions, such as El Patrañuelo (Tall Tales) (1567) of Joan Timoneda and the Noches de invierno (Winter Nights) (1609) of Antonio

42. Nieves Romero-Díaz, Nueva nobleza, nueva novella: Reescribiendo la cultura urbana del Barroco (Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2002); Nieves Romero-Díaz, “Revisiting the Culture of the Baroque: Nobility, City and novela corta,” in Freedom and Containment in the Baroque, ed. Nicholas Spadaccini and Luis Martin-Estudillo (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005), 162–83.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n de Eslava, the novella form gained popularity with Spanish writers and readers only after Cervantes provided a new model in his Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels) in 1613. In the following decades, particularly in the 1620s and 1630s and in spite of the ban restricting their publication in Castile, the short story rivaled the theater in popular favor. Zayas, too, apparently began writing her novellas in the 1620s, in the shadow of Cervantes’s success, and the third tale in each of her volumes is a reworking of a Cervantes story.43 Her debt to Lope de Vega’s ironic contribution to the novella genre, the Novelas a Marcia Leonarda (Stories for Marcia Leonarda) (1621/1624) is equally clear; Lope is the only living author other than Ana Caro singled out for praise by a Zayas narrator, and “The Judge of Her Own Case” is a rewriting of his story “Las fortunas de Diana” (The Fortunes of Diana). Less obvious but not necessarily less significant is the intertextuality between Zayas’s fictions and the stories of Castillo Solórzano, the most prolific author of story collections, of Pérez de Montalbán, and other Spanish novella writers of her era. Tracing lines of transmission for narrative motifs is difficult, however, for the stories circulated widely in oral and written tradition and traveled back and forth between novellas and the stage, in an era in which the comedia (three-act drama, whether comic, tragic or tragicomic) was the most popular form of entertainment.44 Critics have also linked some Zayas tales to the genre Spain contributed to the birth of the modern novel, that of picaresque fiction, a genre native to Spain that had a resounding influence on European literature. Beginning with the anonymously authored Lazarillo de Tormes (1554), it achieved great popularity with Mateo Alemán’s Guzman de Alfarache (parts 1 and 2, 1599 and 1604), Francisco de Quevedo’s El Buscón (1626), and their successors, including one novel with a feminine protagonist, La pícara Justina by Francisco de Úbeda, and Cervantes’s distinctive contribution, the novella Rinconete y Cortadillo. Fellow woman writer Emilia Pardo Bazán, writing at the end of the nineteenth century, credited Zayas with contributing a new variety, an “aristocratic picaresque,” to this genre classically centered on characters of humble social origins: 43. “El castigo de la miseria,” in her first volume, is a reworking of “El casamiento engañoso” (The Deceitful Marriage), from his Novellas ejemplares, and the “Third Tale of Disillusion” was clearly inspired by “El curioso impertinente” (The History of the Curious-Impertinent, in the Thomas Shelton translation), one of the novellas incorporated in the first part of Don Quixote. 44. This page-stage circulation may involve significant motifs rather than entire stories. Striking images from Pedro Calderón de la Barca’s tragedy El medico de su honra (The Surgeon of His Honor), for example, appear in Zayas’s Fourth and Eighth Tales of Disillusion.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n What distinguishes the Novelas of doña María de Zayas from those of the other classic picaresque authors, also venerated for the grace and soundness of their language, is that the illustrious lady paints the customs of a social sphere we can call aristocratic. . . . Doña María does not paint common people, and for that in itself her works are a precious document, as they demonstrate to anyone who will take the trouble to compare them with then-popular works that the roguish picaresque spirit was not a phenomenon unique to the lower classes but diffused among all social spheres.45 Another variety of prose fiction of considerable popularity that seems to have influenced her construction of the “First Tale of Disillusion,” “Her Lover’s Slave,” is the Heliodoran or Greek romance. These were modeled after the Aethiopia of Heliodorus, a novel of uncertain date and authorship, the manuscript of which was discovered in the sixteenth century during the Turkish sack of the royal palace in Hungary, later published in translation in many languages, including Spanish. The “Ethiopian romance” offered an alternative model to the novels of chivalry and was much admired. Zayas and many of her readers would have known these novels, including Cervantes’s contribution to the genre, Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda (The Travails of Persiles and Sigismunda), published in 1617. Her first Tale of Disillusion shares with that model a peripatetic plot of a circular nature, an emphasis on action over character development, and wide-ranging travels of the protagonists typical of Greek romance. She does not, however, give the tale the happy ending of lovers reunited at the end of their adventures that also characterized such novels. One further significant model behind a number of her stories is hagiography.46 Stories of saints’ lives were recommended reading for women, and Saint Theresa’s description of her childhood desire to imitate martyrs in Moorish lands and her construction of hermit cells with her brother testifies to their impact on readers.47 In their episodic structure, virtually all Zayas’s novellas are akin either to picaresque novels, built on the experiences of 45. Emilia Pardo Bazán, “Breve noticia sobre Doña María de Zayas y Sotomayor,” in Novelas de Doña María de Zayas, ed. Emilia Pardo Bazán, Biblioteca de la Mujer (Madrid: Agustín Avrial, c. 1892), 13–14. 46. See Patricia E. Grieve, “Embroidering with Saintly Threads: María de Zayas Challenges Cervantes and the Church,” Renaissance Quarterly 44, no. 1 (1991): 86–106. 47. Teresa of Avila, The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself, trans. J. M. Cohen (London: Penguin Books, 1957), 23–24.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n the protagonist with one master after another, or to hagiographic stories, modeled on episodes in Christ’s life. As in saints’ stories, supernatural intervention, demonic or divine, often plays a key role in testing a protagonist’s virtue or rescuing her from inescapable danger, most notably in the “Ninth Tale of Disillusion,” ”La perseguida triunfante” (Triumph over Persecution). The degradation and torment of flesh play a major role throughout her collection,48 as they do in lives of female martyrs. Another motif common to both genres is the conception of female beauty as a fatal trap in this life for its holder and, in the Tales of Disillusion, one that often leads to a cruelly unjust death. But beauty in and after death testified to women’s innocence and martyrdom to masculine cruelty. If we accept as truth Montalbán’s praise of Zayas in Para todos cited above, Zayas first entered the public arena of writing with poetry, competing successfully in poetic competitions. Albeit an at least semipublic event, such competitions did not regularly lead to publication. Writing and reciting poetry was a talent considered appropriate for any courteous nobleman and to a lesser extent permissible as well for noblewomen who had sufficient education. But while circulating one’s verse in manuscript was compatible with nobility, publishing it was another question, even for male poets. Poetry was a regular form of communication and diversion in courtly life, and therefore its inclusion in the fictional world of a courtly soirée would have been accepted as natural by her contemporary readers. Zayas liberally intersperses poetry, sung or recited, in the frame narrative of her Sarao and in all the stories except “The Deceitful Garden,” for a total of some eighty poems in which she essayed a considerable variety of poetic forms, although the romance (ballad) form prevails.49 Her writing friend Ana Caro, in the preliminary poem she wrote for the Novelas amorosas, lauds both her narrative and lyric skills: “for you amaze with what you write, / with what you sing, you enchant.”50 48. For a critical reading centered on this aspect of Zayas’s tales, see Lisa Vollendorf, “Reading the Body Imperiled: Violence against Women in María de Zayas,” Hispania 78, no. 2 (1995); 272–82; and Lisa Vollendorf, Reclaiming the Body: María de Zayas’s Early Modern Feminism, North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001). 49. The romance, or Spanish ballad, is a composition of variable length with an eight-syllable line and assonantal rhyme in the odd lines. A poetic form original to Spain’s medieval frontier tradition, the romance enjoyed renewed popularly in the baroque period, when it was transformed from an oral composition of a narrative nature into a highly wrought poetic piece that could be lyric or narrative in nature. 50. María de Zayas y Sotomayor, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, ed. Julian Olivares (Madrid: Cátedra, 2000), 155.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n For a woman poet to “enchant” was no simple undertaking, given the highly codified masculine discourse of Renaissance poetry in which women were the silent, beautiful objects upon which a male poetic voice constructed his literary dialogue with his true audience, primarily male. Neither courtly nor Petrarchan discourse of love easily accommodated women as speaking or writing subjects, given that both emerged from an ideology that considered expression of independent feminine desire immodest, sinful, and culturally destabilizing. Women poets writing love poetry followed three strategies, as Julian Olivares and Elizabeth Boyce outline well: acceptance, adaptation, or subversion of the established masculine discourses.51 Zayas adopts all three, but the semantic value of the poems she pens by those strategies is conditioned by the fictional context in which they appear. The poems in which she most closely follows the conventions of courtly and Petrarchan love discourse are those supposedly authored or voiced by male characters, for example, the very Petrarchan language of don Félix’s sonnet to Jacinta, “To love the day,” in “Taking a Chance on Losing.” She also employs one of the techniques women writers used in adapting that discourse, that of addressing a concept rather than a gendered object, which theoretically masks the gender of the poetic voice. An example would be Jacinta’s décima52 “I adore what I see not” in that same novella. However, reading these poems in context gives them an implicitly gendered voice, and Zayas assigns such poems both to male and female characters. Like other women poets, Zayas makes frequent use of the conventions of pastoral poetry, since it provides a gender-equal space in which both male and female characters express desire;53 in fact, the majority of her poems adopt such a setting at least in part. Another adaptive strategy was that of identifying feminine characters with an array of desired or desiring mythological heroines. Zayas sometimes gives this an ironic twist, in foreshadowing a disaster. For example, in “Her Lover’s Slave” (translated in this volume), don Manuel adds a sunny ending to a lachrymose sonnet “To a deluge the earth condemned” that invokes the tragic heroines Procne and Philomena, one which in fact foretells the violence to follow. Zayas explicitly subverts the masculine poetics of love by repeatedly

51. Ibid, Introducción, 16–17. 52. The décima has no English equivalent; it consists of octosyllabic verse in ten-line strophes, with consonantal rhyme in an abbaaccddc pattern. As Lope de Vega said in his Arte nuevo poetics of drama, it is frequently used for lovers’ complaints. 53. See Elizabeth Rhodes, “Skirting the Men: Gender Roles in Sixteenth-Century Pastoral Books,” Journal of Hispanic Philology 11, no. 2 (1987): 131–49.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n emphasizing feminine constancy and masculine fickleness, the reversal of the standard complaint in male-authored poems. Other subversive moves are more subtle. A particularly interesting one is that of Jacinta’s sonnet to Celio, “In the clear crystal of disillusion” in “Taking a Chance on Losing.” As Olivares and Boyce stress, the feminine object of masculine love poetry was intended to serve as his silent muse and reflect her lover’s talents; hence the wit of the title of their anthology Behind the Mirror, the Muse Writes. However, in this sonnet, Jacinta first admires her own image in the mirror and prides herself on her independence, only to find Celio’s gaze reflected in that glass as well, and then to enter into the complex game that results from the fact that love on both their parts is motivated less by direct passion than by the desire to be desired.54 In her poetry, Zayas seems to positively delight in the subversive play afforded by cross-dressing, whether sartorial or performed through poetic narrative voice. Readers can find a mild example in Claudio/Claudia’s sonnet “May the one who has had his will” in “The Judge of Her Own Case.” The liberties Zayas took with the poetic tradition were as much in form as in content. Although she wrote a substantial number of poems in standard forms—sonnets, romances, romancillos (which use a six- or seven-syllable line), décimas, madrigals, and one dirge—she often added an ending variant or pushed at the standard margins of the form in some other way. Most notable, perhaps, is her frequent addition of an estrambote to sonnets, and to an occasional romance as well.55 An estrambote is an added number of lines. Its length and rhyme scheme may vary. In one case, the estrambote is four times longer than the sonnet itself.56 This practice, of course, negates the fundamental challenge of the sonnet form, that of expressing a complex emotion in a very constrained and condensed form. When more or less canonical male authors add an estrambote, it is usually done for comic effect, as it deflates the tension that builds toward the final triplet of a sonnet. Zayas does not seek such a comic or deflationary effect in her use of an estrambote. When she adds a rhymed hendecasyllable couplet to a romance, it works more as does a rhymed couplet in a Shakespearean passage of blank verse, as a rather metatheatrical scene conclusion. Equally striking is her final romance in the 54. See Greer, María de Zayas, 124–31. 55. On Zayas’s use of the estrambote, see María Jesús Fariña Busto, “María de Zayas y Sotomayor: A propósito de algunos sonetos incluídos en las Novelas y Desengaños amorosos,” Monographic Review / Revista Monográfica 13 (1997): 53–63. 56. A “sonnet” sung to Octavia by Carlos, accompanying himself on a lute, in the “Second Tale of Disillusion.” María de Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), 175–77.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n concluding frame, written entirely in esdrújulo (proparoxytone) verse (the last word in the line is accented on the antepenultimate syllable, not the usual stress in Spanish). When Lope and other poets employ it, they generally do so for comic effect as well. Again, this seems in no way to be Zayas’s intent. To manage this feat of poetic display, she has to push the boundaries of semantic logic in word choice as well as that of established poetic decorum. The result does not invite the reader to linger, savoring the verse. ZAYAS’S TA LES OF LOVE, M A R R I A G E, AN D MARTRYD O M

María de Zayas’s skill as a narrator is formidable. While she clearly was nourished by the Italian and Cervantine novella tradition, picaresque novels, hagiography, and Spain’s rich poetic tradition, she worked the elements she drew from those sources into page-turning stories of love, marriage, and martyrdom. In this introduction, our intention is not to tell readers just what they will find in her tales or how to interpret them, but rather to note some of the characteristics that make her novella collections distinctive and intriguing for twenty-first-century readers, as they were for her early modern contemporaries. The frame story is much more than a literary convention in Zayas’s hands. By including the frame segments with the first and last novella in both the Tales of Love and the Tales of Disillusion, our anthology retains the overall shape of the story of Lisis and don Juan and the supporting cast— Lisis’s mother doña Laura, Lisarda, and don Diego.57 There are major differences in both style and content between the frame tale and the enclosed novellas, however. Although the frame tale takes place in the domestic space of a fictional noble residence in Madrid, its very formal style is likely to have an artificial and stilted ring in modern ears; as a result, readers may find the first page or so rough going. The very formality of this courtly soirée is significant, nevertheless, conveying some sense of the social conventions that hem in the early modern cast of characters Zayas assembles. Moreover, the strict gender separation she sets up, with all the mothers of the female narrators and all the fathers of the male tale tellers present, prepares us for the forces of love and war between the sexes they will articulate. 57. John Sturrock, in contrast, omitted all the frame material in his lively translation of selected Zayas stories, being of the opinion that “[i]t merely describes the very formal gallantries paid to the story-tellers and involves one in interminable discussions about the moral to each tale. There is enough gallantry and moral comment in the stories themselves, to introduce more would add nothing of value.” María de Zayas y Sotomayor, A Shameful Revenge and Other Stories, trans. John Sturrock. (London: Folio Society, 1963), x.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n In the Tales of Love, female and male narrators alternate in the tale teller’s seat, the first two tales being told by women, the next two by men, five and six by women, seven through nine by men, and the last by doña Laura, Lisis’s mother. Although the voices of the narrators are not distinguished individually and ideologically as are those in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron, the tales they tell do present gender-based fantasies and fears concerning the opposite sex, a division that is also reinforced in brief debates in the following frame sections over the merits of the tales. Three of the malenarrated tales, “El castigo de la miseria” (The Miser’s Reward), “El prevenido engañado” (Forewarned but Not Forearmed), and “Al fin se paga todo” (Just Deserts), include comic scenes; through the voices of male narrators, Zayas uses humor to turn the tables on men who treat women inappropriately in some of the stories in this first collection. Males are explicitly barred from the narrator’s seat in the Tales of Disillusion, in which the narrators are all women, with Lisis herself relating the last tale as well as orchestrating and explaining her final move in the concluding frame. In this violence-filled second volume, five of the seven wife characters die, and two escape with their lives after life-threatening abuse (Inés in the “Fifth Tale of Disillusion” and Beatriz in the Ninth). Thus, the volume is marked by a contradiction between the frame narrators’ exhortations to women to beware men’s deceits and come actively to their own defense on the one hand, and the passivity of the socially compliant protagonists of the stories on the other. Several women who violate social and religious codes of decorum in one way or another do survive, however, although the narrators condemn them as common or as beasts unworthy of the name of woman. Some readers have argued that Zayas’s inclusion of such women disqualifies her as a feminist.58 Critics have proposed various explanations for this contradiction between the ardent defense of women’s intellectual and spiritual equality with men in the frame and the relative conservatism of the enclosed plots: a disappointment in love on the part of Zayas (Amezúa), Counter-Reformation desengaño with the material world,59 a more or less realistic reflection of the limited choices available to women, and the increasing political and economic crises in mid-seventeenth-century Spain. The tension between the feminist defense in the frame and the socially conservative plots in the tales themselves is but one of the apparent para-

58. Susan C. Griswold, “Topoi and Rhetorical Distance: The ‘Feminism’ of María de Zayas,” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 15 (1980): 97–116. 59. See, for example, Sandra Foa, Feminismo y forma narrativa. Estudio del tema y las técnicas de María de Zayas y Sotomayor (Valencia: Albatros Hispanófila Ediciones, 1979).

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n doxes that qualify Zayas’s novellas as thoroughly baroque. They were first published with the title Novelas amorosas y ejemplares (Amorous and Exemplary Novellas). Zayas excluded the two words Novela and amorosa in entitling her second volume Parte segunda del Sarao, y entretenimiento honesto (Second Part of the Soirée and Honest Entertainment), subtitling the individual stories Desengaños amorosos (Disillusions of/in Love). Nevertheless, the first title endured in the book market; the two parts were published together repeatedly beginning in 1659 as Primera y Segunda Parte de las Novelas amorosas y exemplares de doña Maria de Zayas y Sotomayor. The resilient title “Amorous and Exemplary Novellas” is not, in fact, false advertising. Zayas uses the motor of desire to drive her narratives but extends its route beyond the traditional happy ending of a love story. In her collection the dream of love and the fulfillment of sexual satisfaction are fantasies that must be lived through in some form, but she represents marriage more often as a way station or a literal dead end, not a happy ending for her female protagonists.60 In the episodic structure of her stories, love fades, or is serialized, or, particularly in the second volume, brings death in its wake. Zayas’s use of a narrative of desire is intertwined with the dilemma of woman’s position in the patriarchal family, with that of a woman writer in a male-dominated literary tradition, and with the fundamental ideological tension that pervades and animates her stories—the impasse between gender and class identity for this aristocratic, protofeminist writer. As Fredric Jameson observes in discussing the role of envy and loathing in animating the dialectic of group and class identity: “whatever group or identity investment may be at work in envy, its libidinal opposite always tends to transcend the dynamics of group relationship in the direction of that of class proper.”61 While Zayas painted in lurid colors the unjust treatment of women as a group, she defended with equal passion the superiority of her aristocratic class and its value system.62 With that defense, Zayas paradoxically endorses the legitimacy of the very institutions of women’s repression whose injustice she protested. Although the presence or absence of mothers at critical moments in her young heroines’ lives is crucial in their stories, 60. See the good analysis made by Lou Charnon-Deutsch in “The Sexual Economy in the Narrative of María de Zayas,” Letras Femeninas 17 (1991): 15–28. 61. Fredric Jameson, “On ‘Cultural Studies,’ ” Social Text 34 (1993): 36. 62. For a historian’s analysis of noblewomen’s position in the ancien regime, based on females in the family of the duke of Osuna, see also Ignacio Atienza Hernández, “Las mujeres nobles: Clase dominante, grupo dominado. Familia y orden social en el antiguo régimen,” Ordenamiento jurídico y realidad social de las mujeres: Siglos XVI a XX, Actas de las IV Jornadas de Investigatión Interdisciplinaria, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (Madrid: Ediciones de la UNAM, 1986), 149–66.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n her tale tellers regularly open their narratives by identifying both male and female protagonists by their noble genealogy and their city of origin. Their brief genealogical accounts generally center on paternal genealogy or employ the universalized masculine term padres (literally, fathers, but designating both parents). Similarly, as we have noted in the first tale of love, the word casa (house) serves as a synecdoche meaning not only the material house and the household in it but the patriarchal clan whose generations culminate in the character using the word. Friedman says that women cannot escape “subordination to traditional masculine authority,”63 seconding the conclusion of Paul Julian Smith, who says that “women are . . . permitted to adopt a travesty of man, but cannot transgress the law of the dagger and the phallus.”64 Margaret Greer concludes that the loose episodic structure of Zayas’s stories enables her to negotiate the irresolvable gender-class tension that underlies and animates her narratives, by leaving unspoken the key term in the unconscious logic that links all their elements.65 Stacey Parker-Aronson, on the other hand, proposes that Zayas chooses to concentrate her narratives on conflicts between members of the nobility “in order not to obfuscate the issue of men’s mistreatment of women.”66 Greer also observes that Zayas includes clever, desiring women who control the males in their lives and a significant number of feminine antagonists of dubious morality. This inclusion allows us to see that despite her loyalty to the aristocratic ideology that prescribed enclosure and sexual passivity for women, at an unconscious level she knew that women thus socialized were condemned to at least a metaphorical death in patriarchal society. Consequently, only willful, actively desiring women who refused the castrating knife of social codes could have the power to challenge patriarchy’s rules and survive to inherit its wealth.67 Friedman, who observes well that “Zayas is a paragon of over determination,”68 believes that Zayas chose to conclude her collection with

63. Edward H. Friedman. “María de Zayas’s Estragos que causa el vicio and the Feminist Impasse,” Romance Languages Annual 8 (1997): 472. 64. Paul Julian Smith, The Body Hispanic: Gender and Sexuality in Spanish and Spanish American Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989), 33. 65. See Greer, María de Zayas, 174–75, 314–15, 355. 66. Stacey L. Parker-Aronson, “Monstrous Metamorphoses and Rape in María de Zayas,” Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos 29 (2005): 528. 67. Margaret R. Greer, “María de Zayas and the Female Eunuch,” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 2, no. 1 (2001): 41–53. 68. Friedman, “María de Zayas’s Estragos que causa el vicio,” 475.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n the story of a woman who escapes retribution for the wrongs she provokes in order to display the evil of both men and women. There have been and will continue to be other ways of explaining the tensions that intrigue us in Zayas’s novella collections.69 Marina Brownlee argues that the calculatedly paradoxical nature of her self-presentation and the differing subject positions in the tales and frame commentaries were in part a survival strategy, in part good marketing, aimed at appealing to diverse readers and at keeping readers on the edge of their seats by not following a predictable formula. She also suggests that Zayas was capitalizing on the new market for printed books and the sensationalist appeal of popular tabloid pamphlet literature.70 Nina Cox Davis says that Zayas’s narratives question the logic of the narrative models of her day, including the often formulaic endings of the courtly novella, turning her tales toward unexpected ends, so that “in the process they ironize the disparity between the social principles and the practices such models support.”71 The very presence of logical gaps in the structuring of her stories and the dissonance between the frame and the tales invite successive generations of readers to enter into a mental dialogue with them, projecting their own passions and concerns onto those of her heroes and heroines. Early censors (see below) lauded them as morally exemplary and of particular importance for idle women readers. Victorian-era readers considered them obscene, while postmodern readers accustomed to novels and cinema that exploit the irrational nature of desire, its multiple varieties, and human proclivities for violence more often focus on the social construction of gender roles and Zayas’s daring in describing the kinds of violence provoked by sexual desire. One further note. In annotating the novellas, we pay what might seem an inordinate attention to particularities of dress and home decor. Such “externals” matter a great deal in Zayas’s narratives, which have an almost hyperbolic exteriority. She presents the great majority of her characters as one-dimensional ideal types of virtue, beauty, and gallantry, or their polar opposites. Her descriptive technique relies heavily on pre-positioned adjectives, for both the characters and their settings. Zayas uses adjectives 69. For Elizabeth Rhodes’s explanation of the contradiction between the frame narratives and the enclosed tales in the second part of the Soirée, see her forthcoming monographic study of the Desengaños, provisionally entitled “Dressed to Kill: María de Zayas’s Aesthetics of Entrapment.” 70. Marina S. Brownlee, The Cultural Labyrinth of María de Zayas (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), 11–12, 74–91. 71. Nina Cox Davis, “Re-framing Discourse: Women before Their Public in María de Zayas,” Hispanic Review 71 (2003): 326.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n not to particularize but to underline inherent characteristics of a salon, a mountain, a temple, or a man or woman, and to load each object with a value judgment as she moves it into the reader’s line of sight. Furthermore, her descriptions of clothing in minute detail far exceed any particularizing physical description of her characters. For example, in recounting her dream lover in the first story, Jacinta says that he is “a man so gallant that it seemed to me . . . that I had never seen such a man before.” She says he is a “dark-haired Narcissus,” but rather than describing his face, she tells us about the cape with which he covers it, “a fawn cape, with hooks and clasps of silver.” How should we envision Lisis, the presiding lady in the frame narrative, knowing only that she is a “lovely miracle of nature and prodigious marvel of this court”? Is she blond or dark, tall or short? That Zayas does not tell us, but in the introduction to the fifth night of the Tales of Love, she shows us her dress: grateful to find herself free of the annoying quartan fever she had endured, [Lisis] had put on a costly new dress in honor of a vow she had made to the Virgin of Carmen. Her overskirt, bodice, and scapular were of lamé worked with silver knots, the cloth embroidered, in silver-plate threads, with many memory rings and ciphers that made attractive knots against the brocade background. Clothing and furnishings socially constitute and situate Zayas’s characters far more vividly than do her generic moral and physical descriptions. English translation cannot render the full effect of her strings of pre-positioned adjectives, since placing the adjective before the noun is normal in English. With annotation and with illustrations where possible, we hope to provide some sense of the spectacle by which Zayas worked at appealing to her contemporary readers’ imaginations. Her stories are written to appeal to a society permeated by the values of a resurgent aristocratism, in which all classes mimicked aristocratic demeanor to the best of their economic possibilities and escaped the realities of their existence in avid consumption of stories controlled by courtly codes. A F T ER LI F E

Zayas’s novellas were very popular in her day. She herself reports the enthusiastic reception of her first volume in the second: “If a few thought little of it, a hundred applauded it, and all sought it out and continue to seek it, and it

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n 72

has enjoyed three printings, two legitimate editions and one pirated.” Precise critical commentary on contemporary authors was rare in her day, but her works earned unspecific praise from fellow authors, generally coupled with reference to her gender, a fact that reveals how deeply rooted was the belief that women’s creative capacities were inherently inferior and Zayas was therefore an exception as a woman writer. The censor who approved the first edition of her novellas, Juan Domingo Briz, included in his comments the obligatory declaration that the work contained nothing against the Catholic faith and good customs, adding that they offered “delightful inventiveness and gentle wit, worthy of the talent of such a lady;”73 and Joseph de Valdivielso, who approved the corrected edition, said: “And even if a license were not due to the author as an illustrious emulator of Corinas, Sapphos, and Aspasias, then as a lady and daughter of Madrid, it seems to me that it cannot be denied to her.”74 Censors of early editions also praise the didactic value of her fictions, some of them asserting that they provided gender-specific moral correction.75 More than twenty editions of one or both parts were printed between 1637 and 1814. A number of her novellas circulated in French, German, English, and Dutch, either in direct translations or, more frequently, in French adaptations by Paul Scarron and others, in which Zayas’s authorship was not generally acknowledged. Through the same route, her stories also found their way into comic plots on the French stage. According to J. A. van Praag, after the Exemplary Novels of Cervantes, those of Zayas were the best known in western Europe in her day. Judging by the number of editions alone, Zayas’s novellas reached their height of popularity with readers in the eighteenth century.76 The steady republication of her complete works ended early in the nineteenth century, as sociopolitical changes influenced the formulation of national literary canons, and complete editions did not reappear until the mid-twentieth century. As the novel acquired increasing dominance in the

72. María de Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), 258: “Si unos le desestimaron, ciento le aplaudieron, y todos le buscaron y le buscan, y ha gozado de tres impresiones, dos naturales y una hurtada.” 73. María de Zayas, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, ed. Olivares, 152. 74. Ibid., 151. 75. For details of their comments and other comments of interest in reconstructing a reception history, see Greer, María de Zayas, 39–64. 76. Yllera, Introducción, 64, 76.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n literary market, and more women began writing as well as reading novels, desire on the part of a male intellectual elite to exert control over novel reading and writing brought a call for aesthetic reform that would masculinize the novel form.77 That reform called for the replacement of idealism, the mode previously considered more noble and worthy, with a realism that presumably only male writers could produce. Novels were divided into two classes: low, idealist, and feminocentric works of entertainment devoured by uncritical readers, and high literary art, realist novels for educated, serious readers seeking edification rather than diversion. Nevertheless, her tales’ enduring popularity with segments of the reading public was evident in the continuing publication of certain stories in collected volumes of novellas. Emilia Pardo Bazán, however, not only published eight Zayas tales in the third volume of the Biblioteca de la Mujer series she directed but also challenged the idea that women cannot observe the “real” world, arguing that Zayas offered a picaresque literature of the aristocracy and that the best of her stories rank with those of Cervantes. Applauding Zayas’s vigorous advocacy of women’s rights, Pardo Bazán summarized the pleasure she found in her work: Doña María leaves on my palate the welcome flavor of sherry, golden, aromatic, and genuine. Her candor tempered with discretion, her truly feminine wit and vivacity, her poise and dignity as a distinguished lady, and her complete lack of sentimentality and priggishness entrance and captivate me.78 Critics with Victorian standards of decency from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries took a different view, condemning some of her tales as grotesque, obscene, and, ironically, containing too much sadistic realism. Lena E. V. Sylvania, who published the first monograph dedicated to Zayas in 1922, conceded that some of her stories were a little crude but defended her as an ardent Christian and didactic writer whose objective was that of enlightening women and protesting the tyranny of men, to whom they were equal. Angel Valbuena Prat, writing in republican Barcelona in 1937, moved away from moralistic judgments of her tales to an appreciation of her work 77. C. Jagoe, “Disinheriting the Feminine: Galdós and the Rise of the Realist Novel in Spain,” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 27 (1993): 225–48. 78. Pardo Bazán, “Breve noticia,” 16.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n for its literary merit, psychological insight, and “finely sensual temperament.” In his judgment: She owes her liveliest successes to amorous themes, in which, on the one hand, she was not afraid of scabrous things, and which, on the other, she filled with exquisite idealizations. Some elements of her stories, beautiful in literary terms, are also interesting as anticipations of the world of the subconscious, today advanced by the Freudian school.79 In that vein, he describes at length the dreams of Jacinta in her first tale, “Taking a Chance on Losing.” He suggests that Zayas be considered a preromantic and endorses Sylvania’s qualification of her as a true and enthusiastic feminist. Juan Goytisolo, in an extended analysis in 1977, also read Zayas’s novellas with frank appreciation of their sexual audacity: In a country whose literature has for centuries served as a transmitter—often an admirable one—for the institutionalization of its sexual complexes and frustrations, the novels of María de Zayas alone stand out and still move us with the freshness of her singular and daring challenge.80 Zayas’s legitimacy as a feminist or protofeminist would become a recurring question with a newly enlarged community of readers once Amezúa published a complete edition of the Novelas amorosas in 1948 and of the Desengaños amorosos in 1950. However awkwardly she may fit into twentiethcentury feminist molds, the development of contemporary feminism, conjoined with a broadening of traditional literary canons, has certainly been a major factor in the rapid increase in attention to her work since the late 1970s. However, in recent decades, Zayas criticism has moved beyond the question of her feminism to examine her works with a larger lens. Since the 1970s the number of partial or complete editions of Zayas’s novellas has steadily mounted, solidified by two serious critical editions, that of the Desengaños published by Alicia Yllera in 1983 and of the Novelas by Julian Olivares in 2000. The earliest English translations of Zayas novellas, from the seven79. Angel Valbuena Prat, Historia de la literatura española (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1937), 105. 80. Juan Goytisolo, “El mundo erótico de María de Zayas,” in Disidencias (Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1977), 109.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ I n t r o d u c t i o n teenth through the nineteenth century, derived from their free adaptations into French by Paul Scarron and did not acknowledge her authorship.81 John Sturrock published a direct English translation of eight Zayas stories in 1963, with a number of melodramatic and mildly erotic illustrations by Eric Fraser. He provides engaging translations but does not attempt to keep either the texture or the style of her writing, saying that he aimed at “simplification as much as fidelity.”82 Sturrock also omits all the frame material as well as the poems within the stories. He draws from both volumes of her stories, although with a decided preference for the Desengaños, from which six of his eight translations derive. His sequencing of the stories gives no sense of the thematic development in her two volumes; the first tale in his translation is the last in Zayas’s second volume. In the 1990s, Patsy Boyer published complete English translations of both the Novelas and the Desengaños,83 and Sonia Piloto di Castro brought out the Novelas in Italian.84 Boyer’s translations were a major accomplishment that introduced significant numbers of non-Spanish readers to Zayas’s work. She produced a very readable translation in English, breaking down Zayas’s long sentences, thereby making the narrative more direct than the original and much closer to it than is the Sturrock version. We have consulted her translations when we faced difficult choices but have translated independently, aiming toward a balance between readability and fidelity to Zayas’s style and texture that comes closer to replicating that style in English. The number and diversity of monographs, articles, and doctoral dissertations devoted to Zayas’s work are now such that no tidy summary is feasible. We hope that the present volume will draw new readers to the fold of those who savor her tales and will further enrich our appreciation with their own critical studies. 81. Some of these translations attributed the stories to Cervantes, whether the tales were originally his, those of Zayas, or Pérez de Montalbán. Alicia Yllera lists these translations in Introducción, 87–91. 82. Zayas y Sotomayor, Shameful Revenge, p. x. The stories included, with his titles and their Zayas source are: “The Ravages of Vice” (Desengaño 10); “An Innocent Punished” (Desengaño 5), “A Shameful Revenge” (Desengaño 2), “Forewarned but Forestalled” (Novela 4), “A Traitor to His Own Flesh and Blood” (Desengaño 8), “No Good Comes from Marrying Foreigners” (Desengaño 7), “There Always Comes a Reckoning” (Novela 7), and “A Mistake Discovered Too Late” (Desengaño 4). 83. María de Zayas y Sotomayor, The Enchantments of Love: Amorous and Exemplary Novels (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); and The Disenchantments of Love: A Translation of the Desengaños amorosos (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997). 84. María de Zayas y Sotomayor, Novelle amorose ed esemplari, trans. Sonia Piloto di Castro (Turin: Giulio Einaudi, 1995).



Alfonso X, el Sabio. Las siete partidas del sabio Rey Don Alonso el Nono [sic], nuevamente glosadas por el lic. Gregorio López. Valladolid: Diego Fernández de Córdoba, 1587. Carvajal, Mariana de. Navidades de Madrid y noches entretenidas en ocho novellas (1663). Series edited by Catherine Soriano. Madrid: Comunidad de Madrid, 1993. Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de. Don Quixote of La Mancha. Trans. Walter Starkie. New York: New American Library, 1957. ———. El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha. Ed. Francisco Rodríguez Marín. 7 vols. Madrid: Tipografía de la Revista de Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos, 1928. Covarrubias Orozco, Sebastián de. Suplemento al Tesoro de la Lengua Española Castellana. Ed. Georgina Dopico and Jacques Lezra. Madrid: Ediciones Polifemo, 2001. ———. Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española. Ed. Felipe C. R. Maldonado. Rev. Manuel Camarero. 2nd ed. Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 1995–. Diccionario de Autoridades. Ed. Real Academia Española. Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 1979. Huarte de San Juan, Juan. Examen de ingenios para las ciencias (1575). Madrid: Cátedra, 1989. Lozano, Cristóbal. Soledades de la vida y desengaños del mundo. 2nd ed. Madrid: Andrés García de la Iglesia, 1664. Oxford English Dictionary. Prepared by J. A. Simpson and E. S. C. Weiner. 2nd ed. 20 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989. Padilla, Luisa María de. Nobleza virtuosa. Zaragoza: Juan de Lanaja, 1637. Pérez de Moya, J. Arithmética práctica y speculativa (1562); Varia historia de sanctas e illustres mugeres (1583). Madrid: Biblioteca Castro, 1998. Pradilla, Francisco de la. Suma de las leyes penales. Madrid: Imprenta del Reino, 1639. Teresa of Avila. The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself. Trans. J. M. Cohen. London: Penguin Books, 1957. Vega Carpio, Lope de. El laurel de Apolo, Coleccion de las obras sueltas, assí en prosa, como en verso. Madrid: Antonio de Sancha, 1776. Zayas y Sotomayor, María de. The Disenchantments of Love. Trans. H. Patsy Boyer. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ B i b l i o g r a p h y ———. The Enchantments of Love. Trans. H. Patsy Boyer. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. ———. Novelas amorosas y ejemplares. Ed. Julian Olivares. Madrid: Cátedra, 2000. ———. Novelle amorose ed esemplari. Trans. Sonia Piloto di Castro. Turin: Giulio Einaudi, 1995. ———. Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos). Ed. Alicia Yllera. Madrid: Cátedra, 1983. ———. A Shameful Revenge and Other Stories. Trans. John Sturrock. London: Folio Society, 1963. ———. La traición en la amistad. Trans. Catherine Larson. Ed. Valerie Hegstrom. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1999. ———. La traición en la amistad. Ed. Barbara López Mayhew. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2003. ———. Tres Novelas amorosas y ejemplares y tres Desengaños amorosos de María de Zayas. Ed. Alicia Goicoechea. Madrid: Castalia Instituto de la Mujer, 1989.


Amezúa y Mayo, Agustín. “Prólogo del colector.” In Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, by María de Zayas y Sotomayor. Madrid: Aldus, S. A. de Artes Gráficas, 1948. 16. Atienza Hernández, Ignacio. “Las mujeres nobles: Clase dominante, grupo dominado. Familia y orden social en el antiguo régimen.” In Ordenamiento jurídico y realidad social de las mujeres: Siglos XVI a XX. Actas de las IV Jornadas de Investigatión Interdisciplinaria. Seminario de Estudios de la Mujer. Madrid: Ediciones de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Madrid, 1986. 149–66. Barahona, Renato. “Between Ideals and Pragmatism: Honor in Early Modern Spain.” In Approaches to Teaching Early Modern Spanish Drama, ed. Laura R. Bass and Margaret R. Greer. New York: Modern Language Association, 2006. 39–44. ———. Sex Crimes, Honour and the Law in Early Modern Spain: Vizcaya, 1528–1735. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003. Barbeito Carneiro, Isabel. “Escritoras madrileñas del siglo XVII (Estudio bibliográficocrítico).” Ph.D. diss., Universidad Complutense, 1986. ———. Mujeres del Madrid Barroco. Voces Testimoniales. Madrid: Dirección General de la Mujer de la Comunidad de Madrid, 1992. Bass, Laura, and Amanda Wunder. “Tapadas.” Lecture presented at the Renaissance Society of the Americas conference, San Francisco, 2006. Bouza Alvarez, Fernando J. Locos, enanos y hombres de placer en la corte de los Austrias. Madrid: Temas de Hoy, 1991. Brown, Kenneth. “Context i text del Vexamen d’Academia de Francesc Fontanella.” Llengua & Literatura 2 (1987): 172–252. Brownlee, Marina. The Cultural Labyrinth of María de Zayas. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. Camino, M. M. “Spindles for Swords: The Re/dis-covery of María de Zayas’s Presence.” Hispanic Review 62 (1994): 519–36. Carrasco Urgoiti, Mª Soledad. “Notas sobre el vejamen de academia en la segunda mitad del siglo XVII.” Revista Hispánica Moderna 31 (1965): 97–111.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ B i b l i o g r a p h y Casa, Frank P. “El tema de la violación sexual en la comedia.” In El escritor y la escena, Actas del I congreso de la Asociación Internacional de Teatro Español y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro (March 18–21, 1992, Ciudad Juárez, Mexico), ed. Ysla Campbell. Ciudad Juárez: Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, 1993. 203–12. Casey, James. The History of the Family. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989. Castillo Solórzano, Alonso de. “La Garduña de Sevilla y anzuelo de las bolsas.” In Novelistas posteriores a Cervantes, ed. Cayetano Rosell y López. Madrid: M. Rivadeneyra, 1854. 169–234. Cátedra, Pedro M., and Anastasio Rojo. Bibliotecas y lecturas de mujeres: siglo XVI. Salamanca: Instituto de Historia del Libro y de las Lecturas, 2004. Charnon-Deutsch, Lou. “The Sexual Economy in the Narrative of María de Zayas.” Letras Femeninas 17 (1991): 15–28. Davis, Nina Cox. “Re-framing Discourse: Women before Their Public in María de Zayas.” Hispanic Review 71 (2003): 325–44. Defourneaux, Marcelin. Daily Life in Spain in the Golden Age. Trans. Newton Branch. New York: Praeger, 1970. Earle, T. F., and K. J. P. Lowe, eds. Black Africans in Renaissance Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Fariña Busto, María Jesús. “María de Zayas y Sotomayor: A propósito de algunos sonetos incluídos en las Novelas y Desengaños amorosos.” Monographic Review / Revista Monográfica 13 (1997): 53–63. Foa, Sandra. Feminismo y forma narrativa. Estudio del tema y las técnicas de María de Zayas y Sotomayor. Valencia: Albatros Hispanófila Ediciones, 1979. Friedman, Edward H. “María de Zayas’s Estragos que causa el vicio and the Feminist Impasse.” Romance Languages Annual 8 (1997): 472–75. Friedman, Ellen G. “El estatus jurídico de la mujer castellana durante el Antiguo Régimen.” In Ordenamiento jurídico y realidad social de las mujeres. Actas de las Cuartas Jornadas de Investigación Interdisciplinaria, ed. María Carmen García-Nieto París. Madrid: Seminario de Estudios de la Mujer, 1986. 41–53. Garcés, María Antonia. Cervantes in Algiers: A Captive’s Tale. 2nd rev. ed. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005. Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972. Goytisolo, Juan. “El mundo erótico de María de Zayas.” In Disidencias. Barcelona: Seix Barral, 1977. 63–115. Greer, Margaret R. “Cazadores divinos, demoniacos y reales en los autos de Calderón de la Barca.” In Actas, Congreso Internacional sobre los autos sacramentales de Calderón de la Barca, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 1997, ed. Ignacio Arellano et al. Kassel: Reichenberger, 1997. 217–42. ———. “In Memoriam: A. A. Parker.” In Cervantes 10 (1990): 105–6. ———. “María de Zayas and the Female Eunuch.” Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 2, no. 1 (2001): 41–53. ———. María de Zayas Tells Baroque Tales of Love and the Cruelty of Men. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. Grieve, Patricia E. “Embroidering with Saintly Threads: María de Zayas Challenges Cervantes and the Church.” Renaissance Quarterly 44, no. 1 (1991): 86–106. Griswold, Susan C. “Topoi and Rhetorical Distance: The ‘Feminism’ of María de Zayas.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 15 (1980): 97–116.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ B i b l i o g r a p h y Halperin, David M. “Why Is Diotima a Woman?” In One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love. New York: Routledge, 1990. 113–51. Jagoe, C. “Disinheriting the Feminine: Galdós and the Rise of the Realist Novel in Spain.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 27 (1993): 225–48. Jameson, Fredric. “On ‘Cultural Studies.’ ” Social Text 34 (1993): 17–52. Jiménez Catalán, Manuel. Ensayo de una tipografía zaragozana del siglo XVII. Zaragoza: Tipografía “La Académica,” 1925. Kamen, Henry. Spain, 1469–1714: A Society in Conflict. 2nd ed. London: Longman, 1991. Kaminsky, Amy. “María de Zayas and the Invention of a Women’s Writing Community.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 35 (2001): 487–509. Kaplan, Sylvia Gray. “Lucrecia (?–510 BCE).” Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Ed. Anne Commire. Waterford, CT: Yorkin, 2001. 9: 769–73. King, Willard F. Prosa novelística y academias literarias en el siglo XVII. Madrid: Imprenta Silverio Aguirre Torre, 1963. Lagreca, Nancy. “Evil Women and Feminist Sentiment: Baroque Contradictions in María de Zayas’s ‘El prevenido engañado’ and ‘Estragos que causa el vicio.’ ” Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos 28, no. 3 (2004): 565–82. Lehfeldt, Elizabeth. Religious Women in Golden Age Spain: The Permeable Cloister. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2005. Luna, Lola. “Ana Caro, una escritora ‘de oficio’ del Siglo de Oro.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 72 (1995): 11–26. Morata, Federico Bravo. Los nombres de las calles de Madrid. 2 vols. Madrid: Fenicia, 1970. Mesonero Romanos, Ramón de. El Antiguo Madrid: Paseos históricos-anecdóticos por las calles y casas de esta villa, por El Curioso Parlante. Madrid: Renacimiento, 1925. Moll, Jaime. “La primera edición de las ‘Novelas amorosas y exemplares’ de María de Zayas y Sotomayor.” Dicenda. Cuadernos de Filología Hispánica 1 (1982): 177–79. Montesa Peydro, Salvador. Texto y contexto en la narrativa de María de Zayas. Madrid: Dirección General de la Juventud y Promoción Sociocultural, 1981. Nalle, Sarah T. “Literacy and Culture in Early Modern Castile.” Past and Present, no. 125 (1989): 65–96. Olivares, Julian. “Vir melancholicus/femina tristis: Towards a Poetics of Women’s Loss.” In “En desagravio de las damas”: Studies of Women’s Poetry of the Golden Age, ed. Olivares. Forthcoming. Olivares, Julian, and Elizabeth S. Boyce. Tras el espejo la musa escribe: lírica femenina de los Siglos de Oro. Madrid: Siglo Veintiuno de España, 1993. Pardo Bazán, Emilia. “Breve noticia sobre Doña María de Zayas y Sotomayor.” In Novelas de Doña María de Zayas, ed. Pardo Bazán. Madrid: Agustín Avrial, c. 1892. 5–16. Parker-Aronson, Stacey L. “Monstrous Metamorphoses and Rape in María de Zayas.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 29, no. 3 (2005): 525–47. Perry, Mary Elizabeth. Crime and Society in Early Modern Seville. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1980. ———. The Handless Maiden: Moriscos and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Spain. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Poska, Allyson M. “When Love Goes Wrong: Getting Out of Marriage in Seventeenth-Century Spain.” Journal of Social History 29, no. 4: (1996): 871–83.

Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ B i b l i o g r a p h y ———. Women and Authority in Early Modern Spain: The Peasants of Galicia. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Rhodes, Elizabeth. “Sacred Space in María de Zayas’s Desengaños.” Lecture presented at the International Conference on Defining the Holy: Sacred Space in Medieval and Early Modern Europe, University of Exeter, Exeter, England, April 2003. ———. “Skirting the Men: Gender Roles in Sixteenth-Century Pastoral Books.” Journal of Hispanic Philology 11, no. 2 (1987): 131–49. ———“The Woman in the Chimney of María de Zayas’s Fifth Disenchantment.” Lecture presented at the Distinguished Scholars Lecture Series of Haverford College, Haverford College, November 1999. Romero-Díaz, Nieves. Nueva nobleza, nueva novella: Reescribiendo la cultura urbana del Barroco. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2002. ———. “Revisiting the Culture of the Baroque: Nobility, City, and novela corta.” In Freedom and Containment in the Baroque, ed. Nicholas Spadaccini and Luis MartinEstudillo. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005. 162–83. Sánchez, José. Academias literarias del Siglo de Oro español. Madrid: Gredos, 1961. Santos, Juliá, David Ringrose, and Cristina Segura. Madrid. Historia de una capital. Madrid: Alianza, 1994. Schiesari, Juliana. The Gendering of Melancholia: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Symbolics of Loss in Renaissance Literature. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992. Serrano y Sanz, Manuel. Apuntes para una biblioteca de escritoras españolas desde el año 1401 al 1833. Vols. 270–271. Biblioteca de Autores Españoles. Madrid: Atlas, 1975. Smith, Paul Julian. The Body Hispanic: Gender and Sexuality in Spanish and Spanish American Literature. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989. Smith, William. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. 3 vols. Boston: Charles C. Little & James Brown, 1849. Soufas, Teresa Scott. Melancholy and the Secular Mind in Spanish Golden Age Literature. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1990. Trope, Helène. Locura y sociedad en la Valencia de los siglos XV al XVII. Valencia: Puvill Libros, 1994. Tuana, N. The Less Noble Sex: Scientific, Religious, and Philosophical Conceptions of Woman’s Nature. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994. Tueller, James B. Good and Faithful Christians: Moriscos and Catholicism in Early Modern Spain. New Orleans: University Press of the South, 2002. Valbuena Prat, Angel. Historia de la literatura española. Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 1937. Vigil, Mariló. “Conformismo y rebeldía en los conventos femeninos de los siglos XVI y XVII.” In Religiosidad femenina: Expectativas y realidades (SS. VIII–XVIII), ed. Ángela Muñoz and Mª del Mar Graña. Madrid: Asociación Cultural AL-MUDAYNA, 1991. 165–85. ———. La vida de las mujeres en los siglos XVI y XVII. 2nd rev. ed. Madrid: Siglo Veintiuno de España, , 1994. Villamediana, Juan de Tarsis, conde de. Las fábulas mitológicas. Ed. Lidia Gutiérrez Arranz. Kassel: Reichenberger, 1999. Vollendorf, Lisa. The Lives of Women: A New History of Inquisitional Spain. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005. ———.”Reading the Body Imperiled: Violence against Women in María de Zayas.” Hispania 78, no. 2 (1995): 272–82.



Vo l u m e E d i t o r s ’ B i b l i o g r a p h y ———. Reclaiming the Body: María de Zayas’s Early Modern Feminism. North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. Welles, Marcia. Persephone’s Girdle: Narratives of Rape in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Literature. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2000. Wilson, Diana de Armas. “ ‘Passing the Love of Women’: The Intertextuality of El curioso impertinente.” Cervantes 7 (1987): 9–28. Yllera, Alicia. Introducción. In Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), by María de Zayas y Sotomayor. Madrid: Cátedra, 1983. 11–110.



e welcome you, reader, to the labyrinthine world of María de Zayas with a few cautionary notes of our own. Zayas is difficult. Respecting that difficulty, we have chosen to translate these tales at just one remove from a literal rendition, attempting to mimic the formal register of the prose without sacrificing our own readers’ comfort. Similarly, we have respected Zayas’s lexical redundancies, such as “the virtues that make a virtuous Christian.” Because the author uses certain words, such as hermosa (beautiful), with dogged persistence, we have respected what appears to be Zayas’s intention to repeat the word, and we alert our readers to the fact that these repetitions are in the original. Similarly, we respect her extremely long, sometimes ungrammatical, sentences. Baroque syntax is notoriously complex, and Zayas’s is highly baroque: her sentences are tests of endurance that make the reader wait for the subject—sometime futilely— while wading through multiple clauses, most of which begin with the conjunction “and.” Rather than divide the sentences, as Boyer chose to do, we most often let them stand. However, because Zayas’s most challenging sentences are the first ones of each tale, which greet the reader like a snake at the door, we have chosen to break those up and make entry into the story a bit easier. We leave the conjunctions where Zayas left them, for they are testimony of an age that delighted in such syntactic suspension. As Boyer points out, the omnipresent “and” is a marker of orality, and since Zayas’s novels fictionalize a storytelling event, the repeated conjunction makes us hearken to the voice of the speaker who draws our attention by avoiding the end of a sentence. We imagine each storyteller, graceful finger pointed toward her public, eyes bright, sustaining our gaze with that promise of more: “And . . .” We also hope that our readers will bear with doña María,



N o t e o n t h e Tr a n s l a t i o n s and us, through her dense prose, whose intricate structure mirrors her plots’ complexities. In keeping with the register of the translation, we have purposefully used a mildly archaic lexicon, seeking fidelity to a text from the seventeenth century without translating for specialists only. For example, the Spanish word gracia means an endearing ability or characteristic. Although readers today associate the word grace with a mealtime prayer, elegance of movement, and the favor of God, in seventeenth-century English it meant exactly what Zayas meant in Spanish: “the quality of producing favorable impressions.”1 Words like this will jar English readers a bit, which is a good thing, given Zayas’s clear intention to do precisely that. We have maintained Zayas’s word order whenever possible, so where we may have been tempted to change “Fabia caring for him as if he were a son in all necessary things” to “Fabia caring for him in all necessary things as if her were a son,” we do not. Most often, Zayas’s tendency to modify clausal nouns necessitates this word order, which is awkward in English. For example, in the sentence “I disproved for decorum’s sake my feelings, which were so many I could scarcely hide them,” English prefers “I disproved my feelings for decorum’s sake,” but then the clause modifying “feelings” is left hanging. We have also translated her poetry fairly literally, keeping her word order when possible and approximating the scansion of her poetic lines. We have not, however, tried to find an English equivalent for the assonantal rhyme structure of her romances. Zayas is a prosaic poet, with some turns of wit hard to render in English. When words not in the original are necessary for comprehension, we have added them, sometimes in brackets, when the need is great. The reader may wonder what is the antecedent for a pronoun; so do we, but in most cases, we have guided readers to our own understanding of the best option. We have respected Zayas’s abuse of gerund forms and the baroque technique of anacoluthon, meaning a switch of the subject in a sentence’s interior so that its grammaticality is violated, by adding commas generously. Spanish verbs, unlike verbs in English, do not require a subject. For example, the verb va means “he goes, she goes, you (formal) go.” Reflecting the seventeenth-century practice of using the male as the default subject, we translate those ambiguous verbs using a masculine pronoun. We do not translate Spanish titles of address (don, doña) other than (señor, “sir”), and we leave the Spanish word that forms part of a title (conde de Arco) but 1. OED.

N o t e o n t h e Tr a n s l a t i o n s switch to the English when they stand alone (Estela disdained the count). Geographical names are left in Spanish, unless they have a common English equivalent, such as Seville. We have normalized the capitalization, for whose irregularities the printer was likely responsible. Our decision to translate Zayas this way is political: the concepts of honor, revenge, and the representation of women in terms of their bodily significance are remnants of an ideology that English speakers—certainly the two of us—would like to believe has passed from our lives. But—“Woe is me!” as Zayas would put it—it endures in our world today. We hope that these concepts, wrapped in a linguistic exchange different from the one to which we are accustomed, will provide a challenge and so take us to the understanding, patience, and tolerance necessary for the negotiation of difference. For the Exemplary Tales of Love, we use Julián Olivares’s edition of the book’s second publication, whose title page states that it was “corrected and emended by the author” in 1637. Where the first edition, which Olivares designates as “P,” differs substantively from the second, we cite the variant, addition or excision, in a note, giving the version in the copy-text first, followed by a bracket and then the variant. The Spanish text for the Tales of Disillusion is Alicia Yllera’s edition, respecting her reordering of the tales, which she justifies in her introduction to the volume. Whereas Zayas entitled each of the ten Exemplary Tales, she published the Tales of Disillusion with only the first tale bearing its own title, referring to each of the other nine as simply a “tale of disillusion.” We respect this decision and so do not use the titles added in a 1743 edition. When using parentheses and dashes to set off modifying clauses of long sentences helps make them understandable, we have done so. We occasionally alter Olivares’s and Yllera’s paragraph divisions and punctuation for the same reason. The most difficult words to translate in these books are also the most important: engaño/engañar and desengaño/desengañar. These are four of the most important words in the baroque lexicon and refer to the deceptive nature of everything, especially human beings and human experience on earth. The closest words in English, which would also provide the crucial root opposition between engaño and desengaño, are “deceiving” and “undeceiving,” but “undeceiving” is not in current English usage to the extent necessary for our readers to be comfortable with it. The word engaño is straightforward: “act or practice of misleading someone,” and “deceit” fits the bill.2 Desengaño, 2. OED.



N o t e o n t h e Tr a n s l a t i o n s simply enough, means the opposite of engaño (yet, ironically, has the negative prefix). We have rejected “disenchantment,” which means “to set free from enchantment, magic spell, or illusion”; although the word is lovely, it is not exact. Although “disillusion,” which means “action of freeing or becoming free from illusion,” is not perfect because it lacks the morphological contrast with “deceit,” it is familiar to the reader today, so we have chosen to use it. Other terms that require explanation, such as Zayas’s repeated use of artifacts and activities particular to Spain (such as estrado), are annotated at the first instance and marked with an asterisk (*) the first time they appear in succeeding stories, indicating that the explanation appears in the glossary at the end of volume. We close entreating you, with doña María, to be merciful regarding our mistakes, assuring you that our intention has been to open the door to her world as accurately and transparently as possible.





ho doubts, my reader, that you will be amazed that a woman has the audacity not only to write a book, but to send it for printing, which is the crucible in which the purity of genius is tested. For until one’s writings are enjoyed in letters of lead,1 their worth is uncertain, since our senses are so easily deceived that the fragility of sight usually takes as gold that which by the light of fire is seen to be a piece of polished bronze. Who doubts, I say again, but that there will be many who attribute to madness this virtuous daring to bring my scribblings into the light, being a woman, which, in the opinion of some fools, is the same as an incapable thing. But anyone, provided that person be no less than a good courtier, will neither find it a novelty nor gossip about it as idiocy. Because if this material of which we men and women are made, whether a combination of fire and mud, or a mass of spirits and clods, is no more noble in them than in us, if our blood is the same thing, our senses, faculties, and organs through which their effects are wrought are all the same, the soul the same as theirs—since souls are neither male nor female—what reason is there that they would be wise and presume we cannot be so? This has, in my opinion, no other answer than their impiety or tyranny in locking us up and not giving us teachers. And so the true reason why women are not learned is not a lack of ability but lack of practice. Because if in our upbringing, just as they set us to the cambric on our lace pillows (fig. 2) 1. “Letters of lead” refers to typeset in which each letter, cast in lead, was placed individually in wood frames that held several pages of typeface. The wood frames were then placed on the press to print one side of a large sheet. The sheets, when both sides were printed, were then folded into gatherings; early editions of Zayas were printed either in quarto (four leaves, eight pages per gathering), or octavo (eight leaves, sixteen pages per gathering). See Philip Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), 80–87 and related illustrations; and Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), 65–74.




Figure 2. Bobbin lace in process. Lace and photography by Elizabeth Rhodes.

and to stitching patterns in our embroidery hoops,2 they were to provide us with books and preceptors, we would prove as apt for posts and professorships as men, and perhaps of sharper wit, since our disposition is colder, given that understanding is humid, as can be seen in quick wit and calculated 2. Cambric is a thin white linen or cotton fabric, used to cover a bobbin lace pillow. Spanish noblewomen of the early modern period were highly skilled at embroidery and were renowned as workers in gold and silver thread. Spanish women were taught to make bobbin lace as part

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e 3

deceit, for everything done with skill, although it be not virtue, is ingenuity. And should this reason not bring us credit, let the evidence of the stories bring it, and we will see4 therein what women who dealt in advanced letters accomplished.5 Of Argentaria, wife of the poet Lucan, he himself states that she assisted him in the correction of the three books of the Pharsalia and wrote many of its verses that passed as his.6 Themistoclea, Pythagoras’s sister, wrote a highly learned book of various maxims.7 Diotima was venerated by Socrates as an eminence.8 Aspasia gave several lectures in the acade-

of their education until after the death of Franco; it is now enjoying a renaissance. For more information, see http://www.pasqualinonet.com.ar/el_bolillo.htm. 3. The three faculties of the soul are memory, understanding, and will. Humoral theory of Zayas’s day held that women were cold and wet, whereas men were hot and dry. The faculty of understanding being defined as wet, it would stand to reason that women could theoretically excel in that. In fact, dominant understanding held the opposite; see Greer, María de Zayas, 66–72. 4. will see [will see how those women who shone out of some accidental circumstance dealt with. (The sentence in P is ungrammatical.) 5. accomplished. [accomplished, so that, given that it fails to pardon my ignorance, may it serve as the example of my daring. 6. Current information about all of the women cited by Zayas in this passage differs from what she would have culled about them from sources of her day. We cite Pérez de Moya’s 1583 Varia historia de sanctas e illustres mugeres (Diverse History of Holy and Illustrious Women) (Madrid: Biblioteca Castro, 1998), because of its remarkable similarity to what Zayas says: “Polla Argentaria, Lucan’s wife, was so learned that she helped her husband edit the three books of the Pharsalia, and with no less elegance and weightiness did she finish the poetry that Lucan began and left unfinished” (988). Lucan, born in Córdoba in 39 CE, wrote the epic poem Bellum civile, more popularly known as the Pharsalia, an account of the war between Caesar and Pompey, but it was left unfinished when he was forced to commit suicide in 65 at the age of 26 when his participation in a plot to assassinate Nero was discovered. With Virgil and Ovid, he was one of the authors most frequently studied in medieval halls of rhetoric, and long passages of the Pharsalia were incorporated into the Primera crónica general ordered compiled by Alfonso el Sabio. For more information on these “foremothers,” see Greer, María de Zayas, 72–79. 7. “Theoclea, or Theistoclea, Pythagoras’s sister, was so learned that, since he was her brother, everyone knows that he learned from her some things of great genius and doctrine and availed himself of her dictates and opinions in many instances” (Pérez de Moya, Varia historia de sanctas e illustres mugeres, 976). This important member of the Pythagorean circle is no longer believed to have been Pythagoras’s sister. She was a Delphic priestess said to have taught Pythagoras (c. 582–500 BCE) much of his doctrine. William Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, 3 vols. (Little and Brown, 1849), 1: 302. 8. “Diotima was an excellent philosopher and teacher of Socrates” (Pérez de Moya, Varia historia de sanctas e illustres mugeres, 991). Zayas, like Castiglione, who refers to Diotima in the closing pages of Il cortegiano, seems to believe that she was a historical figure rather than a fictional creation. In the Symposium, she is central to Plato’s exposition of eros as an ascent from physical beauty to philosophical creativity and virtuous contemplation of Beauty as an ideal form. The “mysteries of love” upon which Plato expounded via Diotima and Socrates were built on a model of homosexual love that Renaissance philosophers had reframed in heterosexual terms well before Zayas’s day.



One mies.9 Eudoxa left a book of political counsel;10 Zenobia, a compendium of the Oriental History.11 And Cornelia, wife of the African, [wrote] some familiar epistles with the greatest elegance,12 and other infinite numbers of women of antiquity and of our times whom I pass over in silence13 because you will surely know of it all, although you may be unlettered and might not have studied. And since there are polyantheas in Latin and summaries

9. The text says “Aspano,” a name we cannot identify. It may be a misprint for Aspasia, hetaera (courtesan) and later wife of Pericles, of whom Pérez de Moya writes, “Aspasia, or Aspacia, woman of Mileto, being admirable in eloquence and supreme in philosophy and rhetoric, taught Pericles, prince of political oratory. . . . She taught rhetoric in her country” (Varia historia de sanctas e illustres mugeres, 977–78). This Milesian woman who went to Athens to live and became the mistress of Pericles was an influential figure in Athenian political and intellectual life. Aspasia’s intellectual gifts as well as her beauty earned Pericles’ impassioned love (Smith, Dictionary, 1: 386). She may even have inspired Plato’s creation of Diotima. See David Halperin, “Why Is Diotima a Woman?” in One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love (New York: Routledge, 1990), 122–24. 10. “Eudocia, whom some call Eudozia . . . was most studied in sacred Scripture and the principal poet of her age. She wrote a book of admirable counsel and doctrine and collected, in a summa of the Greek verses of Homer, many stories from the New and Old Testaments with admirable persistence, respecting the scansion of the lines and the style of the original” (Pérez de Moya, Varia historia de sanctas e illustres mugeres, 970). Born in Athens in the fifth century, the daughter of the sophist Leontius, she was versed in Greek and Latin literature, rhetoric, astronomy, and geometry and was also a famous beauty. Her father therefore left all of his property to her two brothers, saying that her good fortune and good education would be a sufficient inheritance for her. She went to Constantinople to appeal against her brothers and there met Pulcheria, the sister of the emperor Theodosius, who was instrumental both in her marriage to the emperor and in her conversion to Christianity. She wrote four long works in heroic verse and is credited in some editions as the author of the Homero-Centones, a much-published poem on the history of the fall of humankind and its redemption by Jesus Christ, made up of verses from Homer (Smith, Dictionary, 1: 78–79). 11. “Zenobia was very learned in languages and wrote works such as the one she titled Alexandrina and another she titled Oriental Summa” (Pérez de Moya, Varia historia de sanctas e illustres mugeres, 983). Zenobia was much better known in Zayas’s day (as now) as the third-century queen of Palmyra who led her people in war against Rome (Pérez de Moya describes her in this role, 918–20). She figured in lists of distinguished women from Boccaccio and Álvaro de Luna to Christine de Pizan as a model of courage, strength, and chastity. Alvaro de Luna omits Boccaccio’s description of her learning in Egyptian and Greek, but Pizan makes that the climax of her description of Zenobia’s virtues. 12. “Cornelia, wife of Scipio and mother of the Gracchi, wrote letters of such eloquence that, according to Quintilian . . . her son’s wisdom has its beginning in those letters” (Pérez de Moya, Varia historia de sanctas e illustres Mugeres, 972). She was the daughter of the general Scipio Africanus and later the mother-in-law of Scipio Africanus the Younger; she married Tiberius Sempronius Gracchus, whose death left her a widow with twelve children. Two of her sons, Tiberius and Caius, known as the Gracchi, became famous Roman statesmen and distinguished orators. A learned woman, well versed in both Greek and Roman literature, she was indeed known for the excellence of her letters (Greer, María de Zayas, 78). 13. silence [ silence so as not to be prolix

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e of moral dictates in the vulgar tongues, men who are not clerics and women can be educated.14 For if this is true, what reason exists why we would not have aptitude for books?15 And more so if all women have my inclination, for when I see any book, new or old, I abandon my little lace pillow and do not rest until I skim it over. From this inclination was born knowledge, from knowledge good taste, and from it all the writing of poetry, even writing these novellas, either because it is an easier or more desirable business, for many books without erudition often seem good because of their subject matter, and others that are full of subtleties get sold but are not bought,16 because the material lacks importance or is insipid.17 It is not necessary to warn you of the mercy you should have, for if it is good, praising it is nothing; and if it is bad, out of the courtesy owed any woman you will treat it with respect.18 There is no rivalry with women; the one who fails to esteem them is a fool, because he needs them, and the one who insults them is an ingrate, for he lacks the respect due the hospitality that women gave men in their first journey.19 And so, then, you must not wish to be discourteous, idiotic, base, or ungrateful. I offer you this book very sure of your gallantry and confident that, should it displease you, you will be able to pardon me because I was born a woman, not with obligations to write good novellas but with a great desire to succeed in serving you. Farewell. 14. Poliantheas were anthologies of wide-ranging information and snippets of wisdom. Authors cited them to appear widely read. The “vulgar tongues” are languages not classical. 15. P says “apt at dealing with men” (prontitud para los hombres). This is changed to “aptitude for books” in the second edition (our emphasis), suggesting that the first version was a classic Freudian slip that shows that a masculine judge and jury were ever present in Zayas’s mind as controllers of access to the literary and intellectual elite she sought to enter. 16. The meaning of this phrase is obscure. Books that “get sold” are those bought by booksellers from printers, whereas individual customers would be the ones to “buy” them from the bookseller. 17. insipid [ insipid. This is to say that the book to which I invite you can serve as fruit among other more substantial dishes, for human taste is so capricious and weary of seeing what goes on in the world that one must take recourse in farcical things to eliminate bitterness or make it possible to swallow life’s surprises. 18. respect. [ respect. Satires and other works of fury were not made for those who have surrendered but rather for those exalted. The one who has honor gives what he has; each one behaves as the person he is. 19. The “first journey” women give men is carrying them during pregnancy.




ruel or benign reader, who in the tribunal of your room judge as daring or modest the slightest details of what you are reading, this book offers you one of our nation’s clear wits, a portent of our age, a wonder of our times, and a marvel of the living.1 I praise it little if you consider that heaven has placed in the weak sex of a woman such consummate gifts that they surpass all that are celebrated with applause and that geniuses solemnize. For when one expects only that a lady have clear understanding, noble respect, and prudent behavior (accompanied by the modest virtues that make manifest these prerogatives, due to the benefit of her noble education), we see that as the culmination of favors she has as well a most subtle wit, an admirable disposition, and singular grace in everything she thinks, plans, and executes, achieving thereby that we venerate her as a phoenix of wisdom and grant due esteem to such merits. The lady doña María de Zayas, glory of the Manzanares2 and honor of our Spain (whom the learned academies of Madrid have so applauded and celebrated), as proof of her pen, gives to the printing press these ten births of her fecund wit, with the name of novellas. The morality enclosed in them, the artifice they display, and the grace with which they are written are characteristic of her lively wit, which will know how to achieve greater heights in greater tasks. Given that she is a lady and a witty and learned woman, you should—O reader!—admire her sharp thinking, naked of the invidious affect with which you censure others who do not honor the safe


1. The content of this curious section of the introductory material to the Exemplary Tales of Love leads the reader to believe that it was written by someone other than the author. The lexicon, syntax, and style, however, are Zayas’s own. 2. The Manzanares is the river that passes through Madrid.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e passage due to ladies. And not only should you do this but long that your study not be without her book in it, due to what you know about its author, not borrowing it but purchasing it with your money, which even were it a lot, you will find well spent. And since it goes with the matter at hand, I shall mention here the legions of readers who are, in fact, her readers at little cost to themselves, but at great cost to the booksellers. There are people who read books at the expense of others, like gluttons at a table, who go to the bookstores and, so as not to spend the miserable sum needed for a book, swallow it up quickly with their eyes, sit on the displays in the stores, letting it pass over their minds like cats over hot coals, and their criticism of what they read is just as quick. Right there in the middle of things, they are not offended at being stepped on as people pass through, being challenged by those who come in to buy books in the store, by the angry face of the bookseller upon seeing that person in the way of everything, nor the explosions of the employees who work there. This individual endures it all in exchange for reading by swindle and studying for free so as not to spend money. Others, relying on the liberality and good nature of the bookseller, ask him to loan them new books that come in, and once they have made it old, instead of praising the work, they vituperate it by criticizing the book. Others wait for those who have bought the book to read it, to ask them for it and read it then. And what results from this is that, if they are ignorant or have not understood the material or it has not pleased them, they discredit the book and reduce its sale for the bookseller. And a book read on the fly or as a test of whether to buy it or not is similar to leftover love, which loses value to the lover, or clothing worn and then cast aside, which no longer serves its purpose. May this book (O dear readers!) avoid these difficulties, since it deserves as much on your behalf, so that the swindler may not practice that profession by reading it for free; may the freeloader desire to consume it and have to spend money for it. And, finally, may the stingy person depart from such a miserable and tightfisted custom and spend the money, for it is such a delicious dish, by its nature as well as for the reform of behavior [it supports]. For to all this attended the provident wit of its discreet author, whose praises are worthy of eloquent pens, and the greatest of mine to her is to hold off from celebrating her, remaining silent, for in one who knows nothing, such is the greatest praise for the person one wishes to celebrate. Farewell.




he lovely Lisarda,1 the discreet Matilde, the entertaining Nise, and the wise Filis, all noble, wealthy, beautiful, and friends, gathered to entertain Lisis, lovely miracle of nature and prodigious marvel of this court, whose lovely qualities were submitted to a daring quartan fever,2 one afternoon among the brief ones of December, when ice and terrible snow urge people to stay home, enjoy kindled braziers that compete with the drinking flasks of July, and flatter the ladies so that they may not miss the meadowland, river, and other pleasures with which people entertain themselves in Madrid. Well, since it was so close to Christmas, a happy time and worthy to celebrate with parties, games, and merriment, they spent the afternoon in modest and delightful colloquies so that Lisis, with the agreeable conversation of her female friends, might not feel the pains of her illness. Among themselves (since living in the same house—although in different rooms, as was the custom at court—facilitated their seeing each other at all hours),3


1. The rhythm of Zayas’s prose is heaviest at the beginning of each section of the text; the paragraphs and their sentences are extremely long and difficult to decipher. As each story proceeds, however, the style lightens and becomes easier to read. 2. Quartan fevers recur every fourth day, with two intermittent days; this illness, whose rhythm is similar to that of some types of malaria, was common in seventeenth-century Europe. 3. During Zayas’s lifetime, space in urban centers was at a premium, and the nobility, often pressed for cash, frequently let rooms or suites in their city palaces to persons and families of the upper classes. Nobles were required to cede the ground floor of their houses to the king upon command, for the housing of troops, which further reduced their cash flow. Houses in which the nobility resided in seventeenth-century cities were similar to today’s apartment buildings in that several families resided in them, with each one typically occupying a floor. Mariana de Carvajal’s novellas, Navidades de Madrid (Christmas Festivities in Madrid) (1663), ed. Catherine Soriano (Madrid: Comunidad de Madrid, 1993), describe this arrangement in some detail.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e they put together a soiree, an entertainment for Christmas Eve and the other days of Christmas. To this end they invited don Juan, a young, gallant, rich, and discreet young man, Nise’s cousin and the beloved lord of Lisis’s affections4 and to whom she planned to surrender, in legitimate matrimony, the lovely token5 with which heaven had graced her. Don Juan, however, felt affection for Lisarda, Lisis’s cousin, and desired her for his lord,6 denying Lisis the just requital of her love. The beautiful lady, resenting the fact that the cause of her jealousy was right before her eyes, had to feign a pleasant smile on her face when her soul, weeping mortal suspicions, had given motive to her anguish and opportunity to her sadness. She was all the more so seeing that Lisarda, happy in her position as the beloved one, arrogant as the desired one, and false in her role of competitor, always took first place in the contest for love. As don Juan was invited to the party and was grateful to be its main guest, at the behest of the ladies [he] came accompanied by don Álvaro, don Miguel, don Alonso, and don Lope, in no way inferior to don Juan, since all were equal and on a par in nobility, splendor, and the goods of fortune, and all were fond of passing the time in a discreet and pleasurable fashion. With everyone being in agreement, they made the lovely Lisis the president of this delicious entertainment, asking her to put everything in order and assign what needed to be done. Excusing herself because of her illness and seeing herself importuned by her friends, she freed herself of the obligation in which her friends had placed her by substituting her mother— who was a noble and discreet lady from whom the common enemy of life took her beloved husband—for herself. Laura, for this is the name of Lisis’s mother, divided the entertaining festivities thus: she charged Lisis, her daughter—rightly excused owing to her illness and rightly so—with arrangements for the party’s music, and so that it would be more pleasant, expressly ordered that the musicians be given the lyrics and poems to be sung on all five nights. She ordered her niece Lisarda and the lovely Matilde to invent a masque7 in which they and other ladies, with the gentlemen, 4. Voluntad. In Christian theology and Thomistic psychology, voluntad is one of the three faculties of the soul, along with intellect and memory. It might be rendered as will, disposition, wish, desire, choice, decision, liking, or affection. In lovers’ discourse, it can also be painted as destiny, the “stars” that dispose one person to love a particular individual. 5. Here, the Spanish word, prenda, refers to virginity. 6. In amorous discourse of this period, it was common for men and women alike to refer to their beloved as dueño, meaning lord and master. 7. Masques were courtly entertainments of dance, song, and music, often representing an allegory. The fact that they were private spectacles in which the actors covered their faces while



One might display their poise, wit, dexterity, and gallantry the first night. And afterward, having danced, they were each to tell two tales of wonder, a term with which she hoped to improve the vulgar habit of using the word novellas, so bothersome that it is already abhorred everywhere. And so that the gentlemen might not complain that the ladies were rising above them in preeminence, in order to have men and women mixed together, the second night was planned with don Álvaro and don Alonso; the third with Nise and Filis; the fourth with don Miguel and don Lope; and the fifth with Laura herself, accompanied by don Juan. Thus the days of Christmas would conclude with a sumptuous dinner that Lisis, as the hostess of the party, wished to offer the gentlemen and ladies. To which the gentlemen’s fathers and the ladies’ mothers were invited, since all of the latter lacked fathers and the former, mothers, for death does not leave mortals with their desires met. Lisis, whose responsibility it was to open the festivities, sought out two musicians, the most skilled to be found, to accompany her angelical voice with theirs, for in this way she planned to enhance the event. All were advised that when the day had retired, when night had unfolded its black cloak, well-deserved mourning for the absence of the rubicund lord of Delphos,8 who gave to our hemisphere dark shadows with his absence so as to regale the Indies with happy days—that all should gather to celebrate Christmas Eve with the agreed-upon entertainment in the lovely Lisis’s apartment, in a room embellished with costly Flemish tapestries whose woodlands, flowers, and knolls appeared to be the forests of Arcadia or the hanging gardens of Babylon.9 The room was crowned by a rich estrado10 with pillows of green velvet, beautifully adorned with tassels and silver trimmings (fig. 3). Competing with them was a colorful daybed, also with green brocade with gold fringe and tassels, that served as throne, seat, and resting place of the beautiful Lisis, who, being ill, was able to enjoy this preeminence, and who, as one so far from having hope within her, wished to show herself as having it on the exterior. The room was lined by many chairs of green velvet and an infinite performing made them an acceptable means for noblewomen to exercise their dramatic energies, given that “good women” did not appear on stage. 8. Apollo, the sun. 9. The hanging gardens of Babylon, created by Semiramis, were one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, 10. An estrado was an interior space of Moorish design, consisting of a raised platform, heated by braziers, on which carpets and pillows were placed for women to sit; it was the receiving space in the house.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e

Figure 3. Estrado (in the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativos, Madrid). Of Moorish design, an estrado was an interior receiving space, consisting of a raised platform heated by braziers, on which carpets and pillows were placed for women to sit. Photograph by Margaret R. Greer.

number of small stools so that, seated on them, the gentlemen could enjoy the effects of a silver brazier which, fed by a fire and diverse scents, reached from one end of the room to the other. From three in the afternoon on, the ladies began to occupy the seats, not only those invited but many others as well who, hearing of the entertaining festivities, invited themselves to occupy the seats, being received with great pleasure by the discreet Laura and the lovely Lisis who, dressed in the color of her jealousy, occupied the daybed on which she chose to recline clothed, out of modesty and decency, although it was the day she had the quartan fever.11 At this point the room looked like the fields illuminated by blond Apollo, spilling laughter, delighting the eyes of those who beheld them, so many were the candles that were lighting the rich room, when the musicians, who were seated close to Lisis, prepared with a ballad12 which was

11. Whether one dressed or not was an index of how ill one was. In this baroque disposition of things, Lisis is ill (she could legitimately wear a sleeping gown), but she appears clothed in party attire to signify her attention to social decorum. 12. For a definition of the Spanish ballad, or romance, see the volume editors’ introduction, note 49, or the glossary.



One to be sung after some dancing, began to invite the ladies and gentlemen to dance a gallarda,13 after proceeding to a room with lit torches in their hands so that their skill could be seen all the better. The first to begin the elegant steps was don Juan, who as the guide and master began alone, so gallant, dressed in brown, that all eyes that beheld him followed him, and whose buttons and chains of diamonds looked like stars. Lisarda followed him and don Álvaro, she wearing don Juan’s colors and he those of Matilde, to whom he sacrificed his desire. The lovely lady was wearing dark brown and silver; don Alonso, gallant, dressed in black, accompanied her because Nise wore that color, in a long skirt of smooth velvet, sprinkled with golden buttons. Don Miguel had her hand, dressed likewise in black, because although he was drawn to Filis, he did not dare to come out in her colors, fearing don Lope, who had worn green, as had she, believing that he must be the lord of her desires. Since with his clothing don Juan had disillusioned Lisis of his love, and she saw Lisarda favored even in his colors, she prepared to hide her feelings, swallowed her sighs, and drowned her tears, allowing her eyes to take in the elegance and skill with which they finished the masque with such intricate turns and amusing labyrinths, knots, and crossed steps that they wished it could have lasted a century. But seeing Lisis, who with pieces of crystal14 [and] accompanied by the two musicians wished to display her charms with the dexterity of her voice, everyone took their seats in order, giving occasion for her to sing this ballad: Listen, woodlands, to my weeping, hear, for I complain once again, for never does contentment endure more for the unfortunate. Once again I made your elm and ash trees and your pure glass witnesses of Celio’s ingratitude. You hear my complaints tenderly, and entertained my jealousy with the loving music of these gentle little streams. 13. The gallarda was a Spanish court dance in which only the feet were moved. 14. Crystal is a common baroque metonym for tears, and Zayas uses it often.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e Tender, he realized his unreasonableness, heaven wrought my constancy, he attempted to repay my devotion, but he quickly tired. I went out to enjoy my fortunes, happy to see that in reward for my love, if he loved me not, at least he was grateful for it. My soul found the lodging of its passion to be small, esteeming as favors his disdain and indifference. I adored his deceits, with my desires augmenting his charms so as to adore him. What a deceitful delirium! Who would think, ungrateful lord, that these things of which I tell augmented your hasty attempt to forget me! You do well to be cruel; unjustly do I complain, for ever were the fortunate those who love the least. The village gossips about your love watching the new lord of your pleasure in your thoughts and a new occupation in your eyes. And I, for I love you, weep over your abandon and feel your disdain. Such an illustrious public would not have been truly grateful had it not given Lisis thanks for her singing. And thus, with the most courteous and refined reasoning he could, don Franciso (don Juan’s father), on behalf of them all, showed how much they esteemed such an exalted favor, thereby giving to the lovely lady, in spite of her illness, increased beauty with the new colors that peaked in her face, and to don Juan [occasion] to realize how ungrateful he was. But when he looked again at Lisarda, he was entangled once more in the bonds of her beauty and more so when he saw her move into the most



One comfortable seat to tell the tale of wonder15 that was hers to relate this first night. Lisarda, seeing that everyone, hanging on her sweet lips and wellspoken words, was waiting for her to begin, seeking out the most discreet ones [words] that her clear understanding and extreme grace could dictate to her, spoke thus: 15. Zayas in the Novelas amorosas calls her novellas maravillas, literally “marvels,” avoiding the then-suspect term novela. We have translated maravilla as “tale of wonder,” and in the second collection have rendered desengaño as “tale of disillusion.”



he title, most lovely ladies and noble gentlemen, of my tale of wonder is “Taking a Chance on Losing,” because in the course of its telling you will see how neither the models of good behavior nor the models of bad behavior suffice to alter the doom of a woman when her stars incline her to it. But to hear it would serve well to caution them against throwing themselves into the sea of their unbridled desires, trusting in the small boat of their weakness, fearing that not only the weak powers of women might drown therein, but also the illustrious and heroic understanding of men, whose deceits they should indeed fear, as will be seen in my tale of wonder, which begins thus:

[This story takes place a]midst the harsh crags of Montserrat,1 pinnacle and splendor of God’s power and miraculous wonder of His divine Mother’s excellencies, where the effects of her mercies are seen in divine mysteries, for they sustain the tip of an erect mountain in the air, abandoned by the other peaks, without any more assistance than that which heaven gives it, among which is not least the miraculous and sacred temple, as adorned with riches as with marvels.2 So many are the miracles therein, and the greatest of all that true portrait of the Most Serene Queen of the Angels and Our Lady. After having adored her, offering her a soul full of devout affection, and having beheld attentively those grandiose walls covered with shrouds and crutches, with other infinite number of insignias of her

1. Montserrat is a mountain just outside of Barcelona whose name means, literally, “jagged peak.” The Benedictine monastery at Montserrat has a shrine where the Black Virgin, patroness of Catalonia, is revered. 2. This sentence, a series of scene-setting descriptive clauses, lacks a subject and verb.



One power,3 Fabio, an illustrious son of the noble town of Madrid, luster and adornment of her greatness, was ascending. For with his excellent understanding and evident nobility, affable condition and charming presence, he adorns and enriches her as much as any of her valorous founders, and she, as his mother, greatly esteems him.4 This virtuous young man was driven through such harsh brambles by pious desires to see among them the devout cells and penitent monks who have died to the world so as to live for heaven.5 After having visited several and received sustenance for his soul and body, having considered the sanctity of their dwellers (for with that sanctity they oblige the fleeing little birds to come to their hands to eat the crumbs they offer), he walked to the most remote place of the mountain to see the famous cave called St. Anthony’s (so named as the harshest and the most prodigious as regards the things seen there, as much for the penitence of those who inhabit it as for the fearful things that devils do to them, so that it may be said that they emerge from there so highly qualified spiritually that each one in himself is a Saint Anthony). Weary of ascending along a narrow path, owing to the fact that its harshness left no other way to proceed along it than by foot, and having left in the convent his mule and the servant accompanying him, he sat down next to a crystalline and small little stream. The stream pouring forth its pearls among delicate little grasses, releasing itself with a soft murmur from a beautiful spring that enjoys a delightful origin in the mountaintop, seemed to have been made there more by the hands of angels than men’s for the recreation of those holy hermits who inhabit it, whose sonorous music and crystalline laughter, although unseen, did not fail to please the ear.6 And since the walking, the heat of the sun, and the harshness of the path diminished his valorous soul somewhat, he chose to recover his lost breath there. 3. The items hanging on the wall of the sanctuary are ex-votos, symbols of promises made to the Virgin in exchange for her intercession. Ex-votos can be actual artifacts (such as crutches) or miniatures of the same. 4. “Her” refers to Madrid. Large towns (villas) and cities (ciudades) are feminine in Spanish and are frequently personalized this way. 5. Reformed religious orders of early modern Spain practiced retreat to hermitages in deserted landscapes, in imitation of the desert fathers and mothers. The hermitages, simple huts, were in relatively deserted areas when used by monks; nuns, constrained by rules of enclosure, constructed them on convent land. The Benedictines at Montserrat were, and still are, men. 6. This sentence, which begins with “The virtuous young man” and ends here, is one of the longest Zayas wrote. We have divided it into four sentences and added the parentheses to set off the syntax of the basic sentence. Simply put, after visiting the monks, Fabio sat down next to a mountain spring.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e 7

Scarcely had he caught his tired breath when a soft and delicate voice reached his ears, giving evidence in its low tones that its owner was not far off, a voice as low as it was sad, with the humble current serving as its accompanying instrument, that sang thus, believing that no one was listening: Who would have thought that my love, having been taught a lesson by my difficulties, weary of my misfortunes, would not have died a coward? Who saw it escape in flight from such immense ingratitude, who would believe that in new pains it would return once more to entangle me? A curse on such manifest truths about my loving attentions, and a curse on whoever called women inconstant! When I could, Celio, complain of your folly, love wills me to forget you not, love wills that I love you more. From the time the dawn emerges until the sun goes to bathe itself in the sea of the Indian shores, I weep in constant devotion and know I am a lover. It rises once more and finds me reviewing my miseries, feeling the effects of your folly, weeping over your dissolute behavior. Well I know that I wear myself out suffering anguish in vain, for tears shed in separation cost much and merit little. I came to these mountains fleeing your mistreatment of me, ingrate, but I adore you with more constancy, for in me loving you is sustenance.

7. breath [breath, which in spite of his valor and spirit, had abandoned him,



One I freed myself of your sight but could not liberate myself from the enemy thoughts of a constant will. Who saw a castle surrounded, who saw a ship under siege, who saw a captive in Algiers: such am I and unwaveringly so. But, since I chose you as my lord, kill me, sorrows, kill me! Then at least it will be said, “Died8 but never wavered.” O well-felt pain! You will be powerful to kill me but will not force my love to end. Fabio listened with such pleasure to the piteous voice and well-felt complaints that, although their performer was not the most skilled he had heard, he was almost sorry that it should end so soon. The pleasure, the weather, the place, and the mountainside made him desire that it continue. And if anything consoled him that such was not the case, it was the thought that he was in a place in which he could quickly give pleasure to his soul with the view, as hearing the voice had encouraged him, for even had its source been more humble, to hear someone sing on a mountain was not small relief for one who expected nothing but the howling of some wild beast.9 Finally, breathing better than before, Fabio proceeded along his path to discover the owner of the voice he had heard, believing that person was not in such a place without cause, for having heard complaints in such a harsh place moved him to tenderness and pity. Noble mercy and generous act it is to be moved by the suffering of others. Fabio was proceeding so desirous to speak to the piteous musician that it is impossible to praise him enough. And lest that person hide away, he proceeded as silently as possible. Following, then, in the end, along the banks of the crystal ribbon, seeking out its lovely source, he believed that would be the place that guarded the jewel he believed he was seeking, suspecting the very situation he found.

8. The Spanish text says murió, meaning “she/he/you [formal] or it died.” The fact that this yet unidentified character is singing a love song about a man (Celio) suggests a woman. 9. A “more humble” source would have been a real shepherd singing a rustic song, in contrast to the highly wrought concepts that Fabio has actually heard.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e And he was not deceived, because when he ascended to a small meadow at the mountaintop, a dwelling only for the chaste Diana or for some desperate creature, sheltered on one side by a white rock from which a stream of crystalline water emerged, tasty sustenance for the fragrant flowers, green rosemary and delightful thyme, he saw resting among them a young man who appeared to him to be in the spring of his years, dressed in brown trousers, a white and bristly lambskin, his shepherd’s bag and staff next to him, with his sandals and cap. As soon as he saw him, he knew he was the author of the song, because he appeared to be bewildered and sad, weeping over the passions of which he had sung. And had the voice he had heard not advised Fabio, he would have believed it to have been the statue of an unknown person made to adorn the spring, so motionless did his worries render him. He had made a knot of his hands, so white that they could provoke envy from the snow, had it not left the mountain out of shame.10 If he ever gave his face to the sun, may the little damage its rays had done to it testify to it, for he had not allowed its rays to take possession of its loveliness, nor let them carry out the mission they have against beauty.11 He had, scattered among the fragrant herbs, a flock of white sheep, more to explain his attire than for the attention he gave them, because they were instead witnesses to his lost attention. The young man’s absorption was such that it allowed Fabio to come so close that he could observe that the golden flowers of that face belied the figure’s clothing, for had he been a man, his mouth would have been gilded by a tender down, and were she a woman, the place was so dangerous that he almost doubted what he was seeing. But observing himself in a place in which the deceit itself accused him of little daring, he went closer and greeted him with much courtesy, with which the enraptured shepherd boy returned to consciousness with such a piteous “Oh!” that it appeared to be the last one of his life. And since the mountains had not yet made him discourteous, upon seeing Fabio he arose, greeting him with courtly discretion, inquiring why he had come to that place. To this Fabio, having thanked him for his courteous gestures, replied as follows: “I am a gentleman of Madrid; I came to Barcelona for important business, and since I concluded that business and had to return to my homeland, I did not wish to do so before seeing the miraculous temple of Montserrat. I visited it with devotion and, pious, wished to see the hermitages on this mountain. And, resting amid this fragrant thyme, I heard your piteous voice to my astonished delight, 10. The idea sustaining this baroque conceit is that the snow was ashamed to see its candor outdone by the hands of this young person, and ran away—melted. 11. Pale skin was highly prized during this period.



One and was moved to desire to see the author of such well-felt complaints, recognizing in them that you suffer in constancy and weep having been badly requited. And observing in your face and in your presence that your being is not what your attire gives one to believe—for neither does your face match your clothing nor do your words coincide with the impression you seek to make—I have sought you out, and find that your face gives the lie to it all, for your age surpasses that of a youth, and in the little evidence of a beard you do not appear to be a man. Therefore I would like to ask you courteously to resolve this doubt for me, assuring you first that, if I can play a part in remedying your ills, do not fail to say so for whatever impossibilities might impede it, nor send me away disconsolate, for I will much regret having found a woman in such a place and in that attire without knowing the reason for her exile, and thus not procuring a remedy for her.” The youth listened attentively to the discreet Fabio, letting some weary pearls fall from time to time, which slowly sought their center on the ground. And when he saw him cease speaking and await a response, he said: “Heaven must not wish, sir gentleman, that my sufferings be hidden, either so that there be someone to help me suffer them, or because the end of my weary life must be approaching and it pretends to provide an example and lesson to others through them. For when I believed that God and these rocks alone were listening to me, He guided you, drawn thither by your devotion, to this place for you to hear my tale of woe and suffering, which is so great, and has proceeded along such varied paths, that I am sure I will do you greater favor in silencing them than in telling them, so as not to give you pain; besides which my story is so long that you will waste time if you stay to listen to it.” “On the contrary,” replied Fabio, “you have caused me such concern and desire to know it that, if I believed I might turn into a savage dwelling among these rocks, as long as you were among them I will not abandon you until you related it to me and until I removed you, if I can, from this life. And I will be able to, judging by what I see, for it will not be difficult to persuade one who has such discretion to choose a more restful and less dangerous life, for you are not safe because of the wild animals that inhabit this place and the bandits who abide on this mountain. For should they happen to become aware of your beauty as have I, it is likely that they will not esteem your person with the respect with which I esteem you. Do not withhold this good from me, for I shall wait the years of Ulysses to enjoy it.”12 12. Ulysses, protagonist of Homer’s Odyssey, is a prototype of patience and endurance owing to his long trials on the way home after the Trojan war.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e “Well, if such is the case,” said the youth, “be seated, sir, and hear what no one other than myself knows. And esteem my entrusting to your discretion and understanding events so prodigious and never before heard of except by someone born to extremes of misfortune, that I do no small thing in telling them to you without knowing you, given that once you learn who I am, the reputation of my many noble relatives is at risk, and so is my life, since they would of necessity kill me to avenge themselves.” Fabio expressed his gratitude as well as he could—and he did so well— for her desire to make him the repository of her secrets. And with his having assured her, having told her his name and of the danger in which she was, and seating themselves together close to the spring, the beautiful shepherd boy began his story in this fashion:13 “My name, discreet Fabio, is Jacinta, for your eyes were not deceived in recognizing me; my homeland is Baeza, noble city of Andalusia, my parents noble and my estate sufficient to sustain the reputation of their nobility. My brother and I were born to my father’s house,14 he for its eternal sadness and I for its dishonor, such is the weakness in which women are raised, for one cannot trust our valor at all because we have eyes.15 Were we born blind, the world would witness fewer incidents, for, were that the case, we would live safe from deceits. My mother died at the most important time, which was no little lack, since her company, governance, and vigilance would have been more important for my chastity than was my father’s lack of attention, for that is how he behaved in watching over me and attending to my marriage (a notable error in those who wait so long that their daughters marry without their pleasure).16 My father loved my brother most tenderly and this was his only preoccupation, for I have never given him any whatsoever; I do not know what he was thinking, given that there was sufficient estate for everything he might want and wish to undertake. 13. The Spanish is ambiguous about the gender of the shepherd, where English requires that the singer’s gender be specified, even though the point is the ambiguity. 14. The word “house” (casa) is used as a synecdoche to mean not only the material house and the household in it but the patriarchal clan whose generations culminate in the character using the word. 15. The idea is that women’s ability to see leads to trouble. 16. Without the parents’ pleasure, that is, choosing a partner independently. A fundamental conflict existed in early modern Spain between the paternal right to select a mate based on the parents’ best judgment and on safeguarding the interests—often economic and sociopolitical—of the family, and the insistence of the church that the sacrament of marriage be entered into freely. It was fairly common practice for civil authorities to sequester a disputed bride under neutral custody. See Greer, María de Zayas, 286, and James Casey, The History of the Family (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1989), 95–101.



One I was sixteen years old when one night, while sleeping, I dreamt that I was passing through a most agreeable forest, in whose depths I found a man so gallant that it seemed to me—Oh, me, and how did I put this to the test in real life!—that I had never seen such a man before. His face was covered with the edge of a fawn cape, with hooks and clasps of silver. I stopped to regard him, pleased by his form and desirous to see if his face were as attractive. With sprightly daring, I went up and removed his wrap. Scarcely had I done so when, taking out a dagger, he gave me a stab to the heart so cruel that the pain obliged me to cry out, to which alarm my serving women responded. And awakening from this weighty dream, I found myself unable to see the one who had committed such an offense against me, the most impassioned woman you can imagine, because his portrait remained stamped on my memory such that for a long time it neither left my mind nor erased itself from it. I desired, noble Fabio, to find a man of his appearance and elegance, and I was beside myself with this fantasy that painted him in my imagination, and later I spoke with him, so that not long thereafter I found myself in love with I know not what, because you may believe me when I say that were Narcissus dark-haired, Narcissus was the man I saw. With these thoughts I lost sleep and appetite and, beyond this, the color of my complexion, giving way to the greatest sadness of my life, so great that almost everyone noted the change in me. Whoever heard, Fabio, of loving a shadow, for, although stories are told of many who loved incredible and monstrous things, they at least had a form to love. Pygmalion excuses my behavior, for he adored the image that Jupiter later endowed with life,17 and the youth from Athens, and those who loved a tree and a dolphin.18 But of me, who loved nothing but a shadow and a fantasy, what will the world think? Who doubts but that the world will not believe what I say, and if it does believe, it will call me insane? Well, I give you my word as a noblewoman that neither in this nor in the rest I might tell you do I put forth anything but the truth. The deliberations I made, the ways

17. In classical mythology, Pygmalion is a sculptor and misogynist who sculpts a statue of a woman so lifelike and perfect that he falls in love with it. When he begs Venus to provide him with a woman as lovely as his creation, she endows the statue with life and the two marry. 18. According to Alicia Goicoechea, “the youth of Athens” is “[a] boy from Athens who fell in love with a statue of the goddess of Fortune,” and the dolphin “alludes to the story of the dolphin that, enamored of a boy named Jacinto, died of anguish when Jacinto died.” María de Zayas, Tres Novelas amorosas y ejemplares y tres Desengaños amorosos de María de Zayas, ed. Goicoechea (Madrid: Castalia Instituto de la Mujer, 1989), 75. Ovid’s Metamorphoses tells of Apollo’s lusty pursuit of Daphne that resulted in her transformation into a tree by her father, Peneus, to protect her from him.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e in which I reprehended myself were many, believe me. And I also regarded with attention the most gallant youths of my homeland with the desire to become fond of one of them who might free me from my amorous anxiety. But it all led back to my loving the lover of whom I dreamt, not finding in any of them the elegance I had found in him. My love so grew that I recall I wrote some poetry to my adored shadow, which, if you are not tired out by its hearing, I will recite for you. Although it is by a woman, so much more is its greatness, because it is unjust to pardon men for errors they make in verse, since they adorn and purify them with art and study, whereas in the case of a woman, who avails herself of only her natural talent, who doubts that she merits no blame for what is bad and praise for what is good?” “Recite, lovely Jacinta, your verses,” said Fabio, “for they will bring me much pleasure because, although I know how to write them with some skill, I care so little about them that I swear to you that those of others always seem better to me than my own.” “That being the case,” replied Jacinta, “as long as my story lasts I have no further need to ask your permission to recite those that I might have composed on certain occasions, and thus I recite those I wrote here.” I adore what I see not and do not see what I adore; I know not the cause of my love and desire to find the cause. Who can manage to understand my confused delirium? For without seeing I have come to love out of mere imagining, my affection inclining to a being who has no being. That a painting inflames love would be no new miracle, for although I do not approve such love it is, in effect, beauty; but to love a figure that one’s soul perchance invented, such insanity no one ever saw. Because to think that I will find a cause that has yet to exist, who ever asked for such a miracle? The wound in my heart



One pours out blood, yet I die not. I await death with pleasure to end my suffering. In this condition it would be reasonable when I do not die, to sleep, but how can I ask life or death of a person who had no other perfection than to know how to wound? Grant me this, heaven, if you have created this being I desire, this occupation of my will and beloved before born. But what does an unfortunate person request when she was born hapless, because who has experienced such a novel miracle of love, that her desire be filled with a love she saw in dreams? Who would have thought, Fabio, that heaven would be so liberal in granting me that which I had not even requested yet? Since I desired something impossible, my boldness did not dare reach so high; rather it was in these verses, which were more a display than a petition. But when one is fated to be unfortunate, heaven also permits one’s misfortune. In my town there lived a gentleman from Seville, of the most noble lineage of the Ponces de León, a last name as well known as well qualified, who, having committed some youthful follies in his homeland, removed himself from there and in Baeza married a woman his equal, with whom he had three children, the eldest and the youngest daughters, and the one in the middle a son. The eldest wed in Granada, and with the youngest he filled his solitary days and compensated for the absence of don Félix, for this was the name of the gallant son, who, desiring to display the valor and bravery of his illustrious ancestors, went off to where the war was, giving rise with his valorous deeds to his relatives’ recognition of him as a branch of their descendants. Those relatives were many and noble, as attested by public opinion of the houses of the duques de Arcos and condes de Bailén. This noble gentleman reached the robust age of twenty-four, and having earned an infantry banner by virtue of his deeds and after having carried it out for three years in Flanders, he returned to Spain to solicit his advance-

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e 19

ment. And while these dealings were handled by his relatives at court, he went to see his parents, whom he had not seen for a long time and who were living for this desire. Don Félix arrived in Baeza when I was on a balcony in the late afternoon, entertained with my thoughts, and because passing in front of my house was unavoidable, since his was on the same street, I was able, abandoning my imaginations (for with them this would have been impossible), to set my eyes on his poise, servants, and gentle presence. And detaining myself on that presence more than was appropriate, I saw such elegance in him that wanting to tell you of it would be to lengthen this story and my torment. I saw, in effect, the very lord of my dream, and even my soul, because if it were not he, I am not the very Jacinta who saw him and loved him more than the very life I possess. I did not know don Félix, nor did he know me, since when he went to war I was such a child that it would have been impossible for me to remember him, although his sister doña Isabel and I were very close friends. Don Félix looked at the balcony, seeing that only my eyes celebrated his arrival. And love, finding opportunity and time, delivered the blow to him by shooting his golden arrow, which was unnecessary in me because the job had already been done.20 And thus, on the way by he said to me, “Such a jewel will be mine, or I shall lose my life.” My soul wanted to say, “I am already,” but shame was as great as love, of whom I requested with more than enough submissiveness and humility to grant me opportunity and good fortune, since he had given me the cause. Don Félix did not waste a single one of those that fortune placed in his hands. And the first was that, once doña Isabel had advised me of her brother’s arrival, I had to visit her and congratulate her, at which visit don Félix made his love apparent to me with his eyes and words so clearly that I could congratulate myself on my good luck. And since I loved him, I could not deny him just requital on such an occasion. And with this I granted him the opportunity to stroll along my street by day and by night, to the tune of a guitar, with his sweet voice and some poetry, in which he was skilled, and allowed him to further declare his will to me.21 I remember, Fabio, that

19. The text says he earned a banner or flag, metonym for the command of a group of soldiers. 20. Cupid’s golden arrow strikes love in the heart of the target; his leaden arrow, hatred. 21. The Spanish noun paseo, whose infinitive is pasear, refers to the early modern courting ritual and involved strolling beneath the windows of a lady’s house in hopes of a glimpse of her. The more adventurous gallants arranged a serenade. The greater the visibility of the gallant, the less



One the first time I spoke to him through a low grate, I wrote this sonnet thereafter: To love the day, to abhor the day, to call to the night and disdain it later, to fear fire and approach the flame, to have pain and happiness at once; to have valor and cowardice together, cruel disdain and softened plea, valiant fear and blind understanding, my reason bound, my daring freed. To seek out a place in which to relieve the pain, and not to want to move away from the pain, to desire without knowing what is desired; to have pleasure and displeasure equally, and all goodness released into hope: if this is not love, I know not what it may be. Love had my perdition arranged, and thus it set before me the knots in which I got tangled and the pits into which I might fall, because finding the opportunity that I myself was seeking from the minute I heard the music, I descended to a lower room belonging to my father’s servant, whose name was Sarabia, more greedy than loyal, where it was easy for me to speak at the low grate, so much so that it was not difficult to grasp hands. And when I saw don Félix close by, I said to him: “If you love as much as you say, the lady will be fortunate who merits your will.” “Well you know, my lady,” responded don Félix, “about my eyes, my desires, and my cares, for they always manifest my sweet perdition, for I know better how to love than how to express it. Your awareness that you must be my lord* as long as I live is what I seek, not to boast of being either a good poet or a better musician.” “And does it seem to you,” I replied, “that it will bode well for me to believe what you are saying?” “Yes,” responded my lover, “because a lady has license to let herself be loved and to love the one who will be her husband.” discreet the endeavor and the greater the risk to her reputation. Two or more suitors de paseo at the same woman’s house guaranteed violence, since the honor code obliged a man to defend that space as his own.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e “But who assures me that person will be you?” I said back to him. “My love,” said don Félix, “and this hand, for if you desire to vouchsafe my word, it will not be cowardly, though it cost its owner his life.” Who could see herself begged to do that which she desires, friend Fabio, or what woman ever disdained the opportunity to marry, and more so to marry the very man she loves, who does not accept any match immediately? For there is no better bait at which a woman’s perdition might snap than this, and thus I did not wish to set conditions on my good fortune, for I took it as such, and I will do so whenever I bring this day to my memory. And passing my hand through the grate, I took the one my lord offered, saying: “Now is not the time, sir don Félix, to seek out disdain by means of deceits, nor to cover up my will so as to register resistance, displeasure, sighs, and tears.22 I love you, not only since the day I saw you but before. And so that my words not confuse you, I will tell you frightening things.” And then I told him everything I have told you about my dream. As I was telling him (and whoever hears it now) these unheard-of things, don Félix did nothing but kiss my hand he was holding in his as if in gratitude for my anguish, in which glory the day caught up with us, and would do so even today, had our love not come to more daring measures. We took our leave from each other with a thousand expressions of tenderness, our wills remaining bound together, and with the intention to see each other every night in the same place, overcoming the problem of the servants by means of gold, and my daring the problem of going to that grate, since I had to pass by my father’s and brother’s beds to get out of my room. Doña Isabel visited me often, obliged to do so not only by our friendship but also to please her brother and serve him as a faithful go-between for his love. Our situation was this delicious one, without don Félix arranging to return to Italy for the time being, when among the ladies who surrendered to his gallant presence, who were almost all of those in the city, was a cousin of his named doña Adriana, the most lovely to be found in that entire land. This lady was the daughter of a sister of don Félix’s father who, as I have said, was from Seville, and had four sisters, who, owing to their father’s death, he had brought to Baeza, sending the two younger sisters into a convent. In the same land the next sister was married, leaving the eldest without wanting to make her life with this sister, by then a widow who had inherited fifty thousand ducats, whom she loved, as you can imagine, since she was alone and as 22. Jacinta here refers to what amorous protocol demanded that she do, which is resist her lover’s suit and hide her desire.



One beautiful as I have said. Well, since doña Adriana enjoyed conversation with my don Félix often, due to their familiar relationship, she began to love him with such frenzy and lack of control that it could not have been greater, as you will see in what happened. Don Félix knew of his cousin’s love, and since his soul was as full of mine as it was, he ignored it as much as possible, avoiding opportunities to lead her to love him more than she already did, and thus to all the evidence that doña Adriana gave him of her will, he responded by pretending, with a careless disdain, not to notice. This disdainful behavior had such an effect on her that, overcome by her love and beaten down by it, she ended up in bed, giving the doctors little assurance of her life, because aside from neither eating nor sleeping, she did not want to be cured by any means whatsoever. This left her mother in the greatest sadness in the world, who, being discreet, began to wonder if her daughter’s pain might not be due to some affection. And with this thought, obliging one of doña Adriana’s trusted servants with entreaties, she found out what was the matter, and, being a sane woman, decided to remedy the situation. She called her nephew to her, and after tearfully giving him to understand the anguish in which pain held her beloved daughter and the cause of her being in such a state, she greatly entreated him to become her husband, since in all of Baeza he could not find a richer marriage, for she would obtain from her brother whatever he [Félix] thought was sufficient. Don Félix did not want to be the cause of his cousin’s death, nor did he wish to respond harshly to his aunt’s anguish. And in conformity with this, he told her, trusting that time would pass with the negotiation and arrival of the dispensation,23 that she should speak with his father about it and that whatever his father should decide, he would take it well. And going in to see his cousin, he filled her soul with hope, displaying his happiness at her recovery, attending to her at her house at all hours, for his aunt requested this, with which doña Adriana recovered her health completely. Don Félix was missing his meetings with me so as to attend to his cousin, and I, desperate, mistreated my eyes and mistrusted his loyalty. And one night, when he wanted to completely calm my jealous doubts and for which, to avoid the neighbor’s gossip, he had negotiated with Sarabia to enter inside, seeing my tears, my complaints, and piteous sentiments, as a constant lover, free of the blame of my suspicions, he gave me an accounting of all that had transpired with his cousin, in love but not in all of his wits. 23. Papal dispensation was required for marriages involving consanguinity (Félix and Adriana were first cousins).

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e Because if until then there had been only my fears, from that point on there were declared jealousies. And with the rage of a jealous woman, of which I do not speak lightly, I told him not to speak to me nor see me for the rest of his life unless he told his cousin that he was my husband and would not be hers. I wanted to go to my room thus angered, and my lover did not allow it, but instead, loving and humble, promised me that the coming day would not pass without his obeying me, that he already would have done so, had not his concern for decorum kept him from it.24 And having promised me once again to marry me, in front of a secretary of my liberties, I gave him possession of my soul and body, believing I would have him secure in so doing.25 The night passed by faster than ever because the day of my misfortunes had to follow it, for the following day the doctor had decided that doña Adriana, taking a bitter syrup, should go out to the country for some exercise because, since the pain of her soul could not be seen, he determined that her loss of color was due to dropsy.26 And at this time, the day was also carrying off my husband, the undeceiving of her love and the satisfaction of my jealousy having taken place, because since a man has but one body and one soul, although he [may] have many desires, he cannot attend to one without failing to attend to the other, and the night before, my don Félix, having had it [satisfaction] with me, had not gone to his cousin. And the surest thing is that fortune—which was guiding things along more to its pleasure than to my benefit—ordered that doña Adriana awaken early to take her bitter potion. And leaving the company of her aunts and women servants, the first stop she made was at her cousin’s house, and entering therein, to the happiness of all who greeted her like the sun and 24. Félix was obliged to publicly affirm his status as Jacinta’s betrothed before speaking to anyone else about it, to protect her honor. P continues: [And with our love growing and with increasing pleas, 25. This “secretary” was probably Sarabia, who witnessed Félix’s promise to marry Jacinta. The words that Jacinta and Félix exchange are considered wedding vows ad futuram, meaning a pledge to marry at some time after the vows are made. With the testimony of a witness, they were binding in an ecclesiastical court. For this reason, Jacinta refers to Félix as her husband hereafter. For marriage regulations of the period, see Ellen Friedman, “El estatus jurídico de la mujer castallana durante el Antiguo Régimen,” in Ordenamiento jurídicco y realidad social de las mujeres, Actas de las Cuartas Jornadas de Investigación Interdisciplinaria, ed. María Carmen García-Nietos Paris (Madrid: Seminario de Estudios de la Mujer, 1986), 41–53. 26. Dropsy, or edema, is the abnormal buildup of serous fluid between tissue cells, causing swelling. Olivares says it was also an illness caused by women’s practice of chewing búcaros, small balls of scented clay, that probably contained lead (Zayas, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, 540). During this period and later ones, European and North American women ingested clay in various forms, believing it produced the fair complexion they so prized.



One congratulated her on her health, she went with doña Isabel to her brother’s room, where he was resting from the sleep he had lost in our amorous occupation, and she began, in front of his sister, quite like a woman, to ask him why he had missed coming to see her the night before, a question which don Félix did not answer. But he undeceived her, so that in few words he gave her to understand that she was tiring herself out in vain because, aside from having his will devoted to me, he was already promised to me, and having made this commitment, unless his life were to end he would not fail to abide by it. Upon hearing this reasoning, a fainting spell closed doña Adriana’s eyes, so that it was necessary to remove her from there and carry her to her cousin’s bed where, having recovered consciousness, hiding her tears as well as she could, she took her leave, responding to Isabel’s consoling remarks with great dryness and distance. She arrived home where, avenging his disdain, she committed the greatest cruelty ever seen with herself, with her cousin, and with me. O jealousy, what will you not do and more so if you overcome a woman’s heart! She vented her furious rage first in a letter to my father in which she explained to him what was going on, telling him to be vigilant and attend to what was going on in his household, for someone was staining his honor. And having done this, she awaited the morning, and taking her medicine, giving the letter to a servant to take it to my father, leading him to believe it was a letter from Madrid, and putting on her cloak as if going out for exercise, she went to her mother somewhat more tender than her cruel heart permitted and said to her: “Mother of mine, I am off to the fields, God knows whether I shall return; for His life, madam, embrace me, for I shall never see you again.” “Hush, Adriana,” her mother said, somewhat upset, “do not say such foolish things, unless you take pleasure in threatening my life. Why should you not see me again, since you are as healthy as I have seen you in many days? Go, my daughter, with God, and do not tarry until the sun appears and harms you.” “So then, Your Grace does not wish to embrace me?” replied doña Adriana. And turning away, her eyes overflowing with tears, she went to the door to the street, and scarcely had she stepped out of it and taken two steps than she cried out a piteous “Oh!” and fell to the ground. Her aunt, her servants, and her mother—who were following her— hastened to her, and believing she had fainted, they carried her to her bed, calling the doctor to exercise all diligence possible, but there was none that

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e sufficed, for her faint was eternal. And declaring her dead, they removed her clothing to enshroud her, with the house falling down around them with their screams. And scarcely had they unbuttoned the bodice of blue and gray tabby27 she was wearing when they found, between her most lovely breasts, a letter she herself had written to her mother, in which she said that she herself had taken her life with mercuric chloride28 she had put in her medicine because she preferred to die rather than see her ungrateful cousin in the arms of another woman. Whoever would have seen her grief-stricken mother would have suffered a heart broken in two by pain, for she was so transfixed that she could not cry, and more so when they saw how the body, once cold, swelled up greatly and turned black, because she took into account not only the fact that her daughter was dead but that she had died in desperation. And so you can imagine, Fabio, in what a state her house was, and the city, and I, who in the company of doña Isabel went to see this spectacle, innocent and unconcerned about that which was ordained against me, although I was confused over having been the cause of such an event because I knew already, from a letter from my husband, what had happened with her. Don Félix was not to be found at the burial, so as not to irritate heaven in revenge for his cruelty, although I believed it was due to his feelings, and one as well as the other are and were probably correct. They buried the disgraced and hapless lady, her wealth and rank compensating for the impossibilities that could have presented themselves because she had taken her own life.29 And with this I returned home, desiring the night so I could see don Félix, and scarcely was it nine o’clock when Sarabia notified me that he was in his [Sarabia’s] room (would to God that his grief had endured and that he had not come), although I believed the situation was better for seeing him that night than others because my watchful father, already on alert due to doña Adriana’s letter, went to bed earlier than usual, ordering my brother and the rest of the household to retire. And I pretended to do so as well, making it possible for my father, aided by his lack of sleep and melancholy, to fall into such a heavy sleep, in spite of his cares, that he slept until four in the morning.

27. Tabby is the “general term for a silk taffeta, originally striped, but afterwards applied also to silks of uniform color waved or watered” (OED, 17: 509). 28. Swelling and skin discoloration are consequences of poisoning. Suicide is a mortal sin in the Catholic church, meaning that Adriana’s soul was damned to hell for eternity. 29. According to theological precepts, the bodies of Catholics who commit suicide may not be buried in hallowed ground.



One As soon as I saw him asleep I arose and, barefoot, wearing only an overskirt, went to the arms of my husband and in them managed to alleviate his weighty cares with caresses and pleas, dealing with the business of doña Adriana. Sarabia was seated on the stairway, as the vigilant spy of my transgressions, when my father, horrified, awoke and got up, then went to my bed. And since he did not find me in it, he took a pistol and his sword and, calling to my brother, told him about the situation, briefly and succinctly. But they could not do so with such silence nor so quietly that a little dog in the house did not sound the alert to my servant with its barking, who, listening attentively, came to us when he heard steps and told us that if we wished to live, we should follow him, because we had been discovered. We did as he said, although most disturbed, and before my father had the chance to descend the stairs, we three were in the street and the door was closed from the outside, for my necessity taught me this astuteness. Consider, Fabio, what a state I was in, wearing only my green damask overskirt with silver passementerie,30 and barefoot, for I had descended the stairway thus to meet my desired lord, who, with the greatest haste he could manage, took me to the convent where his aunts were, since it was day then. He called at the door, and entering the turnstile31 and explaining the situation to them, in less than an hour I found myself behind a grate, filled with tears and surrounded by confusion, although don Félix cheered me as much as he could and his aunts consoled me, each one assuring me of a happy ending, for once his wrath had passed, my father would be happy about the marriage. And lest he [my father] charge don Félix with having obtained access to the house, he remained withdrawn in the same monastery with Sarabia in a room that his aunts ordered made up for him, from which he alerted his father and sister about what had transpired in the affairs of his heart. His father, who judged from the signs that he loved me, and who was not put out by it because he realized that in Baeza his son could not find a more important or wealthier marriage, supposing that all would conclude in his becoming my husband, went immediately to see me in the company of doña Isabel who, bringing clothing and jewels to compensate for the lack of 30. Passementerie (pasamanos) designates a variety of braid trimmings and fringes for clothing, often made of gold or silver, as in this case. 31. In the entrance hallways to cloistered convents is a turnstile that allows goods to be exchanged and conversations to be held without visual contact between the nuns and the outside world. The turnstile is an opening in the wall with a shelf at waist height on which a rotating surface is mounted.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e my own while others were being made, arrived where I was, consoling me and giving me hope a thousand times over. While I was doing this, my father, offended by such a scandalous action as my having been removed from his house, although he would have been more offended had I awaited his fury, since it would have cost me at least my life, decided to take revenge into his own hands—a noteworthy action— without wanting to make any inquiries through the system of justice, nor stir things up, nor let any of it be heard about any more than if he had not lost the most valuable jewel of his household and the greatest token* of his honor. And with this honorable intention he set his spies upon don Félix, such that even his intentions were not secret. And before many days had passed he found the opportunity he sought, although with such little luck as on the other occasions, for fortune was on don Félix’s side until then. Who one night, weary by then of his seclusion32 and sure that I was retired in my cell with his aunts—who loved me as a daughter—winning over with money the cooperation of a young man who held the keys to the outside door, asked him to let him go out, [saying] that he wanted to go to his father who was not far, and would return immediately. The untrustworthy guard did so, advising him of the danger at hand, and he went out, paying for it all, laden with arms and dressed in finery. And scarcely did he put his feet in the street when my father and brother fell upon him, swords unsheathed, who, converted into vigilant spies of their reputation, slept nowhere but at the doors of the convent. My brother was as daring as don Félix was prudent, reason for which at the first pass of the swords, don Félix passed his through my brother’s chest, and without the chance to so much as call out to God, he fell to the ground completely dead. The young man who had the keys, since he had not yet closed the door because everything had happened in an instant, pulled don Félix inside before my father or the officers of the law could take the appropriate measures. The day dawned, news of the event spread, the unfortunate man was buried, and the gossip began. And I, unaware of the event, went out to a visiting room to see doña Isabel, who was waiting for me full of tears and emotion because she was planning, since I was her brother’s wife, to be the wife of my brother, whom she loved tenderly. She advised me of what had happened and of how don Félix desired to absent himself from Baeza and 32. seclusion [ seclusion and, perhaps, of talking to me from behind a grate, cause to increase the fire of appetite (and longing), who doubts it, to kill it [the fire] among the beauties of that place.



One all of Spain, because it was being said that the mayor was trying to remove him from the church while a royal governor, who had been requested with all haste, arrived from court.33 Consider, Fabio, my tears and the extremes of my pain at this news, which all but cost me my life and more so realizing that the departure of my beloved lord to Flanders, refuge for delinquents and safe haven of the unfortunate, was to take place that very night, as indeed he did, leaving orders regarding my comfort and advice for his father about how to relieve the tension between the two parties and negotiate his return. With this, through a secret door controlled in the nuns’ room and that was never opened except in cases of greatest urgency, with permission of the vicar and the abbess, he left, leaving me almost dead in his aunt’s arms, to which he transferred me from his own, unable to await further tenderness, and took the direct road to Barcelona where the galleys were that the companies sent by His Majesty Felipe III had been brought for the expulsion of the moriscos,34 and that were awaiting His Excellency don Pedro Fernández de Castro, conde de Lemos, who was going to be viceroy and captain general of the Kingdom of Naples.35 My father found out about don Félix’s departure and, discreet man that he was, plotted to take his revenge on me, since he was unable to do so on him. And the first step in this plot was to take measures to assure that no letters reach me or his father—he took them all—for money can accomplish anything. And it was not a bad arrangement, for in this way he discovered which road he was on, for gentlemen of my father’s caliber have friends everywhere in whose hands they can leave their vengeance.36 I endured two or three weeks of separation, which seemed like twenty

33. Don Félix went to the church because it served as a refuge from human justice, and individuals fleeing the law often took sanctuary there. The mayor was a municipal official, whereas the royal governor was appointed by the crown and represented its interests at the local level. 34. Felipe III was king of Spain from 1598 to 1621. What is today Spain, or part thereof, was occupied by Moors from 711 until 1492, when Granada, the last Moorish kingdom of Spain, surrendered to Christian forces. Moriscos were Spanish Moors who accepted Christianity. As the sixteenth century passed, their fidelity to Catholicism was held in question, and in 1609 a royal edict was promulgated dictating their expulsion from all Spanish kingdoms, a process that lasted until 1614. According to James B. Tueller, some 275,000 moriscos left the country. Good and Faithful Christians: Moriscos and Catholicism in Early Modern Spain (New Orleans: University Press of the South, 2002), 236. 35. This appointment began in 1610. 36. That is, Jacinta’s father intercepted all letters that don Félix sent Jacinta or his father, and thus knew where he was headed.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e thousand years, without any news from my absent one. And one day, when my father-in-law and sister-in-law were with me, for they visited me often, a mail carrier came in and gave my father-in-law a letter, saying it was from Barcelona, which—as I later learned—had been thrown into the mail. It said this: I greatly regret having to be the first person to give Your Grace such bad news, but although I would wish not to do so, it is unjust not to attend to friendship and obligation. Last night, when second lieutenant don Félix Ponce de León, Your Grace’s son, was leaving a gaming establishment, he was stabbed by no one knows whom nor how, without having the chance to so much as imagine who the aggressor might be. We are burying him this morning, and in all haste I dispatch this letter so that Your Grace might know of it, whom I entreat Our Lord to console and grant the life that we your servants desire. I will bring Sarabia with me to Naples, unless I hear otherwise from Your Grace. Barcelona, 20 June Captain Diego de Mesa Oh, Fabio, and what news [was] this! I do not wish to bring my extreme behavior to memory; let it suffice to tell you that I believed it, for this captain was a close friend of don Félix’s, with whom he corresponded and whom he planned to follow on this trip. And since I believed it, thus you can conjecture about my feelings and tears. Do not wish to know more, except that the next day, without acquiring further information, I took the veil, and with me, to console me and accompany me, doña Isabel, who loved me tenderly. Be aware, discreet Fabio, that my father was the one who committed this deceit and wrote this letter, and he snatched up those that arrived. Because don Félix, as soon as he arrived at Barcelona, found that the viceroy had embarked, and without having the chance to write more than four lines telling of how the galleys were leaving that day, he embarked and with him Sarabia, for he had not wanted to leave him, fearful of the danger to him. He asked us to write to him in Naples where he planned to arrive, and from there proceed to Flanders. Well, since his father and I did not receive this letter, for in its place the one announcing his death came and we believed it to be as true as we did, we wrote no more, nor did we seek out another solution except that, at year’s end, doña Isabel and I made our profession with great pleasure, par-



One ticularly in my case, since it seemed to me that without don Félix there was no one in the world who deserved me.37 One month after my profession my father died, leaving me four thousand ducats in income, which no one could take away since he had no other children and he was a Christian who, although he was enraged, on that point met his obligation. I spent this sum generously in things for the convent, and thus I was the mistress of it, without anything but my pleasure being carried out therein. Don Félix arrived in Naples, and not finding letters there, so he thought, angered at my carelessness and lack of love, without wanting to write, and seeing that five companies were leaving for Flanders and that in one of them he had been given a command post again, he departed. And in Brussels, to reduce his passion for me, he devoted himself to women and gaming, in which he found diversion, such that six years later he recalled neither Spain nor the sad Jacinta whom he had left there. Would to God he had remained there until today and had left me in peace, without subjecting me to so many misfortunes! For, so as to draw me into them, at the end of this time, bringing his obligations to mind, he returned to Spain and his homeland where, coming in at nightfall, without going to his parents’ house, he went straight to the convent, and arriving at the turnstile at the moment they wanted to close it up, he asked for doña Jacinta, saying that he was bringing her some letters from Flanders. The nun in attendance at the turnstile was one of his aunts, and desirous to know what he wanted of me, she found it remarkable that anyone other than don Félix’s father would be seeking me out, for that was the visitor I always had; she stepped aside a minute and then, returning, asked: “Who is looking for doña Jacinta, for I am she?” “That trick will not work with me,” said don Félix, “for the soldier who gave me the letters also told me how to recognize her voice.” When she saw how subtle the messenger’s methods were, she sent someone to call me with all diligence so as to resolve this enigma, and when I arrived, asking who was asking for me, don Félix recognized my voice and came closer, saying: “Was it time, my Jacinta, to see you?” Oh, Fabio! And what a voice to me! It seems that I hear it now and feel what I felt at that moment. As soon as I recognized don Félix by his speech, only think that, considering in an instant the false news of his death, my situation, and the impossibility of enjoying him, with my love that had been 37. Jacinta’s taking the veil marks the beginning of her one-year novitiate, a testing and training period that would culminate in her profession as a nun, were she to take solemn (lifelong) vows. A fully professed nun was considered to be wed to the divinity.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e asleep awakening, I gave a cry, forming in it an “Oh!” as piteous as it was sad and fell to the ground with a fainting spell so cruel that it lasted three days. During that time I was as one dead, and although the doctors declared that I was living, no matter how many remedies they tried, they could not bring me back to consciousness. Don Félix retired to a room inside the convent, which must have been the same one in which he was before, where he saw his sister, because there was in that room a grate where we talked to each other.38 From her he found out what had transpired until then, and when he realized that I had taken the veil, it was a miracle he did not lose his life. He charged her to be vigilant of my health and the secret of his arrival because he did not wish his father to know of it, for his mother had died by then. I recovered from my faint, my health improved, because heaven was saving my life for greater misfortunes, and I went out to see my don Félix. We both cried and agreed that Sarabia would go to Rome to seek dispensation for us to wed, since the first oath was the valid one.39 While I gathered money to bring along, two weeks passed or a month, during which time love revived and desire reigned anew, and don Félix’s arguments [began] to have the power they had always had, and my weakness to surrender. And since it seemed to us that the papal brief would be granted, trusting in the vow taken before I had professed, I gave orders that I be given the key to the secret door through which don Félix had exited to leave for Flanders (how I did so ask me not, if you know how much power influence has), which I gave to my lover, with which he was in a more glorious state than had he possessed a kingdom. Oh, atrocious and harsh case! Well, every (or almost every) night, he came in to sleep with me. This was easy, since there was a cell that I had had made in that part of the convent. When I think about this I am not surprised, Fabio, at the disgrace that follows me, and I rather praise and am amazed at God’s love and mercy for not striking us with a lightning bolt. At this time, Sarabia left for Rome, and don Félix remained in hiding,

38. Although strict enclosure of nuns was the order in Counter-Reformation Spain, those official dictates often clashed with local customs. The traditional role of nuns as spiritual counselors to noble families, their own and others, and architectural arrangements between the convent and side chapels in convent churches in which the public also worshiped made the enclosure, as Elizabeth Lehfeldt puts it, a “permeable cloister.” Lehfeldt, Religious Women in Golden Age Spain. The kind of contact between Jacinta and Félix described below was nonetheless completely inappropriate. 39. Jacinta’s first pledge to wed don Félix took priority over her profession as a nun, a bride of Christ.



One determined that no one know he was there until the dispensation could arrive. Well, when Sarabia arrived in Rome and presented the papers and a declaration he was carrying to give to His Holiness, in which the substance of the matter was accounted for and how he [Félix] was entering the convent, a case so severe to his ears, the Pope ordered that don Félix appear before his tribunal under pain of the greatest excommunication latae sententiae,40 where, hearing about the case more thoroughly, he could give the dispensation in exchange for four thousand ducats. Well, while we were awaiting the happy event, Sarabia arrived with this news. I began to feel don Félix’s absence in greater extremes, fearful of his carelessness, at which the selfsame pain urged me to leave the convent and go with him to Rome, where together we would more easily achieve permission to wed. He told a woman who was in love about it, which facilitated the business, because the following night I took a large quantity of money and jewels I had, leaving a letter written to doña Isabel, and leaving to her the care and oversight of my estate, I put myself in don Félix’s power. On three mules that Sarabia had prepared, when the day dawned we had already departed from Baeza, and in another twelve we found ourselves in Valencia. And taking a small boat, at great risk to our lives and at the cost of a thousand trials, we arrived in Civitavecchia41 and landed there, and [took] a coach in which we arrived in Rome. Don Félix was a friend of the Spanish ambassador and some cardinals who had been in the renowned city of Baeza, center of Christianity,42 with whose favor we dared to throw ourselves at the feet of His Holiness, who, looking into our situation with mercy, absolved us, ordering that we donate two thousand ducats to the Royal Hospital of Spain in Rome. And then he married us, under the condition and penitence for our sins that we not come together for a year, and if we did so, that he himself be the only one to determine the penalty and punishment. We were in Rome for several days, visiting those sanctuaries and making general confession, during which time don Félix found out that the condesa

40. Latae sententiae means literally “wide judgment” and is a sentence that invokes excommunication upon commission of the offense itself, with no hope of a hearing. 41. Civitavecchia is a seaport on the Tyrrhenian Sea, west-northwest of Rome. 42. Given its strategic position between Castile and Andalusia, Baeza played a significant role in the Christian-Muslim battles of the Reconquest and became an episcopal see and hence home to a cathedral after Fernando III conquered it in 1227.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e de Gelves, doña Leonor de Portugal, was boarding a boat to come to Zaragoza, where her husband, don Diego Pimental, had been named viceroy. And since he thought that was a fine opportunity for us to come to Spain and to our homeland to rest from the trials we had endured, he brought me to Naples and accommodated me, through the marqués de Santacruz, with the countess’s ladies, and he joined the troop of their entourage. Fortune arranged things as we now know, because, forced by a cruel storm, we were obliged to travel over land. I saw to our arrival here, Fabio. Finally my husband and I arrived in Madrid, and there he took me to the house of one of his relatives, a widow who had a daughter as ladylike, as lovely, and as discreet as she was elegant, where he wished me to stay, given that we had to spend what remained of the year separated. He presented the records of his service to the Council of War, requesting a company command, feeling that with the title of captain and my estate and his, he would be a king in Baeza, which were the exact premises of his pretensions. My don Félix had, when he left, an order from His Majesty that all incoming soldiers go to serve him in Mamora,43 and that they be granted favors upon return. And since he, having served before, also sought honor on this occasion with the desired charge of captain, his honorable thoughts did not allow him to attend to the obligations of my love. And so one day when he was with me, in front of his relatives he said: “Beloved Jacinta, you already know of my situation that obliges not only gentlemen, but humble men, if they were born with honor. This campaign cannot last long, and should it last longer than we imagine, as long as a man has what he loves with him, and does not lack an honorable inn, to live in Algiers or in Constantinople is all the same, for love turns cities into countryside and shepherds’ huts into palaces. I tell you this because my absence cannot be excused by such just reasons that it would not create much gossip were I to ignore them completely.44 Such an honorable cause excuses my lack of love, if you wish to call my departure thus. The trust I have in you makes it unnecessary to take you with me, for were this not the case I would convince myself that in my company you should begin to suffer anew, either seeing me surrounded by difficulties, or witnessing the opportunity to die together. But God will be served once these rebellions 43. In 1617 Felipe III sent ships and troops under the command of Luis Fajardo to put an end to the Moorish rebellion in Mamora. Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, ed. Olivares, 553. Mamora is the Moroccan town of Mehdiya, named after a nearby forest. 44. Félix here expresses the very Spanish conflict between the rightness of his feelings and his overriding sense of honor, which subjugates those feelings to his performance of his political duty.



One have settled down, in my having the opportunity to come enjoy you, or at least send for you where I might find means to serve you, for I know well the debt I have to your valor and will. You are my wife; seven months remain to us before I can freely have you as mine. The honor and status I might gain are yours. Believe this trip to be for the best, my lady, for you will thereby avoid part of the suffering you must have, and that I have. You remain in my aunt’s house and with the charge to be who you are, and who I am. You will not lack what is necessary for your pleasure. I am leaving messages for my father and sister, informing them of my plans; to you letters and money will arrive. With this and your letters, I shall be braver when need be and have more hope of seeing you again. I must leave this afternoon, for I have not wanted to tell you any of this until now so that you might not suffer waiting. For your life and mine, evidencing on this occasion the valor you have shown on others, do not give in to sentiment nor deny me the permission I request of you, with a sea of tears in my eyes.” I listened, discreet Fabio, to my don Félix, to me at that moment more gallant, more wise, and more loving, and my love greater than ever, and it seemed to me that I was going to lose him. What excess, that my evil luck created this foreshadowing to torment me! I wanted to respond to him, and my suffering would not let me. And during this time I considered that he was right in what he was saying, and I told him so in very confused words that my eyes uttered on my behalf, given that of course I consented to his pleasure and will, since they provoked such feeling in me. We spoke very loving words to each other, more to the effect of increasing the pain than expressing it. The hour arrived when I was to lose him forever. Don Félix finally departed, and I was left like one who has lost all sanity, because I would neither cry nor speak nor listen to the consoling remarks of doña Guiomar and her mother, who were telling me a thousand things and consolations to bring me to my senses. Finally, the loss of my lord cost me three months of illness, such that I was on the verge of losing my life. Would that heaven had done that goodness for me! But when do the doomed receive goodness, even when heaven has so much to give? During all this time I had no letters from don Félix, although I could take consolation in those of his father and sister who, happy to know the ending of so many misfortunes, loaded [their letters] with a thousand gifts and monies that congratulated me. They requested that when don Félix returned we attempt to go for some rest in their company, which could not fill the emptiness of my worried disposition, and gave me a thousand suspicions of my misfortune, because I am convinced that there are no better astrologers than lovers.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e More than four months of this life had passed when, one night, in which it seems that dreaming had overcome me more than others (because since fortune gave me don Félix in dreams, it wanted to take him from me in the same fashion), I dreamt that I received a letter from him and a box that at the moment seemed to hold some jewels, and in going to open it, I found within it the head of my husband. Consider, Fabio, that the shouts and screams I gave were so loud, awakening with so many tears and distress and anguish that it seemed my life was ending, first fainting away then recovering my senses, with doña Guiomar speaking loudly to me and throwing water on my face, that it was worthy of the greatest compassion. I related the dream to them, and she and her mother and servants did not dare leave me, given how afraid I was, and it seemed to me that everywhere I looked I saw don Félix’s head. [Things were thus u]ntil the morning arrived, when they decided to take me to my confessor to confess, for he was very intelligent and a theologian. As I was leaving my house, I heard a voice, although the others did not hear it: “Dead is, without a doubt, don Félix; he is now dead.” With such omens, you can believe that I found no consolation in my confessor nor in any created thing. I spent some days thus, at whose conclusion news arrived of what had happened in Mamora, and with them the information regarding those who drowned there,45 don Félix being almost among the first. A few days later Sarabia arrived, which provided definitive news, who told how, when the ships were headed to port in competition among themselves, two of them were reduced to pieces and, splitting down the middle, sank without a single man on them saved. My don Félix was on one of these, doubly armed, because of which he was never seen again after he fell into the sea. Thus the most gallant youth of Andalusia died on such a disgraceful occasion, objectively stated, for his thirty-four years were accompanied by the most graceful qualities46 that nature could form. Were I to weary you by telling my feelings, my anxieties, my weeping, my mourning, it would be bad payment of the pleasure with which you are listening to me. I say only that in three years I did not know what either happiness or health was. His father and sister found out about what had happened; they tried to

45. Spain controlled Mamora from 1614 to 1681. We have found no record of Spanish troops drowning in an incident of the type Zayas describes here. 46. Partes, “parts,” as in early modern English, “a person of parts,” meaning qualities, abilities, capacities, talents. Zayas uses the word often throughout both of her novella collections.



One take me to my convent and restore me to it, but I, although I regretted so truly my husband’s death, did not accept that, so as not to face my relatives again without his protection, and even less face the nuns, since I had been the cause of their scandal. Aside from that, my poor health did not allow me to set out on a journey nor become a novice again and endure the responsibility of religious life. Instead I ordered Sarabia, who was by then my companion in my fortunes, to go attend to my estate, and I remained in the company of doña Guiomar and her mother, who treated me as a daughter, and they did not do much since I spent my income on them very generously. Some women friends advised me to marry, but I found no other don Félix who satisfied my eyes nor filled the emptiness of my heart, although it was not empty of his memory, nor did my companions wish me to find him. But, for my misfortune, love found it, being perhaps aggravated by my neglect.47 A noble, rich, and gallant youth visited doña Guiomar, whose name is Celio, as smart as he is false, for he knew how to love when he wanted to and forget when it suited him, because in him the virtues and deceits are like the flower arrangements of Madrid, with the perfumed carnations mixed, now with lovely musk roses, now with wildflowers, without scent or any virtue whatsoever. He spoke well and wrote better, being as skilled at loving as at rejecting. This youth of whom I speak, during the long period of time he came into my house, never gave one to understand that he had any amorous intentions, because he sustained a conversation with ease and friendship, being perhaps the most prompt to provide consolation in my sad moments, sometimes playing with doña Guiomar and other times reciting some lines of poetry, in which he was very able and correct. He passed the time away, ably hitting the mark in anything he tried to do, more than I would have liked. He likewise praised us; without offending any one woman, he loved us all: now he was lauding the maiden, then extolling the widow. And since I was also writing poetry, he would compete with me and challenged me in it, surprised not that I would compose it, since it is no miracle in a woman, whose soul is identical to man’s, either because nature wished to accomplish this wonder, or so that men not faint away, given that they alone are the ones who derive pleasure from their greatness, rather because I wrote them with some skill. 47. Pronouns without a clear connection to their referent make this paragraph puzzling. We read it as meaning that Félix’s memory lingered in her empty heart, and while some women friends urged her to find another husband, her companions, Félix’s aunt and her daughter Guiomar, didn’t wish her to find a substitute. But love found her heart nevertheless. For a Lacanian reading of this episode of love as the desire to be desired, see Greer, María de Zayas, 124–34.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e I never looked at Celio to love him, although I never attempted to abhor him, because if his witty behavior pleased me, I feared his indifference, of which he himself used to inform us, particularly one day when he told us how he was beloved of a lady and that he abhorred her with the same truth that he loved her, priding himself on the unreasonable behavior with which he delivered a thousand tender words to her. Who would have thought, Fabio, that this would awaken my desire, not to love him but rather to consider him with more attention than was right! From watching his poise, a bit of desire was reborn in me, and with desire my eyes began to dry, and I came to recover my health, because my memory began to be so entertained that I came to love him completely, desiring him for my husband, although I was silent about my love so as not to appear forward, until he himself grabbed the opportunity by the hair,48 and it was when he asked me to write a sonnet to a lady who, regarding herself in the mirror, saw the sun shine in it and it dazzled her. And taking advantage of the opportunity, I wrote this sonnet: In the clear crystal of disillusion, Jacinta, without a care, was looking at herself, content to neither love nor be loved, seeing what was good for her in what was bad for others. She regards the deceit of lovers, the true will disdained because [it is] unshakable, and from having been advised by the experience of others, her will flees the strange behavior of love. Celio, sun of this age, almost envious to see the freedom with which she was living, free from offering spoils to love, gallant, discreet lover and generous, put reflections that encouraged his daring into the mirror’s image and blinded her eyes. She felt sweet rage and setting the crystal aside, said with mercy, “Because I had not seen Celio, I was valiant,

48. Olivares notes that in emblem literature of Zayas’s day, opportunity was symbolized as an old woman, bald but for one lock of hair, by which one had to grab her when the chance arose. Zayas, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, 202 n. f.



One and although I may eventually burn myself up, I do not plan to move from his rays.”49 Celio was so pleased with this paper that I thought my good fortune was assured, and it was only that no one minds being loved. He praised his fortune, extolled his luck, expressed gratitude for my love, giving clear signs of his, and giving me to understand that he had felt it since the first day he saw me, he celebrated the cleverness with which I made mine apparent to him. And in sum, he tied knots into which I wound up falling, celebrating my beauty and his luck in a ballad. Woe is me, for when I consider the strategies and tactics with which men overwhelm women and do combat with their weakness, I say they are all traitors, and love is war and a pitched battle, in which love fights honor, castellan of the soul’s fortress, with blood and fire. Of myself I tell you, Fabio, that although blind and more captive to this will, I never stop recognizing what I lost because of it, for even if it were only for having stopped being smart [by] loving a man who abhors me, this awareness suffices to make me repent, would that intention but endure. Finally, Celio is the most knowledgeable man at deceiving I have seen, because he began to color his love with such truth that not only a woman who knew the truth about a man who wished to deal with her, but the most astute and cunning women would believe him. He visited me continually, because morning and afternoon he was in my house, so much so that his friends came to recognize, upon seeing him deny their conversation, that he was having it with a person who deserved it, in particular one man of your name, with whom he maintained contact more than anyone else, and to whom he used to tell what he was doing, for according to what Celio himself told me, he felt sorry for me and begged him not to speak with me if he planned to repay me in the way he had done with other women who had known him.50 His letters were so many that it was enough to drive me insane; his gifts so many and so well timed that it seemed he had the movement of heaven in his hand to give them at the point at which it would finish me off. I, a simple woman, ignorant of these betrayals, did nothing but pile love upon love, although I did so always with the intention to make him my husband, for under any other conditions I would let myself die before letting 49. This “sonnet” has an estrambote of five extra lines. See the volume editors’ introduction for Zayas’s usage. 50. Another instance of pronoun confusion. Jacinta says that Celio’s friends noticed his continual conversations with her, and one in particular, by the name of Fabio, in whom Celio confided regularly, felt sorry for her and asked him not to talk with her if he intended to repay her the same way he had other women.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e him know what I wanted, and in so doing I understood I was doing him no little favor, given who I am. Celio must not have thought so, as it seemed, although he was not unaware of what he would gain with such a marriage. But I, deceived, was so content to be his that I did not remember don Félix at all. With Celio alone were my senses occupied, if quite fearful about his love, because since I began to love him, I feared losing him. And to assuage that fear, one day when I thought he was more gallant and loving than others, I told him my thoughts, saying that if, just as I had four thousand ducats of income, I had all the incomes that all the lords of the world possess, and with them sovereignty over it, I would make him lord of it all. Celio was devoted to study, and in it he had more success than I good luck, with which he cut the head off of my pretension, saying that he had spent his years in the study of divine letters with the purpose of becoming a priest and that his parents had their eye on that, and it was his will as well. And given this, I should order him to do other things that pleased me, for anything but that one he would do, though he lose his life in the enterprise, and to assure me of not losing him, he gave me his faith and word to love me as long as he had it.51 What I truly regretted was seeing my hopes defrauded, my fears and suspicions confirmed, for being who I am, it was not right to love anyone but that one who would be my legitimate husband, and given this, our friendship had to end. My eyes began to tear up, and more so seeing Celio so cruel that, rather than dry them, for he could not ignore the fact that they sprang from love, he got up and left, leaving me bathed in them. And thus I spent that entire night and the next day, for although he sent me many messages other times, on this occasion he failed to do so, not lacking someone to deliver them but rather the will to send them. Until, that afternoon, Celio came to beg pardon in such a lukewarm fashion that instead of drying my tears he provoked me to more. This was the first act of ingratitude that Celio committed with me, and since after one, many follow, he began not to think of love for me, such that he only saw me now and then, nor did he respond to my letters, their having been other times the object of his praise. He excused this lack of enthusiasm with things he had to do and his friends, and with them [arose] the opportunity for my sadness and unrest, so much so that my friends, who adored my wit and entertainments, fled from me, seeing me so displeased. He combined his lack of love with provoking jealousy in me. He visited ladies and said so, which was the worst, so that, irritating my anger and pro51. That is, he would do anything she asked except marry her, although it cost him his life, as long as he lived.



One voking my wrath, I began to acquire the reputation of a shrew in his opinion. And since his love was feigned, within six months he was as free of it as if he had never felt it, and like one unmindful of my situation, he decided to devote his attentions to a free woman, and among those who deal in taking pleasure and money, and he was so well off in this friendship, because she did not watch him nor constrain him, that he gave not a whit that I knew about her, nor did he pay any attention to the complaints I delivered to him in writing and in words, the times he came, which were few. I found out what was going on from a female servant of mine who followed him and found out about what he was up to. I wrote a letter to the woman, asking her not to let him enter her house. What resulted from this was that he came no more to mine, so as to devote himself more completely to the other woman. I, sad and desperate, spent my days and nights crying. But why do I tire you with these things, since it suffices to say that he closed his eyes to it all? In the midst of these happenings he had to go to Salamanca, and so as not to see me again he remained there that year. What I felt as a result of that, this clothing and this mountainside will tell you, where, being who you know I am, you have found me. And it happened thus: a few days after he was in Salamanca I found out that he was dealing in love, once more, as a gallant courtier, news that hit me so hard I thought I would lose my mind. I wrote him a few letters; I had not one answer. Finally, I decided to go to that famous city and manage to get back in his good grace by means of caresses, and should that not upset his love affair, at least I was determined to kill myself. Consider, Fabio, in what danger my reputation was, but what will a jealous woman not do? I communicated my thoughts to doña Guiomar, in whom I found consolation during my misfortunes, and when she saw that I was resolved, she did not allow me to depart alone. A gentleman was coming to the house whose friendship and openness were like that of a brother, whom doña Guiomar and her mother begged to accompany me. He accepted immediately, and renting two mules, we set off on them and left Madrid, well provisioned with money and jewels. And since I know so little about traveling, because the roads I had been on with don Félix had been more protected, the traitor who was accompanying me took the one to Barcelona instead of taking the road to Salamanca, and before we arrived within half a league of the city, in the mountains he stole everything I was carrying and the mules and returned whence he had come.52 52. The text says en el monte, literally “on a mountain,” but in literature of this period, el monte is a metonym for the place where barbarous acts are committed.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e I was left in the countryside alone and desperate, attempting to commit some folly. Finally, on foot and alone, I began to walk until I emerged from the wasteland onto the royal road,53 where I found people whom I asked how far it was from there to Salamanca, at which they laughed, responding that I was closer to Barcelona, at which point I realized the deceit of the traitor, who brought me there to rob me. Finally, I took heart and arrived in Barcelona on foot where, selling a ring worth up to ten ducats, which the traitor left on my finger out of carelessness, I bought this clothing and cut my hair, and in this fashion came to Montserrat, where I spent three days, asking that holy image to help me in my trials. And when I reached the fathers to ask for something to eat, they asked me if I wanted to work as a shepherd to bring this herd you see to the mountain. Seeing such a good opportunity for neither Celio nor anyone else to know anything about me and for him to enjoy his love affairs unhindered and I to lament my misfortunes, I accepted the offer and have spent four months here with the intention never ever to return to where his ungrateful eyes might see me. This is, discreet Fabio, the reason for my unfortunate complaints that moved you to seek me out; in this state love has put me, and in it I believe my life will end. Fabio had been attentive to Jacinta’s words, and seeing she had finished, he responded thus: “So as not to cut the thread, discreet Jacinta, of these lamentable events, as well felt as set forth, I have not wished to tell you, until you concluded, that I am Fabio, Celio’s friend who you said was as pained by your love for him as desirous to meet you. With such colors have you painted his portrait that, even had I not known of your misfortunes, and through them known, since you named him, that you were the owner of those [misfortunes] I have regretted as much as you, I would have recognized your ungrateful lover, whom I do not blame, for that is his nature, and so subject to that nature that not once did he make use of his understanding, nor was he inclined to overcome it. I have known many of his love tokens,54 and he has repaid all in the same way and had the same relationship. That of which I can assure you, after I tell you that I believe his star inclines him to love where he is abhorred and abhor where he is loved, is that I always heard praise of you in his mouth and your person in his veneration, dealing with you with that respect you deserve, a sign that he esteems you. And had you loved him less

53. A camino real, or royal road, was one constructed, maintained, and protected by the state. It was wider and more traveled than others and connected one major city to another. 54. Prenda here literally means “love token,” an objectifying means to signify a woman that is typical of the period.



One than you have loved him, or at least did not show it, you would not be so complaining nor would he be so ungrateful. “But that cannot be corrected now, because if you love Celio with the intention of making him your lord, as I believe, given who you are, and always presumed of your discretion, it is now impossible, because he has the doors closed to those pretensions and to any one of that nature, since he has taken holy orders, an impediment to wed, as you know. Due to his nature, this estate alone is appropriate for him because I imagine that if he had his own wife, he would kill her by virtue of pure difficulties and disdain, since he cannot endure being always in one place nor enjoying but one thing. So that the fact that you wish, compelled by your love, to have him by another means, being Christian, your noble condition and your reputation will not allow it, for it would be unworthy of them, for it is not right that either don Félix’s father nor his sister, your relatives, and the monastery where you lived and were a true nun for so much time, hear of this weakness of yours that will be impossible to cover up. And being here, where you are in danger of being recognized by the bandits of this mountain and by the people who pass by it to visit these holy hermitages, is neither decent nor safe, for since I met you, heard you, and sought you out, others could do it. “Your estate is in disarray, your relatives and those of your dead husband confused, and perhaps suspecting greater evils of you than those that you think, blind with the desperation of love and the passion of your jealousy, so much that you do not allow your understanding to advise you and elect a better way to live. I, who see things without passion, beg you to consider and think that I will not leave here without taking you with me, because should I not do so, I would understand that heaven would demand an accounting of your life from me, for before I would commit such a cruel deed, I would stay here with you; this without any more interest in you than the obligation in which you have placed me by telling me your story and revealing your thoughts to me, the obligation I have to be who I am and the obligation I owe to Celio, my friend, from which I plan to emerge with many thanks, if I have luck in leading you away from this intention, so contrary to your honor and reputation, because I will not be persuaded that he abhors you so that he does not esteem your peace of mind, your life and honor as much as his own. This obliges you, lovely Jacinta, to remove yourself from such a plan. “Let us go to court, where, in a respectable monastery, you will live more in conformity with who you are, and if perchance the opportunity for you to wed should arise there, you have an estate with which to do so and live with ease, and the discretion to forget, with the true caresses of your legitimate spouse, the false and lukewarm ones of your lover. And if, forget-

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e ting him and recognizing the misfortunes you have experienced and men’s ineptitude in relationships, you should become a nun, since you are already familiar with that life and recognize that it is the most perfect, so much more pleasure will you give to those of us who know you. “So, beautiful Jacinta, let us go to the convent, for night is falling, and you will hand the lambs over to the friars, fortunate for having been taken to pasture by such a shepherd, because tomorrow, putting you in your own clothes—for those are not decent for what you deserve—you will receive a maidservant to accompany you and we will rent a carriage to return to Madrid, for from today on, with your permission, I wish your reputation to be in my hands and for you to thank me for being the cause of your succor. And if you cannot live without Celio, I will arrange for Celio to visit you, exchanging imperfect love for fraternal love. And while you entertain your amorous passion with this, I hope that heaven will wish you to alter your intention and send you the remedy that I desire, in which I will help as if you were my sister, and as such you will travel with me. “With these arms, noble and discreet Fabio,” replied Jacinta, her eyes full of tears, wrapping them around the neck of the well-intentioned youth, “I wish, if not to pay, to thank you for the mercy you show me. And since heaven brought you at such a time to these inhabitable wastelands, I want to think that it has not forgotten me. I will go with you happier than you know, and will obey you in all you wish to command me, and in so doing I will not do much, for it all works so much to my benefit. I accept entrance into the monastery; the only thing in which I will not be able to obey you will be taking on one station of life or another, unless my will changes, because my love prohibits me from accepting a husband, and to belong to God, being Celio’s, because, although what I would win with each is different, to give my will over to such a divine Spouse I would needs be very free and available. Well I know what I win in light of what I lose, which is heaven or hell, for of such is my passion, yet my love would not be pure did it not cost me so much. I have wealth; I can maintain myself in my present state without alteration. I am a phoenix of love: I loved don Félix until death took him from me; I love and will love Celio until it triumphs over my life. I made the choice to love and with that choice I will die. And if you arrange for Celio to see me, I am content with this because when I see Celio, that will suffice for me, although I know that he is neither obliged to thank me nor reward me for this devotion, this disposition, or this love. But I shall take a chance at losing, not because I believe I shall win, for neither will he stop being as ungrateful as I am firm, nor as unfortunate as I have been, but at least my soul will dine on the pleasure of the sight of him, in spite of his indifference and disloyalty.”



One With this they arose and returned to the holy church, where they rested that night, and the next day they left for Barcelona where, with Jacinta changing her attire and taking a carriage and maidservant, they returned to court, where she now lives in a monastery, so happily that it seems she has no greater good to desire nor more pleasure to ask. She has doña Guiomar with her because her mother died, and before her death she asked her to take care of her until she married, from whom I heard this story so it would be put in this book as a tale of wonder, which it is, an event so true, because, were the names of all those involved understood, they would be known by many, since they are all alive, except for don Félix, who paid the debt to death at the peak of his life.

With so much wit and such pleasing ways did Lisarda tell this tale of wonder that, her listeners hanging on her sweet words and prodigious story, they wished it would last the entire night. And so, in agreement and of one opinion, they began to praise it and thank her for such a noteworthy favor, and more so don Juan, who like a lover, undid himself in her praise, killing Lisis with each word; so much so that to put an end to it, taking the guitar she had on the bed, her soul weeping as her body sang, she signaled to the musicians, which cut off don Juan’s praises and Lisis’s spite at hearing them, with this sonnet: My love faints not over being forgotten for it is a giant armed with steadfastness; tire yourself not in dealing with it weakly for you are never to see him conquered. You are more ungrateful the more beloved, for loving only to love is great devotion; I serve without reward and hold as wealth that which is understood as wasted time. If my eyes, bathed in tears, perhaps seeing other, more beloved eyes, deny rest to themselves, I say to them, “Friends, you were unfortunate, and, thus, you are neither the called nor the chosen; to love for love alone is an honorable reward.” There were few in the room who did not understand that the verses sung by the beautiful Lisis were about the disdain with which don Juan returned her love, devoting his affection to Lisarda, and naturally they were sorry to

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e see the lady’s intentions so badly repaid, and don Juan so blind that he did not esteem such a noble match because, although Lisarda was Lisis’s relative, and equal in nobility and loveliness, she was wealthier.55 But love looks not to inconveniences when it is true. The one who most noted Lisis’s suffering was don Diego, a friend of don Juan’s, a noble and rich gentleman56 who knew of Lisis’s pretensions and the indifference of don Juan, for the lady had told him of her desires; and seeing that they were so pure that they did not pass beyond the limits of modesty, he decided, feeling his soul filled with lovely images of Lisis, to ask permission of don Juan to serve her and arrange marriage with her. And so, as a beginning, he commenced to greatly praise first her poetry, then her voice. And Lisis, either grateful or perhaps false, with desires for revenge, began to esteem the favor he was showing her, at which don Diego requested permission to have his servants put on some entremeses57 and dances, and provide dinner for all of the guests the last night of the festivities. Permission granted, giving thanks profusely, as happy as don Juan was angered at his daring, he gave Matilde the opportunity to tell her tale of wonder, who, having changed places with Lisarda, began thus . . . 55. Lisis is wealthier. 56. gentleman [ and to the credit of his nobility, a habit of the Order of Alcántara honored his breast, and so gallant himself that he could have been an ignoramus had nature not prevented this, giving don Diego, along with gentility, discretion, 57. Entremeses are short, often satirical theater pieces usually performed between the acts of plays.




hoebus was already retiring below blue curtains, making room for night to cover the world with its black mantle, when all those gentlemen and ladies who were invited to the festivities the first night met in noble Laura’s house, received by the discreet lady and her lovely daughter with a thousand pleasantries and courtesies. And thus they took their seats in the same order as the night before, advised by don Diego that his servants were to begin the festivities with some amusing dances and an improvised entremés* they wished to perform.1 And seeing that they were not to dance that night, those ladies settled themselves in their order. Lisis was dressed in a lamé2 of silvery purple, and at the neck, a diamond firmeza3 with a figure of the name Diego, a jewel her new lover sent her that same day, in exchange for a purple ribbon she gave him on which to hang the green cross he wore;4 this causing don Juan some unease, although Lisarda with her favors made him repent of feeling it. The lovely Lisis was preparing her instrument and a ballad* she had written and put to music that day when the musicians requested that she leave that night’s singing to them, saving her verses for the third festivities, because don Juan had prepared what they were to sing, and as it was the fruit of his understanding, it was right to enjoy it. That seemed fine to all


1. The servants proposed to perform an entremés de repente. a comic or burlesque skit improvised by amateurs for the occasion, in contrast to those written by theatrical professionals for performance between acts of plays in public theaters. 2. Lamé is a fabric of silk, cotton, or wool interwoven with metallic thread. 3. A firmeza is a triangular-shaped jewel made of a variety of precious metals, enamel work, or precious stones. For an example, go to http://www.flg.es/catalogo.asp and search for “firmeza.” 4. The green cross is the insignia of the military Order of Alcántara. In correcting the second edition of the Novelas, Zayas eliminated a phrase at the end of the first tale that identified don

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e because they knew don Juan was very clever in that, as in everything, and making space for them, they sang thus: To the cabin of Menga Antón one Sundy went;5 now Gila is a sourpuss, jealous she must be. The lad complains of her, quite fair is his complaint, for suspicions with no reason are insults to his faith. She rejects him for no reason: how is he not to offend, calling him guilty for nothing and costing him so much? Speaking to Menga nicely is not a fault, it is clear to see; if there is no love without pleasure, pleasures without love there be. She would like Anton to flee from Menga, a rigor that’s cruel, to give him her love’s favors, at the price of discourtesy. Allowances are not the same in a man and a woman; what in women is disdain rudeness is for men. No one can reason with jealousy, and gadzooks! people who will not hear reason very stupid must be. Diego as a member of that order (see “Taking a Chance on Losing,” n. 56). It was one of the four great military and religious orders of Spain founded in the twelfth century to defend Spain’s borders against the Moors. The Order of Alcántara was founded in either 1156 or 1166 by don Suero Fernández Barrientos; it was given papal recognition in 1177, and in 1218 king Alfonso IX of Leon gave the order the town of Alcántara. Two of the others, the Order of Santiago and of Calatrava, are mentioned in “The Judge of Her Own Case,” n. 18 and “Her Lover’s Slave,” n. 6, respectively. Membership was a much-coveted honor. 5. Zayas has don Juan lend a rustic air to the opening of this poem, using the names Menga and Antón, and here writing disanto, a villager’s way of saying Sunday, which we have translated as Sundy to transmit the effect.



One Futile distrust Gila no surety brings, for perhaps fearing where one stumbles not prepares one for a fall. Forbidding him to look at Menga, if it is sanity, I know not, for a loveliness forbidden whets the appetite, they say. There are courteous submissions; it is enough for Antón, I think, having to be subject to some eyes, without subjecting you to deceit. This is love among men, their smoothness being duplicity, their innocence a crime. Curses on love, amen! Anyone who looked at beautiful Lisis while this ballad was sung would have recognized in her uneasiness the passion with which she heard it, seeing how openly don Juan scolded her suspicions of Lisarda in it, and she would have responded had it been fitting for her. But recovering from her lapse, seeing don Diego melancholy to see her upset, she brightened up her face and smoothed her countenance, ordering as presider of the festivities that don Álvaro tell his tale of wonder, who, obeying, spoke thus: [Don Álvaro, relates the third novella, “A Miser’s Punishment”] They all heard the tale of wonder don Álvaro told with the greatest pleasure, seeing don Marcos punished. And seeing that don Alonso was preparing his, changing his seat with Álvaro, don Juan gave signals to the musicians, who sang thus: Visits of Antón to Menga and in her cabin as well, in faith, if Gila is offended, she has good reason to be. Anticipating her complaints is a suspicious sign, for he who to give them prepares, wishes not to be given them. [For Gila]to show herself offended more than enough cause there was,

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e 6

for an affront is a basilisk and she should not have to see a pleasant lass without love, young men; but believe that conversation and pleasure are first feints of love. Ignoring the evidence is no little thing, for now you see that talking to each other today was solicitude yesterday. An evil fire on his courtesy, for men know too well how to dissemble falseness in the guise of courtesy. There is no fear if there are no stumbles, but Menga seeks him out; the two alone, she lovely, if it is a stumble, I know it not. If prohibiting him to look at her is to risk Antón, I will say that a love so ailment-ridden is very close to falling. Stupidity they call jealousy; little do they know it, gadzooks! For the jealous one rather sins as a forewarned prattler. Those pleasures, Antón, with Gila only should be, because love’s credit in the balance strays far from equilibrium.7 Oh, how well do men know to offend with excuses, but, since love reveals them, a blessing on love! Amen! I do not know if don Juan, fearful of the indignation of Lisis, wanted to excuse himself with this second ballad for the affront he gave her in the 6. The basilisk is a legendary reptile whose look and breath are fatal. 7. As Olivares notes (Zayas, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, 292), these two lines play on the double meaning of fiel as faithfulness in love and as a just and true weight on balance scales.



One first, despite costing annoyance to Lisarda who, angered by this one as she gloried in the other, displayed an amusing frown in looking at don Juan, in which the false lover delighted, because were this not so, he would have treated this desire with more reserve and wisdom and not so openly, for he boasted of being Lisarda’s lover and the unrequited love of Lisis. She, tired of struggling with so many undeceptions and injustices, decided—after the festivities of those happy nights—not to disrupt the pleasure that all her lady friends were having in them, supposing that don Juan was at Lisarda’s house by day and by night, morning and afternoon, to tell him to dispense with coming to hers, since his visits served for nothing more than to pile up indifference on indifference and sorrows on sorrows; and also, should don Diego decide to be her husband, to close her eyes to other affairs. Don Diego was of the same opinion, as he was only waiting for the end of the festivities to initiate his suit, since don Juan (although of another opinion) was awaiting the same, aggrieved that don Diego should have turned his attentions to Lisis, knowing that she was once the token of his concern, if now of his neglect. And with these differing designs, they paid very close attention and care to don Alonso, who began his tale of wonder in this fashion: “Now it usually happens, illustrious audience, that the most informed and most on the lookout for malice fall into the very thing they fear, as you will see in my tale of wonder, so that none may trust their understanding nor dare to test women, but rather may fear what may happen to them, esteeming and putting each one in her place; since, in the end, a discerning woman is not food for a foolish man, nor a foolish woman the occupation of a discreet man; and to attest to this, I say thus:



he illustrious city of Granada, miraculous wonder of the greatness of Andalusia, had as a son don Fadrique, whose surname and lineage it would not be right to give because of the noble relatives he has there. Let us say only that his nobility and wealth ran tandem with the figure he cut, being in one as in the other the most renowned, not only in his own land but also in many others where he was known as the rich and gallant don Fadrique. His parents died, leaving this gentlemen very young, but he ruled himself so sensibly that everyone admired his understanding, because he did not seem like one so young. And since young men without love, some say, are like gamblers without money or dancers with no music, he occupied his will* with a striking and lovely lady of his own land, whose name is Serafina, and she is a seraph in beauty, albeit not as rich as don Fadrique. And he was as impassioned with her as she, disdainful, was unfavorable toward him, having her desire taken up with another gentleman of the city; a great shame, certainly, that a man of don Fadrique’s qualities should come to love where another man had already taken possession. Don Fadrique was not unaware of Serafina’s love, but it seemed to him that with his wealth he would be able to triumph over greater problems, and more so since the gallant whom the lady loved was neither of the richest nor the most important. Don Fadrique was sure that as soon as he asked Serafina’s parents for her, he would have her. But Serafina was not of the same opinion, because this business of being married, after the love notes and disdain today, and tomorrow the favor, has some sort of tidbit that enamors and captivates the soul and bewitches the taste. And for that same reason, don Fadrique endeavored to earn Serafina’s will before that of her parents, and more so seeing his competitor favored, although he did not think, given his lady’s virtue and honesty, that her love extended beyond loving and desiring which, although this is the foundation on which love is based, he was already planning to earn for himself.



One With these hopes, he began to treat Serafina and her maids lavishly, and she to favor him more than before, because, although she loved don Vicente (for this was her beloved’s name), she did not want to be despised by don Fadrique. And her maids began to encourage his hopes, for which the lover believed that his thinking about achieving more than the other gallant was true. With this happiness, one night when the maids had promised to have their lady on her balcony, he sang this sonnet to the strains of a lute: That I should die, tyrant, for your eyes and that your eyes take pleasure in killing me; that I should want with your eyes to console myself and that your eyes give me a thousand annoyances; that I surrender my eyes as spoils to your eyes, and they, instead of loving me, being able in my annoyances to bring me happiness,1 turn flowers into burrs; that your eyes kill me with disdain, with rigor, with jealousy, with indifference, when my eyes for your eyes die; O sweet ingrate! who in your eyes have as much ingratitude as beauty, against eyes that adore your eyes. Those who were listening to the music thanked don Fadrique and praised dearly the grace and skill with which he had sung; but let it not be said that Serafina was at the window, because from that night forward she withheld herself from don Fadrique’s eyes, so that in spite of efforts he made, he could not see her for many days, nor secure an answer to the love notes he wrote. What her maids responded to his importunate complaints was that Serafina had fallen into a melancholy so profound that she did not have an hour of good health. Don Fadrique suspected that Serafina’s illness was seeing defrauded the hopes she perhaps held of seeing herself married to don Vicente, because he did not see him strolling* along the street as he had been accustomed to do, and he thought that she had withdrawn for that reason. And seeming to him [don Fadrique] that he was obligated to restore to his lady the pleasure don Vicente had taken away from her, trusting that with his bearing and wealth he would earn her lost happiness and remove her sorrows, he asked her parents for her as his wife. 1. to bring me happiness [to love you

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e They, who saw (as they say) heaven open up, not only gave him a yes, accompanied by infinite gratitude, but also offered themselves as his slaves. And discussing this business with their daughter, she, who was discerning, gave them to understand that she was very gratified and that she was ready to grant them their pleasure, if her health allowed. She asked that they entertain don Fadrique for some days until it improved, and then she would do all that they ordered in that case. The lady’s parents took this response as sufficient, and it did not seem bad to don Fadrique, and thus he asked his parents-in-law (for he already considered them such) to treat his wife royally so that she would recover her health more quickly, he for his part helping with many gifts, strolling along her street with even more regularity than before, as much because of his love for her as for the suspicion in which don Vicente made him live, although his neglect consoled him in his fears. Serafina from time to time came to the window, giving life to her lover’s hopes with her beauty, although her color and sadness gave clear indications of her illness, and because of this most of the time she was in bed. And the times he visited his wife, doing so with that title, sometimes she received him in it, in the presence of her mother and maids, to keep him from any daring that name might give him. Several months passed thus, at the end of which don Fadrique, despairing over such an illness and resolved to marry whether she be with or without her health, one night when, as many others, he was at a corner watching over his jealousy and the walls of his ailing wife, past two o’clock at night he saw a door of the house open and a woman come out who in her manner and the shape of her body seemed to him to be Serafina. He was astonished. and almost dead with jealousy he drew nearer, where he clearly knew it was she herself. And suspecting that she was going to look for the cause of his fear, he went following her and saw her go into something like a courtyard in which they usually stored wood, and which now, without doors and the walls half fallen, only served to hide and protect those who entered it for some amorous escapades. Here, then, Serafina went in, and don Fadrique, now certain that don Vicente must be within, inflamed to angry action as the one who was due a vengeance as honorable as it was just, went around to the other side. And entering within, he saw how the lady had gone down to a part in which there was a broken-down chamber and that, swallowing some muffled groans, she gave birth to an infant, and the cries undeceived the lover of the very thing he was doubting. Thus, when Serafina saw herself free of that pregnancy,2 2. The Spanish word embarazo means “pregnancy” and “inconvenience.”



One picking up an overskirt, she went back to her house, leaving that innocence to whatever might happen to it.3 But heaven, at the expense of Serafina’s reputation and don Fadrique’s passion, did not want it to die without at least baptism. He came to where [she] was crying on the ground, and picking her up, he wrapped her in his cape,4 crossing himself a thousand times over such a case, and gathered that this was Serafina’s illness, and don Vicente the father, for which deed he had withdrawn. Giving infinite thanks to God that he had removed her from her misfortune in such a way, he went with that token* to the house of a midwife and told her to dress that infant as she should be and to search quickly for a wet nurse, for it was very important5 to him that the child live. The midwife did that, and looking at her with great care, saw that it was a girl so lovely that she seemed more an angel from heaven than a human creature. She found the wet nurse, and don Fadrique immediately the next day talked with a woman relative of his about raising Gracia in her house, for this was the name he gave her at the baptism. Let us leave her to be raised, for in time she will be addressed as the most important person of this story, and go to Serafina who, now recovered from her illness, seeing herself restored to her earlier loveliness, within two weeks told her parents that whenever they pleased they could carry out the marriage with don Fadrique. He, fearful and schooled by such an event, went to his relative’s house, the woman who had Gracia in her care, and told her that he had a yearning to see some Spanish lands and that he wanted to spend some years in doing so since he was a young man. And he wanted to leave her authority to manage his estate, to execute and dispose of it, that he only begged her to take the greatest care of doña Gracia, counting her as his daughter, for there was a very great secret in her. And if God protected her until she was three years old, he begged her to put her in a convent where she would be raised without knowing things of the world, because he had a certain design that, in the course of time, she would know. And with this done, having all his clothes taken to his aunt’s house, he took a very great quantity of money and jewels, and writing this sonnet, he

3. might happen to it [ might happen at night and in such a place, and with so little care (regalo), since the ground served it as bed and swaddling clothes (mantillas) 4. The pronoun la used here and translated as “her” could refer back to “innocence,” which is a feminine noun, but since the baby is later identified as a beautiful girl, we translate it as her and supply the feminine pronoun with “crying.” 5. important [ it was worth his life that she live long

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e sent it to Serafina, and then with only one servant he mounted a horse, making his way toward the noble and very rich city of Seville. Serafina received the note, which said this: If when you were able to make me your equal, ingrate, with indifference you treated me, and with the force of disdain contrived to show the little love you held for me; if within sight of my glory, the reward with deceit you took from me, and on every occasion you showed me the snowy mountains of your cold heart; now that you cannot, why do you want to seek out fire among dead ashes? Let it be, have pity on my years. Impossibilities you offer me, false are you, do not revive those flames, for you miss the mark; for to your sorrow now have I seen disillusionment. This note, albeit masked, gave Serafina much to fear, and more so because although she took some steps to find out what had happened to the infant she left in the yard, it was impossible, thus confirming two thousand suspicions with don Fadrique’s sudden departure and more [suspicions] by her parents, who said that [his leaving] was for some reason. Seeing that Serafina wanted to be a nun, they supported her desire. And thus, she entered a monastery thoroughly confused and concerned over what had happened to her, and yet more over her heedlessness in leaving that infant there, wondering if she had died or dogs had eaten her.6 Such a crime weighed on her conscience and was the reason why she sought with her life and penitence not only to attain forgiveness for her sin, but even the name of a saint, and thus she was held as such in Granada. Don Fadrique arrived in Seville having learned such a lesson from Serafina that, because of her, he insulted all women, not excepting any, a thing contrary to his intelligence, since for one bad woman there are a hundred good ones, and not all women are bad, nor is it fair, mixing some with others, 6. Here too the feminine pronoun la could refer to “creature” (f.) and be rendered as “it,” but one would presume that a woman giving birth to a child, however secretly, would at least notice its gender on abandoning it.



One to blame them all. But, yet,7 he said that he would not trust them, and more so the discreet ones, because in being very sage and expert they were given to being mischievous and licentious, and deceived men with their shrewdness. For a woman should not know more than how to do her needlework and pray, govern her household and raise her children; and everything else was prattling and subtleties that served for nothing but to get them lost more quickly. With this opinion, as I say, he entered Seville and went to spend the night in the house of a relative of his, an important and rich man, intending to be there for some months, enjoying the great things that are related about this city. And as some days he went on strolling with his relative, on one of her principal streets,8 at the doorway of a most lovely house, he saw descend from a carriage a lady in a widow’s attire, the most beautiful he had ever seen in his life, it seemed to him. She was, as well as lovely, very young and of a striking figure, and so rich and prominent, according to what his relative told him, that she was among the best and most illustrious of Seville. And although don Fadrique had been schooled by the outcome with Serafina, he did not, because of that, reject letting himself be conquered by the beauty of doña Beatriz, for this is the name of that most beautiful widow. Don Fadrique walked the street, leaving his soul in it, and as this gem9 was not one to lose, he asked his comrade to make another round [of the street]. To this act, don Mateo, which was his name, responded: ” I think, friend don Fadrique, you will not leave Seville so soon, you are love-struck. By my faith, the sight of that lady has put you in fine shape.” “I think the same myself,” answered don Fadrique, “and I would even spend, if I thought I could be hers, all the years of life that heaven has granted me.” “Your suit would be in keeping with that,” replied don Mateo, “because I warn you that the estate, nobility, and virtue of that lady would allow nothing except marriage, even if the suitor were the king himself, because she is twenty-four years old, she was married for four years to a gentleman equal to her status, and she has been a widow for two. In that time, no one has merited any of her desires [when she was] a maiden, nor her sight [when 7. Zayas writes “en fin” (finally) here, a phrase she puts to use rhythmically rather than semantically. We translate it in various ways as “so,” “yet,” “then,” or “well, then” according to the context. 8. Seville, like Madrid and many other Spanish cities, is referred to as “she”; hence “her streets”. 9. Zayas writes “prenda,” which can mean a token of love or what one loves passionately and prizes highly.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e she was] married, nor her will [when she was] widowed, having more suitors who seek this good than hairs on her head. But if your love is of the quality that you indicate to me, and you want me to propose your qualities to her, since to be her husband, they do not fall short of those she could desire, I will do so, for it could be now that among the called, you may be the chosen. She is my wife’s relative, for which reason I visit her sometimes, and I already have hopes of a good outcome, because you can see her there, she has come out on the balcony, which is no small favor to have favored your desires, not closing the window in our faces.” “Oh, friend!” said don Fadrique then, “and how will I dare pretend to what she has denied to so many gentlemen of Seville, being an outsider? But if I have to die without her knowing it at the hands of my desire, let me die at the hands of her disillusionments and disdain. Speak to her, friend, and as well as telling her of my nobility and estate, you could tell her that I am dying for her.” With this, the two went back along the street, making a courtly bow to her as they passed by, upon which the most lovely doña Beatriz (who on descending from the carriage had seen the care with which don Fadrique had looked at her), seeing him apparently a stranger and in don Mateo’s company, after taking off her cloak, with interest took a place at the window. And seeing herself now greeted with such courtesy, having seen that while they talked they were looking at her, she made another [curtsy] no less courteous. They went back home with this, very pleased at having seen doña Beatriz so benevolent, agreeing that don Mateo should talk to her the next day with a view toward marriage. But don Fadrique was in such a state that he would have liked it to be discussed right then. The night went by, and not so quickly as the enamored gentleman would have wished, who rushed his friend to go to find out the news of his life or death, and this he did. He spoke, then, to doña Beatriz, setting forth to her all the suitor’s qualifications, to which the lady responded that she thanked him very much for the favor he did her, and his friend for wishing to honor her with his person, but that she, the day that she buried her lord,* had proposed not to marry before three years passed, to better observe the decorum that she owed his love, and for this reason she dismissed rather roughly whoever brought this up, in order not to give all of them an account of her design. But that if this gentleman dared wait the year that yet remained, she gave her word that no one else would be her husband, because, speaking truthfully, she had been very pleased with his unaffected bearing, and above all the many qualifications that he had offered, because she also desired that the one who should



One be her lord might be thus, a man without fabrications or the tidy fictions of lying men. With this response don Mateo returned to his friend, not a little pleased, seeming to him that he had not negotiated badly. Don Fadrique fell more in love every hour, and although he was not disconsolate imagining having to wait so long, he decided to stay that year in Seville, the lovely widow seeming to him a good prize if he succeeded in winning her. And as he was so well supplied with money, he fitted out quarters in his relative’s house,10 hired servants, and began to show off costly attire to arouse the spirit of the lady, whom he visited sometimes with don Mateo, for unless he went with him, she would not grant him such a favor. He wanted to give her presents, but he was not permitted to do so, because doña Beatriz would not even accept a pin. The greatest favor that she did him, at the request of her maids (whom the Grenadine had not ill disposed toward him, because what their mistress argued against receiving, they made it their profession and custom to receive, and thus they did not ill favor his attention in this matter), was when they told her that he was on her street, to go out on the balcony, giving light to the world with the beauty of her eyes, and sometimes to accompany them at night to hear don Fadrique sing, who, as I have said, did it skillfully. And one [night], among the many on which he gave her music, he sang this ballad* that he himself had written, because doña Beatriz had not come out on the balcony that day, angered for having seen him in church talking to a lady. So he sang thus: A high tower of Babel, construction of Nimrod,11 who tried to climb to heaven and fell into a great abyss, my hopes seem to be, for as I understood,

10. Zayas writes “un cuarto,” literally, “a room,” but he would presumably be paying rent for housing extra servants in his relative’s house as well. See Exemplary Tales of Love, introduction, n. 3, on the rental of quarters in noble residences in early modern Spanish cities. 11. Nimrod is a great hunter and the first powerful earthly king and conqueror in Genesis 10: 8–12. Babel is the Hebrew name for Babylon, one of the cities in his kingdom in Mesopotamia. He is not specifically connected to the tower building in Genesis 11: 1–9, in which men make bricks and use bitumen for mortar to build a city and a tower with its top in heaven to make a name for themselves. God sees it, and to prevent such human overreaching, confuses the single language supposedly spoken by all people into a babble of the languages of the world.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e their ambition will extend to the heaven of my desires. But since their foundation was the little rascal Love, who lacks credentials to be worshiped as a god, he changed, a child in the end, his mischievous nature, being [too] blind to see the worth of my constancy. O ill-fated desires, fallen like Phaëton!12 Why did you want to ascend to the high chariot of the sun? Hopes demolished, withered like a flower, happy hours that now will be hours of pain. How thought you to rise, gallant imagination, if your wings are of wax13 and this sign that of the lion?14 Well might you think that love a hand and embrace would lend; presumptuous was your thought if it trusted in that. On the balcony of the orient today my sun has risen, covering with clouds the light of her perfection. Love sells its pleasures dearly, and it gives them with a tax, 12. Phaëthon, child of Phoebus (Helios/Apollo, the sun), drove the chariot of the sun and lost control of it, dying in the attempt. 13. An allusion to Icarus whose wings of wax melted in proximity to the sun. See “Her Lover’s Slave,” n. 55. 14. Olivares (Zayas, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, 304 n. b) notes that in astrology and alchemy, the lion is the sign of fire, which would melt the wax that anchors the wings of presumption to the body that comes too close.



One redeemable bonds are they,15 its misery greater by far. May you die burned in my fire, blind lynx, infantile god,16 but Love, forgive my offense, for humbled at your feet am I. The favor that don Fadrique attained that night was to hear doña Beatriz, who told her maids that it was now time to retire, giving him to understand with this that she had heard him, with which he went away more pleased than if he had been made master of the world. Our lover spent more than six months living thus, without ever being able to secure permission to see doña Beatriz alone, whose modesties had him so in love that he had not one minute of repose. And thus one night that found him on his lady’s street, as on many others, seeing the door open, in order to see her loveliness closer up, he dared enter the house cautiously, and he succeeded so well that without being seen by anyone he reached doña Beatriz’s room, and from a corridor door saw her seated in the estrado* with her maids, who were up late in attendance.17 And giving evidence of wanting to undress to go to bed, they asked her (as if they had been bribed by don Fadrique, or knew that he was watching them) to sing a little. From which doña Beatriz excused herself, saying that she was not in the mood, that she was melancholy.18 But one of the maids, who was more forward than the others, arose and went into a room from which she emerged with a harp, saying: “By my faith, good lady, if there is melancholy, this is the best relief. Sing a bit, my lady, and you will see how you find yourself relieved.” While saying this, she put the harp in her hands in one action.19 She, to please them, sang thus:20

15. Zayas uses the expression “censo al quitar,” which was a redeemable annuity on property, as opposed to a “censo perpetuo” that could not be alienated from the property (Diccionario de autoridades [DA]). Although a redeemable bond is not the same thing in economic terms, its poetic exchange value is perfect. 16. A blind lynx, known for sharp eyesight and shrewdness, is an oxymoron, as is this child god, Cupid. 17. attending [ attending and she praying with a [book] of hours. And when she finished her devout exercise, giving 18. See “Tenth Tale of Disillusion” n. 24 on melancholy. 19. in one act [ in one act and thus it was necessary. 20. This ballad is very similar to one sung in “The Judge of Her Own Case.”

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e When dawn shows its happy laughter, when, happy, it lifts the black curtain from the eastern balcony so the day can emerge, when its beauty extends its bountiful skein, pouring pearls over the pinks;21 and, so, when the fields pour out happiness, Marfisa, far from Albano, weeps jealousy. When happy [dawn] readies the bountiful chariot for Phoebus22 who comes from East Indies shores; when midst crystals clear little fountains whisper of deceits, distill pearls of dew; when to the sound of the water, the nymphs sing, Marfisa, far from Albano, weeps jealousy. When [dawn] amid carnations with their bright lymph paints silver garnish on their eyes; when the birds bid with sonorous lyres welcome to Phoebus for the lovely view; when highlands show

21. Depicting morning dew as pearls spread by the dawn was a commonplace in Spanish poetry of Zayas’s day. The flowers are clavellinas, “pinks” in Britain, little carnations in American usage. 22. Phoebus is Helios/Apollo, the sun.



One a thousand pleasures, Marfisa, far from Albano, weeps jealousy. This shepherd lass was the village prodigy, the death of its eyes, of its life the death, fierce basilisk,* cause of misfortunes, because in her disdain, she held poison. When her charms, that they said were spice, Marfisa, far from Albano, weeps jealousy. She surrendered her disdain to the dashing ways of a highland ingrate, who, gone away, forgets her. And when he, happy, a new token esteems, beauties defends, favors boasts, lovelies conquers, and to glories aspires, Marfisa, far from Albano, weeps jealousy. With this she put down the harp, telling them to come and undress her, leaving don Fadrique (whom her charm, voice, and the sweetness of the music had captivated) as if in darkness. He was not suspicious about the words of the song, because since they are sometimes written to please a musician, the poet paints what the musician wishes. And seeing that doña Beatriz had gone in to go to bed, he went down to the entry to leave for his house, but it was in vain because the coachman, who lived in a little room there, had closed the door to the street; sure that there would not be anyone entering or leaving, he had gone to bed. Don Fadrique regretted it deeply, but seeing that there was no remedy, he sat down on a stone bench to wait for morning, because although it would have been easy to call for them to open it, he did not want to, in

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e order not to put doña Beatriz’s honor in doubt, nor on the tongues of maidservants, thinking that while the coachman opened up at daybreak, he could hide in an entrance to a cellar. He had been there some two hours when, hearing a noise at the door of his lady’s room—for from where he was seated one could see the stairway and corridor—he turned his eyes to where he heard the sound and saw doña Beatriz come out, a new marvel for one who thought she was sleeping by then. The lady wore over her chemise an overskirt of red reverse tabby,23 whose silver and trimming looked like stars, not wearing anything else but a shawl of the same tabby, lined in blue felt, so carelessly worn that it left visible the embroidery of pita thread24 (for which Seville is more renowned than any other Spanish land) in the white of the chemise, her golden hair caught in a little net of blue and silver silk, but disordered in some places, to adorn the beauty of her face; at her throat two strings of large pearls, like many other rounds of them that she wore at her lovely wrists, whose whiteness was easily visible, the sleeves of her chemise being loose in the style of friar’s sleeves. The Grenadine could give an ample description of all this because doña Beatriz carried in one of her very white hands a lighted wax candle in a silver candleholder, by the light of which he contemplated so angelic a figure, judging himself blessed if he were the subject she was going to seek out. In the other hand she carried a silver salver, and on it one or two glass bottles of preserves and some cakes, a small limeta25 of wine, and over one arm a very white towel, whose lace and embroidery gave an agreeable delight. “God save me!” said don Fadrique to himself, watching her from when she came out of her bedroom until he saw her come down the stairs, “who can the lucky man be whom such a lovely steward is going to serve? Oh! if it were I, and how I would give the worth of my whole estate in exchange!” Saying this, as he saw how, having now gone downstairs, she directed her steps toward where he was, he withdrew to the stables, and went in them to be more hidden. But seeing that doña Beatriz was heading toward

23. Zayas writes “vuelta de tabí”; tabí, according to the DA, was a heavy pressed taffeta-like fabric in which the weave was visible, forming a watered or wave effect. See also “Taking a Chance on Losing” n. 27. Presumably, reverse tabby would be one that displayed the underside of the work. 24. Pita is, according to Covarrubias, a plant from the Indies, i.e., the Americas, from which a very delicate thread is made. Webster’s Unabridged says it is derived from the American agave plant. 25. Zayas writes “limetilla.” The DA describes a limeta as a certain kind of glass, made in the shape of a flask, used for wine.



One the same place, he got behind one of the carriage horses. Well, the lady came into a place so indecent for such beauty, and without noticing don Fadrique, who was hidden behind a horse, she turned toward a little room that was at the end of the stables. Don Fadrique believed from such an incident that some sick servant awakened doña Beatriz’s charity and the pious nature of doña Beatriz to such an act, although it would have been more fitting for one of the many maids she had than for such a lady. But attributing everything to Christianity and devout humility, he wanted to see how it all ended, and coming out from where he was, he walked behind her to put himself in a place where he could see everything there was within the little room, it being so small that a bed scarcely fitted. Great was don Fadrique’s valor in such an event, because as soon as he came close and discovered everything within the little room, he saw his lady in such a terrible circumstance for him that I do not know how he had the patience to endure it. In a bed that was in the place I have said lay a black man so scorched that his face seemed made of bocací.26 He appeared to be up to twenty-eight or thirty years old, but so ugly and abominable that I do not know if it was his deathbed suffering or if it was the way he really was, it seemed to him that the devil could not be so [ugly]. It also seemed from his emaciated appearance that his life was not long from ending, because his chest was half raised, with which he appeared more abominable. On entering, doña Beatriz sat down on the bed, and putting the candle and the other things she carried on a little table,27 she began to smooth the bed, seeming to him in her loveliness an angel and he a fierce devil; after this, she put one of her lovely hands on his forehead and with a voice of tenderness and pity, began to say to him: “How are you, Antonio? You aren’t speaking to me, my darling? Listen, open your eyes, look, Beatriz is here; take [this], my son, eat a bite of these preserves, perk up, for love of me, if you do not want me to accompany you in death as I have loved you in life. Do you hear me, my love? You do not want to answer me nor look at me?” Saying this, pouring big pearls from her eyes, she joined her lovely face with that of the bedeviled black man, leaving don Fadrique, who was watching her, more dead than he, not knowing what to do nor what to say, sometimes deciding to lose himself, and others considering that the best thing was to separate himself from that suit. 26. Bocací is interfacing, the stiff, thick, and rough cloth sewn between the garment and its lining to add volume and strengthen certain points. Purely functional, it is not to be seen. 27. table [ table that was next to the bed

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e While they were like this, the black man opened his eyes, and looking at his mistress, pushing away with his hands the face she had next to his, with a thin and weakened voice he said to her: “What do you want of me, madam? Leave me now, for God’s sake! What is this, that even as my life is ending you pursue me? Is it not enough that your dissolute nature has me as I am, but that you want me, when I am at the end of my life, to come to carry out your depraved appetites? Get married, madam, get married, and leave me now, for I neither want to see you nor eat what you give me; I want to die, for now I am in no condition for anything else.” And saying this, he turned to the other side, not wanting to respond further to doña Beatriz, however tenderly and lovingly she called to him. Or it could be that he died then, or that he did not want to pay attention to her tears and words. Doña Beatriz, now tired, returned to her room, the most tearful and sad [woman] in the world. Don Fadrique waited for them to open the door, and no sooner did he see it open than he left, fleeing from that house28 as full of confusion and loathing as he had earlier been of pleasure and glory. He went to bed on reaching his house, without saying anything to his friend; and going out in the afternoon, he made a turn along the street of the virtuous widow to see what rumors there were, just in time to see the black man brought out to be buried. He returned to his house, always keeping this secret to himself, and in the three or four days that he went back to stroll the street, no longer for love, but to see and find out more about that which he still did not believe, although he had seen it, but he never saw doña Beatriz, so hurt and withdrawn was she over the death of her black lover. After which, talking after dinner with his friend, a maid of doña Beatriz came in, and on seeing him, with much courtesy and happiness, she put in his hands a note that said this: “Where there is will, go-betweens serve for little. I am satisfied with yours and appreciative of your favors, and thus I do not want to wait the rest of the year to give you the well-merited possession of my person and estate. 28. house [ worse, in his esteem, than the cursed garden of Falerina and the deceitful inn of Adante, Falerina was a sorceress whose castle appears in medieval legends and Renaissance romances and books of chivalry. Pedro Calderón de la Barca wrote a court play and an allegorical religious drama about her garden. “Adante” may be a misspelling or misidentification of another character, perhaps “Aglante,” an African king in Calderón’s religious drama and also in Cervantes’s play La casa de los celos.



One Whenever you would like, our marriage can take place with the conditions that you prefer, because my love and your merits do not leave me concern for anything. God keep you.29 Doña Beatriz.” Don Fadrique read this note three or four times and still did not fully believe such a thing, and thus he did nothing more than mull it over and feel astonished in his heart over what was happening to him, for twice now he had been on the point of falling into such an affront, and as many [times] heaven had revealed to him such important secrets. And since he saw clearly that doña Beatriz’s determined resolution was born of the loss of her black lover, at that point he made his own resolution, and resolved on an honorable decision, and telling the maid to wait, he went out to another living room, and calling his friend, told him briefly this: “My friend, it is important to my life and honor to leave Seville within an hour, and no one has to accompany me but the servant I brought from Granada. Those clothes that remain here, sell them after I have left, and you can pay the other servants with the money they give you for them. The why and how, I cannot tell you, because there are reputations involved. I will write to you wherever I settle down. This matters to me, do not argue or question me, but while I write a note, look for two mules, and do not wish to know more now.” And immediately writing a note to doña Beatriz, and giving it to the maid to take to her mistress, and having the mules brought to him, he set out on his way; and leaving Seville, he took that to Madrid, with his old topic of loathing discerning women who, trusting in their knowledge, seek to deceive men. Let him go until his time and let us return to doña Beatriz, who opened the note upon receiving it, and reading it, saw that it said this: “The will that I have held for your ladyship was not only with the desire to possess your beauty, because I also observed your honor and reputation, as my caution and favors said. I, my lady, am somewhat scrupulous, and I would find it a weight on my conscience that your ladyship, widowed day before yesterday, should marry today. Wait, your ladyship, at least another year for your ill-fated black man, for in its time one will deal with what your ladyship says, whose life may heaven keep and console.” Doña Beatriz thought that she would lose her mind with this note, but seeing that don Fadrique had already left, she gave her consent to a gentleman who had proposed to her, remedying with a husband the lack of her dead lover. 29. you [as I desire

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e Counting the days, as they say, don Fadrique arrived in Madrid, and went to lodge in the Carmen neighborhood,30 in the house of an uncle of his who had his own houses there. This gentleman was rich and had as the inheritor of his estate an only son called don Juan, a gallant youth, and along with his good physique, [he was] discerning, spirited, and very affable. His father had him engaged to a very wealthy cousin of his, although the marriage was being held off until the bride should come of age, because at this time she was only ten years old. Don Fadrique formed such a friendship with this gentleman that it surpassed the love of relatives, for in a few days they treated each other like brothers. Noticing that don Juan was acting very melancholy, don Fadrique, after having obliged him by giving him an account of his life and its events (without naming the parties), because it seemed to him that true friendship does not keep any secrets from a friend, begged him to tell him what the source of that sadness was, because it was very noticeable in his happy nature Don Juan, who desired nothing else so as to feel his pain less by communicating it to him, responded with these words to his inquiries: “Friend don Fadrique, I love tenderly31 a lady of this court, whose parents when they died left a large estate, with the obligation that she marry a cousin of hers who is in the Indies. Our honest love has extended no further than chaste conversation, reserving the prize of it for when her husband comes, because now neither her status nor mine gives room for more amorous mischief, for although I do not enjoy my wife, she serves me32 as a chain that keeps me from disposing of myself.33 To tell you of her loveliness would be to want to cipher beauty itself in a few figures; since her un-

30. The busy neighborhood close to the Puerta del Sol, around the church of El Carmen Calzado, the church of a convent of nuns of the Carmelite (Calced) order. The church was founded on a site from which a public house of prostitution was dislodged as the city expanded in the sixteenth century, to be replaced by the convent. Mass was first said in the church in 1575. The convent was built in the first half of the seventeenth century, and private houses began to build up around it. Ramón de Mesonero Romanos, El Antiguo Madrid: Paseos históricosanecdóticos por las calles y casas de esta villa, por El Curioso Parlante (Madrid: Renacimiento, 1925), 142; Federico Bravo Morata, Los nombres de las calles de Madrid, 2 vols. (Madrid: Fenicia, 1970), l: 117. 31. tenderly [most tenderly. Zayas made eight small corrections to this paragraph in the corrected edition; none change the meaning, and therefore we have not translated the other six, but the quantity of them shows extra care here, as she introduces two very talented young women. 32. me [yet she serves me 33. Meaning that don Juan’s engagement prohibits him from doing what he would like with himself.



One derstanding is such34 that in human letters there is no one who exceeds her. Finally, doña Ana, for this is her name, is the miracle of this age, because she and doña Violante, her cousin, are the sibyls of Spain, both of them beautiful, both of them discerning, musicians, poets. This is to say that all that in the way of beauty and discernment is distributed among all the women of the world is found in the two of them. They have told doña Ana that I am courting a lady whose name is Nise, because last Sunday they saw me talk with her in San Ginés, which she frequents.35 Well then, very jealous, she told me yesterday to stay home and never in my life to return to hers; and because she knows that I burn with jealousy when she mentions her husband (because although he will be the go-between of my fortune, with all that, I do not want to see her in anyone else’s possession but mine), she told me that she adores only him, and that she is awaiting him with much pleasure and concern. I wrote her a letter about this, and in reply she sent me another, which is this, because in composing verse, she is as admirable as in everything else: He said this taking out a sheet of paper, which don Fadrique, taking it, saw that it said thus: Your injustices, Lisardo, are so many that now my affront forces me to give you the blame and take myself the suffering. But I do not want to start accounts with your ingratitude, because ingrates always zeros for numbers leave. Appetite alone presides, Lisardo, and it is well that I fear, for accounts of obligations always deny them. And thus I do not wish to bring to your memory my sorrows,

34. such [so extreme 35. The parish of San Ginés was toward the north outside the old medieval walls of the city, on the street called Arenal. A charitable hospital was added to it in 1523. Juliá Santos, David Ringrose, and Cristina Segura, Madrid. Historia de una capital (Madrid, Alianza, 1994), 55, 60. For a map showing its location, see http://www.madridhistorico.com/seccion5_historia/index _evolucion_medieval.php?idmapa=4

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e for never did you give a receipt for something of such import. Send sighs into the air, as air they are, and do not recount them, for they are not summoned, although many thousands they be.36 [Send] tears to the sea, worries to my complaints, and my love to your ice to leave it powerless. To say, Lisardo, that I, to while away absences, strain my37 will, your chimeras deceive you. If I wished to entertain myself, shepherds there are in the village, who tho I show them disfavor, my poor parts celebrate; from which I could choose someone who would have me with love entertained and with interest content. And you, Lisardo, tho you achieve favors that others desire, not only esteem them not, but now disdain them. Lisardo, I would think that a woman of my qualities, with only a soft regard, favor and reward would give you. But since you always wished to be ungrateful to my favors, you neither esteem my will, nor reward me with yours. That you know not what love is

36. Zayas plays with the double meaning of weighing, counting, accounting, and “recounting”— i.e., telling tales—here and in the preceding stanzas, as terms of amorous as well as economic exchange. 37. my [ your



One I hold as a very certain thing; you have yet to enter its beginnings, and now its ends you desire. In that which my status allows, I favor you; do not wish me to extend to more if your own puts a checkrein to my pleasure. Now you fear that the steward, who is to be my lord, may come; if you abhor your remedy, Lisardo, of what do you complain? You beg for health, and if I apply the remedy, you despair; this is to wish that you be bled without breaking open a vein. What is certain now is, Lisardo, that a new beauty slays you, and you make my love chronically infirm now I understand, I am no fool. May heaven, Lisardo, curse the one who enamors someone with the charms of someone else; may it happen to him as to me! The musician sings in the street, the poet writes verses, and the lady grows passionate and forgets him who woos her. Now I know your deceit, now I know your artifice, but, since I praised you to Nise, how rich it is that you love her! Enjoy, ingrate Lisardo, her beauty a thousand years; as many favors may she pay you as the sorrows that slay me. Drink of her sweet deceits, my bitter ones leave, for I, in the temple of my faith, plan to hang the chain. From there will I observe,

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e like him who watches the gambler, the card with which you risk your truth and your artifice. I do not complain of this insult, Lisardo, because my complaints will not make you again a lover, but in them give you vengeance. You are well employed, because her soot-black locks are the ebony that frames her loveliness and your favors. Her black eyes are stars in whose mischievous pupils your war will find peace, and fair weather your torment. You will wear her colors, with which, tho’ black, you will emerge, more gallant than with mine, which with pleasure you disdain. You will be able to take as devotion for the relief of your sorrows the glorious San Ginés, which is your Nise’s church. With this I ask that love may regret your inconstancy. God keep you. From my house, she who your pleasure desires. “There is not much to fear from this enemy,” said don Fadrique, finishing reading the paper, “because from what it shows, she is more yielding than furious. The woman writes well, and if she is as lovely as you say, you do wrong in not keeping her love until you reap its reward.” “That,” answered don Juan, “is a stroke, a scratch, a nothing, compared with the beauty and discretion there is in her, because she has many times been called the Spanish sibyl.” “For God’s sake, cousin,” replied don Fadrique, “I fear women who are so learned more than death, for I would like to find one who was ignorant of the things of the world, at the rate at which that one comprehends them, and if I were to find her, I swear to God, I would dedicate myself to serving her and loving her; but now they are all so sharp that there is no one who



One can manage them. They all know how to love and deceive, and thus the discerning ones have taught me such lessons that I want to do battle with a nitwit. “Do you say that seriously?” said don Juan, “because I do not know what man has a taste for a stupid woman, not only to love, but to converse with her a quarter of an hour; for those who are most celebrated in the world say that understanding is food for the soul, for while the eyes feast on whiteness, beautiful hands, lovely eyes, and the grace of the body, and finally on all that is worth loving in a lady, it is not reasonable that the soul be there for nothing, but rather that it is not nourished by things as boring and tiresome as stupidities, for the soul being such a pure creature, we are not to give it coarse food.” “Let us leave this dispute now,” said don Fadrique, “as there is much to say about it, for I know in this case what suits me, and let us respond to doña Ana. Although a better response would be to go to see her, since there is none more tender and feeling than the person himself, and moreover, I want to see if her cousin moves me to entertain myself with her the time that I am to be in Madrid.”38 “Let us go there,” said don Juan, “for were I to confess the truth, for God’s sake, I want to do that, but be warned that doña Violante is not stupid, and if that is the reason that women displease you, you should not go there.” “I will adapt myself to the times,” responded don Fadrique. With this, in agreement they went to see the lovely cousins, by whom they were received with much pleasure, even if doña Ana was as if jealous, elusive,39 although don Juan had little to do to wipe away her frown. Don Fadrique saw doña Violante, and she seemed to him one of the most beautiful ladies he had seen until then, including even Serafina and doña Beatriz. She was having her portrait painted (a curiosity practiced at court), and for this occasion she was so well adorned that it seemed as if she had dressed herself with so much care and richness on purpose to conquer don Fadrique. She was wearing a long black skirt, studded with sequins and 38. Zayas writes “si me hace sangre su prima,” literally, “if your cousin draws my blood” or “makes me bleed,” not a common phrase; however, the DA gives as one metaphorical meaning of “hacer sangre,” “some reason that has force, harmony, or echo,” giving an example from the Panegyricos of Fray Hortensio Paravisino: “Siempre me hace sangre (que dicen en Palacio) aquel lugar de David” (That text of David always moves me [as they say in the palace]). 39. “zahareña,” which Covarrubias says is a term from falconry for a bird that is elusive and hard to tame.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e 40


gold buttons, a belt and necklace of diamonds, and a headband of rubies. On which topic, after many courtesies, taking a guitar, don Fadrique, whom the muses graced as such a friend,42 sang this ballad: Lass, whose loveliness kills, enamors, and delights, being a miracle of heaven and glory of our hamlet, What paintbrush would there be so wise, even supposing it were Apelles43 who governed and guided it, as to copy your beauty? What rays, tho that of the sun should give us those of his skein, as to equal the loveliness of those your chestnut plaits? What lights to the ones I see in those clear stars glimmer, that even diamonds your beautiful lights eclipse?44 What lilies to your forehead, what bows of love your brows, what bolts your lashes,45 to your sight, what arrows? What Alexandrine roses

40. and [ on her head 41. An apretador, which Covarrubias calls a woman’s ornament, and the DA defines as a richly decorated and worked ribbon or band that formerly served women as an ornament and to hold the hair. 42. as [as one who was so much their friend 43. Apelles was a famous early Hellenistic Greek painter of the fourth century BCE. He became the court painter of Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great. According to an anecdote told by Pliny in his Natural History of 77 CE, Alexander commissioned him to paint his favorite concubine, Campaspe. In so doing, Apelles fell in love with her, and Alexander rewarded his favorite artist by giving her to him. That story is much repeated in Renaissance and early modern art and literature, including a play by Calderón, Darlo todo y no dar nada (Giving Everything and Nothing at All). 44. That is, her bright eyes outshine even diamonds. 45. A vira (bolt) is the type of arrow used with a crossbow.



One to your cheeks, since they remain outdone in their redness, to your loveliness subjected? What rubies with those lips? doubtless, lass, next to the fine [rubies] of your mouth, those on your head seem false. Your words are carnations and your white teeth pearls, with which the weeping dawn embroiders the fields. Crystal your lovely throat, column which sustains a heaven where Love lives if he resides like a god. What snow equals your hands, on whose snowy sierras daring men are lost, when they try to pass them by.46 Of what your dress covers, lovely lass, I would wish to say many praises, but my tongue dares not. For if like another Campaspe47 you display such divine gifts, pity the Apelles who regards you and without hopes of [having] them! Tell, lass, Apelles, whose brushes are employed in transferring your loveliness from that heaven to earth, that he and I will fall short: brush and pen will remain unable to render a drawing that resembles the original. Since the mold in which 46. The wordplay here relies on the common literary motif of a man captivated at the sight of a white hand, compared here to one lost trying to surmount a snow-covered mountain range. 47. See above, n. 43.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e wise nature formed you the world no longer possesses, lest another like you it might have. Diamonds, gold, crystal, dawn-star, rose, lilies, heavens, stars, rubies, carnations, jasmine, pearls, all, in your presence, lose value and without beauty lie. What paintbrush nor what pen could sum up in brief such beauty? Doña Ana and her cousin praised dearly don Fadrique’s voice and verses dearly, and more so doña Violante, who since she heard herself praised began to look favorably at the Grenadine, from that afternoon opening play at Cupid’s table. And don Fadrique [was] so in love and lost that for the time being he did not persevere in his opinion of hating discerning women and fearing astute ones. Another day, before going with don Juan to the house of the beautiful cousins, he sent doña Ana this letter: Wisely, love has you as his instrument,48 beautiful, divine first cousin, and so esteems your gentle tone that now from first he raises you to third and changes key. Discerning was the thought of love, and with your value he is so animated that, being a first, he wants to impress on your being his sovereign accent. A third usually comes down to a first, but, being prime, to be a tonic is something divine, new, miraculous and rare. And I say that had Orpheus merited making with you his music divine, those he put to sleep, he would have enamored.

48. The wit of this poem centers on interlaced double meanings: (1) cuerda as the string of a musical instrument and an intelligent, sane woman; (2) prima as female cousin and first string on a musical instrument; and (3) tercera as third string and go-between for lovers. We have used “prime” and “tonic” in their musical value to approximate that play. The poem is a sonnet with an estrambote of six extra verses.



One But, pen of mine, so that love who holds this beautiful prime, may sing of her, what I beg of you, is, that being a tonic, you tell her beautiful cousin to love me. The answer that doña Ana gave don Fadrique was telling him that she had to do very little for that, because doña Violante was much enamored of his worth. With this, he was left so glowing and pleased that he was already forgetting every bit of his opinion and the events with Serafina and Beatriz. Many days passed with this understanding, without amorous boldness extending further than only to that which could be enjoyed without risking honor. These impediments [had] don Fadrique so enamored that he was almost determined to marry, although Violante never discussed anything regarding this, because she truly loathed marrying, fearful of losing the freedom she then enjoyed. Then, one day when the two [men] cousins were dressing to go to see the two [women] cousins, a message from their ladies warned them of how doña Ana’s husband had arrived so secretly that they had not been warned of his coming. And because she believed he had not come thus without cause, but rather that some fearful design had obliged him, this action had them so frightened, it was necessary to live with modesty until she made sure of herself, and they begged them that, arming themselves with patience, as they [doña Anna and doña Violante] did, they not only not visit them, but avoid passing along their street until being otherwise advised. A most sad news dispatch was this for them, and they took and received it with displays of displeasure, and more so when they learned within four days how doña Ana had been engaged,49 the new lord imposing such enclosure and modesty in the house—being very jealous, as a man with experience of things, and who was more than forty years old—so that neither was it possible to see them at the window nor to send them more word, nor even to learn of their health: doña Ana because of being occupied with her husband, and doña Violante by that which will be told in its time. Waiting for new notice with impatient anxieties and sad thoughts, don 49. Zayas says “desposada,” engaged or betrothed, not wed, but also refers to “her husband,” and he is clearly living with her. A formally betrothed couple could engage in sexual activity before completing the final wedding ceremony, so distinguishing between the two rituals did not have the importance it has in cultures that expect the woman to remain a virgin until the wedding.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e Juan and don Fadrique spent a month very desperate. And seeing that there seemed to be no memory of their suffering, they decided at whatever risk to stroll the street and try to see their ladies, or some maid from the house. They walked there, then, one day and another, on which they saw doña Ana’s husband enter his house, and with him a brother of his, a young and very gallant student; but it was not possible to see them, nor even a shadow that seemed to be a woman; some menservants, yes, but as they were not ones they knew, they did not dare say anything to them. With these yearnings they arose early and stayed up until the early hours of the morning, and one Sunday very early in the morning, their luck was such that they saw come out a maid of doña Violante who was going to Mass. Don Juan approached to talk to her, and she with a thousand fears, looking to one side and the other, after having told them of the modesty with which they lived and the jealous nature of their master, taking a note that don Juan carried written for whenever he might find some opportunity, she went off with the greatest hurry in the world; she only told them to walk by that way the next day, that she would procure an answer. She took it to her mistress, and being read, it said this: “I regret having been forgotten more than the jealousy, for the latter is an ailment with no cure, and forgetting could have one if your will endured. Mine begs for mercy; if there is any spark of the past fire, use it in such a cruel case.” Having read the note, the ladies gave the answer to the same maid, who, as soon as she saw the gentlemen, threw it to them through the window. And opened,50 it said these words: “The lord is jealous and newly wed, so much so that he has not even had time to repent it nor to be careless. But he has to go within a week to Valladolid to see some relatives of his; then I will pay debts and give apologies.” With this note, to which the two cousins gave a thousand kisses, making a thousand devout supplications,51 as if it were an oracle, they whiled away some days. But seeing that neither were they notified of that which was promised in it, nor was there any other novelty than before then in the house of their mistresses, because neither in the street nor at the window

50. opened [the paper opened, they read in it these 51. Recomendaciones, used in the sense given in the DA for the phrase “recomendar el alma” as a “phrase that means to say the supplications and prayers that the church has stipulated and organized for those in the death agony.” Latin: Anima commendationem recitare. Zayas also personifies the note, using “quien,” “whom,” rather than “which.”



One was it possible to see them, as desperate as before having received it, they began to patrol by day and by night, spending many of them from daybreak to daybreak on the street. Well, one day when don Juan managed to enter the church of El Carmen to hear Mass, he saw his beloved doña Ana enter, an extremely miraculous sight for him. And as soon as he saw that she went into a little chapel to hear Mass, he went following her steps, and despite a squire who was accompanying her, he knelt right by her side. And after passing long complaints and brief apologies between the two, as much as the place where they were allowed, doña Ana replied to him that her husband, although he said that he had to go to Valladolid, had not done so. However, that she found no other solution for speaking to him for a while at leisure unless it were for him to come that night, that she would open the door, but that his cousin don Fadrique had to come with him, [and] he would have to lie with her husband, in her place. And that what was very relevant for this was her being angry with him, so much so that there were many days that they did not talk to one another. And that as well as sleep having a fairly strong hold on him, her anger was so great that she knew it was certain that he would not notice the trick. And that although her cousin could fill that lack, it was impossible considering that she was ill, and that if it were not [done] this way, she found no means to satisfy his desires. Don Juan was left more confused than ever with this. On the one hand, he saw what he was losing, and on the other, he feared don Fadrique would not want to agree to such an arrangement. With this he went home, and after long pleas and insistence, he told him what doña Ana had said to him; to which don Fadrique asked if he were mad, because he could not believe that if he were in his right mind, he would utter such foolishness. After this he said a thousand amusing and charming things, insisting on the favor that doña Ana was doing him in settling him with such a pretty young woman. And in these demands and replies, the one pleading and the other refusing to go along with it, they spent some hours. But don Fadrique seeing him so raving mad that he took out his sword to kill himself, very much against his will, he gave in to him, taking doña Ana’s place beside her husband. And thus they went together to her house, and as soon as they arrived at it, the lady, who was concerned, knowing from their arrival that don Fadrique had accepted the agreement, ordered it opened for them. And [when they had] entered, then, into a living room, before arriving at the inner room where the bed was, doña Ana ordered don Fadrique to undress, and having unwillingly obeyed her, barefoot and in his undershirt, without a light anywhere, she took him into the bedroom, and putting him next to

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e the bed, told him quietly to lie down. And on leaving him there, she—very happy—went off with her lover to the other bedroom. Let us leave her there with him and go to don Fadrique. Once he saw himself lying down beside a man, whose honor he was offending by taking his wife’s place, and his cousin enjoying her favors, considering what could happen and what such boldness could cost, he was so fearful and wide awake that he would have given all his estate was worth not to have put himself in such a position. And more so when the offended husband, sighing in dreams, turned toward where he believed his wife was and, throwing an arm around his neck, gave signs of wanting to come to her, although, since he took that action while asleep, he did not continue further. But don Fadrique, who saw himself in so much danger, took the arm of the sleeping gentleman very gently and, removing it from himself, withdrew to a corner of the bed, not blaming anyone but himself for having put himself in such a situation, only for the vain craving of two mad lovers. Scarcely did he see himself free from this, when the deceived husband, stretching out his feet, moved to join them with those of his fearful companion, every one of these acts being death for don Fadrique. In sum, the one endeavoring to approach and the other to separate, they passed the night; for so long that the light already began to show itself through the cracks in the doors. This made him more worried than the rest, seeing that what he had suffered would be in vain if daybreak arrived before doña Ana came. Then considering that nothing less than his life was at stake in leaving there, he arose as quietly as he could and went groping along until he came upon the door, where, as soon as he went to try and open it, he met up with doña Ana who at this moment was opening it. And when she saw him, with a loud voice, she said to him: “Where are you going so fast, sir don Fadrique?” “Oh, madam!” responded he in a low voice, “and how have you been so careless knowing my danger? Let me leave, for God’s sake, for if your lord awakes, we will not come out of this well.” “What do you mean, leave?” replied the astute lady, talking loudly, in order to be heard. “By God, my husband must see with whom he has slept tonight, so that he may see how his jealousy and cares have turned out.” And saying this, without don Fadrique being able to prevent her, because of his alarm and the bedroom being small, she came to the bed and, opening a window, pulled back the curtains, saying: “See, sir husband, with whom you have spent the night.” Don Fadrique set his eyes on the gentleman in the bed, and instead of doña Ana’s bearded husband he saw the most lovely doña Violante, because doña Ana’s husband had already been traveling more than six days. The



One lovely lady looked like the dawn when, pulling back the curtains of the night, it emerges pouring pearls upon the flowering fields. Don Fadrique was left so embarrassed by the trick of the lovely cousins that he did not speak a word, nor did he find one appropriate, seeing them celebrate the event with laughter, Violante recounting the trials she had made him endure. But as soon as the Grenadine recovered from his alarm, doña Ana giving them the opportunity, he reaped the fruit of the flowers he had sown, enjoying with the lady a most pleasurable life, not only while doña Ana’s husband was absent—who was detained in suits of the estate some days— but also after he came back. For through a maid to whom don Fadrique gave gifts, he would enter most nights to see her, with no little envy of don Juan, for since he could not enjoy his doña Ana, he resented the blessings of his cousin. Several months having passed in which don Fadrique was enjoying his lady, [she provided him] with the greatest demonstrations of love that can be thought, so much that, obligated by them, he decided a thousand times to make her his wife, if he should see in her the will to marry. But when he spoke with her about changing her status, she would cut him off with a thousand undeniable excuses. After a while, when don Fadrique was least concerned with such an event, Violante’s love began to slacken, so much that she avoided seeing him whenever she could. And he, jealous, placing the blame on a new employment,52 made himself more annoying and detested. And desperate at seeing himself fallen from his good fortune, when he was most at the peak of it, he bribed a maid with presents and caressed her with promises, and found out what he would give something not to know. For the traitress told him to make believe he was ill and to give his mistress to understand that he was in bed, so that unconcerned with his coming, she would not be on notice, as at other times, and that he [should] come that night, that she would leave the door open, with which convenience he would see what he desired. He was able do this easily, considering that since her cousin had married, Violante resided in a separate room, where she did not have to be involved with doña Ana nor her husband, whose nature she could not abide, and more so because Violante, now accustomed to her freedom, did not want to have someone with whom to preserve decorum, although she had 52. The Spanish word empleo literally means employment, or that which occupies most of one’s time. Metaphorically, as here, it means a love interest.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e a door by which she had contact with and took meals with them often, her pleasantness obliging doña Ana’s spouse to desire her conversation. The deception turned out just right for don Fadrique, because Violante believed it, and by not giving don Fadrique what he had always had, made an opportunity for that which [satisfying him] was preventing, [and] she retired earlier than other times. The fact is that the brother of doña Ana’s husband, since he was with him and his sister-in-law the majority of the time, fell in love with doña Violante, and she, obliged by don Fadrique’s will, had not provided any opportunity for his desire. But now, either tired of him or satisfied by the jewels and gifts from her new lover, she reneged on her obligations to the old one, which new entertainment caused him to lose every bit of his glory, not leaving room for the desires and affections of don Fadrique. Since she thought that because of his indisposition she was safe that night, she notified her lover. And he, making it understood that he was staying in his own house, as at other times he stayed in his brother’s house, he came immediately to take advantage of the occasion. Then, since don Fadrique found the door open, and his heart would not allow him to wait, hearing talking he came to the [door] of the living room, and entering, found the lady already lying abed, and the young man taking off his shoes to do the same. At that point, don Fadrique’s wrath could not be prudent in the wrath that obliged him to enter determined to beat him to a pulp, in order not to dirty his sword with a youngster of so few years. But the lover, who saw that man enter so determined, and saw himself naked and without a sword, bent down to the floor, and taking a shoe, he covered it with his hand, as if it were a pistol; and telling him that if he did not keep away he would kill him, he reached the door and in brief time the street, leaving don Fadrique fearful of what he might do. Well, since Violante, now resolved to lose the last bit of don Fadrique’s friendship, saw him left as if frozen looking at the door through which his competitor had left, [she] began to laugh very much on purpose, celebrating the trick of the shoe. The Grenadine being more offended by this than by the rest, his passion could not fail to make him insolent, and reaching Violante he gave her slaps53 that left her bathed in blood. And she, overcome with anger, told him to get out for God’s sake, that she would call her sisterin-law and would make it cost him dearly. He, who paid no attention to threats, continued in his resolute wrath, grabbing her by the hair and giving 53. slaps [ three or four slaps



One her a rough time, such that he obliged her to shout, at which doña Ana and her spouse got up and came to the door that connected to her rooms. Don Fadrique, fearful of being discovered, and more so if the officers of the law should come, since they could accuse him of whatever they wanted, got out of that house and, arriving at that of don Juan, which was also his, told him what had happened. And he ordered his departure for the Kingdom of Sicily, where he knew that the duque de Osuna was going to be viceroy,54 and arranging with him for this trip, he left within four days, leaving don Juan very sad and discontent with what had happened, for having lost such a good friend. Don Fadrique arrived in Naples, and although he had left Spain with the intention of going to Sicily, the beauty of this city made him stay in it for some time, where various and diverse things happened to him, with which he confirmed his opinion that all women who took recourse in discretion destroyed men’s reputations with their cunning. Congratulations, let him hold it, for someday he will say the opposite. In Naples he had a lady who, every time her husband came in, made him resemble a wood trough pushed up against a wall. And from Naples he went on to Rome, where he had a friendship with another, for whose cause he killed her husband one night and carried him, in a sack on his back, to throw him in the river. In these and other things he spent many years, sixteen having passed since he left his land. Then as he found himself tired of traveling and short of money, for he had scarcely enough to return to Spain, he set out. And when he disembarked in Barcelona, after resting some days and taking an account of his purse, he bought a mule to reach Granada,55 on which he left one morning, alone, not having now the possibility of a servant. He had traveled little more than four leagues when at nine in the morning he passed through a lovely place whose master was a Catalan duke married to a lovely Valencian lady who, to save expenses, had retired to his lands. At the time when don Fadrique passed this place, with the intention of resting and dining at midday in another that was further ahead, the lovely duchess was on a balcony, and when she saw that traveler pass by rather quickly and took note of his graceful physique, she called a servant and ordered him to go after him and tell him that she was calling him.

54. Pedro Téllez Girón (1574–1624), third duke of Osuna, was viceroy of Sicily (1611–16) and of Naples (1616–24). 55. Granada, [for now there was no possibility for a servant, and leaving one morning in the month of August, to take advantage of the coolness

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e Well, when they gave this message to don Fadrique—and he always prided himself on being courteous, and more so with ladies—he went up to see what the most beautiful duchess wished of him. And treating him with the courtesy that was appropriate, astonished to see her loveliness and gracefulness, she, making him sit down, asked him very pleasantly where he was from and why he was traveling so quickly, insisting to him on the pleasure she would have in knowing it, because since she had seen him, she had been inclined to love him, and thus she had decided that he should be her guest because the duke was out hunting. Don Fadrique, who was not at all shy, after thanking her for the favor she was doing him, told her who he was and what had happened to him in Granada, Seville, Madrid, Naples, and Rome, along with the other events of his life, ending the conversation by saying that being short of money and tired of seeing lands, he was going back to his own with the intention of marrying, if he found a woman to his taste. “How will the woman be,” responded the duchess, “who will be to your taste?” “Madam, I am noble as I have told you,” replied don Fadrique. “I have more than what I fairly need to spend my life, and thus, if the woman who should be mine is not very rich, that will not concern me, provided she is lovely and well born. That which most pleases me in women is virtue; I look for that, for the goods of fortune God gives and takes away.” “Which is to say,” said the duchess, “if you were to find a noblewoman, lovely, virtuous and discerning, you would quickly place your neck in the agreeable yoke of marriage?” “I promise you, madam,” said don Fadrique, “that I come so schooled by the cunning of discerning women that I would rather allow myself to be conquered by a stupid woman, although she be ugly, than [one] of the other qualities you say. If a woman is to be discreet, she has no need to know more than how to love her husband, guard his honor, and raise his children, without putting herself in more prattlings.56 “And how,” said the duchess, “will she who does not know of what being honorable consists of know how to be so? Do you not see that the simpleton sins and does not know in what? And being discerning, she will know how to protect herself from opportunities. Yours is a bad opinion, for in every case, a woman of good understanding is a pleasure never to be for56. Zayas writes “bachillerías,” from bachiller, technically the term for one who had the modern equivalent of a high-school diploma, but used also to imply someone who talked cleverly without a firm foundation of knowledge, particularly when used in the feminine, bachillera.



One gotten, and sometime you will remember me. But, leaving this aside, I am so enamored of your physique and understanding that I will do for you what I never thought I would.” And saying this, she went with him into her bedroom, where she wanted to dine with her guest with more privacy, at which he was so astonished that none of the adventures that he had had surprised him so much. After having dined and played a bit, the solitude and the warm weather inviting them, they spent a festive afternoon with much pleasure, don Fadrique so enamored of the graces and loveliness of the duchess that he would now have settled down in that place, if it were a thing he could do without scandal. The night was beginning to stretch its mantle over the people when a maid arrived and told her how the duke had come, so secretly that he was not seen until he was in the house, and that he was now coming up the stairs. The duchess had no other remedy than to open a gilded wardrobe that was in the same room, in which perfumes were kept, and put him within, and then closing57 [the doors] with a key, she lay down on the bed. The duke came in, a man over fifty years old, and since he saw her in bed with such loveliness that she looked like a rose on a rosebush, with many caresses he asked her the reason; to which the lovely lady responded that there was none other but having wanted to spend the hot time of the siesta with more silence and rest, and that afterward, laziness about getting dressed had ruled her, and thus she had not wanted to get up. The duke came hungry for supper, and saying so to the duchess, they asked to have the food brought there where they were; and after having supped with leisure and pleasure, the duchess, desirous of playing a trick on her closed-in lover, asked the duke if he would venture to tell her how many things were made of iron, [he] responding “yes.” Finally, between the insistence over “yes” and “no,” they bet between the two of them one hundred gold escudos; and the duke, taking the pen, began to write all the things that can be made of iron, and the duchess’s fortune was so good as to achieve her desire, that the duke never remembered keys. The duchess, who saw this lapse, and that the duke, although she told him to think if there were more, affirmed that there were no more things, thus achieved her hope, and placing her hand on the paper, she told him: “Now, sire, while you remember if there are more things to say, I will tell you a story, the most amusing you will have heard in your life. While I was at that window today, a foreign gentleman passed by, the most gallant my eyes have seen, who was going so quickly that it made me want to talk 57. closing [ closing the doors

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e to him and know the reason. I called him, and when he came, I asked him who he was. He told me that he was a Grenadine and that he had left his land because of an event, which is this—and she related to him all that don Fadrique had told her, and what had happened to him in the lands where he had been—finishing the conversation with telling me that he was going to marry in his land if he found a simple woman, because he came schooled by the discerning ones. I, after having persuaded him to leave off such an opinion, and he having given me sufficient reasons to excuse his intention, by Jove, sir! he dined and slept the siesta with me.58 And as they came in to tell me that you were coming, I put him in that chest over there in which they put the distilled waters.” The duke became agitated, beginning quickly to ask for the keys, to which the duchess responded with much laughter: “Slowly, sir, slowly, for these are the things made of iron that you forgot to say, and the rest would be ignorance for you to believe that there could have been a man to whom such events had happened, nor a woman, if she were not very stupid, who would say such a thing to her husband, were it true; for had she done it, she would keep it quiet. The tale was so you would remember; and thus, since you have lost, give me the money directly, for in truth I plan to use it for a festive dress so that what has cost you such a fright and me such an artifice may be displayed as is right.” “Oh, what a thing!” responded the duke, “you are a devil. Look at the way you have warned me of what I forgot; I admit to defeat.” And turning to the treasurer who was before them with other servants, he ordered him to give the duchess the one hundred escudos straightaway. With this, he went out to receive some of his vassals who came to see him, and to learn how things had gone on the hunt. Then the duchess, taking don Fadrique, who was trembling with the bold madness of the duchess, out of his enclosure, gave him the one hundred escudos she had won and another one hundred of her own, and a chain with her portrait that was worth more than three hundred, and embracing him and asking him to write to her, she ordered him taken out through a rear door, and when don Fadrique saw himself in the street, he did not stop crossing himself over such an occurrence. He did not want to stay that night in that place but continued another two leagues ahead, where he had decided to go to dine as if what has been told had not happened. He went along the road astonished at the shrewd58. As Olivares points out (Zayas, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, 332 n. 78), Zayas changes the subject of this sentence from “I” to “he” in the middle.



One ness and temerity of the duchess, with the simplicity and good nature of the duke, and said to himself: “I am right to say that [in] women, knowing things makes them get into trouble. If this one had not trusted in her understanding, she would not have dared to offend her husband nor to tell him about it. I will keep myself free from this if I can, either not marrying or looking for a woman so innocent and simple that she does not know how to love nor hate, nor understands the pretexts for deceit and shrewdness.” He entertained himself with these thoughts on the road to Madrid, where he saw his cousin don Juan, now an inheritor because of his father’s death and married to his cousin, from whom he learned how Violante had married and doña Ana had gone with her husband to the Indies. From Madrid he left for Granada, where he was received as [the city’s] son, and not her least illustrious. He went to his aunt’s house, from whom, received with a thousand caresses, he learned all that had happened in his absence: Serafina’s religion, her penitent life—such that all held her as a saint—the death of don Vicente from melancholy to see her a nun, repentant of the coldness he had shown her, owing to him the best token of her honor. He had endeavored to take her out of the convent and marry her, and seeing that Serafina was determined not to do so, in five days, assisted by typhoid fever, he had paid for his ingratitude with his life. And [don Fadrique] knowing that doña Gracia, the baby girl he had left in the keeping and care of his aunt,59 was in a monastery before she was four years old, and that she was then sixteen, he went to see her the next day, accompanying his aunt, where in doña Gracia he found the image of an angel, such was her loveliness, and along with it her innocence and simplicity, such that she seemed a lovely figure, but without a soul, [which], having been raised among nuns who are not ignorant of anything, [was] a new miracle. And so, in her conversation and carelessness, don Fadrique knew he had found the very subject he was looking for; [he was] extremely enamored of the lovely Gracia, and more so for resembling so much her mother Serafina, a means that facilitated yet more his will. He reported this to his aunt, who, undeceived that she was not his daughter, as she had thought, approved the choice.60 Gracia accepted this good fortune as one who did not know what was 59. aunt [ aunt, fulfilling with this what he had ordered, was 60. choice [ choice, since don Fadrique who had, without need for a dowry, what was enough for him.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e pleasure or displeasure, good or evil, because she was naturally dim-witted, an insult to her great beauty, this being just what her husband desired. Don Fadrique organized their marriage, taking out elegant clothes and jewels for the bride, and preparing as their residence his parents’ house, his inheritance through primogeniture, because he did not want his wife to live in that of his aunt, but rather by herself, so as not to cultivate her rough wit. He hired maids to that purpose, searching out the most ignorant and least malicious, this being the theme of his opinion, that much knowledge made women fall into a thousand things. And as far as I am concerned, he must not have been very sane, since he maintained such a thing, although at the beginning of his story I said something different, because I do not know what discerning man can desire his opposite. But for this, his fear for his honor can excuse him, for upholding it obliged him to deprive himself of his pleasure. The day of the wedding arrived, Gracia came out of the convent, her loveliness astonishing all eyes and her simple-mindedness all understanding. The wedding was celebrated with a grand banquet and party, with all the greatest gentlemen of Granada there, as its lord merited. The day passed more quickly than the bride would have liked, because she was sorry to have to take off the charms and fineries.61 Don Fadrique bid farewell to people, only his family remaining there, and staying62 alone with Gracia, now relieved of her jewels and, as they say, in undergarments, just a bodice and an overskirt; and resolved to put to the test the ignorance of his wife,63 he asked her to hear a few words, which were these and others just as stupid: “My lady, now you are my wife, for which I give heaven a thousand thanks. For as long as we may live, you should do what I will tell you now, and always keep this form, on the one hand in order not to offend God, and on the other, not to give me displeasure.” To this Gracia responded with much humility that she would do it very willingly. “Do you know,” replied don Fadrique, “how husband and wife live?” “I, sir, do not know,” said Gracia. “You tell me of it, for I will learn it like the Ave María.” Don Fadrique, very content with her simplicity, then took out some 61. elegant attire [ elegant attire (all this dimwit could do) 62. and staying [ and closing the doors, he ordered everyone to retire, staying 63. wife [ wife (more stupid than she), asked



One gilded armor and, putting it on her over her bodice—that was, a breastplate, backplate, gorget,64 and bracelets,65 without forgetting the gauntlets, gave her a lance; and he told her that married life was that while he slept, she had to stay awake, walking about that room. She stayed dressed in this fashion, so lovely and well disposed that it was a pleasure to see her, because what she had not developed in understanding, she had in her graceful body, which, with the helmet over the rich tresses and wearing a sword, looked like an image of the goddess Pallas.66 The lovely lady armed, as I say, he ordered her to stay awake while he slept, which don Fadrique did with much repose, going to bed with much pleasure, and he slept until five o’clock in the morning. At that hour he arose, and after getting dressed, he took doña Gracia in his arms, and with much tenderness he undressed her and put her to bed, telling her to sleep and repose, and giving orders to the maids not to awaken her until eleven o’clock, he went to Mass, and then about his business affairs, which were not lacking, since he had purchased the office of a veinticuatro in that same city.67 In this life, he spent more than a week, without telling Gracia anything else, and she, as an innocent, understood that all married women did the same. It happened at this time in that place some conflicts occurred,68 for which the council ordered that don Fadrique leave [and travel] by post horse to talk to the king, the urgency of the affair not observing for him the laws of newlyweds, knowing that because he had been at court, he had many friends in it. In sum, the event left him no opportunity to do more than go to his house, dress himself for the road, and mounting the post horse, tell his wife that she should know that a married woman’s life had to be the same in his absence as in his presence, that she should take cognizance of the sin that she would commit in breaking it. She promised him to keep it devotedly and precisely, with which don Fadrique took his leave very happily.

64. The piece of armor that covers the throat. 65. Zayas writes “brazaletes” (bracelets), but she may mean vambraces, the armor that covers the forearm, as the manopla or gauntlet covers the wrist as well as the hand. 66. Sometimes called Pallas Athena. An apparently ironic identification, as Pallas was the Greek goddess of wisdom, fertility, and the useful arts as well as prudent warfare. However, in Spain, her Roman counterpart, Minerva, was sometimes considered the goddess of wisdom and Pallas that of war, as in Calderón’s play La estatua de Prometeo (The Statue of Prometheus). 67. In Seville and several other Andalusian cities, a city alderman was called a veinticuatro, literally, “twenty-four,” as they were twenty-four in number (Covarrubias). The sale of offices was common in Spain, as in other early modern states. 68. conflicts [ conflicts and arguments

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e And as one goes to the court for a short while and stays there a long while, the same thing happened to him, being detained not only days, but months, since the business lasted more than six. While doña Gracia was continued in her illusion, a Cordovan gentleman came to Granada, not at all stupid nor of a bad physique, to deal with a suit in the Chancellery, and walking around the city during the free times he had, he saw doña Gracia on the balcony of her house, most afternoons, doing her needlework, with which sight he was so pleased that there is nothing more to insist on other than that, captivated by her beauty, he began to stroll by her house. And the lady, since [she was] ignorant of these things, neither avoided nor entered into this suit, as one who did not know the laws of the will and correspondence. Because of this heedlessness, the Cordovan was going about very sad, [and] a neighbor woman of doña Gracia, seeing these activities, recognized by them the love he had for the newlywed. Thus, one day she called him, and learning her suspicion was true, she promised to solicit her, for holes into which virtue may fall are never lacking. The woman went to see doña Gracia, and after having praised her loveliness with a thousand acclaims, the first trick to bring her down, she told her how that gentleman who was strolling her street loved her very much and desired to serve her. “I thank him truly,” responded the lady,” but now I have many servants, and until one of them leaves, I will not be able to fulfill his desire, although if he wishes me to write to my husband, it could be that he, to please me, might receive him.” “Not that,” said the clever go-between, recognizing her ignorance, “for this gentleman is very rich, very noble, he has a large estate and does not wish you to receive him as a servant, but rather to serve you with it, if you wish to order that he send you some jewel or present.” “Oh, my friend,” said doña Gracia, “I already have so many that many times I do not know where to put them.” “Well, if thus it is,” said the go-between, “that you do not wish that he send you anything, give him at least permission to visit you, which he desires greatly.” “Fine, let him come,” said the dim-witted woman. “Who is keeping him from it?” “Madam,” she replied, “do you not see that the servants, if they see him come openly by day, will take it badly?” “Well, look,” said doña Gracia, “this is the key to the back door to the garden, and also to the whole house, because they say it is a master key.



One Take it and let him come tonight, and by a spiral staircase there is in it, he will come up to the very room where I sleep.”69 The woman fully recognized her ignorance, and thus did not wish to struggle further with her, but rather, taking the key, went to win the reward, which was a valuable chain. And that night don Álvaro, for this was his name, entered through the garden, as they had told him, and going up the staircase, as soon as he entered the bedroom, he saw doña Gracia armed, as they say, from head to toe, and with her lance she looked like an Amazon.70 The light was far away, and not believing nor imagining what this could be, believing that it was some treachery, he turned around as quickly as he could, so much so that he could not wait to find himself in the street. In the morning, he related the event to the go-between, and she went straightaway to see doña Gracia, who received her inquiring about that gentleman, who must be very ill, since he had not come by the way she said. “Oh, my lady,” said she, “indeed he came! But he says that he found an armed man who was patrolling the room with a lance.” “Oh, for Lord’s sake,” said doña Gracia, laughing very freely, “do you not see that it is I leading the life of a married woman? That man must not be married, since he thought it was a man. Tell him not to be afraid, that as I say, it is I.” The go-between went with this answer to don Álvaro, who the next night went to see his lady, and as he saw her thus he asked her the reason for it. She responded laughing: “Well, how should I be walking, if not in this fashion, to live the married life?” “What married life, madam?” responded don Álvaro. “Listen, for you are deceived, and this is not the married life.” “Well, sir, this is the one that my husband taught me, and he says that it is a very great sin to break it. But if you know another easier one, in truth I would be pleased to know it and learn it, for this one I do is very tiring.” The daring young man, hearing this foolishness, undressed her himself, and going to bed with her, enjoyed what her stupid husband had put off, to test the innocence of his wife. 69. sleep.” [ sleep.” “Oh, my lady,” said the go-between, “in his name I must kiss your hands, for the poor sir, since he saw you, is half dead.” “Well, with what did I kill him?” said Gracia. “With your eyes,” replied the woman.” “Oh, madam,” responded Gracia, “do not believe that, for my eyes have no sword; but if he is so ill, may he not come, for it would be better to call a doctor and be treated.” 70. The Amazons were legendary women warriors said to cut off one breast in order to handle a bow and arrow easily and to live without men except to procreate.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e In this life they spent the whole time that don Fadrique was at court, and when he had finished his affairs and wrote that he was coming, and don Álvaro had finished his own, he returned to Cordova. Don Fadrique arrived at his house and was received by his wife with much pleasure, because she felt no regrets, as she had no discernment. They supped together, and since don Fadrique went to bed because of coming [home] tired, when he thought that doña Gracia was arming herself to fulfill the order that he left her, he saw her come out naked, and [saw] that she got into bed with him. And astonished at this novelty, he said to her: “How is it, then, madam, do you not lead the life of a married woman?” “Go on, sir,” said the lady, “what life of married people, or what nothing. It went a great deal better for me with my other husband, for I went to bed with him and he treated me more royally than you.” “How then?” replied don Fadrique. “Have you had another husband?” “Yes, sir,” said doña Gracia. “After you went away another husband came, very gallant and very pretty, and he told me that he would teach me another married life better than yours.” And in sum, she related to him everything that had happened with the Cordova gentleman, but she did not know what had become of him, because as soon as he saw the letter that he was coming, she had not seen him. The desperate and stupid don Fadrique asked her where he was from and what his name was. But doña Gracia responded to this that she did not know, because she did not call him anything more than the other husband. And don Fadrique seeing this, and that in thinking to free himself he had sought out an ignorant woman, who not only had offended him, but who also told him about it, considered his opinion to be wrong, and remembered what the duchess had told him, that discerning women know how to keep the laws of honor, and if sometimes they break them, they keep their error quiet. And as long as he lived, he praised discerning women as virtuous, because there is no comparison nor esteem enough for them. If they are not [virtuous], they do their things with modesty and prudence. And seeing that there was now no remedy, he dissimulated his misfortune, since it was his fault that it happened, for if tests of discerning women are wrong, what did he think he would secure from simpleminded ones? And endeavoring not to leave his wife alone, so that she would not offend him again, he lived for some years. When he died, because he had no children, he left his estate to doña Gracia, if she would become a nun in the monastery where Serafina was, to whom he wrote a letter in which he declared that she was her daughter. And



One writing to his cousin don Juan in Madrid, he sent him this story written as it is here. Well, then, don Fadrique not being able to make himself an exception, however forewarned he was, and all the lands seen and the events that happened, came to fall into the very thing he feared, it being a dim-witted woman who corrected his belief. Doña Gracia became a nun with her mother, the two happy to have come to know each other, because, since she was simpleminded, she found consolation easily, spending the large estate that was left her in building a grandiose convent, where she lived with much pleasure. And I have pleasure in ending this tale of wonder in order to advise ignorant [men] who condemn the discretion of women. For where understanding is lacking, there cannot be an excess of virtue; and also for the woman who will be bad, it matters not whether she be simple-simpleminded nor the good woman discerning, for being so, she will know how to save herself. And those who put women to the test, be warned of the danger in which they place themselves.

Don Alonso was at the last words of his entertaining and pleasing tale of wonder, and all absorbed and elevated by it, when they were awakened from this savory ecstasy by the sound of many and well-tuned instruments that played in a room in front of the one they were in. And turning to see who was making such sweet harmony, they saw some twelve youths entering, dressed in a vaquero71 and huntsmen’s hats of purple satin with silver trim, with lighted white torches in their hands, dancing skillfully. And after having executed one figure in unison, they divided into two ranks, and one of them, the most graceful and gallant, began to dance alone with his torch in his hand, and after making a round through the room, went to the lovely Lisarda, and with a courtly bow he asked Lisarda to dance. The lady obeyed, and after putting her in her position, the graceful youth turned to the discreet Matilde, and after her to Nise, and taking don Juan as his companion, as is done in the dance of the torch, they danced with the greatest assurance and charm. And leaving the torch for Lisarda, the other two ladies having returned to their seats, the lady continued, asking don Miguel, don Lope, and don Diego to dance; who, going through the room, begged Lisarda to invite her cousin, and she, as one to whom this will was not unwelcome, went to the couch where Lisis was. With a lovely curtsy and very courteous words, she begged her to be so kind as to honor the festivities, since her 71. This is a courtly version of the cow herder’s attire, with long, wide pants.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e quartan fever* was so courtly that it had not troubled her since the first day when they began. Lisis acquiesced, more to please don Diego than her cousin, and danced so divinely that it gave notable pleasure to all, and most to don Diego who, while the dance lasted and as he returned her to her seat, gave her to understand his will, and she to him how grateful she was, together with permission to deal with her mother and relatives concerning their marriage. Finally, while don Diego’s servants prepared for the ridiculous entremes,* there was no gentleman nor lady in the room who did not dance. The performance began, and since to make room some seats were moved, don Diego and don Juan came to sit together. And don Juan, as if aggrieved, said to don Diego: “You are favored by Lisis, and although it bothers me, having been her suitor, in order not to see myself troubled by her complaints, I grant it as well engaged, but it would have been better to give me notice of this, since I am better as a friend than as an enemy.” “So it is,” replied don Diego, somewhat angered, “that a poet, if he is an enemy, is terrible, because there is no knife like a pen. I desire to serve Lisis, it is clear to see; that it has not been with your permission is no crime, because as Lisis is more her own than yours, I with the approval of the lord* am content. Lisarda is your concern, be content with her, and do not wish to have one woman to esteem and another to mistreat. I have the permission of Lisis to ask her mother for her as my wife, and if this aggrieves you, here am I to give you the satisfaction you might wish, and as you might wish it.”72 “I am content,” replied don Juan, “not for Lisis now, for since she wishes to be yours, I do not want her to be mine; the discussion of this is finished, except inasmuch as you may know that if I am a poet with a pen, I am a gentleman with a sword.” “So be it,” said don Diego, “but it is not reasonable for us to perturb the pleasure of these ladies, cutting short their festivities. Three days remain; let us let them finish, and afterward we will deal with this wherever you please.” “I am content,” said don Juan. And with this they turned to see the entremés which was about at its end. Lisis heard very well what had happened, and although she would have liked to resolve it, she kept silent, seeing that don Juan and don Diego left 72. Offering to give satisfaction in the language of the day meant willingness to enter into a duel if so challenged.



One their challenge to duel for after the festivities, and that there would be opportunities to prevent their attempt. And seeing that it was the supper hour, they went to the tables where, satisfying their taste with the delicacies, their eyes with loveliness, and their understanding in savory conversation, granting don Alonso checkmate for “Forewarned but Fooled,” they retired to their houses, putting an end to the second night.



o adorn the fifth night of the delightful festivities arranged by the friends of lovely Lisis during Christmastime,1 the day dawned as happily as human understanding could imagine, for although it was December, it seemed like May, and though winter, it seemed like spring. And thus, all those happy and contented ladies adorned themselves richly and in their costly finery, for when artifice falls upon such beauty, to say that they looked like stars is to say little. Let us say that each one was a heaven, in which the suns of her eyes bestowed life upon all who beheld her. They went to the chambers of Lisis who, grateful to find herself free of the annoying quartan fever* she had endured, had put on a costly new dress in honor of a vow she had made to the Virgin of Carmen.2 Her overskirt, bodice, and scapular3

1. The festivities take place during the winter pascuas, the joyful holidays between 25 December and 6 January. 2. Catholics celebrate specific facets and apparitions of the Virgin Mary under varied names, one of which is “Our Lady of Carmen,” after Mount Carmel, the Old Testament site where the prophet Elijah communicated directly with the God of Israel (1 Kings 18–19). The Carmelite order, founded in the early thirteenth century in what is now Israel, was devoted to retreat from the world for contemplation, unlike other orders founded during the same period, such as the Dominicans and the Franciscans, devoted to work in the world. The Carmelites were well known to women of Zayas’s day because Saint Teresa of Avila (1515–82) founded the female and male Order of Discalced Carmelites (the reformed branch of the order at that time). Lisis’s vow to Our Lady of Carmen refers to a secret promise she has made to Mary, Mother of God, a promise she will reveal at the end of the Desengaños. The narrator’s revelation that the promise was made to the Virgin of Carmen, specifically, encourages the reader to associate Lisis with retreat from the world, in the tradition of Carmen, without giving anything away. Pointing symbolically to her vow, Lisis is dressed in the brown hues worn by Our Lady of Carmen and wears a scapular, as do icons of this Virgin. For an image in color, see http://www.traditioninaction.org/SOD/j082sdOlMountCarmel_7-16.htm. 3. A scapular (from Latin scapula, “shoulder blade”) is (1) a sleeveless monastic garment with a hole for the neck worn over the tunic, or (2) an object of devotion formed of two pieces of



One were of lamé* worked with silver knots,4 the cloth embroidered, in silverplate threads, with many memory rings5 and ciphers that made attractive knots against the brocade background (see fig. 4). The cloth was of white lamé, embroidered with the same memory rings, except that the adorning threads were of knotted silk, and the decorative fringe was of the same making. She wore a belt of diamonds and at her neck an image of moderate size, whose white mantle was of diamond, since the dress was champagne gold.6 Lisis was so lovely and presented herself so well that the king of the earth would have desired her for his own, a fact to which don Juan’s sadness, and don Diego’s contentment, could have borne witness. The morning was spent going to Mass and receiving the guests, and the hour to dine arrived, which, when everyone was seated at the tables, began with delicious first courses, then rare main dishes, and concluded with many perfectly ripe fruits: one of the most sumptuous and exorbitant feasts that the palate could desire and the imagination conceive. Once the tables were cleared, they spent the afternoon at games and dances, until night closed around them and the hour to begin the tales of wonder arrived. Lisis took up her instrument and the musicians theirs, with everyone having been advised that the verses sung had to have been written by others, so that no one could believe their contents referred to past love affairs, or that any memory of the events they described still remained, a decision much appreciated by don Diego. Finally, everyone got quiet, and they sang thus: Now along the eastern balcony the dawn shows a skein of curls, removing the curtain of the night. Along comes the lovely reflection,

material on which are painted, embroidered, or otherwise affixed a venerated image; they are joined by ribbons or cords that keep them hanging over the shoulders, one on the chest and the other on the back. 4. Spanish women were famous in early modern Europe as needleworkers in threads of precious metals; their work was much in demand outside Spain. 5. The Spanish word is memorias, which were sets of two or more rings, with other rings left hanging from the first, designed to remind the wearer of something; presumably these were embroidered on the scapular and symbolized Lisis’s virtuous devotion to someone or something that the narrated image suggests but does not define. 6. The color here is literally “lion’s fur yellow,” which sounds strange, if not negative, in English, but not in Spanish. It was very popular in clothing during this period.

Figure 4. Anon., The Virgen of Carmen (with infant Jesus and scapular in her left hand. Eighteenth-century print. Collection of Isidro Albert (hoja 367, caja 142. Courtesy Sala Goya, Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid.


One rich, of scented flowers, and with pearls small and large covers densely the flowered fields. Now the sun, shooting rays, gilds the haughty peaks, embroiders the arrogant mountains, regards the neighboring beaches. Now the earth exudes carnations, acanthus, and calendulas, honeysuckle, wallflowers, lilies, button carnations. The young birds become happy singing verses of love, the gentle streams run forth, the little springs whisper. Only Marfisa cries when the fields pour forth happiness. She adores an ungrateful lord whose disdainful nature captures the freest hearts, ends the most free lives. “What is this, lovely fields?” she said in tears. “It seems that of my pain your glory itself is born. If you smile because I cry, refrain, fields, from laughter, for it is a more merciful thing to cry for my passion. Woodlands who listen to the sad things that reside in me and to my dead hopes, you cover the cold ashes. If these tears you see do not move you to sorrow whenever I call you ungrateful, the blame is yours, not mine.” Thus cries Marfisa, when the fields pour forth happiness.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e 7

The music having finished but not the ballad, because Lisis and the musicians had arranged to leave the other half for the end of this tale of wonder, don Juan took his place, and the eyes of all those ladies and gentlemen fell upon him, and more so Lisarda’s who, like a lover, marveled at all of his achievements. Since don Juan saw that everyone was growing quiet, he began thus: “I took it as a joke, discreet listeners, to be here in this position to tell a story. And thus I had not prepared one, but last night when the beautiful presider of this most lovely squadron ordered me to do so, I took up my pen and wrote a few pages. They are born of my little understanding, but, with yours filling in for the faults of mine, I speak thus: 7. The conclusion of the ballad—the story told in the song—is suspended until the frame section after the intervening ninth tale.





he most noble city of Valencia counted among its excellencies, as the ninth and miraculous wonder of such a famous seat of power, the peerless beauty of Estela, illustrious lady, rich and possessing such qualities,* graces, and virtues that, had Valencia nothing else of which to be proud except having Estela as a daughter, it could boast of its good fortune among all the cities of the world. Estela was the only child of her parents’ house* and heiress of much wealth, given to her mother and father by heaven for their daughter alone, which they praised in gratitude for having given them such a gem. Among the many gentlemen who desired to honor their nobility with the charms of Estela was don Carlos, young, noble, and rich, and of such qualities that, could Estela select a noble husband (although tied to the will of her parents as one aware that they safeguarded her best interests), even if among all the suitors she was pleased by don Carlos’s virtues and gentility, she did so with such good sense and care for her reputation that neither her parents nor Carlos himself noted this desire, for she neither disdained his pretensions cruelly nor did she admit his desire with her own, favoring him with a chaste regard and a sensible pleasure. As a result, the gallant followed her footsteps satisfied and content, adoring her eyes and esteeming her loveliness, attempting to give the lady to understand how much he loved her with his presence and continual strolling* because it seemed to him that if Estela’s parents were to grant him her hand in matrimony, the business of her own approval was of no lesser import. There was in Valencia a lady of freer habits than were appropriate for a relatively rich noblewoman, who, watching don Carlos pass often along her street, since it was on the way to Estela’s, became so fond of him that, without considering any of the inconveniences of such devotion other than her own pleasure, [she] made up her mind to let him know of her affection by

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e any means possible, whether with her eyes (the two tongues of the soul), or with words, determined to invest her estate and her youthful years in this affair. She placed herself in his sight on every possible occasion, attempting to awaken his affection with her beauty. But since don Carlos’s thoughts were so taken up and captivated by Estela’s beauty, he never noticed the diligence of Claudia (for this was the lady’s name). And since Claudia considered her love and her lover’s lack of response to her, and thought that it was motivated by devotion to someone else, she sought to find out if this were true and, without much effort, discovered precisely that which she wanted to hide from her own soul, so as not to be tormented by the rabid bite of jealousy. And realizing what little recourse she had, observing that the gallant don Carlos was happily occupied elsewhere, she attempted to disturb that relationship by any means possible so that the sight of her would increase his love for her, or his lack of response finish her off (a typical condition of those in love), either to fulfill her desire or die in the attempt. What an immense folly to reject life over delirium and to desire death as a consequence of fleshly pleasure. To accomplish this, knowing that a page of don Carlos’s had died who had accompanied him regularly and had served as the faithful counsel of his chaste affection, she consulted with a former servant of hers who was more desirous of her money than her loveliness and peace of mind. She asked him to help her be hired to replace the servant who had died, leading him to believe that she was doing so to extricate Carlos from his love for Estela and bring him to love her, and made him great promises should she be successful, inciting him to help by offering him a sample of what was to come. The greedy old man, who saw that he would enjoy some of Claudia’s wealth by taking this path, arranged things with such skill that the time he should have devoted to advising her against what she was doing, he spent in obtaining male clothing for her and assuring a position for her in the service of don Carlos as his servant with the control of his estate and power over it. Ingenuity won out over all difficulties, and in a few days Claudia found that she was her lover’s page, winning over his will* to such an extent that she was the vault of don Carlos’s most hidden thoughts and so much his favorite that only to him did he entrust the realization of his desires, with Claudia winning his favors by means of many deeds and pleasures that she offered him.1

1. The contradictory gender referents in the sentence represent the fact that Claudia is disguised as a man. him. [ him, and aside from this, entertained don Carlos with many witty sayings and a voice that was divine, something his master greatly esteemed, to win Estela’s love.



One By this time everyone understood that don Carlos was favored by Estela, his love having overcome all the obstacles of the lady’s modesty,2 for in spite of Claudia’s vigilant eyes, which witnessed the lovers’ good fortune, Estela spoke to him by night at the balcony, received his letters with pleasure, and heard with delight the music that her lover offered her at Claudia’s expense, for Claudio (for thus the page claimed to be named) helplessly served as his go-between, witness, and solicitor.3 Well, one night among many, don Carlos wanted to serenade his beloved Estela, and Claudia, in charge of it all, instead of singing of her master’s love, decided to unleash her own with this sonnet, for [so desperate was she that] she had the noose at her neck and was ready to jump:4 May the one who has had his will and senses in chains enjoy freedom, and the one condemned to amorous suffering enjoy the dubious favor to which he has aspired. In sweet knots (for he has been loyal), his soul filled with a thousand pleasures of love, may the one whose beloved is in a foreign land triumph over separation without fear of being forgotten. Long live the favored beloved, and may the one despised overcome disdain; may the one who hopes achieve those hopes. May the fortunate one be happy in his good luck, and the victorious one with his beloved reward, and the one who loves the impossible, as do I, die. The gallant don Carlos did indeed notice that the sonnet did not fit the occasion because under the circumstances, since he enjoyed the favors of his lady, to speak of the impossible was inappropriate. But he thought that either Claudio, as a man, was in love with someone, or that the idea to sing

2. modesty, [ modesty, satisfied that her parents, upon knowing of his suit, would be happy for him to be her husband. 3. solicitor. [ solicitor, for although she could have separated herself from proximity to, and dealings with, don Carlos when she saw that her desires had come to nothing, those desires did not let her do anything but pursue her misfortune without daring to tell him who she was, so as not to lose this watered-down pleasure. 4. English loses the ambiguity of gender appropriate for this sonnet that Claudia sings dressed as a man, whose subject may be a man or a woman. See “Taking a Chance on Losing” n. 8 for elaboration.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e those lines had come to Claudio because he was unable to come up with any other, and so he let it pass without saying anything. The lovers were in this situation, with don Carlos awaiting Estela’s permission to ask her father for her hand, when an Italian count, young and gallant, came to Valencia. And since his room was close to Estela’s,5 and her beauty exercised jurisdiction over all who gazed upon it, that beauty captivated the count’s will to the extent that he sought a solution to his desire, and the most appropriate he could determine, trusting in his own prestige as well as his many fine qualities and great gentility, was to ask her parents for her hand.6 His petition arrived the very same day as that of don Carlos who, overcome by the amorous desire of his lady and perhaps by the jealousy that the count provoked in him when he saw him strolling on Estela’s street, decided to seek a happy resolution to those feelings. Her parents listened to the representatives of both parties, and seeing that although don Carlos was worthy of being Estela’s lord, greedy to see her made a countess, they disdained Carlos’s suit and promised her to the count, and things were left such that the wedding would take place a month later, and they granted the necessary permissions and documents without telling their daughter anything until it was all done, for they were sure that she would only desire their pleasure, since they had always observed a perfect conformity with their will in her. So when Estela found out about her marriage, it had already taken place.7 The lady rightly resented this misfortune and attempted to undo that marriage, but it was all for nothing, and more so when she found out through a letter from Carlos how he had been dismissed as a suitor. But since when love is not doing the impossible, it is not meeting its potential, these two lovers’ souls agreed, when they saw each other that night where they usually

5. See “Exemplary Tales of Love,” introduction, n. 3, on housing in Madrid. 6. The count, whose social status exceeds that of Carlos, approaches marriage like the economic, social, and political contract it was, and Zayas employs matter-of-fact language to capture his thinking. Unimpeded by love, he thus asks for Estela’s hand without seeking her consent. 7. Seventeenth-century civil law in Spain gave parents the right to arrange their children’s marriages to suit the family needs. According to ecclesiastical law, in contrast, a marriage was legitimate only if both parties were willing participants in the sacrament. Nonetheless, the fact that parents controlled a woman’s financial resources made it extremely difficult for a young woman in Estela’s position to move against parental choice. The drama in this story ensues not from malice on the part of Estela’s parents but from their incorrect assumption that their daughter’s will is identical to their own. The legal contracts for a marriage were signed before the sacrament took place; both were necessary for a noble couple to be wed, and the union had to be consummated to be binding.



One did, that within a week’s time Carlos would arrange what was necessary to elope with Estela and take her to Barcelona, where they would wed, so that by the time her parents found her, she would be with her husband, who was as noble and rich a suitor as they could desire, had not such a strong, greedy competitor as the count imposed himself. Claudio heard about all of this, and since this news cut him to the quick, he retired to his room and, believing himself to be alone, let flow the current from his eyes and began to speak thus: “Now, unfortunate Claudia, what is left to hope for? Carlos and Estela are going to marry; love is on their side and has pronounced against me this cruel sentence that I must lose him. Will my eyes endure the sight of my ungrateful man in the arms of his wife, when she is happy and I am sad, she favored and I disdained, she fortunate and I hapless? And finally, she in possession of him and I dispossessed? No, certainly not. Then the best thing will be to tell him who I am, and then kill myself. This is a valiant decision; I am resolved to do it. Tomorrow I shall tell Carlos who I am and then take my own life, for it is better to die at once than of so many blows.” Claudia was reasoning thus at length, complaining of her ill fortune, when she heard a knock at her door and, getting up to see who it was, saw a genteel and gallant Moor who had belonged to Carlos’s father and, having been ransomed,8 was just about to go to Fez, where he had been born, and when she saw him she said: “Why, Amete, are you coming to agitate and disturb my laments? If you have heard them, and so are aware of my great misfortune and affliction, leave me to suffer, for neither are you able to comfort me nor do they admit any comfort.” The Moor was discreet, and a nobleman in his homeland, for his father was a very wealthy pasha,9 and as soon as he had heard Claudia complaining and realized who it was, he said to her: “I have heard everything you have said, Claudia, and because, although a Moor, I am sensible in some ways, perhaps it would be best if you were to 8. This Moor, Amete, was captured by Christians and brought to Spain, where he was forced to raise a ransom to regain his freedom. The same practice is most often described in Spanish literature in reverse, with Spanish Catholics who were captured by Arabs and Turks being forced to do the same. This was the historical reality of the day; Cervantes spent five years as a slave in Algiers, finally ransomed by Trinitarian monks, who specialized in freeing Christians taken into captivity by the “infidels.” For a description of both Christian and Muslim piracy in this era, see María Antonia Garcés, Cervantes in Algiers: A Captive Tale, 2nd rev. ed. (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005), chaps. 1–2. 9. Zayas wrote “bajá”; pasha is a title, placed after the name, which was held by high officials in countries under Turkish rule.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e accept the comfort I offer, because in killing yourself, what harm do you do your enemies except give them the opportunity to enjoy themselves unimpeded? It would be better to take Carlos away from Estela, and that will be easy, if you so desire. And to encourage you to do that, I want to tell you a secret that until this day has not left my heart: hear me, and if what I tell you does not seem appropriate, do not pay me any mind. You are a woman and predisposed to do anything, as I can tell by the fact that you have abandoned your normal dress and reputation to follow your desire. I saw Estela a few times and her beauty captivated my will. Consider what I have said in these few words! “You complain because you lost your tranquility for Carlos, you call him ungrateful, and you are not right, because if you had told him of your love, perhaps Estela would not have triumphed over it, nor would I be dying of my love for her. You say that is no solution because they have arranged for him to elope with her and take her to Barcelona, and you deceive yourself, because right there, if you want, is your good fortune and mine. My ransom is paid; tomorrow I am leaving Valencia because I have prepared a galleon that anchored last night in an inlet close to the grao,10 about which only I know. If you want to steal don Carlos from his lady and make me happy, since she believes everything you tell her, believing that you are her lover’s confidant, go to her and tell her that your lord has a skiff prepared to take them to Barcelona, as they have arranged, and because the skiff is available now he does not want to wait until the date on which they agreed, and that tomorrow night she should prepare herself to go. Tell her the exact time and lead her to believe that don Carlos is waiting for her in the marina. You will bring her to where I will tell you to go, and I will take her to Fez. Your problem will be gone, from which point you can persuade and oblige your lover, and I will depart rich with so much beauty.” Claudia listened astounded to the Moor, and since she did not think any further than to imagine herself without Estela and with don Carlos, she accepted the plan immediately, embracing the Moor and thanking him at once, with things agreed upon such that the very next day they would carry out this betrayal. That was not difficult because Estela, believing soul that she was, thought that she was putting herself in the power of the man who would be her husband. Laden with jewels and money, before midnight the following evening she was already aboard the galleon and Claudia with her, for Amete rewarded her betrayal in this fashion. Estela did not feel her own misfortune, for she let herself fall into a 10. The grao is the beach reserved for boat activity.



One mortal faint as soon as she noticed she was surrounded by Moors and among them don Carlos’s slave, and that he did not appear and realized they were hoisting the sails in all haste, considering how doomed she was although she did not know why. The fainting spell kept her unconscious until the following day, such was her distress at seeing herself in that situation. And more so the next day when, recovering consciousness, she heard what Claudia and Amete were saying, because the Moor thought Estela was dead while Claudia had her in her arms, and [Claudia] said to the perfidious Moor: “Why, Amete, did you advise me to put this poor lady in the state she is in now if you did not plan to assent to my being with my beloved Carlos, for love of whom I was obliged to commit such a betrayal as I did in putting her in your power? How can you call yourself noble if you have behaved so wrongly with me?” “The best arrangement in the world, Claudia,” responded Amete, “is to repay the traitor with the means by which he or she offends; aside from which it is not right to trust someone who is disloyal to self, nation, and homeland. You want don Carlos and he wants Estela; to obtain your love you take away your lover’s life, removing his lady from his presence. Well, how do you expect me to trust that a person who commits such a betrayal, such as giving Estela over to me on a mere whim, would not alert people in the city of my intention and they would seek me out and kill me? Of course to eliminate this problem I assure my life and Estela’s, whom I adore; for she will remain alive knowing that you do not remain behind to enjoy what she is losing.” The two were talking about these things when Estela, having come to, heard what they were saying or most of it, and asked Claudia to explain the enigmas she was saying. Claudia told her everything that was happening, explaining to her at length who she was and the reason why they were captives. Estela observed her misfortune, pouring out thousands of seas of lovely tears, and Amete lamented his fortune, comforting the lady as much as he could and explaining to her that she was going to be the lady of all he possessed, making it her own property, if she cared to abandon her religion, consolation that the lady took as torment and not comfort, to which she replied with the flow of tears from her lovely eyes. Amete ordered Claudia to serve and attend to Estela, and change her clothes, and with this, moving apart from each other, they sailed out to sea en route to Fez. Let us leave them for now until it is time to find them again, and let us return to Valencia, where, once Estela had been missed by her parents, who were out of their minds with grief, they made inquiries into what had

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e

Figure 5. Writing desk on a sideboard (in the Museo Nacional de Artes Decorativos, Madrid). Note the key to the desk on the cloth just in front of it. Photograph by Margaret R. Greer.

happened, seeking out the most secret corners of their house, with a mute wailing and faces so sad that they seemed to be at a funeral. They found a letter inside a writing desk of hers11 (fig. 5), the key to which was on top of a table. They opened it and saw it read thus: Love and financial interests do not get along because they are quite opposite, and for this reason, my beloved parents, as far as I go from the former I distance myself from the latter. The little esteem in which I hold the wealth of the count brings me into the power of don Carlos, the only one I recognize as my legitimate spouse. His nobility is so well known that, had not such a strong competitor intervened, it would have been impossible to ask or desire more in the settlement of my marriage. If the error for having done so in this fashion should find pardon, we will return together to ask you for it, and in the meantime I shall pray that heaven watch over you all. Estela

11. The reference may be to a lap desk or to a larger chest with many drawers in which individuals kept, and locked, their papers. The larger chests were often placed on table-height desks, called bufetes, the piece of furniture on which Estela’s parents found the key. Covarrubias defines the Spanish word escritorio, used here, as “the box in which papers and written documents are kept.” See fig. 5.



One The shock and sorrow caused by this letter can be felt by anyone who considers the jewel that Estela was and how much she was valued by her parents, who ordered their people not to make any noise whatsoever about the matter, believing that the couple had not yet left Valencia, because the surest thing was to keep quiet and, arranging for some secret investigation to be carried out, find out where they were and notify the viceroy about the matter.12 The first query made was at the house of don Carlos who, unaware of the sad turn of events, was sleeping in his bed and whose repose was assaulted by the ministers of justice and even by the viceroy himself, because everyone involved was of substantial prestige and very wealthy. They carried him off to a castle, accusing him of having kidnapped the lovely Estela and having assaulted her parents’ nobility, given their status and that of her husband (for this is what the count called himself), and the papers found in the two lovers’ writing desks, as well as what the women neighbors and servants said, for all are deadly to honor and are town criers in cases of disappearing lovers. Don Carlos was innocent of the charges for which he was taken to prison, and he made a thousand requests to know the reason for it. And as soon as he was told that Estela was missing and that, according to a letter of hers that had been found, he was the man who had made off with her, he the Jupiter of this beautiful Europa,13 and he had to account for her, alive or dead, he thought his life would end at the hands of his grief. And yet more so when he realized he was placed in the bind that the case presented, because he felt the knife at his throat and death upon his innocent life, even though his wealthy and noble father defended, as was right, the qualities and innocence of his son, as was right. Let him remain thus for the moment, for the story will reveal what came next, and let us away to Estela and Claudia, who, in the company of cruel Amete, were sailing under favorable winds to Fez. As soon as they arrived, the ladies were taken to the house of the Moor’s father. There the lovely Estela began crying again about her captivity and don Carlos’s absence because, when Amete saw that neither by pleas nor caresses could he win her over, he began to use force, trying to make her love him by treating her so badly she would favor him to avoid that treatment. He dealt with her

12. A viceroy represents the sovereign, in realms or colonies in which the actual ruler cannot be present. 13. Jupiter came to Europa in the form of a bull; according to the myth, she willingly mounted his back. He carried her off to Crete, where she bore him many sons.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e like a miserable slave with bad food and worse clothing, making her serve him in the house, in which Amete’s father had four women to whom he was married and two other younger sons. The older of these two fell truly in love with Claudia, who was convinced that if she treated him as Estela treated Amete he would treat her the same way. And realizing that she was also prohibited from being free and from ever seeing Carlos again, closing her eyes to God, she reneged on her most holy faith and married Zayde, for this was the name of Amete’s brother. Thus Estela won in Zayde another new and cruel tormenter, all of which made the poor lady miserable and desperate for the space of a year, and during that time she endured a thousand misfortunes, even though what most tormented her were Amete’s persecutions, because whenever the Moor saw an opportunity to harass her, he did not miss it. Desperate, finally, for a solution, he tearfully begged Claudia to arrange things so that he could have Estela, at least by force. Claudia gave him her promise, and to arrange things she began by pretending to be sad and unhappy, and, on the other hand, to flatter Estela and treat her very lovingly. And once when they were alone because the ladies were at the baths, the traitorous Claudia began to reason with her as deceitfully as Claudia was herself: “I do not know, lovely Estela, how to tell you of the sadness and anxiety my heart suffers in finding myself in this land and in such a wretched life as I am, where I see my soul lost in such a danger that if death catches me in it, I shall be condemned. And aside from that, seeing myself absent from my homeland and among these infidel dogs, who live so much without respect for God and make me live that way, afflicts me greatly. I, my friend Estela, am determined to run away, for I am not so much Moorish that I am not drawn more to Christianity, for having subjected myself to this change was more out of fear than willingness. Fifty Christians have a ship prepared in which to leave tonight for Valencia.14 If you would like, since we arrived here together, for us to return together, there is nothing to be done but for you to get ready and for us to return with God, since I hope that He will deliver us safely. And if not, consider what it is you want me to tell Carlos, for one month from today I plan to see him. And you can best know the good will I bear you, [considering that] being without you can create the opportunity for Carlos to love me, and on the other hand, your presence will be a hindrance for me; but even so, your misery obliges me more than my pleasure.” 14. tonight for Valencia. [tonight, with God’s help I am going with them, lovely Estela, I am leaving for Valencia.



One Estela threw herself at Claudia’s feet, and kissing her innumerable times, she begged her, since this was her decision, not to leave her behind, and she would see how truly Estela would serve her. Finally they agreed to leave together that night, once everyone had retired, for which they gathered their things so as not to leave unprepared. Oh, had someone only said to Estela, “Innocent lady, what are you doing? How is it that you do not consider on whom you are relying? If the first time Claudia deceived you as a Christian, what is Claudia the renegade capable of doing now? If, to put you into the hands of Amete, she took you out of Valencia, pay attention to how, to put you in them again, she takes you into the countryside.” But who would not be deceived by false tears15 and traitorous words spoken tenderly and lovingly? Nor would they deceive only Estela’s noble soul, and more so if that soul desired her beloved freedom. Claudia advised Amete of the agreement and the place to which she planned to take Estela. And with this they let the hours pass, and they did not go by fast enough for either one or the other. It must have been midnight—for it seemed that for this event the moon shone more clearly than in the month of May—when Estela and Claudia, carrying the small bundles in which they had their dresses and undergowns and other things necessary for the trip, left the house and walked to the marina where Claudia said that the brigantine or ship in which they were to escape was waiting. And right behind them was Amete, who had been following them since they left the house. And as soon as they arrived close to some crags among which she said they were to await the others, Claudia occupied the most comfortable and safe spot she could find that was suited to the business at hand and sat down, encouraging the fearful lady, who believed that every sound was Amete and the others coming to get her, in case someone had found the two of them were missing. Thus they spent over an hour, for Amete, although close by, had not wanted to let himself be seen so as to be sure of having Estela. Finally Amete arrived, a cruel and abhorrent sight to Estela, and as soon as he saw them he said, pretending an infernal rage: “Oh, you ill-bred whores! What is this escape? Now you will not get away with the betrayals you have arranged.” “To pursue freedom is not betrayal by anyone, Amete,” said Estela, “for you would do the same were you to find yourself in my lamentable position, badly treated and abused by you and everyone else in your household. Besides, if Claudia had not encouraged me, I would not have dared to do this, 15. tears [ tears with the appearance of real ones

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e however now my luck always puts my perdition in her hands, and so it will always be whenever I trust her.” “You jest not, you whore,” said the turncoat Claudia at this, “because I want you to know that bringing you here was no desire to save you, but rather a desire to put you into the hands of the dashing Amete so that, by force or by degrees, he could have you. And you must give him pleasure, and with that pleasure your person, or you will be torn to bits right here. There is no vessel in which you can be saved except his arms, nor is there any other freedom except to hand yours over to him to be had. In so doing, you will go from slave to lady, from mistreated to well attended. Let thinking it be doing it.” So saying, she removed herself some distance, giving his opportunity to the Moor, who took up the words with which she had stopped speaking and continued, planning to persuade Estela, first with sweetness, then with threats, first with gifts, then with harshness. Estela, bathed in tears, responded to none of it; rather Amete wore himself out in vain, for she planned to leave her life there rather than lose her honor. Amete grew so furious that his tenderness turned to wrath and he began to beat her, delivering blow after blow to her lovely face, threatening her with all manner of deaths if she did not surrender to his pleasure. And when he saw that nothing sufficed to do that, he decided to take recourse in force, battling with her until he overcame her. In this situation, Estela’s soul was greater than what one would imagine for a weak damsel, but as he fought this unarmed battle with her, Estela’s weakened strength gave in and she fell to the ground and, no longer having the means to defend herself, took recourse in the last measure, the most common and frequently used by women, which was to scream. A scream that Jacimín, the king of Fez’s son, who was returning from a hunting trip, heard, and moved by the cries, [he] went to the place from which he thought they were coming, leaving behind the many servants who were accompanying him. And as soon as he arrived at the place from which the shrieks resounded he saw clearly the vigor with which the lovely lady was fighting off the fierce Moor. The prince was about twenty years old and, aside from being very gallant, was so noble of heart and so pleasing in his speech that for this and his bravery and generosity he was much beloved by all of his vassals. He was also so given to helping Christians that, if he heard that anyone was mistreating one, he punished that person severely. Well, as soon as he saw what was happening between the Moor and that lovely slave, which by that time was obvious because the dawn was upon them and he saw her thrown on the ground with her hands bound and



One a cloth tied over her mouth by the traitorous Amete, and by the light of day which was growing, when he saw such a vile and impudent act he said, with a voice of rage: “What are you doing, dog? In the king of Fez’s court anyone dares to rape a woman? Leave her immediately, and if you do not, by the king’s life I shall kill you.” As he said this he took out his sword. Hearing these words, Amete got up, and although he recognized the prince he did not let on that he did, and seeing the sword at his chest, he very quickly went after his own and reaching it would have killed the prince if the young man had not avoided the blow by jumping to the side and said, turning around in great fury: “Oh, traitor dog! You dare assault your prince?” But Amete, blinded with rage, saw nothing and came at him a second time with another blow, of which the prince would have died had he not had his sword well placed,16 but he did not place it quickly enough to avoid a wound to the head, although slight. When the valiant Jacimín realized that the Moor had no intention of paying him his due respect as his prince, he stood back a bit and blew into a small horn he had around his neck, at which all of his knights and hunters who were scattered to look for him came to him, just at the moment when Amete intended to finish off his life with another blow. But, as I said, since the prince was aided by his own men, the traitor Amete was captured, leaving the afflicted Estela, whom the vile renegade Claudia had joined, to throw herself at Prince Jacimín’s feet, at which the debonair Moor looked more closely at her beauty. Not so much pleased by it but rather compassionate of her sufferings, he asked her who she was and why she was in such a place. To which Estela, after having said that she was Christian, told her story as briefly as possible, including the reason why she was in the state in which he saw her. To this the sympathetic Jacimín, furious, ordered that all three be brought to his palace where, before tending to his wound, he explained to his father the king what had happened, requesting vengeance for Amete’s insolence. The prince’s wound was tended to, and although it was nothing dangerous, Amete and Claudia were condemned to death for insolence and disrespect. And that same day, in spite of money and bribes that were offered to his father, the two were run through, and Claudia died as renegade as she had lived. Justice having been accomplished, the prince ordered that Estela be 16. placed [ placed, and even so its point reached him ] on the head, [from which he was wounded] although

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e brought to him, and after he had calmed and consoled her, he asked her what she wanted to do. To which the lady, kneeling before his bed, requested that she be sent to be with Christians so as to return to her homeland. The prince granted her request and gave her money and jewels, and a Christian slave to accompany her, then ordered two of his slaves to take her wherever she wanted to go. These particular events took place when the Spanish Caesar, Charles V, was above Tunis fighting Red Beard.17 When Estela found this out, she changed her woman’s clothing for those of a man, cut her hair, and accompanied only by the Spanish captive whom the prince of Fez had ordered given to her, sworn never to reveal who she was, and taking leave of the two Moorish knights who accompanied her, she went to Tunis. There she found herself in the emperor’s service and always at his side, earning not only fame as a valiant soldier but the emperor’s favor and with it the honored office of captain of the cavalry. That is how helpful she was in everything! As I say, she found herself not only on this occasion, when the emperor restored the kingdom of Tunis to its Prince Roselo (whom Red Beard had forced out to sea), but also on many others, or better said, on every campaign in which the emperor was involved in Italy and France. There, engaged in a skirmish on foot in which his horse had died, our valiant lady, known as don Fernando, with quite a different reputation than that of Estela, gave him her horse and defended him until he reached safety. The emperor was so grateful that he began to bestow honor and favor upon don Fernando. One of those was a habit of the Order of Santiago,18 and the second was a large income and title of nobility, and even then he felt he was not giving him enough, for had Fernando requested half his kingdom, he would have given it to him. 17. Charles V was king of Spain (1516–56) and Holy Roman Emperor (1519–58). Kheir edDin Barbarossa (Red Beard) was a Turkish pirate of Greek origin, founder of the modern state of Algiers. His red beard was the source of the epithet Barbarossa used by Europeans. As kapudan pasha (great admiral) of the Turkish fleet, in the service of the Ottoman Empire, he became a thorn in Charles’s side in the Ottoman-Hapsburg conflicts, organizing continual attacks from his base in Constantinople. He conquered Tunis from the Spaniards in 1534; in 1535, Charles recaptured Tunis and his soldiers sacked the city. Charles tried but failed to attract Kheir ed-Din Barbarossa to his side; he defeated the Spanish-Venetian fleet at the battle of Preveza (1538), securing the eastern Mediterranean for the Turks for thirty-three years, until the battle of Lepanto, in which Cervantes participated. See Garcés, Cervantes in Algiers, chap. 1, esp. 21–23. 18. The military Order of Santiago was founded in the late twelfth century in Spain to protect pilgrims en route to the tomb of Saint James at Compostela from attacks by Moors. The knights took a vow of poverty, obedience, and marital chastity and wed only with the king’s approval. Both the knights and their wives had to prove noble lineage on four quarters. Membership in the order was highly coveted.



One During all this time, Estela had not had any news at all of her homeland or parents, until one day she saw her beloved don Carlos among the soldiers of the army, and as soon as she recognized him all the wounds of love reopened, as if they had been numbed, and began to bleed anew. She had him called to her, and concealing how upset the sight of him made her, she asked him where he was from and what his name was. Don Carlos answered pleasantly, compelled by the attention she was giving him, or better said, by her face which, because it looked so much like Estela’s, won him over. And thus he told her his name and where he was from and the reason why he was in the war, without hiding the story of his love and the prison term he had served. He told how, when he thought he was going to take Estela from her house and marry her, she and a page of his, in whom he had trusted completely, had disappeared from sight, which had compromised his opinion of her. For he himself believed that she had taken such disreputable actions because she loved the page more than him, although a letter that had been found that the lady had composed to her father said that she was leaving with don Carlos, her legitimate spouse. That astonished him more than all the rest, because to leave with Claudio, yet say she was going with him, made him highly suspicious. And his doubts all centered on his belief that Estela had not been true in her love for him, for she had left him to lose his life at the hands of the authorities, because, after having been imprisoned for two years because of her having asked him to take her away and for having offended the honor of her father’s name, seeing that she did not surface dead or alive, he wondered whether, after having taken her virginity, the page had killed her. This thought made him suffer greatly, so much so that he would have died of it had he not taken recourse in his ingenuity, on inspiration of which he decided what to do, which was to break out of prison and escape from jail, trusting more in flight than in what justice could do for him. And he had devoted that entire year to searching for Estela far and wide, but all had been for nothing because she did not appear and it seemed as if the earth had swallowed her. Estela listened to don Carlos in wonderment, as if she did not know the story better than anyone else. And the point to which she responded most quickly was his suspicion about her and the page, saying: “Do not believe, Carlos, that Estela would be so indecorous as to go with Claudio out of love for him, nor to deceive you, for noblewomen do not behave in such fashion. It is most likely that she was lied to, and thereafter perhaps things happened to her over which she had no control, and someday God will manifest her innocence, and you will be undeceived. What I ask of you is that while you are at war you come into my household,

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e for although I wish you to be my secretary, I will treat you as a friend. As such I receive you from this day forth, for I know that with my support, since everyone knows about the favors I enjoy from our Caesar Charles, your enemies will not pursue you, and once this campaign is over we will arrange to free you from persecution. And I do not wish you to thank me in any way except that you think better of Estela than you have until now, particularly since you were the reason for her disappearance. And nothing moves me to this except the fact that I am a great friend of gentlemen who esteem and speak well of ladies.” Carlos listened attentively to “don Fernando,” whom he believed Estela to be, and although it seemed to him he had never seen anyone who looked so much like his lady, his imagination did not go so far as to believe it was she. Seeing that don Fernando had finished speaking, he humbled himself before him, asking to kiss his hands and offering himself as his slave. Estela raised him up with her arms, and from that day forth he was in her service, so favored by her that the other servants were envious. A few months passed with things thus, with don Carlos taking care to serve his lady not only in his office of secretary but in her quarters and at her table, where he received many favors at every turn, always talking about Estela with him, so much so that he came to believe that the duke was in love with her, because Fernando was always asking whether he loved her as before and, were he to see Estela, would he be pleased, and other things that served to raise the suspicions of don Carlos even more. Some of the things he said satisfied Estela’s pleasure, and others her unhappiness. At this time the emperor received news that the viceroy of Valencia had died suddenly, and since he had to send someone to take his post, given that it was not good to leave that kingdom with no one to govern it, he set his sights on don Fernando, who had served him so well. Estela found out about the viceroy’s death, and not wanting to miss such an opportunity, she went to the emperor and, going down on her knees, asked him to honor her with the position. The emperor was not bothered by don Fernando’s request, although he was sorry to have him leave his side and for this reason he had not made up his mind. But realizing that in so doing he would honor Fernando, he granted his wish and ordered him to set forth immediately, giving him the certificate of the appointment and messages confirming it. Behold19 now how our Estela is viceroy of Valencia and don Carlos her secretary and the happiest man on earth, convinced that “with his father as 19. This sentence begins with “Ve aquí,” a linguistic marker of Spanish fairy tales. The turn of phrase emphasizes the highly idealized nature of the story.



One mayor, he had nothing to fear from his enemy,”20 and thus he explained his joy to his lord. Don Carlos was satisfied that the viceroy was convinced of his innocence in the business of Estela, and thus he felt himself free from persecution, trusting in his patron’s promises. They departed, finally, with much pleasure and likewise arrived in Valencia, where the viceroy was received with a show of great happiness. Once he took up the position,21 the first case he was asked to adjudicate was his very own, when a complaint was brought against his secretary. The viceroy promised to see justice done. To do so, he ordered information gathered again and examined the witnesses once more. The complainants wanted don Carlos held under guard and wanted the viceroy to order him put in prison. But he satisfied this request by saying that he would stand surety for don Carlos, for as far as he was concerned there would be no other prison than that of his pleasure. The case was taken so seriously that in less than six days the only thing remaining was the pronouncement of the verdict. Finally, it was announced for the following day. The night before, don Carlos entered the same chamber where the viceroy was in bed and, kneeling before him, said: “You have set tomorrow as the date for my case and the declaration of my innocence. Beyond the witnesses I have called in my defense and who swore on my behalf, may the greatest, truest, and surest be an oath that I put in your hands, under pain of perjury, that not only did I not carry Estela off, but since the day before I did not see her, nor do I know what happened to her nor where she is, because although I was indeed planning to steal her away, I never had the chance to do so because of the haste with which my misfortune took her from me, either for my perdition or hers.” “Enough, Carlos,” said Estela, “go home and sleep soundly. I am your friend and your master, reason for you to have no fear. I am surer of you than you know, and were I not, the fact that I brought you with me and have had you in my house would serve you for nothing. Your case is in my hands, I know already of your innocence; you are my friend; you need not call it more to my attention, for I am well aware of it.” Carlos kissed his hands and left, leaving the viceroy to think about what to do. 20. This aphoristic phrase “to have one’s father as mayor” means to have influence. The DA defines it as “a phrase that means that someone has the protection of some judge or person of authority, with which to be safe to carry out what could not be done without it, or to secure what he desires.” 21. The last sentence of the paragraph specifies Estela as “he,” so we use the masculine for the entire passage. See Greer, María de Zayas, 205–9, on the significance of this pronoun choice.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e Who doubts but that Carlos desired the day that was to grant him his freedom? For which reason one can believe that scarcely would the universal father of all that lives have revealed curly skeins of light22 through the balconies of the dawn than he arose and adorned himself in his richest clothing, displaying his grace and gentility more on this day than on others as if to prove that it was to be the day of his glory. And thus he went to present himself to dress the viceroy and assure him of his innocence. Not long thereafter, the viceroy emerged from his chamber half dressed, but with an entertaining frown on his brow, with which he beheld his secretary and said, with a false laugh: “You are up early, friend Carlos, which makes your innocence suspicious, for the person whose conscience is free sleeps free of all worry, and there is no crueler accuser than guilt.” Don Carlos was upset at this idea, but covering up as well as he could, responded: “Freedom is so beloved, most excellent lord, that even had I no formidable enemies, as I do, the delight caused by the fact that I am to enjoy it again at Your Excellency’s hand would suffice to rob me of sleep, for in the same fashion that a great trouble disquiets, so does a great happiness, such that the fear of evil and the hope of good have the same effect.” “You are gallant today,” replied the viceroy; “thus the day on which you will see your tragedy in the mouths of so many witnesses as you have against you, you adorn yourself with the brightest clothes you have? It would seem that Estela’s parents and husband are right in saying that you must have enjoyed her favors and killed her, trusting in the fact that few people if anyone saw you do it. By my faith, were Claudio to appear, vile go-between of your misbehaviors, I do not know whether you would be found innocent, and if I must say the truth, whenever we speak of Estela you display such little feeling and so much unworthy behavior that I believe your lady owes me more than she owes you, for I worry about her disappearance and you do not.” Oh, what heavy blows were these to don Carlos’s heart, now fainted away! And despairing of a single good turn of events, he was about to give as an excuse how much time had passed, since with it any amorous passion is forgotten, when the viceroy, with a severe countenance and an angry face, said to him: “Be quiet, Carlos, do not reply. Carlos, I have considered these things well and I find that you are not very free of the accusations against you, and the greatest indication of all is the extreme with which you desire your free22. light [ light, crowned by his rubicund rays



One dom. Estela is lost and you alive; Estela is dead and you are whole, saying that the time she was missing you loved her so. You must have another love; who doubts but that you wish to see yourself free to hand yourself over to that new love all the more quickly? Well, I must dispatch justice without being moved by love or potential gain. I do not want Caesar to hear complaints about me. The judges will do better with this, and you do not have to convince me nor do I have to assure you, rather keep you under guard, for that is what matters, for one who broke out of prison will break my word even more easily.”23 Saying this he signaled to a page, who went out and then returned with a squadron of soldiers, who disarmed don Carlos and positioned themselves as his guards. Whoever could have seen don Carlos in this circumstance could not but feel sorry for him: his face was colorless, his eyes lowered, his countenance sad, and so repentant of having trusted the unreliable nature of great lords that he only blamed himself for everything. The viceroy finished dressing and, realizing that the judges and the concerned parties were waiting, went into the room in which the case was to be decided, bringing Carlos in as well, surrounded by soldiers. He sat in his place and the other judges in theirs. And then the clerk began to read the accusation, declaring the reasons and evidence there was to suggest that don Carlos was the one who had made off with Estela, with papers confirming the accusation, in letters written by them both, the maids who knew of their love, the neighbors who saw them speak to each other at the grate. And what condemned him most was Estela’s letter, which stated without a doubt that she was going away with him so as not to marry the count. In response to all this, the most effective witnesses in don Carlos’s favor were the servants of his household, who said they had seen him retire the night Estela disappeared even earlier than he usually did, and his confession sworn under oath that he had not seen her. But none of this lightened the charge, for the other side alleged that he could have retired so the servants would see it and then dress again and go get Estela. And the fact that he had killed them both was proved by the fact that neither she nor the page, who knew everything, had appeared, and it must be that Carlos had killed him as well. And as far as the oath was concerned, of course he would never condemn himself. The viceroy was aware that at this point Carlos was condemned for taking Estela, for violating the honor of her house, for her death and Claudia’s as well, and only he could get him out of this bind. Having decided, then, 23. “My word” meaning “the word he gave to me.”

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e to do so, he wanted to put more pressure on Carlos so that suffering would make him confess his love and so he would appreciate more the good turn of events. And so Estela called him, and as soon as he was standing before everyone, said to him: “Friend Carlos, had I known what little justice was on your side in this case, I give you my word and I swear to you by the life of Caesar that I would not have brought you with me, because I cannot deny that it pains me, and since I witness that grief with these tears, you may well believe that I lament in my very soul seeing your life in the danger it is in, since if by the proceedings thus far I must judge this case, I must say that you lose, without my being able to find a solution to the problem. For since both sides are so qualified, to try to reconcile them in a waste as huge as the loss of Estela is a terrible, mistaken thing and quite useless. The solution is for Estela to appear, and with that they will be satisfied and I will be able to help you. But otherwise, it is neither good for me nor can I do anything but condemn you to death.” Carlos almost fainted away with this news, but since he was hopeless already, on his knees as he was, he said: “Your Excellency knows well that since you met me in Italy, every time I have spoken about this I have said the same thing; and if now, to you as judge, I could deny it, there, as my lord and friend, I told you the truth. And in the same fashion I declare and confess now: I say that I adored Estela.” “Say that you adore her now,” replied the viceroy in a rather low voice, “for it is suspicious for you to speak in past tense and not show feeling in the present.” “I say that I adore her,” responded don Carlos, amazed at the things the viceroy said, “and that I wrote to her, and I talked with her, and that I promised to be her husband, that I arranged to remove her from her house and take her to Barcelona. But if I did take her from her house, or saw her, may a bolt of lightning from heaven split me in two. I may die, but I will die completely blameless, except for having loved a changeable, inconstant, and false woman, a deceitful siren who in the middle of her song has brought me to this bitter and offensive death. I die for love of her, for having heard nothing from her.” “Well, what could she and this page have done with themselves?” asked the viceroy. “Did they fly up to heaven? Did they fall down into the abyss?” “What do I know?” replied Carlos, deeply afflicted. “The page was handsome and Estela lovely. She a woman and he a man. Perhaps . . .” “Oh, traitor,” replied the viceroy, “and how, in that ‘perhaps,’ you cover up your traitorous and false suspicions! How quickly you let yourself be car-



One ried away by evil thoughts! The woman be damned who so easily gives you reason to believe less of her, because you men all believe that what women do obliged by your attentions and pursued by your false fidelity, they would do with any man who passed down the street. Estela was no more a woman than Claudio a man, for Estela is noble and virtuous and Claudio a vile man, a servant of yours and the heir to your lies. Estela loved you and respected you as a husband and Claudio abhorred her out of love for you. And I repeat that Estela was not a woman, because the one who is chaste, retiring, and virtuous is not a woman but an angel; nor was Claudio a man but a woman who, in love with you, wanted to take you from Estela, removing her from your sight. I am the very Estela who has been through a thousand ordeals for your cause, and you repay me with this unfounded suspicion of yours.” She then told everything that had happened to her from the day she went missing from her house, leaving everyone astounded at it all and more so don Carlos who, ashamed at not having recognized her and at having defrauded her honor, since he was on his knees, he kissed her hands he was holding, bathing them in his tears, begging forgiveness for his mistakes. Estela’s father did the same, as did Carlos’s. Both parties took turns falling over themselves to embrace her, speaking with loving tenderness. The count arrived to congratulate her and to ask her to fulfill her father’s promise to be his wife. Carlos’s soul and heart were hanging on the answer, and he put his hand on the dagger still at his waist so that, should things not be resolved in his favor, he could kill the count and anyone who defended his cause, or kill himself, rather than see Estela in the possession of another man. But the lady, who loved and esteemed don Carlos more than her own life, enjoined the count to be understanding and to pardon her, because she was don Carlos’s wife, on whose behalf and for whom she wanted everything that was hers, and that she lamented not owning the entire world so as to be able to give it to him, for her brave deeds had all sprung from the valor that being his gave her, after which she begged her father to accept this. And rising from her chair, after embracing everyone, she went to Carlos and, linking her brave and lovely arms around his neck, thereby gave to him the possession of her person. And thus they climbed into a carriage and went to the house of her mother, who had already heard the news of the case and was celebrating with tears of compassion. Gossip about this wonder spread around the city, causing notable surprise to all when they heard that the viceroy was a woman, and Estela. Everyone came to the house or went to the palace. A message explaining the case was immediately dispatched to the em-

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e peror, who was in Valladolid. More amazed than anyone, as the one who had seen Estela accomplish her valiant deeds, scarcely believing it was so, he responded to the letter with congratulations and abundant jewels. He confirmed Estela’s status, adding to it that of princess of Buñol,24 and gave don Carlos Estela’s habit and the income, and the position of viceroy of Valencia.25 With this the new lovers, laden with riches and honor, once all the usual ceremonies and doings of the church had been completed, celebrated their wedding, regaling the city with delight once more, their estate with lovely heirs, and historians with reason to write this tale of wonder,26 again praising the valor of the lovely Estela, whose prudence and tolerance made her a harsh judge, even of her own case, a fact which is no less astounding than all the rest: that there is someone capable of judging herself, for better or for worse, for all of us judge the errors of others and not our own.

When don Juan finished his novel tale of wonder, the public overflowed with praise and the mother of the most beautiful Lisis took his place, leaving time for her divine daughter, accompanied by the musicians, to continue the ballad which she had begun before the telling of the wondrous tale: “Jealous I am, for jealousy is the seed of hell; the fact that pain is born in the soul is hardly scarce wonder. Oh, the breast in which such fire burns up and casts itself forth! And oh, the one whose remedy is ciphered only in death! For one who is unlucky, to die is not death, it must be mercy; for cruel death flees from those who are unlucky. The misfortunes I endure are so many 24. The municipality of Buñol is forty-five kilometers west of Valencia. Buñol [Buñol, a title that the very king of Valencia had given to Caesar when the prince of Buñol had died without succession, and] 25. The emperor makes Estela a princess and transfers to don Carlos the habit of the Order of St. James and the large income he had assigned her, along with her position as viceroy, thus restoring standard gender roles. 26. wonder, [wonder, in prose or verse,]



One that I am misfortune itself; life for me is lamentable death, my weary life is death. But if Fabio is life and heaven, why are you surprised, Marfisa, that heaven hear of the pain and life gives death?” Thus cries Marfisa when the hills pour forth happiness. “I do not wish (discreet audience) to sell you as proven truths the events of this story; although all of them are of the quality that could well be so, since for one brother to kill another, for a sister to be a traitor to her sister, the one driven by jealousy and the other by love and envy, is not a new occurrence. Since the beginning of the world, there have been treacherous and envious siblings, as two thousand examples in writing tell us. That poverty teaches cunning, and more so if it is accompanied by blind fondness, is nothing new either. Nor is it for a lover to risk the loss of his soul to achieve what he desires. No less would it be that a woman, if she wants to protect her honor, should search for or do impossible things. Nor do I find it so great that the devil, in order to take captives to his fearful and horrible prison, should give men to understand with false appearances that he is pleased to do what they desire. What is most amazing is that there should be any good work in him, as will be seen in my tale of wonder. But there can be other secret causes for that of which we are ignorant. In this, I do not oblige you to believe more than what pleases you; since my telling it is only to give an example and a warning to protect yourselves from risks. And thus, with your permission, I say this:



ot many years ago in the most lovely and noble city of Zaragoza, divine miracle of nature and glorious trophy of the Kingdom of Aragon, there lived a noble and wealthy gentleman, and he, for his qualities,* deserved to have as his wife an elegant lady, equal in everything to his virtues and nobility, for this is the richest endowment one can obtain. As the fruit of his matrimony, heaven gave him two most lovely suns, for such a word can be used for the two lovely daughters: the eldest named Constanza and the youngest Teodosia, so equal in beauty, discretion, and poise that one was never unworthy of the other. These two most lovely ladies were so accomplished and perfect that they were called, owing to the renown of their wealth and beauty, the pride and joy of their homeland. When they reached, then, the age of discretion, when beauty and grace abound in maidens, don Jorge became fond of the lovely Constanza, he being likewise a native gentleman of the same city of Zaragoza, young, gallant, and rich, the only heir of his father’s house,* for, since don Jorge was the eldest son, we can call him thus, although there was another brother, whose name was Federico. Federico loved Teodosia, although with much care that his brother not know his disposition, fearing that as the older brother he might get in the way of these desires, and also because the two did not get along well with each other. Constanza did not look badly upon don Jorge because, grateful for his attentions, she repaid him by receiving them with modesty, believing that, since her parents had to give her a husband, no one in the world deserved her as did don Jorge. And trusting in this, she esteemed and favored his desires, sure in her belief that scarcely would he ask for her hand from her father than this love would reach a happy and fortunate end, although she encouraged him so modestly and with such reserve that this gave her



One father the opportunity, should it not be his pleasure to give him to her as lord,* to release this claim without offending their honor. Federico did not have such luck with Teodosia because he never obtained the smallest favor from her; rather she abhorred him to the extreme, and the reason was that she was lost in love for don Jorge, so much so that she began to plot and seek ways to separate him from his desire for her sister, envious to see her beloved, doing so with such astuteness and modesty that neither the one nor the other knew of her love.1 Don Federico was so disheartened with this disfavor that, though his sadness was recognized, its cause was not. Constanza noticed it, since she was so affable and loved don Jorge so decorously that some of this spilled into her relationship with his brother. And almost suspecting that Teodosia was the cause of his anguish, having seen signs of it in Federico’s eyes, she managed to find it out, and it was easy for her, since the gentlemen were very intimate friends of her house, and the fact that their parents were as well helped overcome any difficulty. The lovely Constanza had the opportunity to speak to Federico, finding out with little effort his disposition for her sister and the indifference with which she treated him, but in such a fashion that don Jorge would not know of it since, as has been said, they did not get along. Constanza was astounded that her sister would fail to esteem Federico, since for his qualities he was worthy of being loved. But since Teodosia kept her affection hidden, Constanza never believed that don Jorge was the cause. Rather, she blamed her disinclination to love, and so she assured Federico on those occasions when they dealt with this, which were many. At such times don Jorge was so angry that he was almost jealous of his brother, and more so seeing Constanza so discreet in her love that she never, even though the opportunity arose, gave him the chance to hold her hand. These angry fits of don Jorge’s awakened Teodosia’s soul to provide a way for don Jorge to abhor her sister completely, for it seemed to her that the gallant youth would be satisfied with ceasing to love her and would not seek greater revenge, and with this she would occupy the place her sister would lose. A common deceit among all who do evil, for without considering that in procuring it for the abhorred one, they deliver it simultaneously to their beloved. With this thought, fearless of the bloody end that such a mistake could have, she determined to say to don Jorge that Federico and Constanza loved 1. Presumably, Zayas means that neither don Jorge nor Constanza knew of Teodosia’s love for don Jorge, although Federico might also be a candidate for “one” or the “other.”

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e each other. And having thought it, she did it, for blind love governs blindly and makes use of the blind; and thus, whoever does not proceed like a blind person cannot truly be called love’s captive. The opportunity that fortune gave Teodosia was finding Constanza and don Jorge alone together, the gallant man being angered, and even, if one can say so, jealous of having found her in conversation with his abhorred brother, blaming him for her lukewarm affections,* unable to believe that the lady’s behavior with him was modesty; he spoke some harsh words to her, with which he obliged the lady to speak these words: “I much regret, don Jorge, that you do not esteem my affection and the favor I show you in letting myself be loved, but rather you dare to hold me in such low esteem that, suspecting of me that which is incorrect, among ill-advised thoughts, you speak harshly to me of jealousy. And not content with this, you dare ask more favors of me than those I have given you, knowing that I do not have to grant them. To such ill-founded suspicion as yours I will not respond, because if I am no more tender toward you than you see, why must you believe that I am so toward your brother? To the other things you say, complaining of my abruptness and lukewarm behavior, I say, so that you do not wear yourself out in bothering me, that as long as you are not my husband, you will not obtain more from me. I have parents, their will* is mine, and theirs should not be far from yours, thanks to your valor. In this I have said everything you have to do if you wish to please me, and anything else will do the opposite.” And saying this, so as not to allow don Jorge to speak any amorous insolence, she left him and went to the other room where there were servants and other people. Teodosia was awaiting no other opportunity than the present one to cast her net, and having been on the lookout and having listened to what had transpired, seeing don Jorge surly and preoccupied with Constanza’s determination, she went to where he was and said to him: “I can no longer endure nor hide, sir don Jorge, the suffering it gives me to see you so lost for and in love with my sister and so deceived in this as her lover. And so, if you promise me never to say I have told you what I know, which is important to you, I will tell you the reason for Constanza’s tepid affection.” Don Jorge was taken aback at this, and suspecting the same thing that the traitorous Teodosia wished to tell him, desirous to know what he would be sorry to know, a condition natural to lovers, he swore with sufficient oaths to keep the secret. “Well then, know,” said Teodosia, “that your brother Federico and Con-



One stanza love each other with so much tenderness and firm determination that there is no other way to express it but to say that they intend to wed. They have sworn themselves to each other, and I even believe that more deeply rooted tokens* have been exchanged; I was witness, without their wanting me to be, I heard and saw all I am telling you, attentive to the outcome. There is no remedy for this now; what I advise you is that, given that you are also aware of this vexation, [you] believe that Constanza was not born to be yours and that heaven is reserving for you alone the woman who deserves you, and that people attempt in vain to separate those whose wills the stars have brought together. You, as I say, will not lack that which you deserve, nor will your brother go without punishment for having been so daring with your very lady.” With this Teodosia completed her betrayal, not wishing at that point to tell him anything of her intentions, so that he might not suspect her deceit. And don Jorge set off in a jealous and desperate rage, because in an instant he pondered his brother’s daring, the disloyalty of Constanza, and making his jealousy the judge and his love the prosecutor, adding to this the abhorrence he felt for Federico, even without thinking about the offense, he condemned him to a rigorous and cruel sentence. But pretending otherwise, so as not to upset Teodosia, he courteously thanked her for the favor she was doing him, promising to manifest his gratitude to her for it, and as a first step, to take her advice and separate himself from his intentions for Constanza, since she was more certainly involved with his brother than with him. After he had taken his leave of her, and leaving her extremely happy, it seemed to her that, with don Jorge defrauded of obtaining her sister, it would be easy for her to have him as her husband. But things did not transpire in this fashion, for the more offended a jealous man is, the more he loves. Scarcely had don Jorge left Teodosia than he sought out his abhorred brother, although he first called in a page to whom he entrusted his greatest secrets and, giving him a quantity of jewels and money, sent him to await him outside the city with a horse, at a particular place. This accomplished, he went to Federico and told him that he had certain dealings with him, which required going out to the country. Federico did this, not so unconcerned that he was not suspicious of his brother, for he knew the little friendship he felt toward him. But fortune, who arranges things as she pleases, blind to merit and ignorance, had cast the dice in favor of don Jorge against miserable Federico. For scarcely did they arrive at the appointed place, removed from people, when Jorge took out his sword and called him the thief of his greatest ease and good, without giving him a chance to take out his own, stabbed him so cruelly through the

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e heart that the sword came out his back, and Federico at once surrendered his soul to God and his body to the earth. The ill-fated youth being dead at the hands of his cruel brother,2 don Jorge went to where his servant awaited him with the horse, and mounting it with his secretary seated behind him, he went to Barcelona and from there, finding galleys that were leaving for Naples, boarded them, taking his leave of Spain forever. The ill-fated Federico was found that very night, dead, and taken to his parents, with such grief on their part and that of the entire city that they wept as one over his disgraceful death as one, ignorant of who had committed the act because, although his brother was not to be found, they never believed that he would be the agent of such evil, although his flight gave reason to suspect that he had been present at the unfortunate event. Only Teodosia, as the cause of such misery, could speak the truth in this. But she kept silent because it was in her interest to do so. Constanza felt the absence of don Jorge greatly, but not such that she gave reason to suspect anything that was the least bit compromising of her reputation, although she held off marrying, waiting for news of him. During this time their father died, leaving to his lovely daughters a great sum of riches and their mother as their refuge. She, concerned with the governance of their estate, did not attempt to marry them in over two years, nor did this matter at all to them, in part to await the arrival of their lover, and in part so as not to lose the gifts their mother bestowed upon them. Without anyone knowing anything of don Jorge during this time, forgetting him worked its accustomed effect on the will of Constanza’s affection, which it could not do on that of Teodosia, who, ever loving and ever firm, desired to see her sister married so as to live in greater security should don Jorge appear. A gentleman from the mountains happened to come to Zaragoza for business during this period, wealthier in goods of nature than in those of fortune, a man of thirty or thirty-six years of age, gallant, discreet, and of highly agreeable qualities, named Carlos. He took a room in front of Constanza’s house, and the first time he beheld the lady’s beauty, he gave his freedom to her in exchange for the sight of her, seating her in his soul so truly that only death could shake his decision, his love strengthened by knowing of her noble birth and wealth, and by gazing on her modest pleasures and lovely seriousness. Our Carlos found himself poor and expatriated because, although he 2. brother [ refreshing our memory of Abel and Cain with this disgraceful happening,



One overflowed with nobility, what he lacked in riches was sufficient to prevent him from asking for her hand, sure that his request would not be granted. But there is no love without ruses nor a sane man who does not know how to take advantage of them. He contrived one that was sufficient to give him that which he desired, and to obtain it he started a friendship with Fabia, for thus was Constanza’s mother’s name, regaling her with some things he obtained for this purpose, the noble lady doing the same out of gratitude. He would visit them sometimes, earning the good will of all with his affability and pretty conversation, so much that they were lost without him. Once Carlos had this business arranged so much to his own liking, he revealed his intention to an elderly matron who served him, promising to pay her very well, and in this fashion he began to feign illness, and not a mere trifling indisposition but rather throwing himself into bed at once. His old servant had forewarned a doctor, to whom they gave a substantial gift, and thus he began to treat him under the pretext of a cruel case of typhoid fever. The noble Fabia found out about her neighbor’s illness and with considerable feeling went to see him immediately, caring for him as if he were a son in all necessary things. The feigned illness intensified, according to the doctor and the distress of the patient, so much so that he was ordered to make a will and receive the sacraments. All of which was done in the presence of Fabia, who felt Carlos’s illness in her soul, to whom the astute Carlos, grasping her hands, ready to make out his will, said: “Now, my lady, you see the state in which my life is, closer to death than to anything else. I do not regret so much the fact that it has caught me in mid-life as that it renders impossible the desire I have always had, since I met you, to serve you. But in order for my soul to depart from this world somewhat consoled, you must grant me permission to reveal a secret to you.” The good lady responded that he should tell her whatever he pleased, assured that he was being heard and loved as if he were her son. “It has been six months, lady Fabia,” proceeded Carlos, “that I have lived in front of your house, and those same months I have adored and desired to have as my wife my lady doña Constanza, your daughter, for her beauty and virtues. I have not wished to take this up, because I was waiting for the arrival of a gentleman relative of mine, whom I was awaiting to deal with it. But God, who knows what is best, has been pleased to cut off my attempts in the manner you see, without allowing me to enjoy this desired good. The permission that you must now give me is for me to leave to her all of my estate, and that she accept it, with you, lady, being witness to my will, and once my will has been discharged, all that is left must be for her dowry.”

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e Fabia thanked him for the mercy he did her with loving words, feeling and witnessing the loss of him with tears. Carlos made out his will, and to get on with it, he left more than one hundred thousand ducats, listing an illustrious estate in many parts of the mountain. Of it all he named Constanza heiress, and her mother [was] so saddened that she was begging to heaven for his life with tears. “Oh, daughter of mine, how obliged you are to Carlos! You can consider yourself unfortunate from this day forth, losing, as you are, such a husband.” “Heaven will not wish, madam,” said the lovely lady, quite pleased at Carlos’s fine parts and obliged by the wealth he was leaving her, “that Carlos die nor that I be of such little luck that I see that come to pass. I hope of God that He give him life so that all of us might repay the good will he has shown us.” With these fine desires, mother and daughters begged God for his life. Within a few days Carlos, like one who had his health in his own hands, began to improve, and before a month had passed he began to enjoy complete recovery, not only healthy but husband of the beautiful Constanza, because Fabia, seeing his well-being restored, took him to her house and married him to her daughter. Earning this good opinion by means of his deceit, and making Constanza happy by means of his ability to win her over with so many gifts and caresses, he was so sure of her love that he dared to reveal his deceit to her, blaming her beauty and the true love he had felt for her since he saw her. Constanza was so discreet that, rather than become disconsolate, she felt she was fortunate to have such a husband and thanked him for the deceit, believing that it had been heaven’s will, which cannot be avoided no matter how one seeks to do so. The great and illustrious estate that she enjoyed made way for these loving consolations, since all that her loveliness, discretion, and wealth needed was a lord like the one she had, with such discretion, noble blood, and gentility, accompanied by such pleasing ways that mother-in-law and sister-in-law, seeing Constanza so happy, loved him to such an extreme that, instead of resenting the joke played on them, they took it as good fortune. Four years had probably passed since the departure of don Jorge, the death of Federico, and the marriage of Constanza, during which time the most lovely lady had two sons as tokens of her beloved spouse, with whom, happier than at first, she felt the years she had wasted in other pastimes to have been time lost without having belonged to her Carlos. It was then when don Jorge, having passed through all of Italy, Piedmont, and Flanders,



One unable to endure the separation from his beloved lady, and having been assured by some people he had seen in the places where he had been that the death of the ill-fated Federico was not attributed to him, returned to his homeland and presented himself before his parents’ eyes. And although his absence had given reason for suspicion, he knew how to paint over his flight with such colors, crying over his brother’s death with false tears and feigned suffering, pretending it was news to him, that he hid any indication of his guilt that there could have been. His beloved parents received him like those who, having only two joys they had lost in one day, found one when they had the least hope of finding it, with the lovely Teodosia accompanying them in their happiness, for obliged by her love, she said nothing of her crime to her own lover so as not to make herself suspicious to him. The one who showed the least content at his arrival was Constanza because, almost foreseeing what was going to happen, since she loved her husband so truly, she became sad that the others were so happy; because don Jorge, although he resented to the greatest possible extent finding her married, determined to serve her and solicit her once more, if not for a wife at this point, since it was impossible, then at least to enjoy her beauty, so as not to waste so many years of love. The strolling* along her street, the gifts, the music and fine points of love were so many that it was almost gossiped about throughout the city. But the lady was deaf to it all because she never admitted nor esteemed anything the lover did for her; rather those times when he saw her and found himself close to her, in church or at the soirees and parties that are held in Zaragoza, to however many complaints of her having married he gave her, or to the tender and heartfelt words he spoke to her, she never responded one word. And if at any time, weary of hearing him, she said a single word to him, it was so harsh and heavy that it increased his pain more. The pain that Teodosia experienced in seeing these extremes of love in her beloved don Jorge was so great that, had her sister’s disdainful behavior not encouraged her, she would have lost her life a thousand times over. And she had sufficient reason to do so because, although she gave don Jorge to understand her love many times, she never got any response from him except a thousand surly remarks, and thus she lived in sadness and desperation. Constanza was not unaware of the origins of her sister’s anguish and wished that don Jorge would respond to it, as much not to see her suffer as not to see herself pursued by his importunity; but with every hour it seemed more impossible, for don Jorge was by then so far gone and insane in solicit-

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e ing his suit that he did not notice anything about which people in Zaragoza were gossiping nor that Constanza’s husband noticed it. Don Jorge spent over a year in this business, without heeding the earnestness with which Constanza refused to see him, not leaving her house except for Mass, and those times accompanied by her husband, to make his daring to speak to her impossible, so that the precipitous young man would leave off following his whim. Then Teodosia, aggravated by her sadness, fell ill of a dangerous sickness, so much so that there came to be little hope for her survival. Constanza, who loved her tenderly, recognizing that the remedy of her anguish was in don Jorge, determined to speak to him, forcing the hand of his detached and cruel nature for the sake of her sister’s life. Thus, one day when Carlos had gone hunting, she sent for him. Don Jorge received the lucky message from his beloved lady out of his mind with joy, and so as not to lose this good luck, went to see what the lord of his soul desired of him. Constanza received don Jorge with a happy countenance and, sitting with him on her estrado,* said to him, in the most loving and virtuous fashion she could, to oblige him and draw him to her will: “I cannot deny, sir don Jorge, if I dispassionately regard your merits and your intentions for which I am indebted to you, that I was unfortunate the day you left this city, since at that moment I lost the opportunity to attain you as a husband, something I never believed possible given the modest affection with which I admitted your favors and suit. Still the one I have is so much to my taste that I thank heaven a thousand times over for having deserved him, and this you have surely recognized in my disdain of your love after you returned. For although I cannot, nor would it be just, to deny you the obligation in which you have placed me, that of my honor is so great that it has been imperative not to let myself be conquered by your importunity. Neither do I wish to deny that first desire has great power, and if I could respond to it with my honor and that of my husband, rest assured that I would have already given you the prize that your perseverance deserves. But given that this is impossible, in this case you are tiring yourself out for nothing, for though you love me a hundred years and oblige me thereby, I have decided to repay you by giving you another person like me in my place, who might pay you that which I cannot. In conceding me this good you win me, not only as a true friend, but as a perpetual slave.3 And so as 3. In the amorous discourse of this period, a woman accrued a debt to a man by virtue of his desire for her, a debt for which payment was expected regardless of her feelings. The lexicon of slavery was frequently used to express relationships of service in hyperbolic style.



One not to hold you in suspense, this beauty that in exchange for mine—which already belongs to Carlos—I wish to give you is my sister Teodosia who, desperate over your disdain, is at the end of life, with no other possible remedy to give it to her than you yourself. Now is the time for me to see what I am worth to you, if I am able to have you honor us all, giving her your hand in marriage. With this you will remove from the world this cause for gossip, my husband from suspicions, and yourself from anguish, and my beloved sister from the hands of death, for should she lack this remedy, there is no doubt that it will triumph over her youth and beauty. And I, having you as a brother, will be able to repay you what I now deny out of modesty.” Don Jorge, perturbed and lost, heard Constanza and, precipitated in his amorous passion, replied to her: “This is the prize, lovely Constanza, that you have saved for me in exchange for the torment I endure on your behalf and the constant love I have for you? For when I understood that, obliged by it, you were calling me to give it to me, you want to render its delivery impossible? Well, rest assured that her pleas have no place with me, because any woman who is not Constanza will not triumph over me. I must love you until I die, and loving you I shall live until death assaults me. Consider whether when I desire death for myself, I would prevent it for your sister! It would be better, beloved lady of mine, if you don’t want it to strike me before your ungrateful eyes, that since now you have the chance, you take pity on me and relieve me of so much anguish that I suffer for you.” Constanza rose to her feet hearing this, and as if joking said to him: “Let us make a pact, don Jorge: and let it be that if you create for me, in this small plaza at the front of my house, between now and morning, a garden so adorned with beds and scented flowers, trees and fountains, that neither in its refreshing air nor beauty, nor in the diversity of birds in it, it be no less than the famous hanging gardens of Babylon that Semiramis made above its walls,4 I shall put myself in your power and will do for you whatever you desire. And if not, then you must abandon this pretension, granting me in payment becoming my sister’s husband, because unless it be brought about by impossible arts, Carlos and Constanza will not lose their honor, gained with such care and sustained with such profit. This is the price of my honor; get to work, for in the case of a lover as refined as you, nothing is impossible.” With this, she went in to where her sister was, quite unhappy with the bad results of her plan, leaving don Jorge in such despair that it was 4. On these gardens, see Exemplary Tales of Love, introduction, n. 9.

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e a miracle he did not take his own life. Crazed and lost as well, he rushed out of Constanza’s house and with faltering steps, without looking how or where he was going, he went to the countryside and there, damning his luck and the first day he had seen and loved her, he threw himself at the foot of a tree. When night was beginning to fall, and there sighing sadly and piteously, calling her a cruel and harsh woman, surrounded by deadly thoughts, shedding tears, he remained for a while, at times crying out like a man who had lost his mind, and others falling silent, a man presented himself without Jorge seeing from where or how he had arrived, and said to him: “What is the problem, don Jorge? Why are you crying out and sighing into the wind, since you are able to remedy your passion in another way? What womanish tears are these? Does not a man of your valor have greater spirit than that which you evidence here? Can you not see that, since your lady put a price on your passion, your solution is not as difficult as you think?” Don Jorge was looking at him while he was saying this, astounded to hear him say what he scarcely believed anyone else knew, and replied to him thus: “And who are you, who know that which even I myself do not, and likewise promise me a solution when I find the problem to be so difficult? What can you do when it is impossible for even the devil?” “And if I were that very one you mention,” responded the same man, “what would you say? Take heart and consider what you will give me if I make the garden your lady requests that is so difficult.” Let anyone present judge what a desperate man would respond who, in exchange for realizing his desire, held his life and soul in little esteem. And so he said: “You put the price on what you wish to do for me, for here am I here ready to grant it.” “Then send me your soul,” said the devil, “and make me a document, signed in your hand, stating that it will be mine when it leaves your body, and go back assured that before dawn you can meet your lady’s impossible desire.” The ill-advised youth was in love (noble and discreet public), and thus it was not difficult for him to do what the common enemy of our repose asked of him. The devil came prepared with everything that was necessary, such that putting paper and a lap desk in his hands, he made up the document as the devil ordered and signed without thinking about what he was doing, nor at what price of a disordered appetite he was giving away such a priceless jewel, one that cost its divine creator so much. Oh, badly counseled gentleman! Oh, insane youth! And what are you doing? Consider how



One much you lose and how little you gain, that the pleasure you are buying will end in an instant and the pain you will have will last eternities! The desire to see Constanza in his power stops at nothing, but he will repent when it is too late. Having done this, don Jorge went to his lodging and the devil to begin his fabulous creation. Morning came, and don Jorge, believing it was to be the morning of his glory, arose at dawn and, dressing as richly and in the most costly fashion he could, went to the place where the garden was to have been made. And arriving at the little plaza in front of the lovely Constanza’s house the happiest he had been in his life, seeing the most lovely job ever seen (for had it not been a lie—as was its creator—it could have served for the recreation of any monarch), he entered inside it. And strolling along its lovely beds and sightly avenues, he waited for his lady to come out and see how he had satisfied her desire. Carlos, who although the very night that Constanza spoke with don Jorge had arrived tired from hunting, was up and about early that morning to attend to a matter of business that had presented itself. And since it was barely day, he opened a window that looked out over the little plaza, beginning to dress himself there. And since when he opened it up, the spectacle ordered by the devil to demolish the fortress of his wife’s honor presented itself to his eyes, he stood in wonder awhile, believing he was dreaming. But realizing that although his eyes could be deceived, his ears could not, attentive to the sweet harmony of so many and such diverse little birds as were in the delightful garden, who had during the time of its construction observed the beauty of the place, so many beds, such lovely trees, such intricate labyrinths, he recovered his senses as if from a dream and began to cry out, calling to his wife and the rest of his household, telling them to get up and they would see the greatest wonder ever seen. At Carlos’s shouts Constanza arose, as did her mother and everyone in the house, quite unprepared for such a novelty, because the lady did not even remember what she had asked of don Jorge, sure that he would not do it. And she arrived, quite unconcerned, to see what her husband wanted, and when she saw the garden, the price of her honor, so adorned with flowers and trees that it seemed to her she had requested less than what she had been given, since the fountains and lovely bowers astounded those who were beholding it, and she saw don Jorge so dressed up and dashing strolling through it, all at once she thought of what she had promised. Unable to remain on her feet, overcome by a mortal faint, she let herself fall to the

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e ground, at which her husband and the others came to her, believing they were enchanted, judging by the prodigious things they were beholding. And taking her in his arms, as one who loved her tenderly, he quickly asked them to call the doctors, believing she was lifeless, an event her husband and sister witnessed with tears and cries over her death. At those screams many people came close who had gathered to see the garden in the little plaza, and among them don Jorge, who immediately imagined what must have happened, and joined the others in their emotional outcry. The lovely lady had been in this state for half an hour, during which time she was administered innumerable remedies, when her entire body trembled greatly, she came to, and seeing herself in the arms of her beloved husband, surrounded by people and among them don Jorge, crying bitterly and with loveliness, her eyes on Carlos, she began to address him thus: “Now, my lord, if you wish to have honor and wish your children to have it, and that my noble family not lose it but instead you give it to them, you must now take my life, not because I have offended you or them, but because I put a price on your honor and theirs without considering that it has no price. I would do this in imitation of Lucretia,5 and in such a way that I surpass even her, for if she killed herself after having committed the offense, I would die without committing it, only for having thought it. But I am a Christian, and it is not right that I lose my life blamelessly and I lose you, who are my life itself, [and] that I lose my soul that cost its creator so dearly.” This reasoning astonished Carlos more than everything else he saw, and so he asked her to tell him why she was saying those things and was crying with such emotion. Then Constanza, quieting down a bit, recounted publicly everything that had happened with don Jorge from the time he began to love her until

5. Lucretia, legendary heroine of ancient Rome, was a Renaissance model of the virtuous wife. She was the catalyst for the expulsion of the Etruscan kings and the establishment of the Roman Republic, the beautiful and chaste wife of the nobleman Lucius Tarquinius Collatinus. Sextus Tarquinius (known as Tarquin), the son of the tyrant Etruscan king of Rome, raped her, and she committed suicide because of her perceived shame, but only after she had exacted an oath of vengeance against the Tarquin family from her father and husband. Incited by the rhetoric of Brutus, a companion of Collatinus, the enraged populace rebelled against the Tarquins and drove them out in about 510 BCE and changed their form of government from a monarchy to a republic. Some scholars consider this old and widely reported story fictional; others argue that some aspects are confirmed by historical sources. See the entry by Sylvia Gray Kaplan in Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia, ed. Anne Commire (Waterford, CT: Yorkin, 2001), 9: 769–73.



One the present moment, adding, finally, that since she had asked something impossible of don Jorge and he had done it, although she knew not how, in that case there was no other solution than her death, with which, upon her husband killing her, as the person most offended, everything would end and don Jorge could have no complaint against her. When Carlos heard such a strange case, [he considered] that because of his wife he found himself so much increased in wealth, something that often tends to serve to brake men’s inclinations to inequality, for he who chooses a woman wealthier than himself buys not a woman but a wife, and in the same fashion, as Aristotle advises, when the woman brings no more estate than her virtue to the marriage, she procures with it and her humility the winning of her husband’s will.* And thus, more enamored of the lovely Constanza than he had ever been before, he said to her: “I cannot deny, my lady, that you acted badly in putting a price on that which has none, since a woman’s virtue and chastity cannot be purchased by anything in the world, for although you trusted in the impossible, you could have considered that there is nothing impossible for one who truly loves, and he or she will do the impossible to attain the prize of his love. But you are already paying for this blame with the anguish in which I see you; therefore I will neither take your life nor will I be a burden to you in the life you already have. The one who must die is Carlos whom, like a man doomed, fortune now desires to dash, weary of having raised him up. You promised to give to don Jorge the prize of his love if he made this garden. He has found a way to keep his word. There is no other solution here but for you to keep yours, since I, in doing this which you will now see, will not be an obstacle to your fulfilling your obligations, and to his enjoying the prize of so much love.” Saying this, he took out his sword and moved to thrust it into his breast, without considering that with such an act of desperation he would lose his soul, at the moment when don Jorge, fearing the very thing he wished to do, in a single leap was next to him and, grabbing the handle of the violent sword, said to him: “Stop, Carlos, stop.” He grabbed it firmly. Thus, in that position, he proceeded to tell everything that had happened to him with the devil until that moment, and continuing, said: “It is not right that I offend such a noble nature as yours in any way, for just seeing that you take your life so that I not die (for there is no crueler death for me than to deprive me of enjoying that which I so love and that cost me so dearly, since I have given my soul for it) has obliged me such that I would lose not one but a thousand lives so as not to offend you. Your

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e wife is now freed from her obligation, for I release her from her word. May Constanza enjoy Carlos and Carlos Constanza, for heaven created them in such consonance that he alone is the one who deserves her, and she is the one worthy to be his, and may don Jorge die, for he was born so unfortunate that not only has he lost his enjoyment of love, but the jewel that cost God’s death on the cross.” At these final words of don Jorge, the devil appeared with the document in his hand, and said, screaming: “You will not win out over me although you continue thus, for wherever a husband, trampling his pleasure and wishing to lose his life, conquers himself, permitting his wife to keep her word, and an insane lover, obliged by this, releases the promise that cost him no less than his soul, as in this document you see that he grants it to me, I cannot do less than they. And thus, so that the world may be astonished that there could be virtue in me, take this, don Jorge. Here is your document; I release you from your obligation, for I want no soul of one who knows how to conquer himself so well.” And so saying, he threw the document at him, and with a huge explosion disappeared and the garden with him, leaving in its place a thick and rank smoke that lingered a long time. At the noise it made, which was so great that the city seemed to be collapsing, Constanza and Teodosia, with their mother and the other women servants who had been absorbed and enthralled at the sight of the devil, came to their senses, and seeing don Jorge on his knees, with tears giving thanks to God for the mercy He had shown him in liberating him from such danger, believing that for secret reasons, reserved for only His Majesty, that case had transpired the way it did, [they] helped him by doing likewise. When don Jorge had finished his devout prayer, he turned to Constanza and said to her: “Now, lovely lady, I recognize how properly you have acted in protecting the decorum that befits the husband you have, and thus, so that he may live sure of me, since he is sure of you and has so many reasons to be so, after begging your pardon for the displeasure I have caused you and for having threatened your reputation with my importunate passion, I beg for what you offered me yesterday, desiring my well-being, and which I insanely scorned, which is the lovely Teodosia for my wife, for with this the noble Carlos will be assured of me, and this city will see your valor and virtue.” Upon hearing this, Constanza went with open arms to don Jorge, and throwing them around his neck, almost joined her lovely lips to the forehead of the discreet young man, who was able to attain by means of vir-



One tue that which he could not with love, saying: “I grant you this favor as a brother, the first one you have attained from me for the entire time you have loved me.” Everyone joined in the rejoicing, some with astonishment and others with congratulations. And that very day don Jorge and the lovely Teodosia were engaged, to the general contentment of all who came to hear this story. And the next day, for they did not wish to delay further, the solemn wedding was celebrated, with Carlos and Constanza standing as godparents. Many festivities were held in the city, celebrating the fortunate end to such entangled events, in which don Jorge and Carlos distinguished themselves, giving evidence of their gentility and gallantry, inspiring all to believe that the women who had deserved to have them as lords were fortunate indeed. They lived long years with their lovely children, without anyone ever knowing that don Jorge had been Federico’s killer until, after the death of don Jorge, Teodosia told of it, being the one who knew the story so well. Upon whom, when she died, they found written in her own hand this tale of wonder,6 leaving the laurel of authority as a reward to whoever could say which among these three did the most: Carlos, don Jorge, or the devil. May each person judge, if he [or she] wishes to win, for I wish to put an end to “The Deceitful Garden,” the title that the above-mentioned event gave to this tale of wonder.

The noble and discreet Laura finished her tale of wonder, and all of those ladies and gentlemen set to disputing who had done more, thereby to win the reputation of a discreet person, and because the beautiful Lisis had offered a jewel for the one who managed to do so. Each person stated an opinion: some held that it was the husband and others the lover, and all together that it was the devil, since he had never been known to behave well. Don Juan defended this opinion divinely, winning the promised jewel, with not a little jealousy on the part of don Diego, and the glory of Lisarda, to whom he handed it over on the spot, provoking no little displeasure in Lisis. They spent the greater part of the evening in this, for such a long time that since it was not an hour to put on a stage play, it was postponed by common accord until the Feast of the Circumcision, which was the first day of the year, when don Diego and the lovely Lisis were to be engaged. And thus they went to the tables that were set and dined with great pleasure, putting an end to the fifth night, and I to my decorous and entertaining soiree, 6. written , [ wonder, , as I have here told it, leaving

E x e m p l a r y Ta l e s o f L o v e promising, if it is accepted with the favor and pleasure I hope, a second part, and therein the punishment of don Juan’s ingratitude, Lisarda’s change of heart, and Lisis’s marriage. If, as I hope, my work is esteemed, and my desire acknowledged and praised, not my rude style, but rather the desire with which it was written.




1. Because the title of this volume is complex, common practice is to refer to is as the Desengaños amorosos (Tales of Disillusion). 2. Jaime Francisco Fernández de Híjar was named viceroy and captain general of the Kingdom of Aragon in 1625.



or the first day of the year was arranged, in the first part of my “Entertaining Soirée,”1 the wedding of the charming Lisis and the gallant don Diego, as fortunate for having deserved this luck as the lovely qualities* of the lady promised, and renewed festivities to celebrate them with greater acclaim. But when things are not granted by heaven, it serves people little to plan on them if God does not grant the same thing, as He who considers dispassionately what is good for us disposes according to His will and not ours, although we might feel He is doing the opposite. And thus, either due to some upset, as often happens at sumptuous banquets, or to Lisis’s sorrow for believing herself to be in the power of an unfamiliar lord,* and only to avenge herself of the disdain she believed don Juan had visited upon her by loving her cousin Lisarda, usurping all the glories of being his, badly paired with a master alien to her affections,* and being almost in the power of one she did not desire, she let herself surrender to such cruel desperation, chastising her divine eyes by exuding pearls, that the next day the lovely lady awoke with a mortal fever. And so disheartened and overcome by that fever was she that the doctors, not trusting that she would live, ordered the remedies for her soul before offering her others, ordering her to confess and receive the divine sacrament as the most cordial medicine, and then with their science they attempted to prepare the most important ones for her body, with which upsets and new worries the mentioned festivities ceased, and the happiness of the previous nights turned to laments and sadness of her noble mother and devoted women friends, who regretted her illness most tenderly. Don Diego was the one most disturbed, and that is no surprise, for

1. The reference is to the ending of her Novelas amorosas y ejemplares (Exemplary Tales of Love).



Tw o when he saw himself almost in possession of her beauty, he found himself fearful of losing it2 forever. The ungrateful don Juan was well aware that he was the cause of Lisis’s illness, since the coldness of his tepidity caused the lady’s greatest fever, and he regretted that the world might lack a star that gave it being—such was Lisis’s beauty and discretion—together with other virtues with which she was endowed. But he had surrendered so completely to the loveliness of Lisarda that he quickly found consolation for his anguish therein. And although many times he set out to caress her more, so as to revive her, and would visit her with this intention, since Lisarda never moved from her cousin’s side, when the devoted lover saw her [Lisarda], he did not recall his initial objective. Lisis’s illness worsened, and hope for her improved health waned in all, and more so in the discreet lady herself, the one who felt and knew most about its circumstances, [and] since at times she found herself already in the clutches of death and others (albeit few) with greater relief, her divine intelligence had the opportunity to formulate new plans in her soul, although she told no one about them, awaiting the right time to reveal the disposition of her desire, showing to don Diego and the rest of her family, at those times when she found herself in better condition, that she was modestly pleased at his attentions, with which she controlled all desire,3 and they, for their part, had desire only to see her recover her health. The illness continued for over a year, between lapses and relapses, during which time the only thing anyone thought about was to attend to the present concern, which left don Diego ailing with desperation, so much so that he wished Lisis to be his no matter how, to be sure of winning her. But if at any time he broached the topic, he found in the lady a pleasant anger and a modest resistance that obliged him to beg forgiveness for having insisted in that way. At this time, Lisis was brought a most beautiful slave, her face branded, although the S and nail that enameled her cheek did not stain her loveliness, but rather enhanced it.4 She was a Moor, and her name Zelima, of lively un-

2. The pronoun la here is ambiguous; one could read it as fear of losing either “her” (Lisis) or “it,” her beauty, which is a feminine noun. 3. As mentioned in the context of “The Judge of Her Own Case,” the ideal women of seventeenth-century Spanish showed no desire, only an “honest” or modest friendliness. 4. Slaves in Spain at this time came from India, the New World, and Africa and were common in the households of the nobility. To have a black slave required royal authorization. The practice of marking slaves using a brand in the form of an S with a nail run through it (ese [letter S] + clavo [nail]) may come from the Latin description of a slave as one lacking will (sine jure). See the articles of Kate Lowe, “The Stereotyping of Black Africans in Renaissance Europe,”

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n derstanding and multiple graces, such as reading, writing, singing, playing musical instruments, embroidering, and, above all, writing excellent poetry. An aunt of Lisis’s, her mother’s sister who lived in Valencia, made a present of her [Zelima] to Lisis, and although the fact that she was Moorish could have tainted the esteem in which such an article was held, this disagreeableness was reduced by the fact that she wanted to become Christian.5 Lisis was so happy with this lovely Moor that, enjoying her abilities and pleasing ways, she almost forgot her illness, acquiring such love for her that it was not like that of mistress and slave but rather that of two beloved sisters. Zelima knew well how to win and attract Lisis’s affections, and Lisis knew how to repay her by loving her so that she was almost never apart from her. Zelima entertained her lady by displaying her abilities, either singing and playing music or reciting poetry, and other times telling her things about Algiers, her homeland. And although many times Lisis saw that she was distracted and so transported elsewhere that, without realizing it, tears fell from her divine eyes, Lisis believed that it must have been memories of her homeland, and once when she asked the reason, the discreet Zelima responded thus: “When the time is right, my lady, you will know, and it will astound you.” With this, Lisis did not importune further. Lisis recovered, Lisis convalesced, and the sun of her beauty acquired new rays, and scarcely did don Diego see her with perfect health than he returned once more to his suit, speaking to Laura and asking that she keep her promise to give him Lisis as his wife. The discreet lady communicated don Diego’s proposal to her lovely daughter, and the wise lady gave her mother the answer that one would expect from her obedient behavior, adding that, since the happy days of Carnival were approaching, and during them her wedding would be celeJeremy Lawrance, “Black African Slaves in Renaissance Spanish Literature,” and Aurelia Martin Casares, “Free and Freed Blacks: Africans in the Time of the Spanish Renaissance,” in Black Africans in Renaissance Europe, ed. T. F. Earle and K. J. P. Lowe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004). The last article also treats Moorish slaves, long the majority in Spain. Yllera notes that this brand on the face of a slave was common (Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto [Desengaños amorosos], 117 n. 2). As observed in reference to “The Deceitful Garden,” the lexicon of slavery was frequently used in the literature of this period to intensify the expression of service, not servitude. Zelima’s status as a slave clashes with her cultured grace and education, which mark her as someone brought up to be served rather than to be in servitude, much less a slave. 5. In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabel conquered Granada, the last Muslim kingdom in Spain. Thereafter, Muslims native to Spain were called mudéjares. Mudéjares who chose to remain in Castile were forcibly baptized from 1501 to 1502; those in Aragon, from 1521 to 1528. (Thanks to Ben Ehlers for this information.) The desire of non-Catholic characters to convert to Catholicism was a trait of mimetic superiority in literature of this period.



Tw o brated, her pleasure was to hold another entertaining recreation like the last one, beginning on Sunday, in order to announce her engagement on the last day, and she gave her mother permission to prepare it all. Her mother was very happy with the entertainment that Lisis wanted to have. Given the authority to arrange it, she prepared it thus: in the first place, it had to be ladies who told the tales (and in this she coincided with men’s opinion, since they always find women to be gossips); and in the second, that the stories told be true cases and that they be called tales of disillusion (and in this I do not know if she satisfied them [men] because since they always contrive to deceive them [women], it pains them [men] greatly for them to be disillusioned). Lisis’s aspiration was to restore the reputation of women, so prostrate and beaten down by their bad judgment that there is scarcely a soul who speaks well of them. And since men are the ones who preside over everything, they never recount the bad deeds they do, but rather the ones done to them; and if they look carefully, the fault is men’s, and women follow along behind their opinions, thinking that they do well to do so; for it is certain that there would be no bad women were there no bad men. I speak not to those who are not this way, for just as the false, inconstant, fickle, and ill-reputed woman is not to be called a woman but rather a wild beast, so I reprehend not the sane, well-intentioned man who knows, in the midst of vice itself, how to take recourse in the virtue and nobility to which he is obliged; but rather I speak to those who, having forgotten their obligations, do otherwise than that which is just; such men will not be called men but monsters, and if they all are thus, I speak to them all, advising that the women of whom I will speak in this book are not of the common sort—who have being common as their profession and livelihood, for those women are vermin—but rather of those undeserving of misfortunes. Zelima had asked Lisis the favor of being the one to sing the songs that were to accompany the tales—which delighted Lisis because it excused her from that responsibility—and that she be the first person to tell a tale of disillusion. And Lisis, supposing that the request was not coincidental, approved it, and thus named Zelima for the first evening, and after her, her cousin Lisarda, then Nise, and after her, Filis. For the second night she put her mother first; second, Matilde, and third and fourth, doña Luisa and doña Francisca, two sisters who had moved into their building not long ago,6 the first a widow and the other a maiden, lovely, intelligent young women. And the third night she assigned doña Estefanía to be first; this woman was a 6. On urban dwellings during this period, see Exemplary Tales of Love, introduction, n. 3.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n cousin of hers, a nun, who had permission to leave her convent to recover from a dangerous quartan fever* and, having recovered by then, was awaiting nothing but Lisis’s wedding to return there. And she [Lisis] took it upon herself to tell the final tale of disillusion, so there would be time for her engagement celebration. With this arranged, she invited all the gentlemen and ladies named in the first part, and many more who came after, having heard about the event from one another. At this, the license was requested from the papal nuncio for the engagement to take place without banns, either for the purpose of greater secrecy, or to be grander (since people’s taste now runs against custom, seeking out more modern practice, which pleases greatly).7 Musicians were hired and the rooms were covered in rich tapestries, sumptuous estrados,* remarkable lap desks,8 showy chairs and stools, readied braziers, as much good lighting as diverse and scented censers, bright and shining lanterns, many candles, and above all delicious and costly meals, with friend chocolate in full attendance (for it is found in everything, like bad luck).9 Everything [was] so well put together that the lovely room seemed like nothing if not an abbreviated heaven, and more so when so many hierarchies of seraphim began to fill it, with the divine Lisis exceeding them all, dressed in black with many buttons of gold; and although the lady was not prettier than all the other women, she exceeded them in poise and understanding. [Finally] all were settled in their places, without the lack of ungrateful don Juan and fortunate don Diego, and all the men unhappy over the fact that, since they had not been allowed to tell any of the tales, they could not manifest their intentions.10 And perhaps those who write [have] a desire to have the opportunity to avenge themselves, as if it mattered a whit to me, for I do not take away the understanding that God gave them, by having my own; as if writing this were somehow a presumption11 and not entertain7. The papal nuncio is the pope’s representative outside of Rome. Banns are a public pronouncement of a couple’s intention to marry. In seventeenth-century Spain, banns were posted a minimum of three days before the engagement was considered official, so as to give anyone who might have reason to impede the union the opportunity to present himself or herself. Portions of large estates changed hands in the bride’s dowry, and banns provided anyone with a stake in those resources to come forth. 8. See “The Judge of Her Own Case,” n. 11 and fig. 5. 9. The first shipments of cacao from Mexico arrived in Spain in 1527. By the early seventeenth century, the stimulating drink had become a costly staple of courtly life. 10. This sentence, lacking a subject and verb, is ungrammatical in Spanish. 11. “Presumption” in Spanish could mean both presumptuousness and a form of suspicion based on circumstantial evidence that could be used as evidence by a judge deciding a case, according to the DA. As Rabell has shown, forensic discourse is crucial in the language and



Tw o ment. And the ladies [were] happy for the opportunity to seek satisfaction for as many offenses as men commit in judging women badly and believing them all to be the same. Zelima, who was next to Lisis, arose and, bowing courteously and humbly (having forewarned the musicians of what they were to do, as the one in charge of the music), entered into a room, and the musicians opened the festivities with this ballad:* Lying little shepherd, who to the mountains of Toledo took my happiness and left me with jealousy, master of whom I am a slave, and in whom my captive thoughts recognize dominion out of a confrontation of the stars, divinity at whose altars, sacrificed in desires, my soul, a humble victim, is a holocaust and incense,12 what lucky woman is entertaining you for, failing to abide by our agreed-upon time, you consent to my eyes being bathed in tender sobs? If the rigors of separation did their work in your breast, you would neither be without me, nor would I be with them [the rigors of separation]. If when you took your leave I silenced the pain that I suffer, although not so as not to feel it, [it was] so that you would be content.13 And with this assurance, ignoring my torments,

thematics of seventeenth-century fiction in Spain. Carmen R. Rabell, Rewriting the Italian Novella in Counter-Reformation Spain (Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Tamesis, 2003). 12. This hyperbolic sacrificial language, which may seem exaggerated to modern readers, was typical of Zayas’s day. 13. The idea here is that the narrator’s lover would be content were she to abandon her affection for him, since he no longer cares for her. She, being a perfect lover, sustains her devotion to him regardless.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n you lengthen the reins of separation thinking that I feel it not. Look at yourself once more in the eyes that you often call mirrors, and you will see them, because of you, turned to abundantly flowing springs. Turn back, and you will see that the hours I call eternal centuries, the days, eternities: such is my anguish. Perhaps you will cease the favors which, being happy without me, you give to the one who detains you, favors granted behind my back. For, given how you are without me, I can call my happiness a redeemable annuity,14 since you take it from me so quickly. Jealousy is burning up my soul, woe is me! Heavens, give me strength, give water quickly, eyes of mine, for you see that the flames are rising. But it is a fire of tar, this one in which I am burning, for the flame comes more to life the more water I pour on it. Some say that jealousy is the ice of love, but in me it has come to be a burning Mongibello.15 For what do I desire life? For what do I seek repose? O shepherds of the Tajo,16 not angels but rather hell! 14. A censo al quitar was a redeemable annuity on property, as opposed to a censo perpetuo that could not be alienated from the property (DA). 15. Mongibello is the poetic name of Mount Etna, meaning “inferno.” 16. The Tajo river flows through Spain and Portugal and is synonymous with the region of Toledo in early modern poetry. Through the references to Toledo and to Salicio, Zayas evokes the “First Eclogue” of Spain’s premier Renaissance poet, Garcilaso de la Vega, who hailed from Toledo. In that eclogue, Salicio is a shepherd who mourns the loss of his beloved.



Tw o Take care, for Salicio is mine, I live in him and for him I die, and to take him from me is to remove my soul from my sad body. You enjoy with violence that life that I possess, for his favors are the only goods I have. O God, to whom do I complain, or to whom do I offer these tears, if my ungrateful Salicio is so far away. I sad and he content, he enjoying other pleasures and I jealous, for I am immortal Isolde, since this deadly venom17 does not finish me off. The listeners found the ballad long, but since they knew nothing of Zelima’s intention it was not really so, because she had arranged it thus on purpose so as to provide the chance to do what will now be reported; aside from which musicians in books are more merciful than those in the salons of lords and ladies, who cut the poetry short, eliminate its very being, and leave it without head or tail. When the final notes of the last verses were sounding, Zelima came out of the room in such a different dress than the one in which she had entered it that everyone was astounded. She was wearing a blouse of transparent cambric,* with wide bobbin-and-needle lace,18 sleeves that were very wide at the hand, a skirt of lamé* in blue and silver flowers with three or four shiny adornments that blinded in their brilliance, so short [the skirt] that it scarcely reached her ankles, and on her feet she wore sandals with many showy ties and silk ribbons; over this a tunic or vest of another light, colorful fabric of blue and silver, and tied at her shoulder a haik of the same fabric.19 She wore a tunic with sleeves so wide that they were the same as those

17. Yllera observes that the “deadly venom” is love (Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto [Desengaños amorosos], 122 n. 13). In the medieval romance of Tristan and Isolde, Tristan, nephew of King Mark of Cornwall, and Isolde, the king’s Irish bride, unknowingly drink a love potion intended to seal the devotion of Isolde and Mark, and are thereby doomed. 18. Needle lace, made by working with a single thread and a needle, differs from bobbin lace, which is made with many threads that are knotted into patterns. For an illustration of bobbin lace, see fig. 2. 19. A haik is any loose-fitting garment made from a rectangle of cloth and wrapped around the head or body.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n of her blouse, showing her white and shapely arms with costly bangles or bracelets; her long, wavy, and lovely locks, which were neither gold nor ebony but rather a chestnut blonde color, fell over her shoulders, passing her waist by a yard, and gathered at her forehead with a ribbon or small clasp of diamonds; and then pinned to the middle of her head she wore a blue and silver veil that completely covered her; the beauty, poise, majesty of her graceful and even steps seemed like those of a princess of Algiers, a queen of Fez or Morocco, or a sultana of Constantinople. The ladies and gentlemen were astounded at the sight of her, and the lovely Lisis most of all, and more so with the adornments she had never seen, and she could not place her slave’s disguise and thus did nothing but stay silent and be amazed (as were all) at such a deity because she saw in her a nymph or goddess of ancient tales. Zelima walked to the estrado, leaving the ladies very envious of her complete and lovely beauty, and the gallants surrendered to her, for there were more than two who, with the brand on her face, without paying attention to it, made her the lady and possessor of their persons and estates, and even judged themselves unworthy of deserving such. Zelima bowed to the public and again to her lady Lisis, and sat upon two pillows in the middle of the estrado, the arranged spot for the one telling the tale of disillusion. And turning to Lisis, she spoke thus: “You commanded me, my lady, to tell a tale of disillusion tonight, so that the ladies may be advised of the deceits and precautions of men in order that they may reclaim their reputation in these times when it is so lost to them, for at no time do people speak or feel well about them, having as their major entertainment speaking badly of them, for no piece of theater is staged, no book published that is not all an offense against women, without excepting a single one. And although they [men] are not completely to blame, for if, as they seek out bad women for their pleasure (and these women can give no more than what they have), they were to seek out good women to admire and praise, they would find them honorable, of sound judgment, firm and true; but such is our misfortune and the evil age we have reached that they treat these last the worst. And the fact is that since the other women don’t need20 them for any longer than they need them [men], before they [men] have time to treat them [the bad women] badly, they [the bad women] throw ashes in their [men’s] faces.

20. In Spanish, the meaning of this sentence is merely difficult to ascertain, whereas in English the lack of gendered subject pronouns makes it not only difficult but also extremely awkward. We have replaced the ungendered “them” with “men” and “(bad) women” to make it less awkward and difficult.



Tw o I could cite many tales of disillusion to support this idea of the old and new disgraces visited upon women by men. I wish to pass over them in silence and tell you the unfortunate events of my story so that, taking example in me, there may not be so many women lost and so few forewarned. And because what I will tell is the very act of repression itself, I speak thus.

H E R L O V E R ’ S S L AV E


y name is doña Isabel Fajardo, not Zelima; nor am I Moorish as you think, but Christian, daughter of Catholic parents who are among the most prominent citizens of Murcia. This brand you see on my face is but a shadow of the one that a man’s ungratefulness put on my character and my reputation. And to convince you, behold the brand removed. Would that I could so remove that left on my soul by my bad luck and little prudence.” And saying this, she removed the brand and cast it far from her, leaving the clear crystal of her divine face without blemish, shadow, or darkness, that sun revealing the splendors of her unclouded beauty.1 And those listening breathlessly clung to her words so as not to lose sight of her, for she seemed like an angel who could simply disappear. And in the end, the imaginations of the most enamored gallants and the most envious ladies raced to determine whether she looked better with or without the brand on her face, and they were almost sorry to see her without it since the whole business seemed easier with it on.2 And Lisis, even sorrier since she loved Isabel with such tenderness, let tears fall from her eyes, but gathered them in her beautiful hands so she did not distract Isabel. With this, the lovely doña Isabel

1. As Zelima’s final touch in her reinstatement of herself as Isabel, she tears the brand—immediately revealed as merely part of her costume of repression—off her face and casts it away. Presumably made of papier-mâché, common in the fabrication of costumes during this period, it was evidently held on her face with some type of adhesive. 2. The Spanish literally says, “because the emblem seemed easier [to interpret] that way.” Emblems, images with maxims beneath them, were a genre of symbolic art much in vogue during the baroque period. Isabel’s face would have been an emblem that posed problems of interpretation, particularly as regards sexual access: a slave would have been available for male consumption, whereas a noblewoman would not.



Tw o proceeded to speak, seeing that all were quiet and noting the suspense of each listener individually instead of their collective apprehension.

I was the only child born to my parents’ house, the better to be the sole ruin of it: beautiful, as you see; noble, as I have said; wealthy, with sufficient riches to give me a noble husband, had I been prudent or had I not been wretched. I was brought up until age twelve amidst my parents’ caresses and generosity, endowments that of course were many, since they had no other child from their marriage, and I was taught the most important things befitting my station. By this I mean, aside from the virtues that make a virtuous Christian, the respectable skills of reading, writing, playing musical instruments, and dancing, as well as everything else appropriate for a person of my talents and all those things with which parents wish to see their daughters enriched, and more so mine, for, since they had no other daughter, they excelled in these extremes. I was unmatched in everything, and forgive me if I praise myself, for since I have no other witness, on such an occasion it is not fair to overlook my accomplishments. I repaid my parents well, but I paid yet more. I was able in everything, most of all in writing poetry, at which Murcia was amazed, and I was the envy of those who were not as talented in such endeavors. For there are some ignoramuses who are consumed by the achievements of others, as if women’s intelligence made others less intelligent. Barbarian fool! If you know how to write verse, then do it, for no one can steal your talents. If poems that are not yours are good, especially if they are by a woman, reverence and praise them; and if they are bad, forgive her, taking into consideration that she has no more resources, and that a writing woman is worthier of applause than a man, for she adorns her writing with less artifice than he. When I turned fourteen, so many suitors had presented themselves to my father on my behalf that he finally got angry and told them they should let me grow up. But since, as they used to say, they idolized my beauty, they could not help but bother him with their petitions. Among the most overcome by his suit was a gentleman named don Felipe, slightly older than I and as endowed with qualities,* gentility, and nobility as he was dispossessed of Fortune’s benefits, such that it seemed that she, out of envy for the grace that heaven had given him, had denied him hers. He was, in fact, poor, and so poor that he was unknown in the city, a misfortune endured by many. He was the suitor who tried the hardest, with sighs and tears, to win me over, but I went along with what everyone else thought, and since the servants at my house noticed that I was not very captivated by him, none of them ever heard him, nor did I ever gaze at him, which sufficed for him to be little recognized on another occasion. Would to heaven that I had

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n looked favorably upon him, or that heaven had intervened, so that I would not have suffered the misfortunes I now lament; he would have known how to avoid some of them, but since he was poor, how could my presumption look upon him? In fact, I had wealth enough for us both, but I looked upon him in such a way that I could never give a description of his face, until I found myself mired in disgrace. The rebellion of Catalonia took place at this time, as a punishment for our sins, or for mine alone, for although those losses have been great, mine is the greater: those who died in this event earned eternal fame, and I, who remain alive, won disgraceful infamy.3 Word spread around Murcia that His Majesty (may God protect him) was going to the distinguished and loyal Kingdom of Aragon, in order to be present in these civil wars. And my father, who had spent most of his youth serving his king, realized how important men of his worth were to His Majesty and determined to go to serve him, so that the king might reward him for past and present services, as would a grateful Catholic king. And with that he arranged his trip, which brought tender sorrow to my mother and to me, as well as my father; so much so that, implored by my mother and myself, he arranged to take us with him, which turned our sorrow to joy, and more so for me because, being a young girl, I wanted to see distant lands, or rather feel the effects of my unlucky fate, which was guiding me to perdition; thus I went happily. Our departure was prepared with what little we arranged to take with us so as to display my father’s prestige and show that he was a descendent of the venerable Fajardo family of that kingdom. We left Murcia, and my absence left behind a collective and particular sadness in that kingdom, on whose occasion all the most divine intellects commemorated the lack that my departure made felt in that realm. We arrived in the most noble and sumptuous city of Zaragoza, and once we were settled into one of its most important houses4 and had rested from the trip, I went out to look around, saw, and was seen.5 But my perdition did not come about because of that, for the fire was inside my house,

3. Catalans call the uprising of 1640 the beginning of the War of the Reapers (Guerra dels Segadors). The war resulted from attempts on the part of Catalans to annex Catalonia to France in response to the conflict between Catalan natives and Philip IV’s troops, dispatched to Barcelona for the Spanish war with France. When the war ended in 1652, Barcelona surrendered to the Spanish king, and Catalonia lost Rosselló and part of La Cerdanya in the Treaty of the Pyrenees between Spain and France (1659). 4. See Exemplary Tales of Love, introduction, n. 3, on space in urban residences. 5. During this period, respectable women remained indoors except to go to church. See the “Tenth Tale of Disillusion,” in which don Gaspar describes his frustrated attempts to gain access to Florentina.



Tw o since my misfortune had seen me without my even going out. And as if this noble city were lacking in beauties—since there are so many that scarcely are there either pens or eloquence sufficient to praise them, and in fact since they are so numerous they inspire envy in other kingdoms—people began to exaggerate my beauty, as if they had never seen another. I do not know whether it is as great as they said; I know only that it was what sufficed to ruin me, but, as the common folk say, “novelty pleases.” Oh, would that I hadn’t had that beauty so as to avoid such fortunes! My father spoke to His Majesty who, being informed that my father had been such a fine soldier in the war and that his spirit and valor were undiminished, and [of] the good account he had always given of what was entrusted to him, ordered him to lead an infantry regiment as the field master, honoring him with the habit of Calatrava.6 And so, things being thus, it was necessary to go there and send to Murcia for all of our belongings that could be brought, leaving the rest in charge of my father’s noble family there. A widow was the mistress of the house in which we lived, an important woman and moderately rich, who had a son and a daughter; he, young and gallant and well spoken, were he not a lying traitor, named don Manuel. I do not want to give his last name, for it is best to keep it silent, since he did not know how to live up to it. Oh, at what cost to me have I gained all this experience! Oh, weak-minded women!7 If only you knew, individually and collectively, what you set yourselves up for on the day you allow yourselves to surrender to the false caresses of men, and how you would better have been born without ears and without eyes than do so; or, if your deceptions may be undone by my example, see that you are going to lose more than you will win! The daughter, whose name was doña Eufrasia, was young and moderately beautiful, and engaged to marry a cousin who was in the Indies, and they were waiting for his return to celebrate their nuptials when the first fleet arrived. She and I came to love each other, as did her mother and mine, so that day and night we never separated, for if it wasn’t to close our eyes 6. The military Order of Calatrava was founded in the twelfth century in Spain by a group of Cistercian monks. It is one of Spain’s four great papal militias (the Order of Santiago, mentioned in “The Judge of Her Own Case,” is another), and was subsumed by the Spanish monarch in the sixteenth century. In 1540, the order’s vows were changed to allow members to marry. Highly prestigious, membership in the group was controlled by the king. 7. Fácil, a word Zayas uses often, literally means “easy” and is often translated as “loose,” which has negative sexual connotations, as it does in English. However, it means someone who changes his or her mind without due reflection, and Covarrubias uses it to define a man: “an inconstant man, he who is little constant in his opinion and voice, such that anyone can change his mind.”

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n in sleep, we were never apart, and either I was in her room or she in mine. There is no better way to put it than to say that the city celebrated us with the name of “the two friends.”8 And in the same fashion did don Manuel come to love me, or to deceive me, for it is all the same thing. At first, I was surprised and resisted his pretensions and importunities, taking them as effrontery against my character and reputation; so much so that to cut them off I would excuse myself and refuse his sister’s friendship, not going to see her in her room all those times I could without causing a scandal. Don Manuel protested much about this, walking around so clearly melancholy and in despair that once in a while he moved me to pity when I saw that my harshness was affecting his health. I didn’t regard don Manuel badly (the times I could look at him without his realizing it) and, given that I had to have a lord,* I would have liked him to have been the lucky one. But oh! he had something else in mind, because [although] there were so many suitors who pretended to this position, he never opposed their pretensions, and my father was so weakened with love for me that even had don Manuel attempted it, he would not have been admitted, because there were others of greater qualities than he, although don Manuel had many, nor would I have failed to abide by my father’s desire for anything in the world. Love had not yet had any luck in assaulting my freedom; but instead I believe that, offended by that freedom, it brought about the ruin that cost me so much pain. Don Manuel had not had the chance to explain his intentions to me more than with his eyes and a band around his heart,9 because I never gave him the chance. Until one afternoon, when I was with his sister in her room, he emerged with an instrument from his quarters, which were at the entrance to hers. And, seating himself right there on the estrado* with us, doña Eufrasia asked him to sing something, and when he resisted, I enjoined him as well, so as not to seem rude. And he, who wanted nothing else, sang a sonnet, which I will recite with the others that arise in my long story, provided it does not tire you.

8. The theme of the two friends was common in early modern storytelling, although it usually referred to male friends. See Diana de Armas Wilson, “ ‘Passing the Love of Women’: The Intertextuality of ‘El curioso impertinente,’ ” Cervantes 7 (1987): 9–28. Zayas consistently represents a noblewoman’s ability to establish intimate relationships with other noblewomen as highly admirable. 9. The Spanish, “descansos de corazón,” is enigmatic. Descanso means “sling,” and the context suggests a symbolic article of adornment that represents a broken heart. The DA includes an interesting definition that may be appropriate here: “certain womanish adornment worn in ancient times.” Boyer translates “reticence” (Zayas, Disenchantments of Love, 47).



Tw o Speaking for all, Lisis begged her to do so and said it would give them notable pleasure, stating: “What could you possibly say, lady doña Isabel, that would not be very pleasing to us who are listening? And so, on behalf of these ladies and gentlemen, I beg you not to omit anything that happened in your prodigious story, because, should you do otherwise, we would be greatly disappointed.” “Then with this permission,” replied doña Isabel, “I say that don Manuel sang this sonnet, calling attention to the fact that he and I used to call each other Belisa and Salicio.” To a deluge the earth condemned, completely drowning in her displeasures, her eyes were rivers overflowed because the clouds already form an angry sea. Sweet Philomela10 hidden, since she sees not the red rays of the sun, pays him tribute, not in spoils, for finding herself inconsolable without his light. Procne laments, the nightingale sings not, the flowers are without beauty and scent and with all in sadness thus, with such light that frightens the sun itself, all charm, discretion, and love, Belisa emerged and all grew calm. As he finished singing, he threw the instrument onto the estrado, saying: “What do I care if the sun of Belisa emerges in the east to bring happiness to all who see her, if for me it is ever transformed into an unhappy sunset?” As he spoke, a kind of faint came upon him, so that, his mother and brother and servants being upset, he had to be carried to his bed and I had to retire to my room, I do not know whether happy or sad. I can only assure you that I was aware of being confused and decided not to put myself in the way of his rash behavior. If this intention had but lasted, I would have done well; but love was finding its way in my heart, and I was encouraging my own ingratitude to myself and all the more when I found out, two days 10. In Greek mythology, Philomela was raped by her sister’s husband, who then cut out her tongue to keep her from revealing what he had done. When her sister, Procne, discovered the truth, she killed her son and fed him to her husband, then fled with Philomela. To avoid their capture by the enraged man, the gods turned Philomela into a swallow and Procne into a nightingale.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n later, that don Manuel had had a sudden spell that had put the doctors on edge. Still, I didn’t see doña Eufrasia until the next day, pretending to know nothing about it, and feigning the need to attend to some correspondence from home, until doña Eufrasia, who had not had the opportunity to do so until then since she was attending to her brother, left him resting and came to my room, complaining greatly of my carelessness and suspicious friendship. I excused myself of that, seeming to be surprised and quite sorry about her displeasure. Finally, accompanied by my mother, I had to go see him that afternoon, and because I was sure his illness had its origins in my disdain, I tried to return him to the health my behavior had taken from him, being more affectionate and agreeable with light remarks and jokes, which caused several effects in don Manual: sometimes happiness, sometimes sadness, to which I was more attentive than before, although I was careful not to let it show. The hour to take our leave arrived, and when my mother and I went to make the proper courtesies and reinforce them with desires for his health— things one always says to those who are ill—he put a piece of paper in my hand so unexpectedly that, whether because I was so taken aback at his daring or worried that my mother and his would see, for they were close by, I could do nothing except hide it. And as soon as I reached my rooms, I entered my chamber and, sitting on my bed, took out the deceitful paper to rip it to shreds without reading it. And just when I was about to do that, I was called away because my father had arrived and I had to suspend its punishment for the time being. And there was no opportunity to execute its fate until I got ready for bed, and once the maid who dressed and undressed me (to whom I was very attached since we had grown up together) had disrobed me, I remembered the paper and asked her for it, requesting that she bring over the lamp as well, to burn the letter in it. The conniving Claudia, for this was her name, and well I can call her conniving since she was also predisposed against me and in favor of the ungrateful and unfamiliar don Manuel, said: “And perchance has this poor letter committed any act, my lady, contrary to the faith, to make you wish to impose such a severe punishment on it?11 For if such is the case, it would not have done so out of malice, but rather innocence, for I understand that it more overflows with faith than lacks it.” 11. The lexicon of this passage plays with the discourse of the Inquisition, particularly the practice of burning unrepentant heretics, as well as the word fe, meaning religious and amorous faith.



Tw o “It is committing an act against my honor as a whole,” I said, “and so that there may be no more accomplices, it is best that this one perish.” “But who condemns anyone without listening to that person first?” replied Claudia. “For, the way I see it, this one is as uncorrupted as it was the day is was born. Hear it, I beseech you, and then, if it deserves punishment, you will doom it, and more so if it is as unfortunate as its master.” “Do you know who wrote it?” I responded to her again. “Who else can it be, if it is anonymous, than the unrequited don Manuel, who is in the state he is because of you, without pleasure or health, two illnesses which, were he not unfortunate, would have killed him already?12 But even death runs from those who are thus.” “You sound like someone who has been bribed, since you argue on his behalf with such mercy.” “I am not, for certain,” responded Claudia, “but touched, and would hit the mark better were I to say I felt wounded.” “But how do you know that all these pains on which you take such pity are for me?” “I will tell you,” said the astute Claudia. “This morning your mother sent me to find out how he was, and the sad gentleman saw the sky open when he saw me; he told me of his pains, blaming all of them on your disdain, and with so many tears and sighs that I was obliged to feel them as if they were my own, solemnizing his sighs with mine and joining his tears with mine.” “You are too soft, Claudia,” I replied; “you believe men on the spot. Were you his beloved, you would console him quickly.” “And so quickly,” said Claudia, “that he would be healthy and happy already. He told me something else, that as soon as he can get up, he will go where news of him will not reach your cruel eyes and ungrateful ears.” “Would that he were better already, so he could do so,” I said. “Oh, my lady!” responded Claudia, “is it possible that such a cruel soul resides in such a lovely body as yours? Do not be so, for God’s sake; gone are the days when roving women with hearts of diamond left their knights to die without taking pity on them.13 You have to marry, for your parents are protecting you for that status; since this is the case, what does don Manuel lack that you would not be pleased to have him as your husband?”

12. The concept here is courtly: dying would be better than living without pleasure and health. 13. Caballero in Spanish means either gentleman or knight; we have translated it as knight here, since roving hard-hearted women were a regular feature of chivalric romance in the mode of Amadis of Gaul or Tirant lo blanc.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n “Claudia,” I said, “if don Manuel were as much in love as you say, and had such chaste thoughts, he would have already asked for my hand from my father. And since he has not done so, but instead seeks proof that I respond to his love, either to deceive me, or to see my weakness, do not talk to me any more about him, for it greatly infuriates me.” “The same things you are saying,” responded Claudia, “I said to him myself, and he replied asking how could he dare to ask for your hand without knowing what you wanted, since it could be that although your father might approve, you would not.” “My father’s pleasure will be my own,” I said. “Now, lady,” Claudia continued, “let us read the letter, since whether we read it or not makes no difference, given that all else is under the control of heaven.” My heart was now softer than wax, for while Claudia was saying this, I had been running some things through my mind, and all in support of what my maid was telling me, and in favor of don Manuel. But so as not to give her the opportunity to be even more daring, since I was convinced that she was more on the opposite side than mine, after I ordered her not to say another word about it, nor to go see don Manuel, I insisted on burning the paper and she on defending it, until, since I wanted what she did, I opened it, warning her first that don Manuel should know nothing except that I had ripped it up without reading it. She promised, and I saw that it read thus: I do not know, ungrateful lady of mine, of what your heart is made, for were it of diamond, my tears would have softened it by now. But instead, without considering the risks to me, you harden it every day. If I desired you for anything less than to be lord of my person and all that is mine, your cruelty would perhaps have some excuse, but given that your pleasure is that I die without succor, I promise to give you that pleasure, absenting myself from the world and from your ungrateful eyes, as you will see when I rise from this bed, and perhaps then you will regret not having admitted my suit. The letter said nothing else. But what else was there to say? God save us from a well-timed letter; it bears fruit where there is none to be borne, and disposes the will to love even without the aid of sight. Consider my deplorable state, who now had not only looked at Manuel himself, but at his merits as a whole and one by one. Oh, deceitful lover, oh, false gentleman, oh, executioner of my innocence! And oh, weak and ill-advised ladies, who let yourselves be won



Tw o over by well-dressed lies, whose gilding endures no longer than appetite! Oh, disillusion, which, once experienced, allows no woman to be deceived! Oh, men! Why, since you are made of the same substance and structures as women, and our soul has no more than yours, do you treat us as if we were made of another material, unencumbered by the obligations for all the benefits you reap from us from the minute you are born until you die? For, were you grateful for what you receive from your mothers, you would esteem and reverence other women for their sake. Now, now, do I see this, at my own expense, this fact that you carry no other banner than to pursue our innocence, affront our understanding, knock down our fortress, and, rendering us vile and common, exalt yourselves with the empire of immortal fame. Let ladies open the eyes of their understanding and not let themselves be won over by the one from whom they can fear the payback that I got, creating the need for these stories of disillusion to be told here and now, to see if through my experience women can recover their lost reputations and not give men the chance to brag about their feats, or deceive them, or take advantage of their weakness and damned interests, by means of which they deceive so many that, rather than being loved, women are abhorred, vilified, and vituperated. Once again I ordered Claudia, and as I did so, begged her, not to let don Manuel know that I had read his letter, nor to reveal what had taken place between us.14 She promised once again and left at that, leaving me distracted by thoughts so numerous and confused that I hated myself for having them. Now I loved, now I was sorry for it; now I was again compassionate, now I felt better. Finally, irate, I decided not to favor don Manuel in any way that would encourage his daring behavior; but neither would I disdain him so that he would feel obliged to commit some act of desperation. Thus determined, I returned to continue my friendship with doña Eufrasia, and saw her as often as I had enjoyed doing so before. If she called me sisterin-law, if indeed it did not bother me to hear her say it, I was more receptive to don Manuel, and although I failed to respond in a way that pleased him, at least I did not reject him when he declared his love overtly. I favored him most by telling him that he should ask for my hand from my father, and assured him of my will that he do so. But because the traitor had other intentions, he never carried that out.15 The happy time of Carnival arrived, so celebrated everywhere, and more 14. This is a feminine “us” referring to Claudia and herself. 15. The phrase Zayas uses here, “poner en ejecución,” has legal implications regarding the sale and transfer of property.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n so in that city, for people talk about the “Carnival celebrations of Zaragoza” to single them out.16 We were all enjoying parties and delights, without noticing each other’s improprieties or proprieties. Well, it happened that, as I went late one afternoon to doña Eufrasia’s room to put on my disguise with her for a masque* we had prepared, and while she and her servants and other friends were busy in her rooms with the preparations, her traitorous brother, who must have been waiting for this opportunity, stopped me at the door of his room which, as I have said, was at the entrance to his mother’s apartment, welcoming me as he had always done, courteously. I was off guard, or, better said, uncertain of whether he would proceed to greater improprieties, which had already reached the point where he had me by the hand, and seeing that I was not paying attention, he pulled on me, and, my strength serving for nothing, drew me inside, locking the door with the key.17 I do not know what happened to me, because the shock deprived me of consciousness with a mortal faint.18 Oh, feminine weakness of women, made cowards from infancy, their powers vilified by first being taught to do pulled work rather than playing at arms! Oh, would that I had never recovered consciousness but had gone straight from the arms of that evil gentleman to my grave! However, my sad fate was holding out more misfortune, if there can be any greater. For after little more than half an hour, I came to and found myself—no, that is not what I mean—I did not find myself, for I found myself lost, and so lost that I did not know how to find myself, nor will I ever be able to recover myself; and this affront, which in another woman might have provoked tears and 16. In the Catholic calendar, Carnival celebrations take place during the three days before Lent, a period of strict control and penance. 17. The English occludes a double entendre available in the Spanish: Me entró dentro means not only “he drew me inside [the room]” but also “he entered me”; the key has obvious phallic significance, and the locked door symbolizes the irrevocable loss of virginity. Frank P. Casa makes the important observation that rape during this period was less a psychological offense against an individual than a social offense against community standards of order; see “El tema de la violación sexual en la comedia,” in El escritor y la escena, Actas del I Congeso de la Asociación Internacional de Teatro Espannol y Novohispano de los Siglos de Oro (March 18–21, 1992, Ciudad Juárez, México), ed. Ysla Campbell (Ciudad Juárez: Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, 1993), 207. Stacey Parker-Aronson studies the several rapes in Zayas’s novellas in her “Monstrous Metamorphoses and Rape in María de Zayas,” Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos 29, no. 3 (2005): 525–47. 18. Early modern literary heroines conventionally faint at the moment of rape. Consciousness would imply presence, and presence would imply participation in the act and therefore guilt, whereas unconsciousness assures the woman’s innocence. See Marcia Welles, Persephone’s Girdle: Narratives of Rape in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Literature (Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2000).



Tw o desperation, in me provoked a diabolical rage, with which, untying myself from his infamous knots, I lunged at the sword he had at the head of the bed and, removing it from its sheath, tried to sheathe it in his body. He avoided the blow, which was no surprise since he was quite skilled at avoidance, and grabbed me, taking the sword from me, for I was about to pass my body through with it for having missed his, saying thus: “Traitor, I avenge myself on myself, since I have not been able to do so on you, for so it is that women like me avenge affronts against them.” The crafty lover managed to calm me down and satisfy me, fearful that I would take my own life. He excused his boldness by saying he had done what he did to secure me, and then with caresses, then with anger mixed with praise, he gave me his word to be my husband. In the end, when he thought I had quieted down—although I did not for I was transformed into a snake that had been trod upon—he let me return to my room, so drowned in tears that I scarcely had breath to live. This business landed me in bed with a dangerous illness that, fed by my sobs and sadness, took me to death’s door and put my parents in such a state from seeing me thus that it pained all who saw them. What don Manuel gained from this affront was that, if he had previously pleased me somewhat, now I abhorred even his shadow. And although Claudia insisted I tell her the cause of my bitterness, she did not succeed, nor did I once listen to a single word she tried to tell me from don Manuel, and the times his sister saw me were for me the same as death. In the end, I so abhorred myself that the only reason I didn’t seek out death was that I feared losing my soul.19 Claudia knew well that I was sick at heart and, to secure her position more, spoke with don Manuel, who told her what had happened. He begged her to calm me and mitigate my rage, promising her the same thing he had promised me: that no other woman would be his wife. Heaven permitted me to recover from my pains, because others, even greater, awaited me. And one day when Claudia was alone with me, when my mother and the other servants were out of the house, she spoke to me as follows: “It does not astound me, my lady, that your grief should be of the quality you have shown and are showing. However, events controlled by fortune and permitted by heaven for its own secret reasons that we are not permitted to know cannot be taken to heart to such an extreme as to risk the

19. See “Taking a Chance on Losing,” n. 28.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n loss of life and, with it, the soul. I confess that lord don Manuel’s affront was of the most terrible sort that can be imagined. But your recklessness is more terrible, and given that, in this business, although you have risked much, you have lost nothing, given that when he is your husband the problem is solved; if your loss could be remedied with those emotions and desperation, it would make sense to have them. Now rebuffs serve for nothing with the one who possesses and is lord of your honor, since with them you give him reason, regretful and angry at your curtness, to leave you deceived, since your offender’s qualities are not of such little merit but that he could win over any beauty in his homeland. Since it is wiser to seek the remedy, and to avoid being unable to find it when you go looking for it, he has asked me today to tame your fury and tell you how badly you are behaving with him and with yourself, and that he is much pained by your illness, that you take heart and do what is necessary to regain your health, that your will is his, and he will not depart from it and whatever your pleasure should desire. Consider, lady, that this is what behooves you, and also that a way be arranged with your parents for him to be your husband, with which the ruin of your honor will be repaired and satisfied. And everything else is insanity and will lead to your ruin.” I knew that Claudia was advising me well, given that there was no other solution; but I abhorred myself so that she had no positive response from me for many days. And although at that time I was beginning to get up, over two months went by before I allowed my overly bold lover to see me, nor did I permit any message from him to be delivered, nor did any letter that reached me from him get any treatment except being torn to pieces. So much so that don Manuel, whether because at that time he was somewhat inclined toward me, or because, piqued by my disdain, he wanted to carry further his betrayal, revealed to his sister what had happened with me and was then going on, at which doña Eufrasia, astounded and hurt, after she berated his vulgar and evil act, took it upon herself to turn me from anger. Finally, she and Claudia worked so much on me that they won me over. And since troubles between lovers only serve to increase their pleasure when peace is made, all the abhorrence I felt for don Manuel turned into love, and in him, love to abhorrence, for men’s affections, once they possess a woman, dissipate like smoke. I spent a year in these wavering dismissals, without being able to convince don Manuel to arrange for someone to intervene on his behalf with my father to arrange our marriage, and many other petitions that my father dealt with came to nothing, because he knew how little inclined to wed I was. My lover distracted me, saying that as soon as His Majesty granted him



Tw o the boon of a habit of Santiago20 that he had requested, his cause to be my father’s son-in-law would be improved, and my desires as well as his would be realized. Although I greatly regretted these delays, and almost feared the evil in them, I did not insist so as not to worsen a bad situation. During this time, to replace a servant that my father had dismissed, a young man was hired in the household staff who, as I later found out, was that poor gentleman whom I had never looked on favorably as a suitor. But who thinks seriously about a poor man? Unable to live without being close to me, he had changed his clothing and his name and made this transformation. The first time I saw him I thought I recognized him as who he was, but I did not pay much attention to him because it seemed impossible. Luis immediately discerned the agreement between me and don Manuel, from the very beginning, not believing that the entire business passed beyond the limits of modest and decent desires, aimed at the conjugal bond. And he was sure that he had no hope in this area, even were he recognized as don Felipe, beyond the distant treatment that he always kept silent about so as not to be prohibited from seeing me, suffering like an abhorred and disesteemed lover, accepting as the prize for his love the fact that he was able to see and talk to me at any time. In this fashion some months passed, for although don Manuel’s love, as I later found out, was not true, he knew the art of pretending so well that I believed I was happy and repaid for my intentions. Would that this deceit had endured. But how can a lie pass as truth without finally being discovered? I recall that one afternoon when we were seated in his sister’s estrado, having fun and making jokes and entertaining play as we often did, he was called over and, upon rising from his seat, let his dagger fall into my lap, having removed it because of the inconvenience it posed to him when seated so low. In remembrance of that event I wrote this sonnet: Take your cutting steel, do not be cause of some unexpected excess, for it may be, Salicio, that I am Dido,21 20. For the military Order of Santiago, see “The Judge of Her Own Case,” n. 18. The fact that Manuel is eligible for this high honor emphasizes the discrepancy between his nobility of blood and his ignoble behavior. For Isabel to express her desire to wed Manuel directly to her father would have been a serious breech in social protocol, which labeled desiring women as immodest and unmarriageable. 21. Dido was queen of Carthage when Aeneas and his men arrived on their way to Italy. She fell in love with Aeneas and regaled him with everything he wanted. When he left for Italy, she killed herself. See Virgil, Aeneid, book 4.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n if for my pain you would like to be Aeneas. It is well that you believe that a daring heart would do anything, surrendered to your merit; quite close to ungrateful is the one who is beloved; take it, ungrateful man, if you desire my well-being. If, in response to any rigor in those eyes, I mourn you as Aeneas and fear as Elisa,22 take away from me the chance to give me death. That you want my life as spoils, that you should kill me with love; my love advises you; you will win honor, I sweet fortune. Doña Eufrasia and her brother yet more praised the quickness with which I composed the sonnet, although don Manuel did so with lukewarm enthusiasm; it seemed that his will was already failing and mine fearful of some sad turn of events, and when alone my eyes gave proof of my fears; I complained to myself of my ill-requited love, delivering complaints about my misfortune to heaven. And when don Manuel saw me saddened, my eyes showing evidence of having been chastised unfairly (for they had no blame in my tragedy), he inquired about the reason. Not to lose the decorum of my gravity, I concealed from him my emotions, which were so many that I could scarcely hide them. I fell in love, I begged, I surrendered; let pains of love come and go, let them run into each other. But for a violent deed to be subjected to so much misfortune—to whom has this happened except to me? Oh, lovely and forewarned ladies, and what a disillusion this is, if you consider it! And oh, men, and what an affront brought to your deceitful acts? Who would have thought that don Manuel would deceive a woman like me, given that although he was noble and rich, my parents would not have admitted him to be even a page in my house! For this is the greatest regret I have, as I was convinced that he did not deserve me and I realized that he failed to esteem me. It so happened that for more than ten years don Manuel had courted a lady of the city, neither the most beautiful nor the most decorous, and although married, she never shunned a suitor, because her husband was amenable to it.23 He could eat without bringing home the daily bread, and to

22. Another name for Dido. 23. In early modern Spain, it was against civil and ecclesiastical law for husbands to consent to their wives’ adultery or procure sexual partners for their wives for any reason. See Gregorio López, Las siete partidas del sabio Rey Don Alonso el Nono [sic] (Valladolid: Diego Fernández de Córdoba, 1587), 14v.



Tw o stay out of the way, he left the house whenever necessary; for there is reprehensible behavior for men here too, although the common and lowly men who live from this are not men but rather beasts. When Alejandra (for this was her name) was most debased in this friendship with don Manuel, heaven chose to punish her, or to destroy me, by bringing upon her a dangerous illness in which, when she saw herself in danger of dying, she made a promise to God to extricate herself from such an illicit relationship, making a vow to fulfill her promise. She kept this devout promise, once she had regained her health, for a year and a half, which was the period of time during which don Manuel sought out my perdition, finding himself dismissed by Alejandra, even though, as I later found out, he was visiting her with all courtesy, regaling her in payment for his past involvement with her. Oh, a curse on these obligations of courtesy that cost so many of us so dearly! While distracted in courting me, he failed to attend to Alejandra, recognizing the little profit to be gained by it. Well, when my ungrateful suitor stopped going to her house, the woman realized that the reason was that he was busy elsewhere, and when she investigated the cause, whether as a result of bribing servants from don Manuel’s house, or my misfortune, which must have told her, she found out that don Manuel was dealing in marriage with me. Then people praised my beauty to her and told her of how he was devoted to me and that he idolized my image, for when things get told, and more so if they are of the sort that does damage, they get little serious thought. In the end, Alejandra, jealous and envious of my good fortune, failed to give God what she had promised so as to deliver problems to me in excess, for if she failed God, what could be left for me? She was daring and decided, and the first thing she dared to do was come see me. (I want to get on with it, for to do otherwise would be to make this tale of disillusion last forever, and the torment I suffer in telling it is not so limited that I enjoy passing so slowly through it.) She treated don Manuel lovingly, asked him to return to their relationship, got what she wanted, and returned to the repetition of the same offense, failing in what she had promised God to amend. It may seem, gentlemen, that I enjoy naming this ungrateful wretch often, but since his name is nothing but venom to me, would that bringing it to my lips would finish ending my life. In the end, he fell asleep once more, transported in the deceiving delights of this Circe.24 Since a fight

24. The enchantress Circe transformed Odysseus’s men into swine; Odysseus was impervious to her potions thanks to the help of Hermes. Impressed by his failure to fall under her spell, Circe returned the sailors to human form and feted them all, long enough to have two children with Odysseus. She symbolizes the temptress.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n provokes greater desire between lovers, he began to attend her with such regularity that he necessarily stopped attending me. So much so that not even in the lazy days of summer nor the tiring nights of winter was there a single hour for me. And with this I started to feel the pains that a rejected and unrequited woman can feel, for if he found an instant to be with me as a result of my complaints and sorrows, it was with such coldness and lack of enthusiasm that the burning fire of my willingness went out, [which was] not [enough] to keep me from feeling it at all, but [enough not] to give it the consideration it deserved. And finally I began to fear, and from fear suspicion is born, and from suspicion, looking for misfortune and finding it. I wish to promise no greater perdition to a loving heart than to wind up jealous, for surely the fall is such that one never recovers from it, for if you silence the affront, believing he is unaware of it, not for that will he cease offending; and if you talk more openly, they lose respect, as happened to me, for I was unable to pretend that don Manuel was not doing me wrong, and began to get angry and criticize his behavior. From this I went on to fight with him about it, thereby classifying myself as annoying and of an unpleasant temperament, and in a few more steps, I found myself in the trap of being despised. A sonnet I wrote one day when I was very upset comes to mind, and although it may tire you I must recite it: Live not, you happy one, at all assured that you will be loved your entire life; time will come when the frozen snow will wear out the beauty of your good luck. I, like you, also enjoyed good fortune; I am now, as you see, quite undone; I was loved, begged, and esteemed by the one who seeks your pleasure and my pain. My suffering finds consolation that my lord, who now is yours, was ungrateful to me, and will be so with you, you lucky one. You will pay for my offense with his departure; think not that you have bargained well, for you must needs find yourself, like me, jealous. Don Manuel accepted these tributes like one who did not want them; instead he wanted to mitigate my suspicions and insisted they were unfounded. And because he devoted himself more each day to his erring ways,



Tw o he and I finally came to such disputes and discord that what was between us was more death than love. And with this I set out to determine the truth about everything, so he could not call me a liar, and also to see if I could find a solution to such an obvious injury. So I sent Claudia to follow him, with which everything ended up lost. One afternoon when I noticed he was nervous and neither my pleas, nor my tears, nor telling his sister to ask him not to leave the house had any effect, I sent Claudia to see where he went, and she followed him until she saw him go into Alejandra’s house. Waiting to see how things ended, she noticed that Alejandra, with other women friends and don Manuel, got into a carriage and went to a garden. And because the faithful Claudia could not endure seeing such liberties taken against my good name, she followed them, and upon entering the orchard she let herself be seen and told him what was right, if, as it was well said, it had been well received. For even though he was taken aback at being found out, don Manuel insulted and mistreated Claudia, reprehending her more like her master than like my lover, after which the insolent Alejandra, taking advantage of her status as the favorite, dared to come at Claudia with words and deeds, proving that she knew who I was, what my name was, and. finally, everything that was going on with me, mixing among these excesses the threat to reveal everything to my father. And although she never did this, she did indeed do other things of equal or greater excess, such as coming to don Manuel’s chambers at all hours. She would come in running over everything, saying a million imprudent things, and so much so that Claudia tangled with her dangerously many times. Finally, so as not to wear you out, I will just say it: she was a woman with no fear of God or her husband, for her excesses came to an attempt to kill me with her own hands. For all this scandalous behavior don Manuel blamed not her, but me, and he was right because I, who had everything to lose, had to suffer more. I was so imprudent that no danger seemed too harsh or perilous, and I ran to them all without any fear of the risk. I was always in pain, always crying, always complaining to don Manuel, sometimes with caresses and at others with distance, determined once in a while to let it go and have nothing more to do with it, even though it would mean my ruin. Other times I asked him to speak with my parents so that these quarrels would end once I was his wife. But since he did not want to do that anymore, doña Eufrasia felt and feared all these misfortunes, given that it all had to end to the detriment of her brother. But she could find no solution, even though she tried. I wrote a poem about these misfortunes, and I should

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n like to recite it, that you may see in them my feelings painted in greater detail and with finer colors: Overcome by the pain, my feelings calm, I hold back my soul that seeks an escape; it seems that life, like the candle that burns, upon realizing it is dying cowardly, revives once more, because although it seeks to die, it arranges for that to happen later. Crying through nights and days, I give rage to my eyes, as if my eyes were the cause of my anxiety. Where are you, delights? Tell me, where did I lose you? Answer, what cause did I give you? But what cause can there be greater than not deserving the goodness that left me? I was the sun in an ungrateful sky, if ever there were an ungrateful sky; he was fire, and turned to ice; I was the sun, I render myself as the moon, my waning was his treatment of me; but if a higher divinity resides in me, which is love, and this god cannot wane, it will be difficult to attain what his harshness is trying to do. I was jealous, but beloved, I made fun of jealousy; and found in it



Tw o the delicacies of life. Now, alone and abhorred, I am Tantalus in all his glory,25 raging with thirst am I. Oh, what grief! Oh, what insults! For with the water at my lips I torment myself even more. What woman is there so insane who, seeing herself abhorred, does not weary of suffering, enduring like the hardest rock? Only I, for the law of forgetfulness touches me not, from heartache to heartache, from one misery to the next, for love must recognize that I know how one should love. Ungrateful man, colder than ice, snow that freezes snow, if you do not fear my death, from this day forward you may do so. Negotiate your favors, tighten the cord more, kill this life with it, follow your thankless dispute, for you will regret, one day, having been so cruel. Cruel man, surrender to the spell of that lying siren, who, to carry you off to her torments, puts you to sleep with her song. Flee from my loving cry,

25. Tantalus was the son of Zeus and much favored by the gods. For killing his only son and serving his flesh to them, he was doomed to spend eternity in a pool in Hades that receded every time he tried to drink from it, and among fruit trees that the wind blew out of his reach whenever he stretched his hand toward them.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n be not obliged by my fidelity; for thus shall I hope that you become, as I desire, a Phineus to that Harpy,26 that I may be avenged. Boast about your weakness, be not obliged by my fury, cover your eyes even more, be weary of my fidelity; abuse my nobility even more, for I, of whose heart love has been the signature, will fight against your forgetfulness, dying on your behalf. Well I know that your trust is part of my disgrace, and it would be better to kill you from pure lack of trust. Everything cruel reaches me. for since you know you are loved, you deal with my love forgetfully, because a noble woman either never attains love or [never attains] being what she has always been. Eyes, weep, for now there is no remedy to your pain; the anguish is becoming fatal; now my soul rises in my throat, now the only thing to do is die, so that he who kills me may triumph; now life is loosening the knot it gave my soul,

26. Phineus the prophet revealed too much about the gods to humans, for which Zeus blinded him and sent the Harpies, ravenous vultures with the busts and heads of women, to snatch his food from his fingers whenever he tried to eat.



Tw o and upon seeing that he killed me, I forget not him who mistreats me. Soul, seek out a place to be, for I give you my word that in your residence is a lord who seeks to command in everything. Now what remains to await, if your lord dismisses you and in your place receives another soul that he loves more? Do you not see that he is alive in her and lives in greater delight? Oh, how many lost delights are you leaving behind in this house! Why do you not take a single one with you? Surely not because they were wrongly earned, wrongly given, well served up, for in that no one is superior to you. But if the lack of mercy from him who rejects you is so inhumane, for you see that seeing you angers him, go, go of you own accord. You leave without the faculties of your soul;27 how can you leave those goods behind, for no matter where you may go, well you know that no one will love you. Yet I hear you say that you are like a person whose dwelling is on fire, and when the flames come close to burning her alive, she abandons the contents of her house to burn with the building. Reflecting on my misfortune, I have almost died; 27. On the soul’s three faculties, see “To the Reader,” n. 3.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n the contents of my house are already burnt, for they were unlucky goods. O you who live safe and happy in another one’s house that is now filled with my fire! And one day it will rekindle, and burn down yours; be forewarned by my pain. Look at me and feel my pain, imagine your own fall in mine, for yesterday I was a morning glory,28 and today not even my own shadow. The distance from yesterday to today may be the same as from today to tomorrow. You are contented and proud, but to rely on an unreliable man is to trust a huge mistake; be not so happy, Juana. He called my eyes glory, my words, pleasure and heavens. He made me jealous and I was, the minute he did so. O unfortunate woman who loved, jealous, faithful, and undone, for a woman should be astute and should pretend, so as not to find herself as am I, abhorred! O love, for the service I have offered in the name of your supreme deity, have mercy on me! I beg this of you as a reward: 28. This line and the next recall Luis de Góngora y Argote’s lovely letrilla, “Aprended, flores, de mi” (Be schooled, flowers, by me), in which he compares a maravilla—too often translated as marigold, but in fact a “marvel of Peru”—a delicate flower that blooms but one day, with hardier, more prosaic blooms. See the analysis of the poem by A. A. Parker, in Margaret R. Greer, “In Memorium: A. A. Parker,” in Cervantes 10 (1990): 105–6.



Tw o let this insolent man not find happiness in seeing me die for his cause; rather let me live dying, which will be a death, not a life. Love, deliver the wound, for which I cannot manage to ask. At this time His Majesty named the lord admiral of Castile to be viceroy of Sicily,29 and since don Manuel found himself enmeshed in the competition waged between me and Alejandra, and what is doubtless true, since the idea of marrying me was not pleasing to him, considering the danger all this put him in, without informing his mother or sister, he arranged by means of a close acquaintance who was the king’s steward for the lord admiral to take him on as a chamberlain. He kept all this secret, without telling a soul except one servant who was going to go with him, right up to the time the lord admiral left, ordering his clothes packed up two or three days before, telling us all that he wanted to spend six or eight days in a place where they had some property, which was a trip he had taken before the time I had known him. The day of his departure arrived, and once he had taken leave of everyone in the household he came to say goodbye to me, for he had come by purposely to say goodbye to me, who, unaware of his deceit, was sorry to see him go, if not to the extreme I would have been had he told me the truth. I saw more tenderness in his eyes than before, for when he embraced me he could not say a word because his eyes filled with tears. This left me troubled, softened toward him, and suspicious, although I believed only that love was working some miracle in him and in me. And I spent the whole day like that, now believing he loved me, crying tears of joy, then of sadness because he was away. And in the dark of night, when I was seated in a chair, my hand on my cheek, anxious and sad, waiting for my mother to return from visiting someone, Luis, the servant in my household, came in, or to be more accurate, don Felipe, that poor gentleman who for his poverty I had looked at so askance, whom I had not acknowledged then nor since, and who served me for the sake of serving me. And when he saw me, as I have said, he spoke thus:

29. Sicily became part of the Crown of Aragon in 1282 and as such was Spanish territory in the seventeenth century. Yllera suggests that the lord admiral to whom Zayas refers is Juan Alfonso Enríquez de Cabrera, who died in 1647 (Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto [Desengaños amorosos], 149 n. 14).

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n “Oh, my lady! And how, if you realized the depths of your misfortune as I do, that sadness and confusion would turn to deadly pain.” Hearing this frightened me, but so as not to prevent knowing the end of his obscure message, I kept quiet, and he continued speaking, saying to me: “There is no need to cover up, my lady, for although I imagined what had happened many days ago, now things are different, for I know the whole truth.” “Are you insane, Luis?” I replied. “Not at all,” he repeated, “although I could be, given that the love I hold for you as my lady is not so small that knowing what I have learned today is insufficient to drive me out of my mind, and even from life itself. And because it is not fair to keep it from you longer, the traitorous don Manuel is leaving for Sicily with the admiral, with whom he travels as his chamberlain. And not only do I know from his own servant that he is doing this evil deed to avoid his obligation to you, but I have seen him leaving this afternoon with my own eyes. Consider what you want done about this, for by my faith in who I am, and I am more than you imagine, as soon as I know what your pleasure is, though it cost me my life, I will fulfill what I have promised or both he and I will die in the attempt.” Hiding my pain, I replied, “And who are you who, even if what you say were true, has valor enough to do what you say?” “Give me leave,” responded Luis, “for once the deed is done, you will know.” I had just confirmed the suspicion I mentioned before from his looks, that he was don Felipe, as if it were in the wind and, wanting to reply to him, my mother came back and our conversation ceased. And after I greeted her, since I was drowning in my own sighs and tears, I retired to my room and, throwing myself on the bed, pronounced so many woes that I need not recount to you the tears I cried and the decisions I made, this time to kill myself, that time to kill the one who was killing me. And in the end I chose the worst one, the one I will tell you now, for whereas the others were honorable plans, the one I chose was the one that finished off my life, because the minute I got up, with more spirit than my lamentable state would have suggested, I took my jewels and those of my mother and a quantity of gold and silver coins, since I had access to everything. I waited for my father to arrive for dinner, and when he came, they called me down, but I replied that I was indisposed and would have some preserves later. They sat down to dinner, and as soon as I found an opportune moment for my insane decision, when the servants were busy serving



Tw o at table (for had I waited any longer, it would have been impossible to carry out my plan because Luis was closing the street doors and taking the key with him), without saying a word to anyone, not even Claudia, with utmost secrecy in everything, I left my room, entered the corridor, went out, and into the street.30 A few streets away was the house of a servant whom my father had dismissed when he took in Luis, whom I knew relatively well because, having pity on the need in which his situation left him, I used to help him because he was old, and even visited him the times I went out without my mother. I went there, where the good man took me in with ample sympathy for my misfortune, with which he was already well acquainted, since I had promised him I would bring him to serve in my house after I was married. Octavio, for this was his name, reprehended my decision, but when he saw I would not stray from it, he had to obey and keep quiet, and more so because I had money and gave him some of it. I spent that night there, surrounded by anguish and fear, and the next day I ordered him to go to my house and, without revealing what was going on, speak to Claudia and tell her he was looking for me, as he had at other times, and see what was happening and whether or not they were searching for me. Octavio went, and found the final nail in the coffin of my disgrace. When I remember this I know not how my heart fails to break into pieces. Octavio arrived at my poor home and saw people from the whole city coming and going there. And, astonished, he went in with the others and, seeking out Claudia, found her sad and crying. She told him how, when my mother had finished dinner, she had gone to see how I was, to find out what was the matter with me, and when she didn’t find me, she had asked around for me, and had been told by all the servants that they had left me on my bed when they had gone to serve the meal. And once they had searched for me inside the house and out, when they saw that the keys to the desks were on top of the bed and the door that went out to the corridor, which was always locked, was open, they realized that I was not missing for no reason.31 At this point my mother began to scream, my father came running to

30. Urban houses of Spain had their front doors right on the street, and Luis, a manservant, was in charge of locking them at night and unlocking them in the morning. Respectable noblewomen during this period never went out into the street unaccompanied. 31. The double negative, while awkward, is typical of baroque syntax. Women were locked up every night as material goods to be protected from loss or violation. In her advice to a young noblewoman published in 1637, Countess Luisa de Padilla insisted, “Let the ladies take care, upon retiring, to lock the doors to your room and quarters, keeping the key at the head of your bed so it cannot be opened until the morning, when you wish to get dressed.” Luisa María de Padilla, Nobleza virtuosa (Zaragoza: Juan de Lanaja, 1637), 332.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n her, and when he found out why she was distraught, because he was an old man, the pain and shock of the news made him fall on his back, completely unconscious, and no one knows whether from the fall or from the shock of the news, the faint was so profound that he never recovered from it. My weakness was the cause of all this.32 She told him that although the doctors ordered that the legal number of hours pass before burying him, it was unnecessary, and that the funeral was already being planned, that my mother was in an almost identical state, and that with these misfortunes no one was paying attention to mine except to vituperate my poor decision. My mother had found out what was going on with don Manuel, for as soon as I had turned my back, everyone had told her what they knew. And she had permitted no one to look for me, saying that since I had chosen my own husband in accordance with my own pleasure, she desired God to grant me better fortune with him than I had given to those of my household. Octavio returned with this news, quite sad and bitter for me, and more so when he told me that the entire city was talking about nothing else.33 My suffering doubled and I was almost in the throes of death, but since heaven had still not punished me well enough for being the reason for so many bad things, it saved death for me until after I endured the pains that remained to me. I was somewhat heartened to learn that no one was looking for me, sewed all my jewels and some doubloons in places where I could carry them without their being seen, and arranged what was necessary for our journey.34 After four or six days had passed, one night Octavio and I set out on the road for Alicante, where my ungrateful lover was going to set sail. We arrived there and when we saw that the galley ships had not yet arrived,35 we 32. Zayas uses the word facilidad, “weakness” but literally “ease,” which was often construed negatively. See n. 7 above. The opposite of facilidad is firmeza, which signifies rigidity, constancy, and strength in the face of the changing winds of fortune. 33. In seventeenth-century Spanish literature, the loss of honor was a grave problem, and one’s honor was lost when anyone, much less everyone, knew about one’s sexual or social transgressions. Historical research is demonstrating, however, that women of nonnoble classes who had been seduced and abandoned or otherwise abused sought material satisfaction through the courts, and that the dishonor subsequent to this publicity was not a problem for their families. The extent to which noble women litigated cases of sexual offense has not yet been determined. See Renato Barahona, Sex Crimes, Honour, and the Law in Early Modern Spain: Vizcaya, 1528–1735. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003); and his article “Between Ideals and Pragmatism: Honor in Early Modern Spain,” in Approaches to Teaching Early Modern Spanish Drama, ed. Laura R. Bass and Margaret R. Greer (New York: Modern Languages Association of America, 2006), 39–44. 34. In the early modern period, women who traveled sewed their valuables into their clothing. 35. Galleys were propelled primarily by oars, with the oarsmen frequently being captives of war, of piracy, or prisoners condemned to such labor.



Tw o took a room until I could determine how I would make contact with don Manuel. Octavio went daily to the lord admiral’s lodgings; he saw my traitorous husband (if I can call him this), and would return to tell me what he had seen. And among other things, he recounted one day how the steward was looking for a female slave, and how even though he had been shown several, he had not liked a single one. When I heard this, I decided to do something truly lovely, or rather an act even more senseless than my others, and as soon as I thought it, I put it into action. And the idea was, using a false brand on my face, to dress up as a Moorish slave, naming myself Zelima, telling Octavio to take me [to the steward], saying I belonged to him, and if I pleased the steward, not to pay any attention at all to how much he paid for me. Octavio was very disturbed by my decision, and cried an abundance of tears on my behalf; but I comforted him, reminding him that this disguise was solely for the purpose of realizing my intention and bringing don Manuel into conformity with my will and leaving Spain, and that when I had my ungrateful man before my eyes, without his recognizing me, I would discover his intentions. Octavio was consoled by this, and more so when I told him that he should keep the price paid for me and let me know in Sicily what my mother was going to do with herself. Finally, everything was arranged in such conformity with my wishes that before eight days had passed I was sold for one hundred ducats and was a slave, not of the masters who had bought me and paid the aforesaid price, rather of my ungrateful and perfidious lover for whom I decided to hand myself over to such a degrading future. In the end, when I had satisfied Octavio with the money paid for me, and some more from what I had myself, he took his leave to return home with such tender feeling that I parted from him so as not to see him shed such tender tears, going with my new masters, whether happy or sad I do not know, although when I found them to be good people I knew I was more fortunate than I had been in the events I’ve recounted until now. And furthermore, I knew how to please them and win them over, such that before many days had passed I had made myself the mistress of their will and estate. My lady was young and of a pleasant personality, and I got along so well with her and two other maids in the household that they all loved me as if I were the daughter of each one and a sister of all, especially of one of the maidens, whose name was Leonisa, who loved me to such tender extreme that I ate and slept with her in her very bed.36 She was persuading me to 36. During this period, young women slept together for reasons of security and space constraints. The bond between a woman and her maid was often close.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n become Christian, and I pleased her by saying that I would do it when the occasion presented itself, for I desired it more than she did. The first time don Manuel saw me was one day when he was dining with my master and mistress. And although he did this often, for he was a friend, I had not had the opportunity to see him because I did not leave the kitchen until this very day, when I came in with a dish for the table, at which moment he laid his traitorous eyes on me and recognized me, although probably taken aback by the vision of the S and nail, so perfectly feigned that no one would have suspected they were not real. And suspended between believing it and not believing it, he neglected to bring his food to his mouth, wondering what it was that he saw, because on the one hand he believed it was I, but on the other, he could not convince himself that I would have committed such madness, because he knew nothing about the misfortunes that my house endured for his sake. And I was no less astounded at the surprising fact that when I saw him watching me with such attention, so as not to disillusion him so soon, I turned my eyes from him and looked at the servants who were serving the table. One of two servants I saw was Luis, who was from my house. That surprised me, and I saw that Luis was as amazed to see me in such an outfit as was don Manuel. And since I was more fixed in his memory than don Manuel’s, he recognized me in spite of the pretend brand. When I left the dining area, I heard that don Manuel had asked if I were the slave they had bought. “Yes,” said my lady, “and she is so lovely and pleasant that it grieves me greatly to see that she is a Moor, for I would give twice what she cost to have her become Christian, and seeing that brand on such a pretty face almost makes me cry, and I damn the person who did that to her.” Leonisa, who was there, responded to this, saying, “She herself says she put it on because of a misfortune that befell her, in which she was deceived because of her beauty. And she has already promised me that she will become Christian.” “Only that brand,” replied don Manuel, “keeps me from being convinced that she is a beautiful woman I know in my homeland; but it could be that nature cut this Moorish woman from the same mold.” As I have said, I went in37 anxious because I had seen Luis, and called one of the household servants to ask who was the young man serving at the table with the others. “That is someone,” he answered, “hired by don Manuel just today, because his manservant killed a man and is gone.” 37. Zayas used “entrar” (to go in) here and below, the term used when characters went offstage in the theaters of her day, as if the dining room were a stage and the servants offstage.



Tw o “I know him,” I responded, “from a house where I was for a while, and I would certainly like to talk to him, for it delights me to speak to people from home.” “Then,” he said, “he will come in and eat with us and you can speak with him.” The meal was over and all the servants went in to eat, and Luis with them. They all sat at the table, and I really could not help but laugh, in spite of my anguish, when I saw Luis looking at me. And the more he looked at me, the more astounded he became, especially when he heard me called Zelima, not because he had not recognized me, but to see the extreme depths to which I had sunk for having loved. When the meal was over, I took Luis aside and said, “What fortunes have brought you here, Luis, to where I am?” “The same one that brought you, my lady: loving well and unrequited, as well as the desire to find you and avenge you as soon as the place and opportunity present themselves.” “It is very important that you pretend you do not know me and do not call me anything except Zelima, for now is not the time to seek revenge beyond that which love takes on me. I have said that you served at the house in which I grew up and that is how I know you, and do not tell your master that you have recognized me or spoken to me, for I trust you more than him.” “You can be sure of me,” said Luis, “for if he loved and esteemed you as do I, you would not be in the situation you are in, nor would you have been caused the misfortunes you have.” “I agree,” I responded, “but tell me, how is it that you are here?” “Searching for you, and determined to end the life of the one who has been the reason you have done this, and that is the intention with which I entered into his service.” “Do not think that way, for to do so is to doom me forever, for although don Manuel is untrue and a traitor, my life is bound to his; aside from which I am attempting to recover my lost reputation, and his death would produce nothing but by my own, for no sooner would you kill him than I would kill myself.” I said this so he would not carry out his intention. “What news of my mother, Luis?” “What news do you think there could be,” he replied, “except that I believe she is made of diamond since the distress she has suffered has not provoked her death? When I departed from Zaragoza, I left her preparing her return to Murcia; she is taking the body of your father and my lord with her, to keep her suffering close to her.”

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n “And what are people saying about my grave error?” I said. “That don Manuel took you with him,” Luis replied, “because Claudia said what was going on. With that your mother was somewhat consoled for having lost you, since she believes you are with your husband, and that there is no reason to feel sorry for you; not like her, who carries on without a soul.38 Since I was the one who lost the most when you left, and since I knew that indeed don Manuel was not taking you with him but rather was fleeing from you, I decided not to go with her, and came to where you see me now, and with the intention I have revealed, which I will refrain from carrying out until I see if don Manuel behaves like a gentleman. And if he does not, you will forgive me, for although I might lose myself and you as well, I will avenge your offense and mine. And believe that I hold myself to be the most fortunate man for having found you and in deserving your faith in me and for your having revealed your secret to me before doing so to him.” “I thank you,” I responded. “And so no one notices how long we have been talking, go with God, for there will be opportunity for us to see each other, and should you need anything, ask it of me, for fortune has not yet deprived me of everything, and I have enough to give you, although it be little compared to your merit and my debt to you.” And with this, and giving him a doubloon, I dismissed him. And certainly Luis never looked better to me than he did at that moment; on the one hand, because I could lean on him as an ally, and on the other because he had such honorable and enthusiastic plans. The galley ships took a few days to arrive in port, and one of those days, when my lady was out with her maidens and I alone at home, don Manuel came to my house seeking my master (or me, the more likely possibility), desirous to satisfy his suspicions. And as soon as he came in and saw me, he said, with remarkable abruptness, “What disguise is this, doña Isabel? How is it that a lady of your stature, who has desired and planned to be mine, can put herself is such a vile situation? And so much so that if I had any intention to make you my wife, I have lost it, thanks to the despicable name you have earned with me and with whoever finds out about this.”39 “Oh, deceitful traitor and my perdition! How are you not ashamed to

38. This melodramatic note derives from the courtly love concept that one’s soul dwells in the beloved, and vice versa; hence, with her husband’s death, she is without a soul. 39. According to social protocol, a noblewoman degraded herself and thereby compromised her value as a marriageable woman by dressing as anyone other than herself, by speaking or moving excessively, and certainly by taking up the life of a slave.



Tw o take my name in your lips, since you are the cause of this vilification in which you have disgraced me, when it is because of your betrayals and damnation that I am in this state? And not only are you the cause of all this, but of my honorable father’s death, who, so that you might pay heaven and not him for your betrayal, died from the pain of losing me. I am Zelima, not doña Isabel. I am a slave, not a lady; I am a Moor, for I have housed in myself a Moorish renegade like you, since whoever betrays the word he gave God to be mine is neither Christian nor noble, but rather an infamous gentleman. You have left me with this brand and the scars of your effrontery, not only on my face but on my reputation. Do whatever you will, for if your will to make me yours has faded, there is a God in heaven and a king on earth, and if these fail to avenge me there are daggers, and I have hands and valor to end your infamous life so that noblewomen learn from me how to punish lying, ungrateful men. And get out of my way unless you want me to do what I just said.” When he saw me so enraged and impassioned, whether to keep me from committing a foolish act or because he was yet unsatisfied with the affronts and deceptions he had carried out against me and there remained some for him yet to accomplish, he began to calm me down with caresses, praise, and promises that all would be resolved, none of which I would accept for some time. I loved him well and believed him. (Forgive me the liberty I take in saying this, and believe that my thoughts were more directed to restoring my honor than to any desire for fulfillment of any sort.)40 Well, after we had made peace and I had explained to him everything that had transpired to that point, he told me that things being as they were, so they should remain until we could arrive in Sicily, and there things could be arranged to bring my desires and his to a happy ending. Thus we parted, and I was happy but worried he was deceiving me, but for the first time I had not handled things badly. The galley ships arrived and we boarded, to my great pleasure, for don Manuel traveled in the same ship as I with my masters, where I talked to him and saw him all the time, to the great disappointment of Luis who, since my good fortune was clear, was very sad, which confirmed my suspicion that he was don Felipe, but I did not let on so as not to encourage him to more daring behavior. We arrived in Sicily and all stayed at the palace. It took a few months to get to know the place and grow to like it. And when I understood that it was time for Manuel to give the order for me to be removed from slavery 40. For “desire for fulfillment,” Zayas says “achaque de la liviandad.” Achaque means “ailment, condition, or pretext,” and liviandad can be either “frivolity” or “lewdness.”

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n and fulfill his promise, he began once more to kill me with lukewarm behavior and humiliation, so much so that he had not even the will to look at me. And surely it was because he was distracted with women and gambling, and the most certain of all, that he did not love me. With this my afflictions and torments were so heavy that neither by day nor by night were my sad eyes dry, to the extent that I could not hide it from Leonisa, that young woman with whom I had such a friendship and who, when I told her of my tragedy and that I was under a vow of secrecy, almost lost her mind. My lady loved me so that no matter what favor I asked of her, no matter how difficult, she granted it to me. And thus, so as to speak to don Manuel undisturbed and tell him my feelings, one afternoon I asked her for leave to go to the marina with Leonisa for an outdoor luncheon, and once she had granted it, I asked Luis to tell his master that some ladies were waiting for him at the marina, but I did not reveal that it was I, for fear that he would not go. We went there and took a boat to get to a very appealing small island that was three or four miles out to sea. Don Manuel and Luis arrived then, and having recognized us, hiding his anger, [don Manuel] went along with the trick. We all got on the boat with two sailors at the helm. And when we arrived at the island we disembarked, with the sailors in the little boat awaiting the time when we would be ready to return (for in this they were more fortunate than the rest of us). We sat beneath some trees and were talking about the reason I had brought us there, with me complaining and don Manuel giving false excuses and telling lies, as always. From the other side of the island a galleon of Moorish corsairs from Algiers had anchored in an inlet or cove, and because they saw us from afar, the Moorish captain and other Moors jumped to land, and sneaking up close to where we were, they ambushed us so that neither don Manuel nor Luis could defend us, nor could we flee.41 And so they took us captive to their galleon, heading out to sea once they had booty and were in a hurry, for it was not enough that fortune had made me a slave of my lover, but also of Moors, although since my lover was with me the captivity was less painful. When the sailors saw what had happened they escaped, rowing hard and fast, carrying with them the news of what had happened to us. These Moorish corsairs, since they are skilled in dealing and speaking with Christians, speak and understand our language fairly well. And thus the Moorish captain asked me, especially when he saw I was branded, who 41. For a description of Mediterranean piracy and the experience of those captured, see Garcés, Cervantes in Algiers, chaps. 1–2.



Tw o I was. I told him I was a Moor, that my name was Zelima, and that I had been captured six years before, was from Fez,42 and that the gentleman was my master’s son and the other one his servant, and the maiden was also from my household. I told him to treat them well and set the ransom price high, for his parents would no sooner get notice of it than they would send the amount. And I said that counting on the jewels and money I had with me. All of this I said in a loud voice so that the others heard me and would not give the lie to what I had said. The Moorish captain was happy, as much with the high-priced captives as with believing he had done Muhammad a great service by getting me away from the Christians, and he made this clear by favoring me and treating the others well. And thus we went to Algiers and he handed us over to one of his lovely, young daughters, named Zaida, who was delighted as much with me, because I was Moorish, as with don Manuel, because she fell in love with him. She dressed me immediately in these clothes I am wearing now and tried to have experts at removing brands take mine off, not because women there do not use them, for indeed they consider them finery, but because it was the brand of a slave, which made clear what I was. I responded to that saying that I had branded myself and did not want it removed.43 Zaida loved me dearly, either because I deserved it by being pleasant to her, or because she thought I could convince my lord to love her. Finally, I had the run of her house as if it were my own, and on my behalf they treated don Manuel, Luis, and Leonisa very well, letting them walk freely around the city, having given them permission to arrange their ransom. I had told don Manuel to tally the price for all three and promised to give him jewels to cover it, for which he was obviously grateful. The only difficulty was how to get me out, because since I was a Moor, I certainly could not be ransomed. We waited for the ransom agents to arrange it all. It was at this time that Zaida revealed her suit of love and asked me to speak to don Manuel and tell him that if he wanted to convert, she would marry him and would make him lord of her father’s substantial riches. This caused me new anguish and greater desperation, so much so that I was ready to kill myself. Her request gave me the chance to speak at length with don Manuel, although for many days, fearful of his inconstant nature, I said nothing of the Moorish woman’s passion. I made up some lies to tell her,

42. Fez, a city in Morocco, is about 130 miles south of Tangier. 43. For a study of women in Islamic culture in early modern Spain, see Mary Elizabeth Perry, The Handless Maiden: Moriscos and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Spain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n some of which were disheartening and others that were not, until the pressure of jealousy forced me to tell him what Zaida wanted, because the traitor, happy at the prospect, undid everything I was trying to accomplish with his eyes. After he chastised me for my suspicious imaginings, he told me he thought it best to fool her; that I should tell her that he would never abandon Christianity though it cost him not one life but thousands, but that if she wanted to come with him to Christian lands and become a Christian, he promised to marry her. To this he added that I should encourage her, telling her how happy she would be, and whatever I thought would work to draw her into our plan, that as soon as they were out of there, she could be sure that he would fulfill his obligation to her. Oh, liar, and how he deceived me in this just as he did in all the rest! Finally, so as not to tire you more, Zaida agreed happily to everything and more when she knew that I would also be going with her. And we arranged our departure for two months hence, because her father had to go to one of his estates, and Moors have women and children in every place they do business. Heaven must have taken charge of my revenge against don Manuel, and so the means to that end were facilitated, because once the Moor had left, Zaida wrote a letter saying that her father had sent for her because he had become dangerously ill, so that the king would give her license to undertake a journey, because Moors cannot move from one place to another without it. Once permission was secured, she arranged to arm and outfit a galley, with Christian rowers, to whom the plot was explained in all secrecy. Placing in the boat all the riches of silver, gold, and clothing that could be carried without making noise, she, Leonisa, and I, with two other Christian women who served her (for she did not want to take along a single Moor), don Manuel, and Luis, traveled by sea along the route to Cartagena or Alicante, wherever we could go with the least risk. Here my torments were greater, here my anxieties without comparison because since there was nothing to prohibit it, and Zaida was sure that don Manuel was going to be her husband, she did not deny him any favor she might do for him. My sad eyes witnessed don Manuel holding Zaida’s hand, now Zaida hanging on his neck, and even his drinking her breath in goblets of coral,44 because since the inconstant traitor loved her, he looked for every opportunity. And if things went no further it was because I was careful to get in the way of their greatest pleasures. Well I knew that they were unhappy that I was so vigilant, but they hid their irritation. And if I ever said a word to that half-Moor, he looked at me as if to say, “What can I do?” that 44. The metaphor is of a kiss.



Tw o the risks to which my imprudent actions and craziness had already brought us were sufficient, that there was no reason why we should fall into greater danger because of them, that I should endure until we reached Zaragoza, where all would be resolved. We arrived, finally, at Cartagena after a prosperous journey. Once on land, we freed the Christians and gave them the means to return to their homes. We altered our clothes45 and took the road to Zaragoza, although Zaida was unhappy, for she wanted to be baptized and married first thing after arriving on Christian soil, so much in love with her new spouse was she. And even if she did not do it, it was because of me, not because he [Manuel] did not desire the same thing. We reached Zaragoza, six years after we had left it, and went to don Manuel’s house. He found that his mother had died, and doña Eufrasia had been widowed, for she had married the cousin from the Indies for whom she had waited, and just after she had given birth to a son, he had died in the war of a rifle shot. Doña Eufrasia received us well, with the surprise and pleasure that one can imagine. We rested for three days, telling each other the things that had happened. Doña Eufrasia was astounded to see the brand of a slave on my face, which I had not removed because of Zaida. I set her mind at rest by telling her it was not real, and that it was necessary to keep it on until a certain event took place. Zaida was in such a rush to be baptized, for she wanted to marry, that she obliged me, one afternoon, a bit before dusk, to call don Manuel, and in the presence of Zaida and his sister and the rest of the family, with Luis there as well, who was more preoccupied those days, I spoke these words: “Don Manuel, since heaven, obliged by my continual laments, has desired that our trials and misfortunes come to a close with such a happy event as bringing you home to your house free from all ordeals, and God has permitted that I accompany you in one as well as the other, perhaps in order that, seeing with your own eyes with what perseverance and patience I have followed you in them, you may pay such a great debt, let the tricks and fine distinctions cease and let Zaida and the entire world know that what you owe me can be paid with nothing less that your person, and that this brand on my face can be removed by you alone, that the day may arrive when the misfortunes and effronteries that I have suffered may be rewarded. Now my good fortune must not be delayed, so that those who have known of my affront and error may see my achievement and good fortune. You have prom45. Moorish clothing would have attracted undesirable attention; presumably, they altered it to appear more like Spanish apparel. Captives returning from Algiers had to demonstrate that they had not converted, culturally as well as in religion. See Garcés, Cervantes in Algiers.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n ised to be mine many times, for it is not fair that when other women believe you are theirs, I fear you are not mine and weep for your having left. You know the quality of my person is great; my estate is not small; my beauty, the same that you sought out and chose; you are not unaware of my love; my courtesies have become boldness. You lose nothing, but rather gain, for if until this point I have been your slave with a false brand, from this day forward I will truly be one. Say, I beg you, what you wish to have done, so that what I ask for may have the blessed laurel [of victory] that I desire, and keep me no longer in fear, for now out of justice I deserve the prize for which, in exchange for as many calamities as I have endured, I am asking.” The traitor did not let me say anything else for, smiling, as if joking, he said, “And who has told you, lady Isabel, that I am not perfectly aware of all you have said? And so aware that with the same means by which you have planned to oblige me, you have disobliged me, for if I had any disposition toward you, by now not even a thought of having had such disposition do I have. Your quality I do not deny, your courtesies I do not ignore, but if there is no will to union, all that is worth nothing. You could have realized that, from the day I left this city when I turned my back on you, that I did not want you for a wife. And if even then it was difficult for me to do that, how much more so is it now, that only for having followed me like a low-class woman you have practiced such common behavior? You could have been aware days ago of the resolve with which I speak now. And as far as the promise that you said I made to you [is concerned], we men make those to get what we want, and women should realize this ruse by now and not let themselves be deceived, since so many chastised women warn them. And, finally, I believe I am less obliged for that than for the rest, for if I promised once, it was without the will to fulfill that promise, and only to mitigate your wrath.46 I have never deceived you, for you could have well realized that putting it off has never been due to lack of opportunity, but rather to the fact that I do not have nor have had such an intention, that you alone are the one who has wanted to deceive yourself, chasing me all over without leaving me alone. And [I am saying this] to remove all doubt and in order that you stop pursuing me, but rather, seeing me impossible to attain, you quiet down and lose the hope you have for me, and returning to your mother, there among your kin you seek out a husband who is less 46. For a promise to be valid, Spanish civil law during this period did indeed require the promising party to intend to keep his or her word at the moment the promise was made. Jurist Gregorio López specifies, “If a man takes an oath without meaning it, it does not bind him such that he must keep it.” Although when López uses el hombre, “a man,” as he does here, it usually refers to a woman as well, it is impossible to determine in what cases it does not (Siete partidas, 5v).



Tw o scrupulous than I, because it is impossible that I would trust a woman who knows how to put on and seek out so many disguises.47 Zaida is lovely, and does not lack wealth; she has love as do you and I loved her from the instant I saw her. And thus, as soon as she is Christian, which she will be as soon as she has taken the necessary steps, I give her my hand as husband, and with this you and I will be finished, you finished tormenting me and I finished enduring it.” I was like a viper that had been trod upon when I heard don Manuel’s infamous words and perfidious deeds. And wishing to respond to them, Luis, who had been improving his position since don Manuel had begun to speak and was standing next to him, took out his sword and said, “Oh, false and evil gentleman! And this is the fashion in which you repay the commitment and goodness you owe an angel?” When he saw that don Manuel stood up upon hearing this and put his hand on his sword, he dealt him a stab that, either because it caught him unprepared or because heaven sent him his deserved punishment and my revenge through Luis’s hand, passed right through him so quickly that at the first “Oh!” his soul departed, leaving me almost without mine. In two steps he was at the door, saying, “Now, lovely Isabel, don Felipe avenged the affronts against you committed by don Manuel. Go with God, for if I escape the peril in which my life is now, I will seek you out.” And in an instant he was on the street. The ruckus in a disaster like this was such that I cannot tell it, because some of the servants went to the windows screaming and calling for help, others went to doña Eufrasia, who had fainted away. So no one was paying attention to Zaida, who, since she had always been with Christian captives, did not understand or speak our language badly, and, when she understood the entire business and saw that don Manuel was dead, threw herself upon him crying and, with the pain of having lost him, took the dagger he carried at his waist and, before anyone of us who were so upset could stop her, plunged it into her heart, falling down dead upon the unfortunate youth. Since I was the most well versed in misfortunes, I was the most valiant one there, on the one hand pained by the deed, and on the other satisfied with my revenge, and when I saw everyone upset and observed that other people were beginning to arrive, I went to my room, and taking all of Zaida’s most valuable and least bulky jewels, which were in my possession, I went out onto the street, first so the officers of the law did not lay hands on me to find out who don Felipe was, and then to see if I could find him, so that both of us could escape. But I did not find him. 47. The sentence is incomplete in Spanish.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n So although it had been many days since I had trod the streets of Zaragoza, I found Octavio’s house, and he received me with more astonishment than when I went there the first time. I told him what had happened to me, rested there that night (if a woman who had endured and endures such misadventures can rest). And thus I assure you that I did not know whether I was happy or sad, because in part the lamentable end of don Manuel pained my heart, since until then I had not had time to learn to abhor him, but in part his betrayals and evil treatment of me, including the fact that he considered himself to be Zaida’s and not mine, ignited such ire in me that I was consoled by his death and my revenge. Then, considering the danger to don Felipe, to whom I was so obliged for having done for me what had to be done to recover my lost reputation, all this had me in mortal distress and discomfort. The next day Octavio went into the city to see what was going on and found out how don Manuel and Zaida had been buried, he like a Christian and she like a Moor in despair,48 and how the town criers were announcing that the law was looking for me and don Felipe under pain of punishment for anyone covering us up or hiding us. And so I had to remain in hiding for two weeks until the ruckus of such a prodigious event settled down. In the end, I persuaded Octavio to go with me to Valencia where, with greater security, I could tell him my plan. Octavio never made out badly in my affairs, since he always earned what he needed to get by, and so he agreed. And putting these plans into effect, I spent three or four days after arriving in Valencia without deciding what to do with myself. Sometimes I was determined to go into a convent until I got news of don Felipe, to whom I could not deny my obligation, and at the expense of my jewels free him from the danger into which the crime he had committed had put him, and repay him with my person and material goods, making him my husband. But the fear that one who has been unlucky will never be lucky kept me from deciding on this. Other times I was resolved to go to Murcia with my mother, and imagining how on earth I could show my face to her kept me from doing this, since I had been the cause of my father’s death and of all her troubles and trials. Finally I resolved to carry out the plan with which my fortunes began, which was to ever be a branded slave, since I was one in my soul. And thus, putting the jewels in a place where I would always have them with me, and this dress in a pack that could not seem to be anything but a poor slave’s belongings, and giving Octavio a quantity sufficient to compensate him for 48. Zaida would have been buried in unconsecrated ground for two reasons: because she was not Christian and because she killed herself.



Tw o the work he was doing for me, I had him put me on the block and be the auctioneer who sold me, whether the price offered for me were high or low. Octavio made earnest attempts to turn me from this decision, reminding me who I was, how bad this would be for me, and how, if until that point I had done it to win over and follow don Manuel, there was now no reason to continue in such a vile life. But realizing that he could not change my mind, perhaps by permission of heaven that wanted to bring me to this opportunity, he took me out to the plaza, and among the first who arrived to buy me was my lady Lisis’s uncle who, attracted to me (or better said, enamored of me, as became clear later), bought me, paying a hundred ducats. And giving them all to Octavio, I took my leave of him, and he left me in tears, realizing how useless it was to see me at rest, since I myself sought out difficulties. My master took me to his house and handed me over to my lady doña Leonor, who was little happy about it and did not take me in with pleasure, knowing that her husband misbehaved with women, perhaps fearing from me what must have happened with other maids. But after dealing with me for several days, she was satisfied with my decorous behavior; admiring my seriousness and the manners with which I behaved, she grew attached to me and more so when, seeing her husband pursuing me, I told her about it, asking that she take care of it, and the most appropriate solution she found was to remove me from his sight. With this she ordered me sent to Madrid and to the hands of my lady Lisis, of whose affable nature she told me; I came with great pleasure to a better master. And in this I deserve to be believed, for the great love I have for her and the fact that she had asked me several times that I tell her the reason for the tears she saw me cry on several occasions. And I promised to tell it when the moment was right, as I have done on this occasion, since, to tell a story of disillusion, what greater one than the one you have heard in my long and lamentable tale?

“Now, ladies and gentlemen,” continued the lovely doña Isabel, “since I have disillusioned many with my tale of deceit, it would not be right for me to spend my entire life deceived, trusting that I will live until fortune might turn its wheel in my favor. For now don Manuel will not revive, nor would I trust him even if he did, nor any man, for I see them all in him, deceitful and sly with women. And what astounds me the most is that no nobleman, not the honorable one nor the one who respects his obligations, nor he who believes himself to be sensible, does anything with women different from what lowly men of humble rank do, because they have taken on the profession of speaking evil of women, despising them and deceiving them, believing that in so doing they lose nothing. And if they think better, they lose a lot,

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n because the less able and weaker the nature of women, the more support and protection they need in the valor of men. “But about that let what has been said suffice, for I, since I no longer need them, because I do not want to need them nor do I give a whit whether they are traitorous or true, have chosen a Lover who will not forget me and a Spouse who will not disdain me, for I see Him now with His arms open to receive me. And thus, divine Lisis,” she said this getting down on her knees, “I beg you as your slave that you give me leave to hand myself over to my divine Spouse, going into the religious life in the company of my lady Estefanía,49 so that once there I can notify my sad mother, who will delight in finding me in the company of such a Spouse, and I will not be ashamed to appear before her and, since I have given her a lamentable youth, offer her a restful old age. I believe I have sufficient jewels to pay the dowry and other expenses.50 It would not be right for you to deny me, for since I have endured so many misfortunes on behalf of an ungrateful and untrustworthy lover, branded throughout and named his slave, how much better is it to be the slave of God, and offer myself to Him with the same name, Her Lover’s Slave?” Here the lovely Isabel concluded with most tender weeping, leaving everyone softened and full of pity, especially Lisis who, as soon as she had finished and saw her on her knees before her, threw her arms around her neck, drawing her lovely mouth to doña Isabel’s cheek, and said, with a thousand lovely tears and tender sobs: “Oh, my lady! And how is it that you have so long allowed me to be deceived, believing the one who should have been and is my lady to be my slave? I will never get over this lament, and I beg pardon of you for the errors I have committed in ordering you about as a slave in violation of your valor and worth. The choice you have made, of course, is the daughter of your understanding, as thus I find it to be very just, and it is unnecessary to beg my leave, for you have it to order me to do what you will, as someone devoted to you. And if the jewels you mention should prove insufficient, you may use mine, and whatever I am worth and have.” Doña Isabel kissed Lisis’s hands as she said this. And giving leave to the ladies and gentlemen to come up and embrace her and offer themselves in her service, she received them all and responded to their offers of support

49. Estefanía, one of the fictional storytellers, is a nun. 50. A woman’s profession as a nun required an initial dowry and an annual living allowance, which in some cases were obligations difficult for a family to manage (Lehfeldt, Religious Women in Golden Age Spain, 48–49).



Tw o with amazing charm and clarity, after which she asked for a harp and, sitting down with the musicians, once everyone had settled down, sang this romance:51 To make a lover jealous dishonors; it is presumption to demand jealousy; not to be jealous is not love, and it is discretion to be so. The one who, to spur a lover, loses respect for honor and pretends to do what is not done or plans to do it opens the door to punishment and setting up a risk, for the act, just like the desire to act also supposes guilt. Whoever accuses a lover of loving another does not esteem the qualities heaven gives him and, exalting those of another, reduces his own merit. She runs the risk that her own lord will choose as lord, which, for having taken on the challenge, raises the offense to the sphere of fire.52 Whoever loves and does not stand guard (everyone says and I understand why) does not esteem the beloved and pretends to delirium. Jealousy and love are not two: one is the cause, the other the effect. For effect and cause are 51. This poem answers the question whether it is worse to feel jealousy or to make a lover jealous, and may be a text that Zayas wrote for a poetic competition (justa poética), in which a topic was announced and had to be addressed by all the competitors. 52. None of these verbs specify a male or female subject; they can refer to either a man or a woman. This stanza refers to the danger a lover incurs by falsely accusing a beloved of loving another: the danger is that the beloved, whose attention is thereby called to the other person, will indeed fall in love with that person, thereby raising the pain of the original lover to unbearable intensity.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n two, but only one entity. Jealousy is born of love, and love itself is jealousy, and if, as they say, it is a god, then one cause in two I behold.53 The one who lives so unconcerned that he fears not must be a fool, for the one who attains the highest state is the closest to losing it. Phaëthon took off with confidence driving the chariot of Phoebus,54 confident in his flight through the regions of heaven. Icarus, on wings of wax, rising through the spheres, in their own confidence Icarus and Phaëton died.55 Jealousy and mistrust, are surely one thing; for to be jealous is to fear; to mistrust, the same. Therefore the one who is jealous must needs be urbane,56 for anyone overly confident is close to being a fool. Thus have I resolved the doubt that has been proposed and will reply to anyone 53. Zayas describes jealousy and love as one and the same entity, with a lexicon borrowed from scholastic treatises defining the Catholic Trinity, to which the argument of this poem shows marked resemblance. 54. Phaëthon, child of Phoebus (Helios/Apollo, the sun), drove the chariot of the sun and lost control of it, dying in the attempt. 55. Icarus, son of Daedalus (architect of the Minotaur’s labyrinth in Crete), was imprisoned in the labyrinth with his father by King Minos. When Daedalus made them each a set of wings with which to escape and they took flight, Icarus failed to heed his father’s advice and flew too close to the sun, melting his wings and falling to his death. Both Phaëthon and Icarus were standard symbols of excessive ambition in early modern Spanish literature. 56. The Spanish word here is discreción, which embodies all the positive qualities of the successful baroque courtier, including self-control, self-knowledge, humility, wisdom, insight, and the ability to articulate a well-considered argument with sophistication.



Tw o who cares to know about it, that, in the matter of jealousy, it is as bad to produce it as it is to feel it. To accuse a lover of provoking jealousy is freedom, to make a lover jealous, disdain. And between the two extremes, it is horrible to be jealous, but I prefer this, for no love is love without it.



n the final hour of his journey, rubicund Apollo was passing through the crystalline spheres, retiring his flaming steeds so as to arrive in the west with his chariot and make way for his inconstant sister to visit the earth,1 when the gentleman and ladies, who had met the night before at the house of the most discreet Lisis honoring the festivity of her decorous and entertaining soiree, were gathered together in the same room. And it was no small favor for them to have arrived so early, because to disillusion and tell the truth is today so badly looked upon, since everyone is more gratified by well-dressed flattery than the naked truth, that there was reason to thank them. But this is what novelties offer, for even when they are not very tasty, everyone likes to eat them. And for this reason there were more people in attendance that night than the previous one; some came having heard the news of the lovely slave who had transformed herself into a lady, and others, owing to the beauty of the invited noblewomen, to enjoy the novelty, although I do not know if they came happily, since they were forewarned that the narrators, telling tales of disillusion, armed with comparisons and amazing incidents, had declared war against men, even though they [men] live so free from the law that they recognize none of it that is not to their liking.

1. As Yllera (Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto [Desengaños amorosos], 257 n. 2), points out, this hyperbaroque image of the sun and the moon was common in early modern Spain, and Cervantes mocked it by using it in describing the morning of Don Quixote’s first sally, in Don Quixote, part 1, chapter 2. Zayas ups the ante by using “flamígeros” for flaming, a Latinism used by the count of Villamediana (Juan de Tassis y Peralta) in the Fable of Phaethon, first published in Zaragoza in 1629. When the light from Apollo’s chariot, wildly driven by Phaëthon, penetrates Pluto’s shadowed realms, Villamediana has Hades protest with a “flamígera vos” (flaming voice) (v. 1408), and complain that the shadowy realm of punishment is turned to “flamígeros . . . teatros” (flaming theaters) (v. 1429). Conde de Villamediana, Las fábulas mitológicas, ed. Lidia Gutiérrez Arranz (Kassel: Reichenberger, 1999), 262–63.



Tw o The company doubted whether the second set of storytellers, who were to disillusion the ladies of the delusion in which they live, could equal the first group, and its members desired to see how they would accomplish that obligation. Although I am sure that even if these, like the previous storytellers, were determined to treat the habits of men sternly, it was not out of abhorrence of them but rather to correct them so that, should their lot be to fall into a relationship with one of them, they might not pay the price that other women had paid before them. And this does not frighten me, for there are usually deceits so well seasoned that, although one recognizes them for what they are, they do not sicken us, and I even believe that the more women are disillusioned, the more they delude themselves. Aside from this, my tales of disillusion are for those who delude and the women who let themselves be deluded, since although in general this is said to everyone, it is not for everyone, since those who do not delude themselves have no need to be disillusioned, nor does this document pertain to those who do not do the deluding. Who is not aware that there must be some tonight who are not very well-meaning? And I even seem to hear them say, “Who set these women up for this foolishness? To correct men? A pretty blunder. Let us go now to these prattlings* for there will lack no opportunity for revenge.” And since this was not a party at which one could pay a groundling to whistle down the play,2 they would have left at home paper folded and pens sharpened with which to avenge themselves. But I also imagine that the tellers of these tales of disillusion did not much care about that, for there is no reason to be fearful when one tells the truth, and people can find fault in what is said, whether it is verse or prose, but in truth itself, no fault can be found, as Christ Our Lord said, when He spoke: “If I tell you the truth . . .”3 For the one who knows what a work of understanding is will esteem it, and one who does not is pardoned by virtue of ignorance, as happened in the first part of this soiree, for if some failed to esteem it, a hundred applauded it, and everyone looked for it and continues to look for it, and it has enjoyed three printings, two authentic ones and one pirate edition,4 for well-intentioned folk are like the bee that makes sweet honey from wild2. At the theater it was possible to pay hecklers, who stood in the open space in front of the stage, to disrupt the performance with whistles, catcalls, and thrown projectiles. 3. The reference is to John 8: 4, in which Jesus asks, “If I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?” 4. In fact, there were at least three pirated editions before the 1647 publication of the second part of the collection, but Zayas apparently was not aware of them. Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), 69–69; Zayas, Novelas amorosas y ejemplares, ed. Olivares, 113–30.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n flowers that have no taste or scent, and the evil ones are like the beetle, that makes garbage out of sweet-smelling things. Believe that although women are not Homers in skirts and petticoats and Virgils with their hair in a bun, they at least have a soul and the soul’s faculties and senses just like men. I do not want to say that they have the same understanding, although many women could compete with them in this area, for they lack the art with which studies equip men, and since what women do is accomplished with no more than that with which they were born, of course it is not so refined. But this night men’s evil intentions did not serve them, for instead of avenging themselves, they surrendered themselves, for here the power of truth can be seen. The ladies who were to tell the tale of disillusion came out, following Lisis, who had Isabel by the hand, very richly clothed and adorned and quite dressed up, and with so many jewels that each one looked like a sun with many suns, and more so doña Isabel, who, having renounced her Moorish clothing, since it was no longer necessary, was dressed in a most costly style; so much so that one could not determine what shone forth the most, her lovely face or her rich jewels, for this night she was showing off the ones she had said the night before she was reserving for the expenses of her religious life. Doña Isabel crossed over to where the musicians were and the others, with Lisis, to the estrado,* and the discreet Laura, her mother, who was the first one to disillusion, in the seat of the disillusioner. Everyone was amazed at so much beauty and gracefulness. Those who had been present the night before determined that this night the storytellers had armed themselves with new beauty, and those who had not yet seen them, determined that heaven had been brought to earth, and all the angels to that room, believing that one cannot feel anger toward deities, lost the anger with which they had arrived, saying: “Although you speak badly of us, we will forgive you for it, in exchange for the goodness derived from having seen so much beauty.” Then once the ladies were seated and all had settled down, the lovely doña Isabel sang this ballad alone, which was written to commemorate the absence of the most excellent conde de Lemos, who is living today and may he live long, from his wife, my lady the countess:5 5. Francisco Ruiz de Castro y Portugal (1579–1637), conde de Castro and duque de Taurisano, became the eighth conde de Lemos when he inherited the title from his brother. He was also the viceroy and captain general of Sicily. His wife, the Condesa Lucrecia Lignano de Gatinara, whom he married in Naples, died in Zaragoza in 1623. Six years later, he renounced his titles and entered the Benedictine monastery of Sahagún (Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto [Desengaños amorosos], 260 n. 7).



Tw o Atandra’s lovely eyes, clear and beautiful stars whose brilliance gives the sun the light with which we see it, from whom love learned to kill with black rays, taking valor and merit from the golden arrows,6 pouring forth strings of pearls that the smiling Manzanares7 collects for its nymphs to adorn their white necks at the time when the lovely dawn abandons Titon’s bed,8 I saw her and love saw her, for the absence of Fileno, that gallant head shepherd, son of that sun who, being the sun of our time, went on to be the sun of the sky. abandoning purple and gold for rustic and black cloth of the patriarch Benito in whose footsteps he is following. After those flashes of brightness her discreet lover left, for, in the rays of such a sun hers [rays] will be eternal. Beholding the aurora, our village’s aurora says: “May you not enjoy, Alba, your husband when I am still without mine. Let the turtledove cry in sadness over the loss of her lord, for I, without my beloved lord, separated from him, suffer alone. 6. On Cupid’s arrows, see “Taking a Chance on Losing,” n. 20. 7. The Manzanares river flows through Madrid. 8. Titon was the lover of Eos, or Aurora, the dawn.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n Where are you going without your Atandra? How was it that she tired you so quickly? You are a man, I am not shocked; yet you are not a man, for I speak falsely. If you are a deity, I am foolish when I complain of an angel; chastise me not, Love, for you see me already repentant. Return, Fileno, to my arms, behold my pain; abandon the sun, for you are a sun in his clear firmament. If, like the moon, I receive your splendor, lovely rays, either give me your light again or I will follow your light.” So she spoke, and when the aurora opened its curtain to bright Phoebus, because the shepherd boys were coming in, she silenced her complaints. The nymphs of the Manzanares who were listening to her, to the sound of concerted lyres sang these verses to her: “Dry, Atandra, your black suns, for it calls attention to sadness if the sky weeps. Your lover is a sun, we see him coming now, for you are his east, to the east of you both. If the divine extreme of that loveliness captivated his soul and imprisoned his body, judge not his love so short-lived and small that he will not lengthen his step, shortening time.



Tw o Give not to those suns so many afflictions, for it calls attention to sadness if the sky weeps.” With a solemn and sweet lilt the music finished, astonishing those who had not seen the lovely doña Isabel and her poise, leaving them as much in love as they were in suspense, not knowing what role to assign her except that of the tenth muse. And if they had come intending to gossip and criticize this soiree because in it ladies dared to set themselves in opposition to men, they forgot their hurtful intention with the sweet harmony of her voice and the lovely vision of her beauty, forgiving, once they had seen her, any offense that any of them might receive from the other ladies in their tales of disillusion. And when Laura saw that everyone was in suspense, she opened the event in this fashion. “I lived so sweetly deceived, during the time I was loved and I loved, that the loving nature of my husband might give me cause to know and relate a tale of disillusion, by which I do not know whether I will manage to disillusion anyone. But what I know by reason, for I am removed from it in my own experience, indicates to me that there is a bit of everything, disillusioned women and disillusioned men, and few if any who manage to live disillusioned. So women complain of men’s deceits, and men of women’s. And this is because they do not wish to give up being deceived, because the business of loving and being loved gives them such a taste for it that, although the disillusion is right under their noses, they pretend they do not see it and make as if they do not recognize what it is. Still, it is true that those who benefit most from it are men, for since being inconstant does not afflict them, they let themselves be carried away by this fault so much that they motivate women to complain and even avenge themselves of this behavior, except that they have chosen a lowly vengeance, and it would be so much better for them to avenge themselves on the lives rather than the honors of those men,9 since they would earn the name of valiant women and the men would be left with the punishment that their fickle condition deserves—because I cannot imagine but that the devil has proposed this type of revenge used by those women who use it. Why, barbarous female, if your lover or husband offends you, do you not see that in doing the same thing yourself you offend yourself and give motive to him to kill you, if he is your 9. Zayas omits a gendered pronoun with both lives and honors; hence, this could also be read as meaning the lives and honors of other women, or their own.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n husband, and if he is your lover, to defame you? Be not frivolous, and if you are, kill the man who made you be that way and do not kill your honor. “I believe this gives rise to men having cause to speak badly of women, besides which, since men now boast of being inconstant, it must be that, to follow their nature, they seek out common women,10 and I think they do it on purpose to find reason to abandon them, for it is clear that they will find these women all over, because they do not wish to follow another way, and they enjoy strolling* about more than spinning.11 Who doubts that they will give men the chance to stray at any opportunity? And thus, because of this, I blame everyone and forgive all. What cannot be forgiven in men is speaking licentiously about these women, since their offense is enough without their telling the world about it, and the worst thing is that they pay no attention to this and drag all women down the same path, without considering the tarnish on themselves, for we will find few who lack a wife or female relative or acquaintance to whom they owe respect. “Of what is bad no good can be said, nor bad of good; but courtesy will do more than everything else, which is to speak well of all women: of some because they are good, and of others so as not to be discourteous. Who doubts, gentlemen sirs, that there are very virtuous, very enclosed, very modest women? You will say to me, “Where are they?” And the question is a good one, for since you do not seek them out, you do not find them, nor do they let themselves be sought out, or found, and you speak about the ones you have dealings with and how it goes with them. And thus, rather than disillusion, I would like to advise and ask men that, although women be bad, men not insult them, and it may be that they will make these women good. “And in truth, lovely ladies, it would be something to see, were there no men who are very noble, very wise, very prudent, and very virtuous. Certainly there are, and all do not deal in deceit, nor do all speak uncontrollably against women. And to those who do that, I say that it is not as bad for a man to act badly as to speak badly; that there are things that are better done than said. So that in honoring and praising ladies, they restore their lost reputation, since one costs as dearly as the other, and all other behavior is beneath them. 10. The contrast is between common women, meaning women of the nonnoble class, and noblewomen who behave as commoners, which is to say ignobly. 11. Spinning is the metonymic signifier of the virtuous woman, who like Lucretia stays at home and spins thread, just as “strolling about” signifies the woman of loose morals. Zayas’s use of “hilar” (to spin) may also be referring to the proverb quoted by Covarrubias, “Poco a poco hila la vieja el copo” (Little by little the old woman spins the ball), signifying persistence in a slow task to its accomplishment.



Tw o “And let the ladies be prudent and retiring, for with this there will be no need for tales of disillusion, for the one who is not deceived has no need to be disillusioned. [Excursions to] rivers, promenades, and plays in the theaters are not for every day, for many cloaks get spoiled and silk is expensive; let them blind themselves to desire and they will see how they themselves make men good. As far as cruelty [is concerned], there is no doubt that it is seated in the very heart of man, and this is born from his hardness, and indeed this soiree began with the determination to prove this and warn women to be fearful and learn from others’ misfortunes, for women know that everything always falls on them, as will be seen in the tale of disillusion that I shall now tell.”




he story takes place i]n a city near to the great city of Seville, which I do not wish to name because today relatives of don Francisco are still living, he being an important and rich gentleman, married to a lady his equal in rank.1 This man had a sister who was among the most beautiful women found in all of Andalusia, whose age was not yet eighteen. A gentleman of the same city asked for her hand, a man no less in quality, nor less wealthy; indeed I understand that he exceeded her in everything. It seemed to don Francisco, as was right, that such good fortune came only from heaven, and quite happy with it, he spoke to his wife about it and with doña Inés, his sister, who, since she had no other will but his, and in terms of obedience and reverential love she looked upon him as her father, accepted the marriage, perhaps not so much because of the man as to escape the harsh nature of her sister-in-law, who was as cruel as could be imagined. So before two months had passed she found herself, having tried to escape one captivity, put into another martyrdom, although she had the sweetness of her husband’s caresses (for even in that, at the beginning, no one can outdo a man, but rather they make such an art of it that I am convinced that they spend all of those caresses the first year; and later, since they find themselves in short supply of pleasant treatments, they leave their wives to die of pure necessity and perhaps—and not perhaps—this is certainly the reason why they, being abhorred, begin to behave badly, which leads to the men losing their honor and the women their lives). What does a husband expect, or a father, or a brother, and speaking more coarsely, a lover, from a lady, if she finds herself rejected and lacking what she needs, and beyond that, little attended to and little esteemed, but 1. The Spanish sentence is ungrammatical.



Tw o misfortune? Oh, God help me, and how confident men are today, for they do not fear the fact that what a desperate woman will do, the devil would not! They think that because they hover over and keep a close eye on them that they keep them out of trouble’s way, and they are fooling themselves. Love them, caress them, and give them what they need, and do not hover over nor keep a close eye on them, for they will watch over and be vigilant of themselves, if not out of virtue then out of obligation. And God help me again and what a counterfeit coin moral willpower is now, for it neither endures nor is worth anything beyond the first day, and no one realizes its value! Doña Inés did not suffer disgrace because of this, because her husband treated her with the esteem demanded by her worth and beauty; it was because of the latter that disgrace found her, because beauty always walks hand in hand with it. The lovely woman was enjoying a delightful and relaxed life, as [would] one who entered into such a prosperous estate with a husband of appealing appearance and better disposition, had it lasted. But when one is pursued by an adverse fate, no matter what one does, it cannot be shaken off. And it happened that, while she had been a maiden, she was never seen, owing to the terrible nature of her brother and sister-in-law. But once married, either accompanied by her husband or with relatives and friends, she went out to the merriments, social visits, and festivities of the city. She was seen by all, some praising her loveliness and her husband’s good luck for deserving her, and others envying her and resenting not having chosen her for themselves, and others loving her illicitly and unchastely, believing that with their money and gallantries they would win her over to take pleasure in her. One of these men was don Diego, a young, rich, and free gentleman2 who, at the expense of his ample estate, had not only won himself the name and position of a gentleman, but never missed a chance to catch the most lovely herons in flight, even those that were soaring, as they flew about the city.3 This man, recognizing such a dangerous opportunity, was astounded, and from being astounded fell in love, and must have done so in truth, at least for the moment (for there are men who fall in love in jest), since he displayed and gave people to know of his love with such insane desperation, in his continuous presence on her street, in churches, and in every place where he could follow her. He loved, in fact, without thinking, for he considered

2. The adjective “free,” libre, connotes a libertine. 3. The vocabulary of falconry was frequently used to describe an amorous pursuit, in which eagles or hawks figured the aggressive males and the garza (heron), the high-flying bird of prey caught by them.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n not at all the loss of honor to Inés in which such public gallantries would result. The innocent lady paid no attention to them; for one thing, because she thought that with her reserved behavior she could overcome any lascivious desire of anyone who saw her, and on the other, because on her street there lived individuals who were not only lovely, but most lovely, to whom she imagined don Diego’s attentions were directed. She loved only her husband, and with this carelessness she neither hid herself from view if she were on the balcony, nor did she fail to listen to the music and other attentions of don Diego, believing that they were meant for one of two ladies who lived below her house, young and beautiful women, but who lived freely.4 Don Diego could sing and he had other talents, fostered by the idleness of young, rich men without parents who control them; and when the opportunity presented itself, he displayed them on doña Inés’s street. And she and her maids, and even her husband, would go out to hear them, as I have said, believing that they were meant for another person, for, had they imagined anything else, surely she would not have let herself be seen. In the end, in this good faith they all made a show of don Diego’s foolishness, who, wary, when doña Inés’s husband or his servants saw him, gave them to understand the same thing they thought was going on. And with this careless carefulness he sang this ballad* one night, seated at the door of the said ladies: Like the mother who is missing her young and beloved child, so am I when I see you not, most sweet lord of mine. My eyes, in your absence, are two swift rivers, and my thoughts, without you, a confused labyrinth. Where are you, that I see you not, tokens* of love that I esteem in my soul? What east takes pleasure in those rays or what fortunate Indians?5 4. In the Tales of Disillusion, Zayas defines good women as those who live prudently, enclosed, and modestly, in contrast to “free-living women,” those who expose themselves to the public view and engage in visual and physical commerce with their bodies. 5. In associating the East with “Indians” (indios), Zayas is referring to “East India”; Covarrubias defines “India” as “an eastern region, the limit of Asia, it contains a rather large land and population. It took its name from the river called Indus, which crosses it. Today there is more known about the Indies than in ancient times. There are East and West Indies; his majesty our king Felipe III . . . is lord of the majority of both and of the discovery of them. There are books and



Tw o If in the arms of Aurora the sun is happy and rich, say: given that you are an aurora, how is it you are not in mine? You rise and you set without me, I represent myself as a sad sunset, I appear to be melancholy Norway,6 a torment in which I die and live. To love you is not blameworthy, no; to adore you is not a pleasure; if love gilds errors, how gilded are mine! May I not live if spite over having loved you has arrived at the loving frame of my soul’s door. Now that you hear me not, my love speaks daringly, and when I see you, I am silenced, unable to tell you of my love. I would that your eyes knew from mine what the tongue does not say, for it lacks the spirit to speak. And after you hide away, I torment my senses for having been so silent, saying how much I esteem you. But so that you not be unaware of it, I eternalize myself as always yours; my love will endure for centuries since I was born to be yours. Doña Inés and her husband praised the ballad because, since she did not understand that she was the cause of don Diego’s well-sung and wept-

chronicles written about their discovery; and thus I do not need to dwell on this. ‘Indio,’ the native of India; ‘indiano,’ he who has gone to the Indies, these usually return rich.” 6. The Spanish says “triste,” literally “sad,” presumably in reference to the greater hours of darkness in Norway and its northern climate.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n over anguish, she did not feel offended, for had she so imagined, of course she would not have consented to it. Well, when the ill-requited gentleman saw himself worse off every day and realized that his pretension had not taken one step forward, he walked around confused and sad, not knowing how to reveal himself to the lady, fearing a harsh and cruel response from her indignation. Well, as I say, a woman [who was] walking around who lived on the same street in a room in front of the lady’s house, a bit down the street, noticed don Diego’s suit with greater feeling than doña Inés, and then she discovered the situation and one day when she saw him pass, she called to him and, with affectionate talk, managed to have him reveal the cause of his sleepless nights. At first don Diego denied his love, because he did not trust the woman, but she, because she was crafty—and it was probably not the first crafty thing she had done—she told him that he should not deny it to her. She said that she was moderately familiar with his anguish, and that if anyone in the world could find him a remedy, she was the one, because her lady doña Inés showed her much favor, allowing her to enter her house and sharing all her most hidden secrets with her, because she had known her since before she was married, when she was in her brother’s house. Finally she painted it all so well and with such fine colors that don Diego almost wondered if she had been sent by the lady, who had noticed his amorous suit. And with this insane thought, the few times that this crafty torturer mulled it over, he openly confessed all of his desire, asking the woman to tell the lady of his love, offering her, were he to be admitted, great benefits. And to entice her even more, removing a chain that he was wearing, he gave it to her. He was rich and he desired to attain his objective, and so he stopped at nothing. She accepted the chain and told him not to worry, and that he should not stay close by, for she would notify him when something had been negotiated, that she didn’t want anyone to see her talk to doña Inés to avoid their falling under suspicion. Once don Diego had left, and the evil woman was very happy, she went to the house of some ladies of the night7 whom she knew and, selecting one from among them, the most lovely, and who in body and deportment was like doña Inés, took her to her house, explaining to her the deceit she wanted to carry out, and hiding her where she was seen by no one, she went into doña Inés’s house, saying to the servants that they should tell their lady that the neighbor woman from across the street wanted to speak to her. Hearing that, doña Inés ordered her admitted. 7. The Spanish says “de oscura vida,” literally “of a dark life.”



Tw o And this woman, with the harangue and garrulousness necessary, of which she had no lack at all, after having kissed doña Inés’s hand, begged her to show her the mercy of loaning her the dress she was wearing for two days, and that she keep the chain as surety against its return (which was the same one that don Diego had given her), because her niece was getting married [and needed a dress]. And she was not off the mark in asking for the one she was wearing, because, since it was the one doña Inés normally wore, which was of brown damask, don Diego could be carried away by her trick.8 Doña Inés was affable, and since she knew the woman as a neighbor on her street, she responded that that dress was crumpled from constant wearing, and she would give her a better one. “No, my lady,” said the deceitful woman, “this one suffices, for I do not wish it to be overly costly, for it would seem (which is true) that it is not hers, and poor people also have a reputation. And I want the guests at the wedding to think it is hers, and not borrowed.” Doña Inés laughed, praising the woman’s thinking, and ordering that another one be brought, put it on, removing that one and giving it over to the woman, who took it most happily, leaving the chain as security, which doña Inés took as assurance, since she hardly knew the woman who was borrowing it, who left with it happier than one carrying a treasure. With this, she waited until don Diego came, who was not neglectful at all, and she, with a happy face, received him saying: “This is what it means to know how to cut a deal, foolish little man. Were it not for me, you would have spent your entire life dumbfounded for nothing.9 I already spoke to your lady, and I leave her softer than a skein of weak silk. And so you see what you owe me and what you are obliged to do for me; tonight, at the hour of prayer, wait at the door of your house, for she and I will come to pay you a visit, for that is when her husband goes to gamble at a casino10 where he stays until ten o’clock. But she says that, given the decorum of a woman of her status and marriage, she does not want to be seen; that there be no servants, nor lights, but rather all very removed, or that there will be nothing. But I, who am very apprehensive at heart, will die 8. Women of all but the highest nobility wore the same dress for daily wear and kept a small collection of others—sometimes one other—for special occasions. The dress itself was the outmost garment, worn over inner articles of clothing, including a chemise, a smock and/or petticoat, and a farthingale; these interior garments were changed more often than the dress. 9. Zayas uses the colloquial phrase “tragando saliva” (swallowing saliva), meaning to suffer an affront, to be speechless or dumbfounded. 10. The Spanish specifies this place as a casa de conversación, which in the seventeenth century meant a limited-entry gambling house or recreational meeting place.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n if I am in the dark, and so you may provide a small lantern that gives light, and stand away from it during the time you would speak with her.” She was doing all this so don Diego would recognize the dress and not the face, and be deceived. But the young enamored man was losing his mind, embracing the lying, deceitful go-between, offering her once more a sum of money, giving her all that he had with him. Finally, he went to await his good fortune, and she, once he had gone, clothed the young woman she had prepared in the dress of the hapless doña Inés, styling her hair and arranging her in the fashion of the lady. And she made her up such that, when seen in the dark, she looked exactly like doña Inés, very happy that the idea had come out so well that she herself, knowing the truth, was deceived. A bit before nightfall they went to don Diego’s house, who was awaiting them at the door, the seconds seeming centuries to him. And he, upon seeing her and recognizing the dress, because he had seen doña Inés wearing it normally, since she was the same height as Inés and came tapada,11 and night was well upon them, he took the woman for Inés. And, crazy with delight, he received them and went into a low room, where there was no more light than that of a lantern in the antechamber, and from that room to an alcove that was in it; nothing more passed than the light that came through the door. The vile go-between stayed in the room outside, and don Diego, taking his pretend doña Inés by the hand, went to sit on a damask-covered bed that was in the alcove. A long time passed in which don Diego made much of his fortune in having deserved such favor, and the pretend doña Inés, well instructed in what to do, upon replying to him in that regard, extolled his having come and overcome the inconveniences of her honor, husband, and household, along with other things that were more pleasing to them, and there don Diego, completely blind to the trick, arrived at the height of her favors, whose desire and achievement had cost him so much sleep, after which he was much more enamored of doña Inés than before. The woman who was pretending to be doña Inés was clever, and she played her part so well that she led don Diego to feel even more obliged, and so, loading her with valuable jewels, and the go-between with money, seeing that the time was right to continue with their invention, they took their leave, with the gallant man begging his beloved to see him soon, and she promising him that, without leaving his house, he wait for her every 11. Despite repeated bans on the practice, women in late-sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain frequently covered their faces at least partially with mantles when they went out in public. On the prohibitions, see Marcelin Defourneaux, Daily Life in Spain in the Golden Age, trans. Newton Branch (New York: Praeger, 1970), and Mary Elizabeth Perry, Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).



Tw o night from the hour agreed upon until ten o’clock, for were there a chance to get away, she would not miss it. He was left in the highest pleasure, and the women returned home happy and having taken full advantage of the reputation of the innocent and unaware doña Inés. In this way they visited him several times during the two weeks they had the dress, for with all that they knew, whether because God willed that a case such as this one be made known, or whether they feared that don Diego would realize in time that the woman he was enjoying was not really doña Inés, they did not take the precaution of making another dress like the one they were using as a disguise. And seeing that it was time to return it to its owner, the last night they saw don Diego they led him to believe that her husband had begun to retire early and that it was necessary to not see each other for a while because they believed that he was a bit suspicious and it was important to reassure him, but when the opportunity to see don Diego arose, they would not miss it. They took their leave, leaving don Diego as sad as he was happy when he saw them the first time. With this, the dress was returned to doña Inés, and the pretend lady and the go-between split the profits, very contented with the trick. Don Diego, sad indeed, strolled* doña Inés’s street, and many times when he saw her, although he noticed the lady’s complete lack of attention to him, he took it as modesty and suffered his passion without daring to do anything but gaze upon her. Other times he spoke with the go-between who had been that of his glory, and she sometimes would say that he had no chance, since her husband was suspicious. Other times, [she would say] that she [the go-between] would seek out the opportunity to see her [Inés]. Until one day, seeing that don Diego insisted and was asking her to take a letter to doña Inés, she told him not to bother because the lady, either out of fear of her husband or because she had repented of what she had done, did not allow her to speak to her about these things, and even went further by denying her entrance to her house, ordering the servants not to let her in. In this one can see how badly a lie is disguised as the truth, and if it happens it is but for a brief time. With all this, the sad don Diego was such that it was a miracle he did not lose his mind, and in the midst of his anguish, to see if he could find some relief from it, he decided to talk to doña Inés and know from her herself the cause of this lack of love and sudden change. And so he spent day and night on her street until he had the opportunity to do so. One day when he saw her going to Mass without her husband (a great novelty because he always accompanied her), Diego followed her to the church and, kneeling next to her, said to her in as low a voice as possible, although with great excitation:

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n “Is it possible, my lady, that your love was so short-lived and my merits so small that scarcely was it born that it died? How can it be that my hospitality was of such little worth, and your will so changeable, that even though well received by my affections, it has not taken root to even keep in your memory how many times you called yourself mine and I offered myself as your slave? If women of standing repay favors this way, what can one expect from common women? If perchance this disdain is born of my having served and regaled you insufficiently, you are to blame, for the one who paid you small homage would have made you lord of much, had you not removed yourself so cruelly that even when I look at you, you do not deign to favor me with your lovely eyes, as if when I had you in my arms you did not swear a thousand times by them that you would not forget me.” Doña Inés looked at him, astonished at what he was saying, and said: “What are you saying, sir? Are you delirious, or do you think I am someone else? When was I in your arms, or did I swear not to forget you, or did I receive your hospitality or you show me affection? Because I cannot forget that which I do not ever remember, nor can I love nor abhor that which I never loved.” “What? How is it,” replied don Diego, “that you still wish to deny that you have ever seen me or spoken to me? Say that you repent having gone to my house and do not deny it, because the dress you are wearing cannot deny it, for it was the same one you wore, nor will so-and-so deny it, your neighbor across the street, who went with you.” Doña Inés was prudent and discreet, and when she heard about the dress and the woman, although distressed and half dead over such a serious affair, she realized what could have happened, and turning to don Diego, said to him: “How long ago has it been since what you are talking about happened?” “A little more than a month ago,” he replied. With which doña Inés completely realized that the time her dress was loaned to the woman she had been deceived in some way. And to better determine what had happened she said: “Now, sir, is not the time to speak any more about this. My husband has to leave for Seville tomorrow to collect some funds that have arrived from the Indies, so in the afternoon be on my street, where I will have you called, and we will speak at length about this you have told me. And say nothing about this to that woman, for it is very important to keep it from her.” With this don Diego departed, as pleased for having negotiated so well as doña Inés was left sad and confused. Finally, her husband left the next day, as she said, and immediately doña Inés had the royal governor called



Tw o for. And when he arrived, she put him in a place where he could hear what went on, telling him that it was in the interest of her honor that he be witness and judge of a very serious affair. And calling don Diego, who had not forgotten about it, she reasoned with him thus: “Certainly, sir don Diego, you left me yesterday so confused that had God not permitted that my husband go away at this moment—at which I must ascertain the truth and remove you from your mistaken ideas and the error in which you are—I believe I would have gone insane or I would have killed myself. And thus I beseech you to tell me completely and slowly what you said to me yesterday in church.” Don Diego was astounded at what she was saying and told her everything that had happened with that woman, the times she had been in his house, the words she had told him, the jewels he had given her. To which doña Inés, amazed, answered him and recounted how during that time her dress had been in the power of that woman and how she had left a chain in surety, with her maids avowing the truth of what she said, and how she had never left her house, nor had her husband ever gone to a casino, but rather retired at day’s end. And that she neither knew such a woman except only to see her at the door of her house, nor had she spoken with her, nor gone into any place with her in her life. With which don Diego was left wide-eyed, like one who has seen visions, and ashamed at the joke played on him, and even more enamored of doña Inés than before. At this the royal governor emerged, and they went together to the gobetween’s house, who confessed the truth about everything immediately, handing over some of the jewels and the chain that had been her portion of the profits, which were returned to don Diego. She [the go-between] won two hundred lashes for the trick as a defamer of women of class and honor, and was also exiled from the city for six years, the case not being made public to protect the reputation of doña Inés, with which the lady was somewhat satisfied. Don Diego was more lost than before, returning once again to his pretensions, strolling Inés’s street, and [playing] music, and with more confidence, for it seemed to him that now there was less work to do; since the lady knew of his love, he was not hopeless about the conquest, for he had accomplished most of it. And what probably encouraged him was not believing that it had not been doña Inés whom he had enjoyed, for although the truth was ascertained by the most veracious witnesses and the very go-between confessed it, all in all he must have understood that it had been a fraud and that, because doña Inés was sorry about what she had done, she had denied it, and the woman, out of fear, had taken the punishment.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n With this idea he courted her even more daringly, following her if she went out, speaking to her if he had the opportunity. With which doña Inés, disgusted, neither left the house nor even went to Mass, nor let herself be seen by the daring young man, who, because her husband was away, took more liberties than necessary, so that the pursued lady did not even consent to opening the door to keep his insolence from entering her house. But finally desperate and resolved to avenge herself for this sonnet that he sang one night on her street, what will be told below took place: Beloved lord, if in my soul some part has remained free, today once again I prostrate it to your dominion, surrendered to your beauty and your charm. Fortunate am I, from that sweet day on which I was honored with so many favors, instants I find, to my eyes, are the hours during which I enjoyed your company. Oh, if the pretending of the enchantments were true, enchantments that, early in our relationship, gave such force to the deceits, already my intentions would be realized were I but able to deserve from the gods the enchantment to enjoy you long years. Doña Inés was so annoyed that don Diego was not yet convinced of the trick the deceitful woman had played on him, to the detriment of her honor, that she immediately ordered a maidservant sent to him to say that since his daring behavior had passed to the level of shamelessness, that he go with God, without walking about being scandalous nor acting insane in public, and promised him, by who she was, to have him killed. The ill-advised youth was so sorry at this that, desperate with mortal nausea, he went home where he spent many days in bed with a dangerous illness, accompanied by such a cruel attack of melancholy that it seemed his life would end. And seeing himself dying of grief, having heard it said that there was a Moor in the city, a great enchanter and necromancer, he had him found and brought to him, to oblige doña Inés to love him by means of magic spells and witchcraft. Once the Moor was found and brought, he enclosed himself with him, explaining his amorous suit that was as unfortunate as it was daring, asking him for a remedy for her lack of response and the disdain with which



Tw o he was treated by his lady, who was as lovely as she was ungrateful. The Muslim12 necromancer promised that within three days he would give him what was necessary for the very same lady to come under his power, as he did; for since they are alien to our Catholic faith, it is not difficult for them, with writs that they arrange with the devil, even in things of greater import. So that once the three days had passed, he came to him bearing an image of the very body and face of doña Inés, which by means of his arts he had copied from her realistically, as if he had had her present before him. At the top of the figure’s hair was a candle, of the size and proportion of a quarter pound of green wax. Doña Inés’s figure was naked, with her hands placed over her heart, which was showing, stuck through by a large golden needle, like an arrow, because in the place of a head it had a sort of feather of the same metal, and it looked as if the lady wished to remove it with her hands, which were reaching for it. The Moor told him that when he was alone he should place that figure on a desk and light the candle that was on the figure’s head and that without fail the lady would come immediately and that she would stay the length of time he wanted, as long as he did not tell her to leave. And when he sent her away, he was not to blow out the candle, for when the lady reached her own house it would extinguish itself; for if he were to put it out before it did so, the lady’s life would be at risk. And likewise he was not to be afraid that the candle would burn up, though it were to burn an entire year, because it was made by means of such an art that it would last for eternity, as long as on the night of the Baptist no one threw it into a fire that was burning well.13 For don Diego, although not altogether convinced that what the Moor was assuring him would be true, was delighted if not for the hopes he had, then to see his natural enemy in the candle’s figure with such perfection and lifelike colors that, had it not been the eighteen inches tall that it was and were

12. Zayas writes “agareno,” for which there is no adjective in English. Covarrubias, whose 1611 dictionary was published simultaneously with the 1609–14 expulsion of the moriscos from Castile, cross-references agareno to sarracenos (Saracens), saying that Moors are called this “because they claim to descend from Sarah, wife of the patriarch Abraham; what is surer is that they are descendants of her servant Agar. . . . Joseph Scaliger . . . says that there are two principal names among the Arabs: ‘agarenos’ and Saracens; the agarenos take the name of Agar, mother of Ishmael, from whom they descend; Saracens are called in Arabic essarak, which means robbers or highwaymen; these are nomads, with no fixed residence.” In the supplement he left in manuscript at his death, he added the entry “Agar. It comes from the verb . . . which means to travel to a foreign country, and from which the name Agar was formed, according to Father Fray Pedro de Palencia. The Agarenos take their name from this, or from Agara, a town of Arabia.” 13. The night of Saint John, 23 June, is the summer solstice, when fires were (and are) lit, which presumably have magic power.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n it the height of a woman, I believe that he would have forgotten the original doña Inés, in imitation of the man who fell in love with a painting and [another, with] a tree.14 He paid the Moor handsomely for his work and, having taken leave of him, waited for the night as if awaiting his very life, and the whole time that Inés’s arrival was pending, while people were retiring, as was his widowed sister who lived in his house and attended to him, seemed to him an eternity: such was the desire he had to test the spell. Well, once people had retired into their houses, he got undressed to go to bed and, leaving the door into the room only drawn shut, as the Moor had advised him, because the doors to the street were never locked as there were other residents in the building, he lit the candle and, placing it on the desk, went to bed, contemplating the beauty of the lovely portrait it illuminated. As soon as the candle began to burn, the unaware doña Inés, who was already abed and her household retired, because her husband had not yet returned from Seville, since some lawsuits against his funds had been filed, deprived of her judgment by the force of the spell and of the candle that was burning, and in the end, forced by some diabolic spirit that governed the whole thing,15 arose from her bed, and putting on some shoes that she had at the bedside and a petticoat that was draped over a stool with her clothes, she took the key that she kept at the head of her bed16 and, going out, opened the door to her room and drew it closed as she left, and turning the key incompletely. She went out onto the street and into don Diego’s house, for although she did not know who was guiding her, she knew enough to take the key with her, and since she found the door open, she entered in and, without saying a word nor looking at anything, got into the bed where don Diego was, who, upon seeing such a wondrous thing, was beside himself. But getting up and closing the door, he returned to the bed saying: “When, lovely lady of mine, did I deserve such favor? Now I declare all my pains to have been worthwhile. Tell me, for God’s sake, if I am asleep and am dreaming this wonder, or if I am so fortunate that, awake in control of my senses, I have you in my arms!” 14. In classical mythology, Apollo fell in love with Daphne before her father transformed her into a tree to protect her from the god’s pursuit. The reference to the youth who fell in love with a painting probably refers to a myth similar to that cited by Zayas in “Taking a Chance on Losing” (see n.18). 15. The Spanish verb forzada means not only “forced” but also “raped.” 16. The coincidence of this detail with Countess Luisa de Padilla’s recommendation that noblewomen keep a key in the same place suggests that women indeed did this. Padilla, Nobleza virtuosa, 303.



Tw o To this and many other things that don Diego said to her, doña Inés responded not a word, with which, when her lover somewhat sorrowfully realized that it seemed to him that doña Inés was out of her senses with the damned spell and that she had no power of speech, he took those things, although they were favors, as dead ones, clearly recognizing that were the lady in possession of her senses, she would not have granted them, which was the truth, and that she would sooner pass through the door of death. He thus took full enjoyment of the time and the opportunity, remitting his words to deeds; he had her like this for most of the night, until seeing that it was time, he arose and, opening the door, said to her: “My lady, it is already time for you to leave.” And when he said this, the lady got up and, putting on her petticoat and shoes, without saying a word to him, went out the door and returned home. And when she arrived there she opened the door, and closing it behind her, without having been heard by anyone, either because they were overcome by sleep or because everyone was under the power of the spell, she got into her bed. And as soon as she was in it, the candle that was burning in don Diego’s house went out as if someone had blown it out, leaving don Diego so much more astounded that he was constantly crossing himself, although he did it many times, and if the unpleasantness of seeing that the entire business was violent had not tempered his feeling, he would have gone insane with joy. Let him remain there thus as long as that lasts, and let us away to doña Inés, who felt, when she was in her bed and the candle went out, upon recovering her lost senses, as if she were awakening from a deep sleep. But upon remembering what had transpired, she believed that everything that had happened to her had been while sleeping; quite afflicted over such brazen dreams, she reprehended herself saying: “What is this, wretched me? For when have I let my imagination run so wild that it represents things so unlike me, or what illicit thoughts have I had with this man so that from them have arisen such enormous and immodest effects? Woe is me! What is this, or what means do I have to forget such things?” With this, crying and greatly disconsolate, she spent the night and day, and in the afternoon she went to a balcony to distract her entangled memory, at the time when don Diego, still disbelieving of what had happened, passed along her street to see if he would see her. And this was the moment when, as I said, she was at the window, and when the gallant saw her ashen color and sadness, realizing the reason for this problem, he was persuaded to believe what had happened. But doña Inés, the moment she saw him, moving herself away from the window, closed it in a rage, in which don

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n Diego recognized that doña Inés had gone home deprived of all her senses, and that her sadness derived perhaps, as with dreams, from the fact that she remembered what had happened with him. Even so, seeing the rancor with which she had closed the window, one could believe that he said to her: “Go ahead and close up, lady, for when night falls I will oblige you to seek me out.” Thus don Diego spent more than one month, bringing his lady to his house whatever night pleased him, with which the poor woman was so sad and almost astonished to see that she could not rid herself of such brazen dreams, for that is what she believed they were, not even by commending herself, as she did, to God, nor by consulting her confessor, who consoled her as much as he could. And she wanted her husband to return to see if with him she could remedy her sadness, and when she was determined to either send for him or persuade him to let her go to him, what you will now hear befell her. And it was that one night which, being one of the hot nights of summer, very serene and agreeable with a beautiful, clear moon, don Diego lit his enchanted candle. And doña Inés, who was already abed, for it was late, although she was holding off from falling asleep so as not to surrender to what she thought were malignant dreams, which was nothing but the pure truth, weary of staying awake, fell asleep. And when the spell was working in her, she awoke terrified and arose, going to find her petticoat, and not finding it, since the maids had taken her clothes to wash them, in her nightgown as she was, she went out onto the street. And as she was going to don Diego’s house, there arrived with the royal governor, who was walking his rounds with all his officials and with him don Francisco, her brother, who, having run into him, was pleased to join him because they were friends. And as soon as they saw that woman in her nightclothes, walking at such a rapid pace, they called to her to stop, but she remained silent and continued walking with all diligence, as someone drawn along by a malignant spirit, so much so that she obliged them to hasten their pace to manage to catch up with her. But when they did so was when doña Inés was already in don Diego’s room, and as some and then others came in, she went to the bed in which don Diego was, and they [went] to the figure that was on the table with the candle lit on its head. And when don Diego saw the disaster and misfortune, fearful lest they snuff out the candle and doña Inés run the same risk, he leapt from the bed and screamed at them not to put the candle out, because that woman would die, and turning to her said: “Go with God, madam, for this spell has come to its end, and you and



Tw o I to punishment for our offense. I am sorry for you, for you will suffer innocent.” And he said this because he had seen her brother next to the royal governor. When he said this, doña Inés arose, and as she had come, she went out again, with everyone having recognized her as she left, and also her brother, so that all of the royal governor’s authority and presence was necessary to keep him from taking just revenge on her and don Diego. The royal governor ordered that half of his officials go with doña Inés and see what came of her bewitchment and not leave her until he ordered otherwise, but instead have one of them come to tell him everything that happened. And seeing that shortly thereafter the candle suddenly went out, he said to the unfortunate don Diego: “Ah, sir, you should have learned from the last trick not to get yourself into such a costly situation!” With this they awaited the news of those who had gone with doña Inés, who, as soon as she arrived at her house and opened the door, which was only drawn closed, and went in with everyone with her, closed it behind her and went to her bed and got in it. And since at this moment the candle went out, she awoke from the bewitchment and, screaming loudly when she saw that she was surrounded by those men, whom she recognized as ministers of justice, asked them what they were looking for in her house, or where they had gotten in, since she had the key. “Oh, unfortunate lady,” said one of them, “and it must be that you were senseless, since you ask that!” At this, and with doña Inés’s scream, the maids had come in, all upset, as much from having heard their lady yell as from seeing so many people there. Then the one who had begun proceeded, and told doña Inés all that had happened since they had found her until that moment, and how her brother had been there for it all, which, being heard by the sad and grieved lady, it was a miracle she did not lose her life. Finally, so that she not despair, judging by the things she was saying and the beautiful tears she was shedding, pulling her hair out in clumps, they sent to advise the royal governor of it all, telling him to give whatever orders were appropriate. He, having taken don Diego’s confession and Diego having told the truth in the matter, declared how doña Inés was innocent, since, as they had seen, she had come deprived of her understanding and senses under the power of the spell, with which her brother appeared to control his wrath, although thoughts quite otherwise remained with him. With this the royal governor ordered that don Diego be put in jail as a precaution and, taking the enchanted figure, went to doña Inés’s house,

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n whom they found in the anguish described, with neither her maids nor anyone else able to console her, for had she been alone she would have killed herself. By then she was dressed and had thrown herself on an estrado, falling into one faint after another, one anguish after another, and when she saw the royal governor and her brother, she threw herself at his feet begging him to kill her, since she had been evil, for although without realizing it, she had stained his honor. Don Francisco, appearing to be merciful, although within he was exuding poison and cruelty, raised her up and embraced her, which everyone thought nobly done, and the royal governor said to her: “Rest assured, madam, for your offense does not deserve the penalty for which you ask, since it is not one, given that you had nothing to do with it.” When the unlucky lady had calmed down a bit, the royal governor ordered that his assistants go out and light the candle without her knowing it. And scarcely was it done when she arose and went to where the burning candle was, and upon being told that it was time for her to leave, she returned to her place and the candle went out and she came to herself as if wakening from a dream. They did this many times, moving the candle to different places, until they returned with it to don Diego’s house and lit it there, immediately after which doña Inés went there from wherever she was, and although they spoke to her, she did not respond. With which, the case being ascertained, reassuring her and continuing to placate her brother, who was more out of his mind than she but pretended otherwise for the time being [and that] instead it was he who most forgave her, the royal governor left her with two guards, more for protection than as imprisonment, since she did not deserve the latter; each one went home, amazed at what had happened. Don Francisco went to his house, crazy with grief, telling his wife what was going on; and she, after all a sister-in-law, said that doña Inés was probably pretending to be bewitched in order to avoid blame. Her husband, who had thought the same thing, agreed with her, and right there he sent a servant to Seville with a letter for his brother-in-law, telling him to drop all his business and come immediately for a matter of import regarding their common honor, and that he do this so secretly that no one know of his arrival, not even at his house, until he had seen him. The next day, the royal governor went to find the Moor who had cast the spell, but he never appeared. News of the case spread through the city, and once the Inquisition found out about it, it demanded the prisoner, who was handed over with the evidence substantiated and put in order, for once he was carried off to the jail of the Holy Office, and from there to the Su-



Tw o prema, he was never seen again.17 And they showed not a little mercy by punishing him in secret, since in the end he would have died at the hands of Inés’s husband and brother, given that the crime he had committed deserved nothing less. The message arrived in Seville and was delivered to don Alonso who, upon seeing what he was asked to do, quite confused and fearful that the problem was doña Inés’s weakness, set off, and after long travels arrived at his brother-in-law’s house so secretly that no one knew of his arrival. And once he knew about how the entire thing had come about, the three of them had different ideas about what kind of death they would exact from the innocent and hapless doña Inés, who even had she been willfully guilty, the agony she felt for her crime would have sufficed, even more so since she had not committed it, as was proven. And the one whose cruelty strikes me the most is the traitorous sister-in-law, who, at least as a woman, could have shown her more mercy. The method being finally agreed upon, don Alonso, hiding his injurious intention, went home, and with caresses and praises assured her, doing so such that the saddened doña Inés, quieter now upon seeing that her husband had believed the truth and was assured of her innocence—for to have hidden it from him was impossible given how public the case was—recovered from her loss. And although, ashamed of her misfortune, she barely dared to look at him, her distress and tears were lessened. Some days passed in this fashion when one day, very affably, the wary husband said to her that her brother and he were decided and resolved to go to live with their households and families in Seville, for one thing to get away from the eyes of those who had found out about that misfortune, who pointed them out in public, and for another to be present for his lawsuits, which had become bogged down. To which doña Inés said that she had no other pleasure than his. And once the decision had been carried out, selling all the possessions and estate they had there, like people who planned never to return to the city, they left quite happily and doña Inés the happiest of all, because she was living with the affront of such a scandalous event. Once they arrived in Seville they took a house that was convenient, with no neighbors except each other,18 and then they dismissed all the servants they had brought, so as to commit without witnesses the cruelty I am about to relate. 17. The Inquisition had local offices that were controlled by the Suprema, or the supreme office, in Madrid. 18. “Neighbors” here means people who lived in the same building.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n In a room, the most remote of the entire house, in which, even if they had servants, no one would have the means nor occasion to go in it, in the space of the chimney that was there, or made by them because for this there were no other laborers than the brother, husband, and sister-in-law, having brought plaster and rubble and other things they needed, they put the poor and hapless doña Inés in it, leaving her no more space than that sufficient to stand up in, because if she wanted to sit down, she could not, except, as the common people say, squatting. And they walled it up, leaving her only a very small window as big as half a sheet of paper, through which she could breathe and they could give her miserable food, so that she might not die quickly, unmoved by her tears or protests. Having done this, they closed up the room, and the evil and cruel sister-in-law had the key, and she herself would go to give food and a jar of water to her, so that although afterward they hired male and female servants, no one knew the secret of that closed-up room. Doña Inés spent six years here, for the divine majesty permitted the conservation of her life in so much torment either to punish those who punished her, or for her own merit, enduring what one can imagine, since I have described the manner in which she was, and that the squalor and filth that her body exuded served her as a bed and estrado for her feet, always crying and asking God to lighten such a pitiful martyrdom, without ever seeing the light throughout all of those years, nor reclining her sorrowful body, away and removed from people, tyrannically denied the divine sacraments and kept from hearing Mass. She suffered more than those martyred by the tyrants, with not one of her three executioners taking pity on her, nor did they feel sorry for her; rather the traitorous sister-in-law spit a thousand insults and affronts at her every time she brought her food, until Our Lord, weary of enduring such crimes, allowed this miserable woman to be removed from such a lamentable life, if only so that she not die of desperation.19 And it so happened that next to this house in which she was, there was another important house that belonged to a gentleman of great rank. The wife of this gentleman I mention had had a maid whose marriage she had arranged years before, who was widowed, and since she was needy, the lady, out of charity and since the woman had served her, so that in her poverty she would not have to pay for housing, gave her two rooms that shared a wall with the confinement in which the afflicted doña Inés was, which had never been inhabited by anyone because they had served for nothing but to store barley. When the good widow had moved into them, she arranged her bed 19. To die of desperation was considered a form of suicide, and as such a mortal sin.



Tw o in this part of which I speak, where doña Inés was, of whom, because she was always lamenting her misfortune and calling to God to help her, the other woman, who was in her bed, since in the calm of the night everything was quiet, heard the “Ohs” and sighs, and at the beginning likely thought it was some soul from beyond the grave. And she was so afraid, since she was alone, that she scarcely dared to stay there; so much so that she was obliged to ask a sister of hers to give her, to be with her, a young girl about ten years old, her sister’s daughter, in whose company she stayed there with more courage. And when she paid more attention, and saw that between doña Inés’s moaning were calls to God and the Virgin Mary, Our Lady, she decided that it must be someone ill, suffering pain that obliged her to complain in that fashion. And one night when she was more attentive, with her ear to the wall, she could ascertain that the person on the other side was speaking thus: “How long, powerful and merciful God, must this life of sorrows endure? When, Lord, will you permit angry death to deliver me the blow of its cruel scythe, and how long will the power of my cruel and bloodthirsty executioners of my innocence endure? How is it, Lord, that you permit them to usurp your justice, punishing with their cruelty that which you, Lord, will not punish? For when you send punishment, it is to the guilty and even then it is with mercy; but these tyrants punish in me that which I did not do, as you well know, for I had no part in the error for which I am suffering such cruel torments, and the greatest of them all, and the one I most regret, is not being able to live and die as a Christian, for it has been so long since I have heard Mass or confessed my sins, or received your most holy body. In what land of Moors could I be held captive where they would treat me as I am being treated? Alas for me! for I desire to be removed from here not to live but rather to die as a Catholic and a Christian, for life is so abhorrent to me that the pitiful sustenance they give me is not to live but not to die in desperation.” She finished this reasoning with such grievous weeping that the woman listening to her, moved to compassion, raised her voice to be heard and said to her, “Woman, or whoever you are, what is the matter or whence these pained laments? Tell me, in God’s name, and if I am able to remove you from where you are, I will do so, even if it would venture and risk my life.” “Who are you,” replied doña Inés, “whom God has permitted to feel sorry for me?” “I,” replied the other woman, “am a neighbor on this other side, who has lived here but a short time, and during this short time you have greatly frightened me, as much as you now move me to pity. And so tell me what

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n I can do, and hide nothing from me, for I will not refuse any act to get you out of what you are suffering.” “Given that it is the case, my lady,” replied doña Inés, “that you are not on the side of my cruel executioners, I can tell you nothing more for now, for I fear they might be listening, except that I am a miserable and unfortunate woman whom the cruelty of a brother, husband, and sister-in-law has put in such misfortune that I have no place to be able to extend my wretched body. So narrow is the space in which I am that, unless I am standing or badly seated, there is no way to rest without other pains and misfortunes I am suffering, for were there nothing worse than the darkness in which I am cast, that would suffice, and this has lasted for not one day nor two, because although here I know not when it is day or night, nor Sunday nor Saturday, nor Easter, nor what year, I know well that it has been an eternity. And were I suffering this out of guilt, I would be consoled. But God knows that I am not guilty, and what I fear is not death, which I in fact desire. To lose my soul is my greatest fear, because many times the idea has come to me to make a noose with my own hands to end it all, but then I realize it is the devil, and I beg help from God to be free of him.” “What did you do that made them do this to you?” said the woman. “As I have told you,” said doña Inés, “I am not guilty. But these are long stories and cannot be told. Now what you must do, if you wish to do a good deed on my behalf, is go to the archbishop or the royal governor and tell him what I have told you, and ask them to get me out of here before I die, even if only to accomplish the work of a Christian, for I assure you that my wretched body is in such a condition that I do not think I will live long, and I ask you in the name of God to go now, for it matters much to my soul.” “Now it is night,” said the woman. “Be patient and offer your suffering up to God, for I promise you that as soon as it is day I will do what you ask.” “May God repay you,” replied doña Inés, “as will I, and rest now, for I will contrive to do the same, with the hopes you have given to be my consolation.” “After God, believe it so,” responded the good woman. And with this they fell silent. When morning came, the widow went down to her lady and told her everything that had happened, which astounded and pained the lady, and although she wanted to wait until night to speak to doña Inés herself, out of fear of the harm that would arise should that poor woman die as she was, she did not postpone it, but instead ordered that her carriage be brought. And so that the case might acquire greater import with her presence, she went with the widow to the archbishop, relating to him everything that has been told here, and he, astounded, advised the royal governor of all that



Tw o has been told in this part, and together with all their ministers, both secular and ecclesiastic, they went to the house of don Francisco and don Alonso. And surrounding it on all sides so that they might not escape, they went in and arrested the two said men and don Francisco’s wife, without sparing the servants, and when their confessions were taken, the latter were unable to say anything because they knew nothing about any of it, but the traitorous brother and husband and the cruel sister-in-law denied it at first, but when they realized it was useless, because the archbishop and royal governor were well informed, they confessed the truth. The sister-in-law presented the key, and they went up to where the hapless doña Inés was, who, when she heard a large group of people coming, imagined what it must be, and began to call out. Finally, knocking down the wall, they got her out. Pity now comes into play, for when they closed her in there she was no older than twenty-four, and with the six she had been there, was thirty, which was the flower of her life. In the first place, although her eyes were bright, she was blind, either from the darkness (for it is a known fact that if a person goes a great amount of time without seeing light that person will go blind); either because of that or from crying, she was sightless. Her lovely hair, which had been strands of gold when she went in there, was white as snow itself, entangled and full of crawling creatures, which had reproduced so much since her hair had not been combed that her head was boiling with them. Her color was that of death, so thin and consumed that her bones stood out, as if her skin were of a thin gauze. From her eyes to her chin were two hollows carved by tears, deep enough to bury a thick cord; her clothing had turned to ashes so that most of her body was visible; her feet and legs bared, which from her body’s excrement, since she had no place else to go, had not only consumed but eaten her flesh itself down to the muscles with wounds and worms, of which the putrid place was full. There is nothing else to say except that it moved everyone to such pity that they cried as if she had been the daughter of each one there. As soon as they had her out, she asked that, if the lord archbishop were there, they take her to him, which they did, having covered her with a cape due to the indecency created by her nakedness. Finally, they carried her in their arms to him, and she, having thrown herself to the floor, kissed his feet and requested his blessing, relating succinctly the entirety of her unfortunate story, which roused the royal governor to such indignation that he ordered all three put in jail with fetters and chains, so that they could not see each other, casting greater aspersion on the sister-in-law than on the others for having been so cruel, to which she responded saying that she was doing what her husband ordered her to do. The lady who sounded the alarm about the situation, together with the

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n good duenna who had discovered it, who were present for it all, breaking down the wall where doña Inés was so as not to bring her in by way of the street, carried her to their house, and the noble lady, having arranged an elegant bed, put doña Inés in it, calling doctors and surgeons20 to cure her, making her eat something, because such was her weakness that they feared she would die. But doña Inés refused everything until she had given her soul divine sustenance, confessing and receiving the Holy Sacrament, which was immediately brought to her. In the end, the lady took such good care of her that she recovered; only her sight was impossible to restore. The royal governor presided over the trial of the accused and, with everything revealed, condemned all three to death, which was carried out on a scaffold since they were nobles and gentry, without their money accomplishing anything to obtain pardon, since the crime was of such magnitude.21 They put doña Inés, healthy and restored to her former beauty, although blind, in a convent with two serving women to attend to her care, with funds from the substantial estate of her brother and husband, where she lives today the life of a saint, with someone who saw her removed from the wall as well as afterward having affirmed that she is among the most beautiful women in the kingdom of Andalusia because, although blind, since her eyes are as bright and lovely as before, one cannot tell that she cannot see. This entire case is as true as truth itself, for as I have said, someone who was present at the whole thing told me about it. Tell me now if it serves well to disillusion the ladies, for if this is what happens to innocent women, what can the guilty ones expect? And as regards cruelty toward unfortunate women, there can be no trusting brothers or husbands, for they are all men. And as King Alfonso the Wise said, the heart of man is a dense forest in which no one can find a path, where cruelty, a fierce and untamable beast, has its lair and habitat.22 Twenty years have passed since this event took place, and doña Inés is living today as are many of those who saw it happen and were present at the case; for God wanted to give her suffering and save her life that she not die

20. Surgeons during this period were practitioners who did the “dirty work” of medicine (bloodletting and bone setting, for example), whereas doctors, who studied medicine, were responsible for diagnosis, medication, and supervision of the case. 21. The manner in which condemned criminals were executed in cases of civil law was a function of class. Being of the nobility, Inés’s relatives are beheaded; members of lesser classes would have been hanged or garroted. 22. King Alfonso X the Wise ruled Castile and León from 1252 to 1284. He supervised the composition of, and composed parts of, songs to the Virgin, historical chronicles, and the first legal code in a modern language. No one has identified the source of Zayas’s quote, nor can we.



Tw o of desperation, and that such a rabid, insane man as her brother, such a cruel basilisk* as her husband, and such a harsh lioness as her sister-in-law might bring about their own punishment.

The ladies and gentlemen wanted the discreet Laura to finish her tale of undeceiving, so pained and moved by the prodigious events that had happened to doña Inés, as lovely as she was hapless, that all of them, from the hearing of it, were shedding rivers of tears from merely listening, and they did not deliberate so much the husband’s cruelty as the brother’s, since he did not seem to be a person of her own blood by permitting such a thing to happen. For even if doña Inés, out of malice, had committed the error that obliged him to carry out such punishment, she deserved no more than a quick death—as has been the way that other women who have sinned out of malice have died—and not to be given so many and such prolonged deaths as they did. And the one they blamed most was the sister-in-law, since she, as a woman, could have been more merciful, being sure, as had been proven, that she had fallen into the error she did when deprived of her senses by the demonized spell. And the first to break the silence was doña Estafanía, who said with a piteous sigh: “Oh, my divine husband! And if you, all the times that we offend you, were to chastise us like this, what would become of us? But I am a fool for comparing you, merciful God, to the husbands of the world. I never repented of being your wife for as long as I have been, and today I do so less nor will I do so ever, for although I might offend you, at the smallest tear you will pardon me and receive me with open arms.” And turning to the ladies, she said to them: “Certainly, ladies, I do not know how you have the courage to surrender yourselves to an enemy under the name of husband, for not only is he offended by what you do, but by what you think, for neither doing good nor evil do you manage to please them, and perhaps they have compassion for you when you are party to some offense against them. Why do you trust them and put your faith in their hidden wickedness, for until they achieve their revenge, and it is assured, they do not rest? With only this tale of disillusion that Laura, my aunt, has told, you are left well disillusioned, and convinced by the opinion sustained at this soiree, and the gentlemen can also realize how deceived they are in blaming women for everything, accumulating upon them all transgressions, weaknesses, cruelties, and evil treatments, for they are not always guilty. “And the fact is that, for the most part, women of privileged quality are the most disgraced and helpless, not only because of what we have seen in the misfortunes described in the tales of disillusion that have been told, but

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n also because men include them in the opinion they have about common women. And that is a type of passion, or a theme of divine wits who write books and works for the theater, that affects all by following the opinion of the common mob, which generally blames everything bad that happens on women. For there is as much for which to blame men, and in writing about one or the other, they could have saved these ladies the work of defending women’s honor by defending them themselves, seeing that there is no one who does defend them, to work out the most obscure cases to prove that evil women are not all women, nor are all men good.” “What is certain,” replied don Juan, “is that it truly seems that all of us have given in to the vice of not speaking well of women, just like snuffing tobacco, which illustrious people do as do the plebeians. And speaking evil of other people who snuff, they have their snuff box closer at hand and more cared for than their rosary and books of hours,23 as if, because it is kept in golden, silver, or glass boxes, it is any less just tobacco, and if asked why they snuff it, they say ‘Because that is what is done.’ It is the same thing to blame ladies for everything, for if one thinks about it, let someone ask the most impassioned man why he speaks badly of women, they being the most pleasant orchard of all that nature created; he will respond ‘Because that is what is done.’” Everyone laughed at don Juan’s comparison of tobacco with speaking badly of women. And if one considers it well, he spoke the truth, because if the vice of tobacco is the most ordinary of all there are, he compared it well to the most abominable vice there can be, which is not esteeming, praising, and honoring ladies; the good ones for being good, and the bad ones for the sake of the good ones. Then, when the lovely doña Isabel saw that pretty Matilde was preparing herself to occupy the seat of the one to disillusion, she signaled to the musicians to sing this ballad: “Whenever Atandra should look at you, do not look, ungrateful lord, at the deceptions of her eyes, because you kill me with jealousy. Encourage not her familiarities, for if she sees a frown in your eyes, her own eyes, inconstant, will find in yours a lesson. 23. Books of hours were common devotional items of the wealthy from the Middle Ages on. They contain Catholic prayers for specific hours of the day and specific days of the liturgical year, accompanied by illustrations that inspire meditation.



Tw o Do not cheapen your worth with such common thoughts, for it will be the reason why I regret my devotion. She has a lord; let her find pleasure in him; if she is unhappy therein, let her insanity or her good decision remind her that she chose him. May the tears of my eyes oblige you not to admit her immodest flirtations, the torments of my soul. For if I attempt to endure the anguish that I bear, if it is possible for my valor it is not so for my suffering. What good, Salicio, do the sufferings bring me with which I remain awake for long nights and for days without repose, if you are pleased to kill me, giving the prize to that tyrant who costs me such grief, who costs me so much sleep? Today, upon leaving your lodgings, the tyrant of my favors showed with her smiling face how very happy she is to have them. If you saw that they are mine, you would not give them to her so quickly; you committed fraud of property because you sold what is not yours. Were she to find you sharp, were she to see that you are severe, she would not offer you, too boldly, the signs at which I take offense from you.” A married woman sang this alone with her instrument, seeing in Salicio and Atandra her jealousy confirmed.



y the time Isabel finished singing, the divine Lisis was already seated in the chair of the one to undeceive, after everyone in the room—ladies and gentlemen—had honored her as the one presiding over the soiree, standing up and bowing courteously to her until she sat down. And her beauty, understanding, and valor deserved it all. And when everyone was seated again, with a grace never before seen, she began in this fashion “Doubtless, lovely ladies and discreet gentlemen, you await my tale of disillusion with greater anxiety than you awaited the others, perhaps because you expect it to be better seasoned, tastier, with better-prepared reasoning. And surely there are more than two of you saying to yourselves, ‘When will the clever one tell her tale, the one who pretends to knowledge1 (for anything is possible), the one who wishes to defend women, the one who pretends to reform men, and the one who would have the world not be as it always has been?’ For vices never age; they are ever young. And in the young, ordinarily, there are vices. Men are the ones who grow old in them. And one never forgets something that has become a habit. And, since I do not pretend to canonization for my intelligence but rather for my ability to undeceive, I have certainly never sought out rhetorical nor overly cultivated reasoning in what I say or in what I will say because, aside from being a type of language I abhor to all possible extreme, I would like for everyone to understand me, those who are educated and those who are not, for since they have all declared themselves to be enemies of women, I have declared war against them all. “And thus I have attempted to speak in the language that my nature teaches me and I learned from my parents, for the rest is sophistry into 1. Zayas writes “bachillera”; on the use of this word, see “Forewarned but Fooled,” n. 56.



Tw o which writers have fallen to distinguish themselves from everyone else, and they sometimes say things that they themselves do not understand: how can anyone else understand them? Unless it is saying—as has sometimes happened to me, when, my wits worn out from trying to determine what something means and with my effort bearing no fruit—‘It must be quite good because I do not understand it.’ “So, noble listeners, I have put myself here to undeceive ladies and persuade gentlemen not to deceive them. And given that this is the case, since they [men] are ancient in this vice, for they are the masters of deceit and have received good training from its militants, let them not speak ill of the science they teach. And thus I have put myself here to speak without deceit, and I myself will be what undeceives you most, for it would be to die of deceit and not live having been warned, were I to let myself be deceived while undeceiving all other women. “Take heart, noble ladies, for we will emerge victorious! Patience, prudent gentlemen, for you must be conquered and must rule in favor of being conquered by the ladies! This is a challenge from one woman to everyone, and out of courtesy, at least, you must grant me victory, since being conquered is to be the conquerors. It is clear that being, as you are, noble and prudent, on behalf of my desire, which is good, you must praise my work; though it be bad, this birthing of my poor and humble understanding does not dull the edges of yours. And so, since I take nothing away from you and I give, what reason can there be for my poor labor not to find a place among the great wealth of your heroic discourses? And given that although an inferior coin, it is a coin and is worth something, you should not tread it down because it is humble; then if it deserves a place among your ample wealth, you conquer yourselves and make me the conquering one. “You see here, lovely ladies, how it is that if I am the victor of this challenge, all of you will reap the benefits, for I fight for all women. Oh, would that I had as much understanding as I have desire, to know how to defend females and please males! And, while giving you the burden of conquering yourselves, that it were with so much erudition and gracefulness that you took pleasure in it and that, obliged by courtesy, you yourselves would surrender even more. If it is true that all poets take part in the divinity, I would that mine were so sublime as to oblige you without angering you, because there are unpleasant things so well expressed that they themselves obtain their own pardon. “You [gentlemen] have endured the reproach of all these ladies out of fear, because I still do not believe that they are completely undeceived of

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n 2

your deceits, and from me you will carry it off triumphant, because I believe I have no need of you but to speak well or ill of this soiree, and in that there is little lost if your courtesy doesn’t serve it, as I have said. For were it bad, the one who publishes it will not lose, since people will perhaps buy it so as to speak ill of it, and if good, it will make its place and earn its merit on its own. Should the events of these evenings be taken as prattle,* you will not deny that they are well wrought and, moreover, wrought without the benefit of art—which has even more merit—but rather with only the natural talent heaven gave me. And I want you to know that I write without fear, because since the works of others have never seemed bad to me, out of courtesy you owe me a good opinion of mine, and not only out of courtesy but obligation. Let us turn the page now, and set off on the undeceiving, for the Gloria is sung at the end [of Mass], and I do so assured that you will sing my praises.”

The Catholic and Royal Majesty of Felipe III being in the city of Lisbon in the Kingdom of Portugal, in the year 1619,3 it happened that a gentleman, a gentlemen-in-waiting of his chambers—whom we will call don Gaspar, whether such was his name or whether that is what one supposes, for that is how I heard it, for in the business of names people rarely say the same thing—was this day accompanying His Majesty, gallant, noble, wealthy, and with all the parts* that could be desired, and more so in a gentleman, for since youth brings the accidents of love along with it, as long as its flower endures men do not deal in other affairs and even less when they go to foreign lands, because, to see if the ladies there are superior in attractions to those of their homeland, they immediately try to take their measure by practicing their pleasure on one of them to resolve this question. Thus don Gaspar, who apparently went only for this, just a few days after arriving in Lisbon chose a lady, if not of highest caliber at least the most lovely he could find, to season his pleasure. And this woman was the 2. Meaning that the gentlemen listening to her tale will carry off Lisis’s reproach as a victory because harkening to it will allow them to triumph over their own erring ways. 3. Felipe II annexed Portugal to Spain in 1580; Portugal rebelled in 1640, naming the duke of Braganza King John IV of Portugal, and the country’s independence was sealed when Spain finally recognized its independence in the Treaty of Lisbon (1668). Nancy Lagreca reads this tale as a roman à clef about prominent figures involved in the Portuguese struggle for independence, “Evil Women and Feminist Sentiment: Baroque Contradictions in María de Zayas’s ‘El prevenido engañado’ and ‘Estragos que causa el vicio,’ ” Revista canadiense de estudios hispánicos 28, no. 3 (2004): 565–82.



Tw o youngest of four sisters who, although with modesty (because Portuguese women are very attentive to this), tried to entertain themselves and take advantage of what they could, for if people are not chaste, it is a great virtue for them to be cautious about it, for the behavior that costs the people of our land the most, men as much as women, is the ostentation with which they practice their vice. And the bad thing is that no sooner does a woman make a mistake than it is already known, along with many that she does not make, and they accumulate on her. These four sisters I was mentioning lived in a third-floor apartment of one of the city’s most prestigious buildings, the rest of the quarters being occupied by good people, and these women being of not a bad reputation; so much so that, in order for don Gaspar not to ruin that reputation, he did not visit her by day and had a key with which to enter at night through a hidden door of a back entrance. Thus, waiting until people had retired and the doors were locked, which were both open during the day so that the residents could come and go, he would open it with his key and enter to see his love token,* without making any scandal in the neighborhood. Don Gaspar had been occupying himself with this for a bit more than two weeks, if not in love, at least pleased by the beauty of his Portuguese lady, when one night, at a later hour than usual because he had been gambling, a portentous thing happened to him, which seems to have been a foreshadowing of those that happened to him in that city.4 And it was that, having dismissed a servant who always accompanied him, since he was the one he trusted among all of those who attended him in his amorous adventures, he opened the door and, standing there to close it from the inside, as he did other times, in a cellar—which was in the same doorway (not a trapdoor in the floor but a door at floor level with an arch) with an iron grate that was always unlocked because the space was for the use of all the neighbors who lived on that side of the house—he heard some moans inside, so low and pitiful that they did not fail to provoke in him at first some horror, although, once he recovered himself, he believed it must have been some poor man who, not having any place to spend the night, had gone in there 4. On urban domestic space during this period, see Exemplary Tales of Love, introduction, n. 3. To visualize where the following episode takes place, it is helpful to recall that buildings of private residences in European cities opened almost directly onto the street with a large door. This point of access, shared by all the residents, was usually locked by a doorkeeper every night and opened every morning. As in today’s apartment buildings, individual residences within the larger edifice also had locking doors. Don Gaspar here enters the building’s main door, immediately inside which, off to one side, is a storage room below floor level accessed by a few stairs, an area that has a dirt floor. Zayas’s reference to the use of this dark space to protect things from heat suggests that it may have been a root cellar.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n and was complaining of some hurt from which he was suffering. He finished closing the street door of the building and, heading upstairs (to ascertain what it was before speaking a word about love to his lady), requested a light and returned with it to the cellar and bravely, like the person he was after all, went down the steps, which were not many. Upon entering therein he saw that it was not a spacious place, because from the end of the stairs one could see everything in it, which was nothing more than walls. And frightened to see it empty and that the one who had made the piteous groans he had heard was not in there, looking all around as if the man could have been hidden in some hole, [he saw that] there was a place where the earthen floor was broken up as if someone had recently dug there. And having seen a hook hanging from the ceiling, which must have served to hang things that were to be protected from the heat, he pulled on it and got it down and began to scratch the earth to see if by some chance he discovered something. And after working at it a little, since the earth was so loose, he saw that one of the prongs of the hook had caught something and resisted his pulling. He pulled harder, and as he raised it upward, a man’s face sprang up because the iron had hooked under his chin, not because it was separated from its body, for had that been the case, he would have pulled it up completely. There is no doubt but that don Gaspar had need of all his courage to calm himself from the shock and allow his blood to return to its proper places, for it had all run to his heart which, breathless from the horror of such a vision, had weakened. He let the catch go, which returned to its burial in the ground, and leveling out with his feet all that he had dug up, he went upstairs again, telling the ladies what was happening, who, worried about his tardiness, were awaiting him, and they were not a little fearful. So afraid were they that, although don Gaspar wanted to leave immediately, he did not dare leave them alone, seeing their fear; but they could not convince him to sleep there, as other times, not out of fear of the dead man, but rather from the shame and respect that [arise] when our own blind spots are illuminated by things that happen to others, and more so such disastrous things, [so that] it is too shameless not to be afraid of them, and out of respect for heaven, since in view of the dead it is not right for the living to sin. Finally, they spent the night in good conversation, thinking and rethinking the case, with the ladies asking for a way and means to remove that body from there, which was complaining as if it had a soul. Don Gaspar was noble, and fearful lest some risk befall those women, obliged by the friendship he had with them, when he wanted to leave, which was immediately after the aurora began to show its beauty, he promised



Tw o them he would arrange for the body to be removed from there and given sacred ground that night, for that was likely what it was asking with its piteous moans. And he arranged that by going to the closest convent and speaking with the eldest of all the religious men there; in confession he told all that had happened, which the confessor gave credit to from knowing who he was, because nobility brings its own authority with it. And the very night of that next day, two religious men went with don Gaspar. and having brought a light that the eldest of the four sisters brought to see the dead body, after digging a bit, for it must have been scarcely a yard and a half, they uncovered the unfortunate cadaver. Once it was removed, they saw it was a young man who was not twenty-four years old, dressed in black velvet, a flannel cape, because his adornment was lacking nothing for even his hat was there, his dagger and sword, and in one of his pockets a handkerchief, a book of hours,5 and a rosary, and in the other some papers, among which was a papal bull.6 But they could not determine who he was from the papers, since they were written in a woman’s hand and contained nothing but amorous courtesies, and the bull did not have his name on it, either because it had been bought that very day or because of carelessness, which was the more likely case. He had no wounds, nor did he appear to have been dead more than twelve or fifteen days. Astounded at all this, and more so to hear don Gaspar say that he had heard him complain, they put him in a sack that don Gaspar’s servant had brought for that purpose, and once the lady had gone back upstairs, one of the fathers, who was a layman, loaded the body on his shoulders and walked with it to the convent, with don Gaspar and his confidant serving as attendants, where they buried him, removing his clothing and everything else, in a sepulcher that had been opened for this purpose, with don Gaspar complementing the work of the religious men with some quantity of doubloons so that Masses could be said for the dead man, to whom God had given the means to complain so that this gentleman’s piety could accomplish the good it did. This event was sufficient to move don Gaspar away from the activity in which he had been occupying himself, not because he imagined that the sisters were to blame, but rather because he believed it was God warning him to get away from the house in which such risks abided, and so he did not see the sisters again, although they tried to convince him to do so, saying they would move to another residence. And also because he was frightened by 5. On books of hours, see “Fifth Tale of Disillusion,” n. 23. 6. A bull is a written statement by the pope, bearing the papal seal, usually to pardon its purchaser from a sin.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n this event, he spent a few days resisting the impulses of youth, not wanting to take part in amorous adventures, so laden with dangers, and more so with women who live off vice and have pleasure as their fortune, for from these women nothing can be had except motivation for men to not speak well of a single woman and feel badly about all of them. But in the end, since youth is an unbridled horse, he broke the restraints of virtue, without its being in don Gaspar’s power not to fall, if it can be said thus, for in my opinion, what greater perdition is there than to fall in love? And it so happened that in one of the sumptuous temples there are in that city, one day when he was there with greater devotion and inattentive to love and being loved, he saw the divine loveliness of two ladies among the most noble and wealthy of the city, who went in to hear Mass in the same temple where don Gaspar was, so beautiful and young that they seemed to him to be but one year apart in age. And if the wealth of beauty in the two was such that one could love them both, since love does not want company, our gentleman’s eyes chose the one who seemed to him most perfect, and he did not choose badly, for the other one was married. He was absorbed, hurling himself more and more into his love while they were listening to Mass, [after] which, once it was finished, and seeing that they were about to leave, he waited for them at the door, but did not dare say anything to them since they were surrounded by servants and because in a carriage that arrived to meet them was a Portuguese gentleman, gallant and young, although robust, and who looked like a man who did not abide foolishness. One of the ladies sat beside the gentleman, and the one whom don Gaspar had chosen as his lord,* on the other side, which he was happy to see. And desirous to know who they were, he detained a page, whom he asked what he wanted to know, and he replied that the gentleman was don Dionís de Portugal and the lady who was at his side, his wife, and that her name was doña Magdalena, that the couple had married not long before; that the woman seated facing them was named doña Florentina and she was doña Magdalena’s sister. The page took his leave at this, and don Gaspar, quite content that they were persons of such rank, having determined right then to love and serve doña Florentina, and to work toward obtaining her as his wife (with such rigor does love shoot his arrows when he wants to wound in earnest), ordered his faithful servant and secretary to follow the carriage to find out where the house of those two very lovely sisters was. While the servant went to comply, don Gaspar, either out of pleasure or as a result of the force with which the golden arrow of love had sweetly wounded his breast (for this tyrant enemy of our quietude has some sudden accidents which, if they



Tw o do not kill, rob those he wounds of judgment with his gilded harpoon),7 was speaking endlessly to himself. It already seemed to him that he found insufficient merit in himself to be accepted by doña Florentina, and with this his love fainted away, such that he decided to let himself perish in silence; then, more enthused, when hope acted in the way it does with the deceitful pleasure it promises, it seemed to him that no sooner would he ask for her hand than it would be granted, knowing who he was and how he lived esteemed in close contact with his king. And since this thought gave him more pleasure than the others, he decided to pursue it, entwining himself more in his amorous entanglement, when he saw himself so sustained by more than false hope, which always promises more than it gives; and we are so primitive that, when we feel it, we live off of it. He was in this chimera when his informant arrived and told him of the heaven in which the deity who had him out of his mind resided, and from that very moment he began to waste time and energy futilely, because though he stood many days on her street, the modesty of the household was such that not only was he unable to see the ladies, but not even a female servant, although there were many, though he tried at the most difficult hours and the easiest. The house was closed up and silent;8 at the window, grates were finely wrought with thick shutters, and on the doors strong and secure locks, and scarcely was it nighttime when they were closed up and everyone retired, so that except for when they went to Mass, it was impossible to see them, and even then few times did they go unaccompanied by don Dionís, with which all the attempts of don Gaspar faded away. Only with his eyes, in church, did he give his lady to understand his love; but she paid no attention or did not look at him. During this time he did not fail to see if, by means of a servant, he could obtain something of that to which he pretended, attempting with gold to take aim at his faithful suit; but, since he was a Castilian,9 he did not find what he wanted in those attempts, owing to the little sympathy that 7. As observed in “Taking a Chance on Losing” (n. 20), Cupid’s gilded arrow struck love in its target. 8. The Spanish saying casa encantada (literally “the enchanted house”), the phrase Zayas uses here, means “the house closed up and in great silence, and its occupants hidden and reserved” (Covarrubias, s.v. encantado). 9. A Castilian is a person from the central region of Castile that dominated Spain politically after the fifteenth century. It is often used synecdochically to mean a Spaniard, particularly by Castilians (as was Zayas).

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n this nation has for ours, for even though they live among us, they are our enemies. With these difficulties don Gaspar fell even more in love, and more so on the days when he saw Florentina, for it only seemed that the rays of her eyes promised better luck, and that whoever might merit her beauty would have arrived at the non plus ultra of good fortune, and could live safe from jealous offenses. Florentina looked little at don Gaspar, although he was something to look at, because although, as I have said, she could have noticed his attentions in church, it must have seemed to her that his interest was due to her beauty; that when a man pays what he owes, he does not deserve gratitude.10 This pretension of don Gaspar’s lasted more than two months, without greater hopes of success than those I have stated, for if the lady was unaware of the gallant’s infirmity, how could she apply the remedy to him? And I think that even had she known of it, she would not have done so, because it arrived too late. Let us to the matter at hand. Which was that one night, a bit before dawn, don Gaspar and his manservant were coming out of a casino,11 [for] which, although the ostentation permitted a nobleman would have allowed him to be accompanied by a carriage and servants, as a youth in love, seasoned with bravery, he was more pleased to do without, attempting to divert himself from his amorous cares with some entertainment, strolling* the street on which Florentina lived, for since he could not see the pearl, he contented himself with beholding its box.12 When he arrived at the street, for the house was at the end of it, by the glow of the moon, which although high in the sky, gave off light, he saw a woman stretched out on the ground, whose golden adornments, whose glimmer, which competed with that of Diana, qualified her as a woman of standing, who with fainting breath was moaning as if she wished to take leave of life. These moans were even more frightening to don Gaspar, I think, than those he had heard in the cellar, not

10. According to the economics of social relationships during this period, men owed homage to a woman’s beauty. Women writers tend to represent this debt as not producing any obligation on the woman’s part (as does Zayas here), whereas male authors often represent male desire for a woman’s beauty as generating a debt that the desired woman owes the man. 11. On the institution of the casa de conversación, or the casino, see “Fifth Tale of Disillusion,” n. 10. 12. During the baroque period, sumptuary laws regulated what certain classes of people were able to do; permission to use a carriage, for example, was a function of the income of one’s estate. These limitations were designed by the king to check the nobility’s tendency to overindulge in expensive appearances.



Tw o out of fear but rather compassion. And upon reaching her to inform himself of her need, he saw her completely bathed in her own blood, of which the ground was as full as a lake, and the wan and lovely face, although disfigured, gave evidence of her divine beauty and also of her impending death.13 Don Gaspar took her by her lovely hands, which seemed of marble in their whiteness and chill, and, shaking her, said: “What is it, my lady, or who is the cruel one who has left you thus?” To which question the fainting lady, opening her beautiful eyes, recognizing him as a Castilian, and starting to rise at this more than she was able to manage, replied in Portuguese: “Oh, gentleman, for God’s suffering and for what you owe to who you are, and to being a Castilian, take me where you can arrange, before I die, for my confession, for since I am losing my life in the flower of youth, I would not want to lose my soul, which is in grave danger.” She fainted away having said this, at which don Gaspar, observing that the unfortunate lady was in the throes of death, raised her from the ground with his servant and, adjusting her in his servant’s arms so he could carry her more comfortably, so he himself could have his hands free should they run into people or the ministers of justice, walked as quickly as they could to his inn, which was not far, where they arrived without any interference.14 The other servants and a woman who attended to him received them, and placing the bloodless body on his bed, one sent for a confessor and another for a surgeon. And having done this, he went in to the wounded lady who, surrounded by the others and the maid holding a lit candle in her hand, had regained consciousness and was asking for confession because she was dying. The maid comforted her, encouraging her to be brave, since she was in a place where her soul and body would be cured. Don Gaspar arrived then, and putting his eyes on the almost dead face, was left like those who see visions or ghosts, without blinking or being able to speak a single word because he saw no one less than his adored and lovely Florentina. And, unable to believe his own eyes, he closed and opened them 13. This hyperbolic violence and fascination with death are typical of the baroque novella of Spain and intensified as the years passed. For example, the first tale of Cristobal Lozano’s Soledades de la vida (first published in 1658) opens describing a beautiful female corpse in whose lap lies “a deceased gentleman, his face so disfigured and bloody that one could scarcely discern who he was, his breast so full of wounds that from it sprouted so many streams of blood that on the entire side of the mountain the grass was dyed in red relief, the flowers completely stained.” Cristóbal Lozano, Soledades de la vida y desengaños del mundo, 2nd ed. (Madrid: Andrés García de la Iglesia, 1664), 10. 14. Don Gaspar wanted his hands free to deal with any situation that might arise to compromise the lady’s anonymity, crucial to protect her reputation.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n again and again to see if they were deceiving him. And realizing it was no deceit, he began to exclaim, not knowing what to say about such a situation nor what could have happened to leave a lady of such standing, withdrawn and modest, in the state in which he beheld her and in the place where he had found her. But since he was aware that she was then in no condition for him to find out any of that which so astounded him, because the wounded lady was falling in and out of consciousness, he endured his desire and remained silent about her identity so as not to let the servants find out who she was. At this a servant arrived with two friars,15 and not much later the one who was bringing the surgeon, and so as to attend first to the health of the soul, everyone stood aside. But Florentina was so weakened and faint, from the blood she had lost and was losing, that she could not make her confession. And thus, given the imperative and owing to the danger in which she was, the confessor took some preventive measures and promised, should she feel better in the morning, to confess her; he absolved her, and made way for the healer of the body, with everyone and the friars remaining there because they did not want to leave until she was treated; they removed her clothes and put her in the bed. And they found that she had a stab wound between her breasts, in her upper chest, which although not deep, proved to be dangerous, and would have been more so had not the stays of her undergarment protected her.16 And underneath her throat, almost at her right shoulder, another, likewise dangerous, and another two in her back, indicating that she had been held by the arm when someone had stabbed her, that what had left her so out of breath was the loss of blood, which was great, because she had been wounded for some time. The surgeon did his job, and when he turned her over to do so, she fainted completely away. In the end, once he had stopped the bleeding, don Gaspar paid the surgeon and advised him to tell no one about the case until they could ascertain whether the lady would die or not, [and] how such a misfortune had come about, telling him how he had found her, since the surgeon, a Spaniard among those who had accompanied His Majesty’s troops, could obtain what he asked for; with an order to return at daylight, he went to his room and the friars to their convent.

15. The Spanish says “religiosos,” meaning “religious men,” but the text specifies friars below. 16. The Spanish word for this undergarment is justillo, a precursor of the brassiere or corset, a waist-length female undergarment similar to a vest that shaped the body and supported the breast. For a sketch of the eighteenth-century justillo, see http://www.culturatradicionalgc.org/ vestimenta/justillo.cfm.



Tw o Everyone retired. Don Gaspar was left without an appetite for supper, with a bed having been prepared for him in the same room with Florentina. The servants went to bed, leaving him some preserves and sponge cakes, water and wine, in case the lady should recover consciousness, to help revive her. Once they all had left, as I say, don Gaspar seated himself on the bed in which Florentina lay and, holding the light close, set to gazing at her all but expired loveliness. And seeing that the very life with which he lived was half dead, with love and mercy working their accustomed effects in his enamored breast, with his eyes moist with loving feelings, he took her hands that were lying on the bed and at times took her pulse to see if she yet lived; others touched her heart, and many others set the carnations of his lips upon her snowy flakes, which he held tight in his hands, and said: “Oh, most lovely and luckless Florentina, my hapless fate determined that when I am the master of these plucked lilies it is when I am so close to losing them! Unfortunate was the day I saw your beauty and loved it, for having lived dying for such a prolonged time, my pains having served for nothing in your eyes—for things of which one is unaware simply do not exist—my desperate and ill-fated fortune decided that I would find you when you are most lost to me and I have the least hope to win you; for when I could have prepared myself for a respite for having found you, I see that you are the spoils of angry death. What can I, your unhappy lover, do in such pain except be thus also at the point at which your soul departs from your lovely body, to accompany you on this eternal and final journey? What hands were so cruel as to have the will to remove from your crystalline breast, in which love alone deserved to reside, as much deep red as I have seen shed! Tell me, my lady, for as a gentleman I promise to take the most furious revenge on him that the world has witnessed since its creation. But alas for me, for it now seems that angry Fate has cut the delicate thread of your life, for already I admire you as frozen marble when I hoped you would be fire and soft, melted wax at the heat of my love! Well be certain, faded carnation and expired beauty, that I must follow you, should I not be undone with grief, then dead by my own hands and with the dagger of my wrath.” Saying this, he once again took her pulse and heartbeat and once again and with most pained cries wept over the wretched beauty. And thus he was until six in the morning, for at this time the fainted lady came to her senses with a bit more liveliness, for since her loss of blood had been checked, her soul and failed spirits were stronger. And opening her eyes, she looked, terrified, upon those standing around her, wondering where she was, for everyone had arrived by then, both the surgeon and the two pious friars. But recovering her senses and remembering how a gentleman had brought

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n her there, and all the rest that she had experienced, and with a weakened voice, she asked for something to gain some strength. They served her moist sponge cakes soaked in fragrant wine, because it was the softest and most substantial sustenance. And once she had eaten, she asked to be shown the gentleman to whom she was indebted for not having died like a pagan and barbarian. And once this was done, she thanked him as well as she knew how to and could. And having ordered a broth for her, they wanted to leave her alone for a while so that, having no one with whom to speak, she could repose and prepare herself for confession. But she, feeling herself more alert, said no, that she wanted to confess then, in case something else happened. And before this, turning to don Gaspar, she said to him: “Gentleman (for although I would like to call you by name I do not know it, although it seems to me I have seen you before), will you be able to go to the place where you found me? For if you can remember, inquire on that same street for the houses of don Dionís de Portugal, which are well known there, and opening the door, which is merely pulled to, safeguard that which is in it, people as well as possessions. And so that you may not be blamed for the disasters that you will find there and thus be visited by evil when you have done good, take a minister of justice with you, for it is impossible, given the evil that is in that cursed house (through fault of mine), to cover it up any longer, much less take precautions against their finding out where I am, and should I deserve more punishment than that which I already endured, let it be so.” “Lady,” responded don Gaspar, telling her his name first, “I know well which house is yours, and I know you well, and you are not wrong, for you have looked at me many times although you have not seen me. I have indeed looked at and seen you; but you are in no condition to find out where, much less why, if you are the cause of those misfortunes that have been visited upon your house, you are in trouble with the law.” “It could be no other way,” replied Florentina. “Do what I ask, lord don Gaspar, now that I fear no more injury than I have now, aside from which your prestige is sufficient for them to treat me with some courtesy.” Since don Gaspar then saw that such was her will, he said nothing more, and instead ordered the carriage, climbed in, and went to the palace, and telling one of his relatives who also served in His Majesty’s chambers what had happened with that lady, without saying that he knew or loved her, he asked that relative to accompany him to give an accounting of the incident to the governor, so that no one might imagine that he was an accomplice to Florentina’s wounds nor to the misfortunes that had taken place in her house. And together don Gaspar and don Miguel went to the house



Tw o of the governor, to whom they related the state in which the lady was found and what she was saying about her house; for since the governor knew don Dionís very well and understood what those lords were telling him, he immediately got into the carriage with them, exclaiming about the events, and went to don Dionís’s house surrounded by ministers of justice. When they arrived at it, they opened the door that Florentina had told them about, and everyone entering, the first thing they found, at the door of a room that was at the foot of the stairs, were two pages in their undershirts, stabbed to death, and going up the stairs, a white slave with a brand on her face17 at the entrance of a corridor, in the same state as the pages, and a serving maid seated in the corridor, stabbed through to her back, who, although dead, had not been able to fall over because she was against the wall. Next to this woman was a torch, fallen as if she had dropped it from her hand. Further along, at the entrance of the antechamber, was don Dionís, stabbed through with his own sword, which came out of his back almost in its entirety, with him fallen face down upon it, his chest imprinted with the guard,18 for apparently he had thrown himself upon it, despairing of life and abhorring his very soul. In a chamber off the same corridor, next to a kitchen, there were three slaves, one white and two black; the white one, on the floor, in her sleeping gown, in the middle of the room, and the black slaves in the bed, likewise dead of stab wounds. Entering the chamber, at the door of an inner room, with half of his body inside and half out, was a young man of about twenty years of age, of an appealing semblance and face, stabbed through; he was in his undershirt, covered with a cape, and on his bare feet some slippers. In the same chamber as the bed, thrown upon it, was doña Magdalena, also dead of cruel wounds, but so lovely that she seemed to be a marble statue sprinkled with the rosy dew of dawn. In another room, behind this one, two other maids lay in a bed, likewise dead just like the others. In the end, in that house there was not one living thing. Those who beheld this looked at each other, so astounded that I know not what struck them more, pity or amazement. And they concluded correctly that don Dionís was the agent of such destruction, and that after he had wrought it, he had turned his furious rage against himself. But seeing that only Florentina, who was the one alive, could say how such a pitiful tragedy had transpired, [and] knowing from don Gaspar what danger her life was in, and that it was not the time to make those determinations until seeing whether she recov17. On the branding of slaves during this period see “Tales of Disillusion,” introduction, n. 4. 18. The guard of a sword is the circular piece on the handle that protects the hand.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n ered, they suspended the investigation and gave the order to bury the dead, with general lament, and more so for doña Magdalena, for since they knew her to have been a lady of such virtue and so honorable, and since her body seemed so young and lovely to them, they were more pained by her disastrous end than by those of the rest. Once the pitiful cadavers had been buried and the house inventoried, with the estate in escrow, everyone met at don Gaspar’s house, where they found Florentina resting, who, after having confessed and taken some broth, had slept. And a doctor, who had accompanied the surgeon on order of don Gaspar, said it was not yet time to dismiss her, given that her confession had been long and she had a fever, that during that day she should not talk. But because they feared she might lose her mind due to the quantity of blood she had lost, they left her, placing her in the power of don Gaspar and his cousin, because whenever they might be asked to do so, they would account for her. The governor returned home, taking with him plenty to tell, he and everyone, about the destruction of don Dionís’s house,* and very desirous to know the motive behind such a pitiful case. More than two weeks passed before Florentina was able to make a statement about such a pitiful story, arriving many times on the verge of death; so much so that it was necessary to give her all the sacraments.19 During which time, under advisement of don Gaspar and don Miguel, she had made a statement before the governor about how don Dionís had brought about that wretched devastation, jealous of doña Magdalena and that servant, whom he suspected unjustly, who was the one at the door of the room, and that he had also wounded her [Florentina] but had not actually killed her because that slave who was in the door of the corridor had stepped between them, such that she could escape while he killed the slave, and she had run into the street and closed the door behind her, and, having lost so much blood, fell where don Gaspar found her. And for don Dionís, she did not know if he had killed himself or not, but that since they had found him as they did, then he, in a rage, had taken his own life. With this confession or statement that she made, not blaming herself so as not to incriminate herself, the investigation was closed; rather, the estate was released to her, she was freed and given possession of it; her sister’s share, by inheritance, and that of don Dionís, in payment for the wounds she had received from his hand so that, should she live, she would enjoy it, and should she die, she could will it to whomever she wanted. 19. These would include reconciliation (confession) and the anointing of the sick (extreme unction).



Tw o So that more than a month later, seeing herself in peace and wealth, she was consoled and her health improved (or God, who disposes of things according to His will and to our benefit), in a bit more time she was out of danger and so grateful for the attentions of don Gaspar and aware of the goodness that she had received from him, that it would not have been difficult to love him, for aside from that goodness, he deserved it for his gallantry and pleasant nature, as well as his nobility and the considerable goods of fortune with which heaven had advanced him in all ways, and I am even willing to say that she probably loved him. But since she considered herself inferior, not in bloodline, wealth, or beauty, for in this last alone she sufficed, but rather for the reason that had caused her to be in his house, she did not dare give him to understand it, nor had don Gaspar, more attentive to his honor than to his pleasure—although he loved her, as has been said, and more so, as everyone knows, having had contact with her, which usually engenders love even where there is none—wanted to declare himself to her until he knew how it was that she had been the cause of such a lamentable event, for he wished more to die in love with honor than to conquer and enjoy without it, given that Florentina, as a wife, had her purity been imperfect, was insufficient as a woman, and for a lover, she was too much.20 And desirous to resolve this worry and determine what to do, because the move of His Majesty’s court to Castile was approaching and he had to be in attendance,21 seeing that Florentina was in good health and had recovered much of her beauty and that she was beginning to get out of bed, he requested that she tell him how so many disgraces, seen by his own eyes, had come about. And Florentina, obliged and asked by a person to whom she owed so much, with don Miguel present (who desired the same and was no less enamored than his cousin although, fearing the same, he did not wish to declare his love), she began to tell her prodigious story in this fashion:

I was born in this city (would that I had never been born, to be the reason for so many evils) of noble and wealthy parents, being from the first step I took in this world the cause of misfortunes, for I brought them upon my mother, robbing her, upon being born, of her life, with the tender regret of my father, for not having enjoyed her beauty more than the nine months 20. This concept, common in literature of Zayas’s day, is usually expressed as para mujer poca y para dama, mucha. It refers to a noblewoman who, from a nobleman’s point of view, is somehow stained or of insufficient rank to wed and of too high a rank to be a mistress. 21. Courtiers moved with the Spanish king, who held court around the realm, eventually returning to Madrid (after 1561, the year Felipe II permanently seated the court there).

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n that she had me in her womb, although indeed he got over it, as all do, for scarcely was I two years old before he married a lady, a widow and lovely, with a good estate, who also had a daughter left her by her husband, of four years of age, for this was the doomed doña Magdalena. The wedding of my father and her mother having taken place, then, we were raised together from infancy, so enamored one of the other, and so beloved by our parents, that everyone understood that we were sisters because my father, to oblige his wife, loved and regaled doña Magdalena as if she had been his own daughter, and his wife, to keep him grateful and happy, loved me more than her daughter, for this is what good married couples should do and those who wish to live in peace, for from the little pleasure that husbands take in their wives’ children, and wives in those of their husbands, a thousand quarrels and disagreements are born. In the end, I say that, except for those who dealt with us most familiarly, who knew otherwise, everyone else believed we were sisters and even so today. We ourselves believed it to be so until death revealed this secret, for when my father made his will as he departed from this life, being the first one to go, I found out that I was not the daughter of the woman whom I reverenced as a mother, nor sister of the one whom I loved as a sister. And due to my misfortune, it was to be because of me that such a friendship failed. My father died, leaving me entrusted to his wife, but she was unable to show me for long the love she bore my father in me, because so great was her sorrow over his death that four months later she followed him, leaving doña Magdalena and me quite abandoned, although well endowed with the goods of fortune which, accompanied by those of nature, promised us good matches, for no one is ugly at eighteen. Our mother (for as such I held her) left us in the tutelage of one of her brothers, older than she, who took us to his house and raised us as daughters, not distinguishing us one from the other in our care and upkeep, because we loved each other to such extreme that doña Magdalena’s uncle, believing to praise his niece, loved and regaled me in the same way he did her. And this was not saying much because he was not well off, but with our estate he lacked for nothing. When our parents died, don Dionís de Portugal, rich, powerful, and of the best men in the city, was already in love with doña Magdalena and desired to have her as his wife, and he had restrained himself from asking for her hand because of her loss, strolling* along her street and courting her in the most tender and careful way, as our countrymen are famous for doing. And she, having considerable discretion, aware of her achievement, responded to his will with her own, as far as letting him serve her and court



Tw o her with the decorum appropriate to her modesty and reputation, given that she accepted his intention and attentions with the intention of marrying him. This chaste and modest love led doña Magdalena to wed without the consent of her uncle, recognizing what little will he had to see her married, fearful of losing the comfort that our fine and splendid estate allowed him. And so he would have seen us both become nuns,22 and even proposed that to us many times, but seeing how little inclined we were to this station, either because we were presumptuous with our beauty or because we were to be unlucky, he did not insist but he did put off our getting married, for the desire to live comfortably can do all this. And once doña Magdalena became aware of this, as I say, she was determined to choose don Dionís as her lord and began to become deeply involved in this desire; they wrote to each other and spoke many nights at an iron grate.23 I accompanied her some evenings (oh, would that I had died first, so high was the price I paid for this attendance!), in the beginning, happy to see doña Magdalena directing her affections toward a gentleman of such merit as don Dionís; in the middle, envious that he was hers and not mine; and finally, in love with and lost for him. I heard him speak tenderly, I listened to him speak discreetly, I saw him gallant, I held him to be another’s, and let myself be hopelessly lost, [falling] so headlong that I eventually lost my health, in which I recognize that the one who says love is an illness is right, for it ruins taste, scares off sleep, and takes away all desire to eat. And if all these casualties fall upon the fire that love ignites in one’s breast, I do not find it to be the least dangerous fever, and more so when it meets up with the torpor of being unrequited and the jealous frenzy of watching what one loves busy with another affection. And this anguish was more rabid in me because I could not escape myself, nor did it allow itself to be expressed, for everyone would have defamed me for loving what my friend or sister did. I was in love with someone who did not love me, and this man loved someone whom I was obliged not to offend. God help me, and what

22. Zayas implies that a nun’s dowry was less than that of a woman marrying outside the convent. Although it is not known whether this was in fact the case, Lehfeldt suggests that the obligation to provide not only an initial dowry but an annual living allowance significantly contributed to a nun’s total dowry and sometimes constituted a hardship for her family. Religious Women in Golden Age Spain, 48–49. 23. Spanish ironwork protected windows and doorways of the houses of the wealthy. The iron grate that theoretically protected a door or window, through which lovers passed words, letters, and caresses, is a standard liminal zone in Spanish literature of this period, the frontier at which the domain of the patriarch is challenged, most often by another man’s access to his daughter.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n an intricate labyrinth, for my anguish was for me alone and my pain could not be communicated! Doña Magdalena was attentive to my melancholy, wan face, and other illnesses, but she did not imagine their cause.24 For I believe that, so much did she love me, she would have abandoned her enterprise in order that I not suffer. And when I consider this, I do not know how my own pain does not kill me! She rather believed that my sadness must have been because I had not had the opportunity to wed, as had she, since this is the desire of all women of her age and mine. And even though she sometimes tried to convince me to share my troubles with her, I distracted her, providing other specific reasons, to the point at which I promised myself that, as soon as she was married, I would wed whatever man I pleased. Oh, hapless beauty, and how falsely and unfortunately I repaid the love you bore me! Certainly, sir don Gaspar, if I did not believe that, were I to leave off telling my lamentable story now, I would not fulfill my obligation, I would beg you for license to stop, for telling it serves me but to add new torments to those I now have. But let us proceed forward, for it is just that the one who caused such evils suffer, and thus I will continue. The music, the acts of devotion, the extreme to which don Dionís served doña Magdalena you can judge by the lovers’ fame that those of our country have; but not the rabid nausea, my heart and eyes’ painful sighs and tender tears during the time that this courtship lasted, for you will see it by what happened later. In the end, with the necessary things arranged such that doña Magdalena’s uncle might not hinder it, seeing their two wills in conformity with each other, although in spite of himself because he lost the money that his governance and administration of the estate produced, doña Magdalena and don Dionís managed to achieve that which they so desired. They were as delighted with the most happy and fortunate realization of their love as my sad and desperate state upon seeing myself completely dispossessed of the good my soul adored. I do not know how to tell you of my desperate and biting jealousy; but it is better to keep quiet about it, because thus it will be the better painted since I cannot find the colors that correspond to those of my imagination. I say no more except that I wrote a ballad* about the effects of this situation, which I will recite if it would please you, and if not, I shall pass over it in silence. 24. Melancholy was considered an illness as legitimate as any other during the seventeenth century, on the order of depression today. See Juliana Schiesari, The Gendering of Melancholia: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, and the Symbolics of Loss in Renaissance Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992); Teresa Scott Soufas, Melancholy and the Secular Mind in Spanish Golden Age Literature (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1990).



Tw o “You would in fact offend me,” said don Gaspar, “by not reciting it, for your feelings were surely worthy of great esteem.” “Well, the ballad is this one, which I sang to a guitar on the day of the engagement, crying more than singing”: Now I arrive, Cupid, at the altar; place the cloth over my eyes, for only owing to my misfortunes do I offer my neck to the knife.25 Now I have nothing to give you, for since I offer you my life, cruel boy, you already know what little resources I have. I give you a body without a soul, which is deceitful, I see it now; but Fabio has my soul, and I cannot retrieve it from him. For if I was saving my life, it was to enjoy him in reward for my love, but now I give it up with pleasure, for today I lose him. Let not the currents that I spill from these eyes oblige you, for they are not to oblige you but rather to express myself. Instead, if you are to do me any favor, finish, finish me off quickly, so that losing Fabio and death take place at the same time. But such is your cruelty that because I desire to die you will suspend the blow, more than merciful, pitiless. Deliver the blow, finish it, or do not take my lord from me; let me live with him, though it mean I will live in suffering. 25. During this period, a person about to be executed by beheading was blindfolded immediately before the execution.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n Well you know that but one hour I cannot live without Fabio; for if I must die slowly, it is greater relief to die quickly. One year and more has it been that I suffer without saying so, loving without hope, which is the pain of hell. Now his sun retires to the other eastern sky, and I, like the dark sunset, remaining without his light, for what do I wish to live? But if die I must, love, why do I complain? For you will think it brings me relief, and I am not relieved: I am dying. Love binds my eyes already, he already unsheathes his sword, already I am dying, Fabio, for you, already for you I leave life behind. I now speak my last farewell, Oh, may heaven, Fabio, grant you as many good things as I have torments! With this I wish to say that I am dying, Fabio, since now I am losing you, and that for you, with pleasure, Fabio, I die. Don Dionís and doña Magdalena married, in the end. And since she had so promised me, she brought me to his house when she went there in his company, desirous to see me wed, thinking she was bringing along a sister and true friend, when she was bringing along her destruction. For neither seeing them married, nor with what great tenderness they loved each other, nor what love I owed doña Magdalena, nor my own loss of self, nor anything else sufficed to make me forget don Dionís. Instead a desperate envy grew in me over seeing them enjoying each other and loving each other with such sweetness and pleasure, [when] I was living so much without it that doña Magdalena believed it was the result of my not being married yet and she tried to match me with someone who would esteem and deserve me. But never could either she or don Dionís put an end to it for



Tw o me, which much astounded doña Magdalena, and she would say that I had become someone of such an odd condition that it was driving her mad, and neither could she make sense of how I was. And apparently she communicated this same thing to her husband, because one day when she was paying a call on someone and I had stayed at home, as I always did (for since I was so unpleasant, I denied myself all entertainment), don Dionís came by and, finding me alone with my eyes bathed in tears—for few times did I leave off crying over my misplaced love—seating himself beside me, said: “Truly, lovely Florentina, your melancholy has both your sister and me most worried, wondering again and again what could be its cause, and I find none more appropriate nor that bears the color of truth but that you are in an impossible love; for were it a possible one, I do not think that there is any gentleman in this city, although he be of greater status, who would not esteem being loved by your loveliness and would not believe himself very fortunate in deserving it, even were you not who you are, nor did you have the estate you have but were a poor country lass, since for being master of your peerless beauty he could believe himself to be the greatest king of the world.” “And if perchance,” I replied, not allowing him to proceed (so precipitous was I in my amorous passion, or else, more likely, abandoned by the divine hand), “this were the case, that I loved someone for whom it would be difficult to respond to my affection, what would you do, sir don Dionís, to heal my pain?” “Tell him about it and solicit it on your behalf so he would love you,” responded don Dionís. “Well, if things are thus,” I replied, “tell it to yourself and solicit it from yourself, and you will fulfill your promise. And observe how dangerous my suffering is, that without taking into account what I owe myself, nor the fact that I profane my purity, a woman’s most valuable jewel, nor the offense I commit against your wife, who although she is not my sister, I hold her as such, nor knowing that I will lose and not win with you, for it is guaranteed that you must disesteem me and find me lacking for my daring, and disdain me for seeing me frivolous, and more so out of the love you owe your wife, as deserving of your loyalty as I of your disdain, I am constrained by none of this, for I have come to such a state that my pain is greater than my shame. And so believe me to be overly free, wonder at my daring, insult me as immodest, abhor me as lascivious, or do whatever you please, for I can keep silent no more. And though my confession may serve me for nothing more than informing you that you are the cause of my sadness and surliness, I feel contented and compensated for having spoken out. And granted this, un-

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n derstand that from the day you began to love doña Magdalena, I have loved you more than myself, enduring pains that you see and do not see, and that I have shared this with no one in the world, resolved to never ever marry because, unless it is you, I will have no other lord.” I concluded this last statement with so many tears and suffocated sighs and sobs that I could scarcely pronounce it. What came of this was that don Dionís arose, and I believed he was fleeing from me so as not to answer to my determined, loose behavior, and closing the door of the room, he returned to where I was, saying: “May love not desire, lovely Florentina, that I be ungrateful to such divine beauty and such well-suffered feelings, so tenderly rendered.” And knotting his arms around my neck, he caressed me in such a way that I neither had more to give him, nor he more to attain nor possess. Finally, we spent the entire afternoon together in loving pleasures. And in the course of that time—I do not know if it was true, for lovers buy us in the currency of lies—he told me that since the day after he was married he loved me and, because he did not dare do so, had not told me so, with which—believing him—I held myself to be fortunate and believed myself not ill occupied and that, were he to find himself free, he would be my husband. Don Dionís begged me with great insistence that I reveal our love to no one, since we had such a wide berth in which to enjoy it, and I begged the same of him, fearful lest doña Magdalena find out about it. In the end, we have spent four years like this,26 with my being the happiest woman in the world since that day. I recovered myself in my lost beauty; I restored myself in my wittiness. Thus I was the merriment and joy of the entire house, because I was the one in charge there. My deeds were the most fitting, my orders were those obeyed. I was the lord of the estate, and the one to whom it belonged. For me the male and female servants were dismissed and taken on, such that doña Magdalena was good for nothing but getting in the way of my business. Don Dionís loved me so, and I traded his will for my caresses, that he came to be careless in those that he used to give to and owed his wife,27 so that our fortunes were reversed. First Magdalena was content and Florentina sad; then Florentina was the happy one, Magdalena the melancholy one,

26. Zayas has Florentina use the present perfect tense here; it is not chronologically logical, but it reveals a willingness to dwell again in that pleasure as she recounts it. 27. The early modern marriage contract specified several obligations, principal among which was “the marriage debt,” or the obligation to have sexual relations with one’s spouse. This is the debt that Dionís is not paying his wife.



Tw o the tearful one, the abrupt and disconsolate one. And although she understood that her husband was inattentive to her because he was occupied elsewhere, she never suspected me, on the one hand owing to the caution we exercised and on the other out of the great confidence she had in me, unable to persuade herself of such evil, although she would say that my sadness and happiness were so extreme that they bordered on insanity. Heaven help me, and what blindness is that of lovers! I never saw the light until my eyes were opened at the cost of so many disasters! The blindness of my bad behavior reached such an extreme and point that don Dionís and I took spousal vows against such time that doña Magdalena might die, as if it were in our power to end her life, or as if we were more secure in ours than she in hers. At this time Holy Week arrived, during which one must attend to the church’s demands. And although sometimes, in the course of my evil doings, I had gone to confession, sometimes it had been purely formulaic. And I, who knew well how to gild my error, must not have found a confessor as scrupulous as this one I am about to tell about, and I must have declared myself with more skill. Oh, infinite goodness, and what you endure! Finally, dealing with him about the state of my conscience, he so pressed me and put such fear in me of the perdition of my soul, refusing to absolve me and telling me that I was as one burning in the flames of hell here, that I returned home quite disconsolate, and, entering my apartment, I began to cry, such that one of my maids heard it, one who had been raised with me since I was a girl, who is the one who, if you will recall, don Gaspar, you found in that doomed house seated in the corridor against the wall, her breast run completely through. And with great insistence, pleading, and emotion, she persuaded me to tell her the cause of my pitiful weeping. And (either to find relief from it with her, or because by now the fatal ruin of everything was approaching) first warning her to be secretive and dissembling in the presence of don Dionís so that he not know that she knew what was going on, since it was so important, I made an accounting to her of everything, leaving nothing out, telling her also what had happened with the confessor. The maid, after exclaiming greatly, and more so over how I could have kept it hidden for so long without anyone finding out about it, told me, seeing that I was asking her for advice, this: “Surely, my lady, these events of such gravity you have recounted have need of a greater understanding than mine to find a way out of them, because to think that you can sustain the present arrangement until doña Magdalena dies is something the mere hope of which causes desperation. For how do we know that she will die before you? Nor that don Dionís will not send

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n you away, when you love him? It is insanity that neither you will commit, nor will he, if he is as enamored as you say; you, without honor and in love, awaiting a miracle, for in most cases such as this, things turn out backward because heaven punishes these intentions, and those who commit wrong die before the one who is wronged; the offender is finished off and the offended lives. Cruel is the remedy I imagine, but it is indeed a remedy, for wounds as ulcerous as these require violent cures.” I begged her to tell me what it was, and she responded: “That doña Magdalena die, for it is better that an innocent suffer, one who will go to enjoy God with the crown of martyrdom, than that you remain condemned.” “Oh, friend, and would it not be a greater error than the others,” said I, “to kill someone who does not deserve it, and God will punish me, since I commit the offense and the one who is offended must pay for it?” “David,” replied my maid to me, “took advantage of killing Uriah so that Bathsheba might neither suffer nor be in danger during her lifetime or after, in posterity.28 And you seem to me to be close to the same thing, for the day that doña Magdalena is undeceived, she must do to you what I am telling you to do to her.” “Yet if with only the desire,” I responded, “the confessor has so scared me, what will happen if I carry it out?” “Do what David did,” said the maid. “Let us kill Uriah, for we will do penance afterward. When you wed your lover, compensate for the crime with sacrifice, for sin is pardoned through penitence and thus did the holy king.” She told me so many things and set so many examples before me and alleged laws before me that, since I desired the same thing as she, she persuaded me, and reduced to her opinion, the two of us pronounced judgment on the innocent and aggrieved doña Magdalena, for another error always follows on the heels of the first, and one offense is followed by many. And, giving and taking opinions about how the deed should be done, the brazen woman, in whom I believe the devil was speaking and working, responded: 28. 2 Samuel 11 tells the story of King David who, upon seeing Bathsheba in her bath, fell madly in love with her and lay with her, in spite of the fact that she was married to a loyal and virtuous soldier, Uriah the Hittite. Bathsheba became pregnant from the adulterous encounter, and when David’s deceitful attempt to convince Uriah that he, Uriah, was the father of the child failed, he arranged to have the husband killed on the battlefield. David wed Bathsheba, who bore him a son; God punished him with the death of this child, although Bathsheba later gave birth to Solomon. David regretted his transgression and confessed it to Nathan, who assured him, “The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die” (2 Samuel 12: 13). In the Christian tradition, David’s life story is a model of repentance, punishment, and divine forgiveness.



Tw o “I think the most appropriate thing, so that neither you nor I is endangered, is that her husband kill her, and in this fashion no one will be blamed.” “How will that come about,” I asked, “for doña Magdalena lives so prudently and virtuously that her husband will never find a reason to do it?” “That is the case,” said the maid. “There my cleverness must set to work. Hush and let me take care of it, without informing you about anything, for if before a month has passed you are not rid of her, take me to be the most crude and stupid woman in the world.” She gave me to understand part of the plan, and we separated, she to do the devil’s job, and I to await the outcome, with which our conversation ceased. And the ill-advised young woman, and I more than she (for we were all following the devil, who was inspiring us), finding the opportunity she was seeking, told don Dionís that his wife was dishonoring him, because while he was not in the house, she had illicit dealings with Fernandico.29 This was a young man of some eighteen or twenty years of age who was in the house, born and raised in it because he was the son of a servant of don Dionís’s parents who had married an overseer of theirs, and when his parents died, the unlucky young man was raised as a member of the household, inheriting the job of serving but not its reward, which was quite different from the one his parents had had, for this was the person you found dead at the door of the room in which doña Magdalena was. He was gallant and of fine qualities and highly virtuous, a fact that made it not difficult for don Dionís to believe it, although he did ask how she had seen Fernando, to which she responded that nothing is hidden from the thief of the house, and that mistresses think their servants are fools. Finally, don Dionís asked her what he could do to satisfy himself that what she was saying was true.30 “Pretend you are going away, and return at nightfall, or after midnight, and give me a signal so I know you are in the street,” said the serving maid, “and I will open the door for you and you will catch them together.” Everything was arranged for two days hence, and my servant revealed to me what had transpired, at which I, somewhat fearful, was delighted, although on the other hand it weighed upon me. But realizing that nothing could be done about it then, I had to let it go, waiting for the event to take place. Let us to the bedeviled mess, for I am cutting things short out of the anguish it causes me to relate such a disgraceful event.

29. Fernandico is the diminutive of Fernando and implies youth and affection. Zayas refers to Magdalena’s page using both names. 30. Spanish civil law during this period gave a husband the right to kill his wife and/or her lover if he caught them in flagrante delicto. According to ecclesiastical law, in contrast, it was a mortal sin.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n The next day, don Dionís said he was going with some friends to see the running of some bulls at a place some three leagues from Lisbon. And once his journey was prepared, although Fernandico accompanied him everywhere he went, he did not want him with him this time, nor any other servant, [saying that] for two days the servants of others would attend him. And with this he set out, the day being followed by the lamentable night on which you found me. Finally, he came alone after midnight, and having given the signal, my maid, who was on alert, told him to wait a bit, and taking a light, she went to the room of the doomed youth and entered, making a row, saying to him: “Fernando, my lady is calling for you, asking that you hasten to where she is.” “What does my lady want of me now?” replied Fernando. “I know nothing more,” she said, “than that she sends me to call you in all haste.” He arose, intending to dress, and she said: “Do not get dressed but put this cape on and slip these shoes on and go see what she wants of you, for should you need to dress, you will do so later.” Fernando did so, and while he went to where his mistress was, the wary woman opened the door to her lord. Fernando arrived at the bed where doña Magdalena was sleeping and, awakening her, said: “Lady, what do you wish of me?” To which doña Magdalena, frightened as she awoke and saw him in her quarters, said to him: “Go, go, boy, with God. What is it you seek here? For I call you not.” As soon as Fernando heard this, he set out to leave the room, when his master arrived at the time he was leaving, and when Dionís saw him disrobed and leaving his wife’s room, [he] believed he was coming out from having slept with her, and stabbing him with his sword, which he carried unsheathed, twice, once and then again, he left him stretched out on the floor, unable to say anything but “Jesus be with me!” He said this with such a lamentable tone that I, in my room, quite fearful and startled (justly so, as the one who was the cause of such great evil and the source of such cruel evidence and the motive for the spilling of that innocent blood that was already clamoring before the supreme tribunal of divine justice), was bathed in a cold sweat, and wishing to arise to go out to put a stop to it either because my powers were weakened or because the devil, who was already lord of that house, tied me down so that I could not. In the meantime, don Dionís, by then completely blinded by the offense against him, entered into the room of his innocent wife, who had gone



Tw o back to sleep with her arms over her head, and approaching her pure and chaste bed, his eyes infuriated and his imagination deceived into seeing it as dirtied, lascivious, and violated with the stain of his dishonor, said to her: “Oh, traitor, and behold how you repose in the face of my offense!” And taking out his dagger, he delivered as many stabs as his indignant rage demanded. Without being able to utter so much as an “Oh!” that saintly soul abandoned the most beautiful and chaste body known in the Kingdom of Portugal. By this time I had come out of my quarters and was in a place where I could see what was going on, my spirit quite lost and drowning in tears, but I dared not come out. And I saw that don Dionís continued forward to a small room that was next to his wife’s room and, finding two hapless maids sleeping there, killed them saying: “Thus you, slumbering guardians of my honor, pay for your carelessness, making it possible for your perfidious mistress to remain awake so as to dishonor me.” And descending a private stairway that gave way to a patio, he went down to the entrance and, calling to two pages who were sleeping in a room nearby, who rushed out at the sound of his voice, repaid their punctuality by ending their lives. And like a lion, fierce and thirsting for human blood, he ascended the main stairway once more and, entering the kitchen, killed the three slaves who were sleeping there, for the other one had gone to call me when she heard the ruckus and cries of my maid, who was seated in the corridor. She, either because she repented of the evil she had committed, after it was too late to make it right, or because God insisted that she pay for what she had done, or so that doña Magdalena’s honor might not remain stained but rather that the world might know that she and all who had died had departed blameless and that only she and I were responsible, which is the truth, taking down from the wall the torch lit by the very man who had so shamelessly followed her wickedness, for when she had gone to open the door to her master, the candlelight had seemed insufficient to him for, once God abandons us, we sin as if we were performing some virtuous acts.31 Completely without shame, she sat down and began to wail, saying: “Oh, woe is me, what have I done? Now there will be no forgiveness for me in heaven or on earth, for by bearing such immense and false witness I have been the cause of so many calamities!” 31. This sentence is difficult to understand, in part owing to Zayas’s tendency to relate events chronologically backward. Here, for example, the order of what transpired would have been that Florentina’s maid met Dionís with a candle at the door of his house. He, believing that was insufficient light, lit a torch that was hung on the wall. The maid grabbed this torch and died with it in her hand.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n At this very instant, her master emerged from the kitchen and I from the other side, with the slave who had come to get me, a candle in her hand. And when I heard her I stopped and saw that don Dionís went up to her and said: “What is this, girl, about false witness and calamities?” “Oh, my lord,” she replied, “what can I say but that I am the most evil female ever born to the earth? My lady doña Magdalena and Fernando have died without guilt, as have all the others whose lives you have taken. I alone am the guilty one, and the one who does not deserve to live, for I spun this entanglement, calling to the unfortunate Fernando who was sleeping in his room, telling him that my lady was calling for him, so that when you saw him emerge in the fashion you did, you would believe what I had told you so that, killing my lady doña Magdalena, you would marry doña Florentina, my lady, restoring and satisfying her honor as you should by becoming her husband.” “Oh, false traitor! And if that which you say is true,” said don Dionís, “to end your one life is little vengeance, for to do so a thousand times would be too few, killing you with each one in a different way.” “What you say, sir, is true; it is true, sir, and the rest a lie. I am the evil one and my lady the good. I deserve death and hell as well.” “Then I will give you one as well as the other,” replied don Dionís, “and may the death of a traitor make restitution for those of so many innocents.” And so saying, he stabbed her through the chest against the wall, screaming at the unfortunate woman saying: “Hell, receive the soul of the most evil woman that heaven nurtured, and even there I think she will not be received.” And saying this, she handed it over to the one to whom she was offering it. At this moment I emerged with the black slave and, trusting in the love he had for me, attempting to temper and restrain him, said to him: “What is this, don Dionís? What is going on here? How long will your rage go on?” He, who at this point was out of his mind with fury and pain, charged at me, saying: “Until I kill you and myself, false, traitorous, lascivious, immodest woman, so that you pay for having been the cause of so much evil, for not content with the offenses which, with your immodest appetite, you committed against the woman who was like a sister to you, you have not stopped until you killed her.” And saying this, he wounded me in the fashion that you saw and would have finished me off had not the black woman come to set herself between us, for when don Dionís saw her, he grabbed her, and while he killed her,



Tw o I had the chance to get into my room and lock the door, all bathed in blood. With don Dionís finishing off the slave’s life, then, and since not one living thing remained in the house except him, for he believed that I was in such a state that I could not escape, and compelled by the devil, he put the handle of his sword on the floor and its point on his cruel heart, saying: “I shall not await human justice to punish my crimes, for it is more fitting that I be the executioner of divine justice.” He let himself fall on the sword, the point passing through his back, calling to the devil to receive his soul. I, seeing him already dead and myself bleeding to death, although with a fear that you can well imagine of seeing myself in the midst of such horror and bodies without souls—a state in which my feelings cannot be described, for it was such that I do not know how I did not do what don Dionís had done, but God must not have allowed that to happen in order that such a wretched case as this one be known—with more courage than I imagined I had in such a situation, I opened the door to the room. And, taking up the candle that was on the floor, [I] descended the stairs and went into the street with the intention to seek out (seeing myself in the state in which I was) someone to confess me so that, since I was losing my life, I might not lose my soul. In spite of all that, I had the presence of mind to close the door to the street with that bolt as you found it, and walking along the street with fainting steps, without knowing where I was going, my strength failed me owing to all the blood I had lost, and I fell down where you, sir don Gaspar, found me, where I lay until that moment and your mercy arrived to succor me so that, indebted to you for my life, I spend what time is left for me crying, moaning, and doing penance for the many disgraces that I have caused, and also to ask that God protect you for long years.

The lovely and beautiful Florentina fell silent at this, but her eyes were not silent, shedding torrents of tears that cast themselves down her more than beautiful cheeks in threads, by which the suffering of her soul was manifest, and overcome by it, she let herself fall into a profound and lovely swoon, leaving don Gaspar in suspense and shock over what he had heard, and I do not know if more fainted away than she, seeing that, amidst as many deaths as Florentina’s dead honor had provoked, his love for her had also died, because Florentina was by then no good to be his wife, nor was it reasonable for him to procure her as his lover, given that he saw how she was determined to seek out a safer state that might free her from further misfortunes of a nature similar to those through which she had passed. And he praised himself for being very sensible in not having declared his love to her until knowing what he did then.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n And so, hastening to bring her back to consciousness, with which she came to, he consoled her, fortifying her with a few sweets and some preserves. With kind arguments, he advised her that, as soon as she had recovered her health, the best fashion for her to rest was to enter into the religious life, in which she could live safe from new calamities, and as far as reducing the risk of the law [was concerned], should there be any, he would take care of that even should he have to give an account of the case to His Majesty, if it were necessary. To which the lady, acknowledging the favors she had received and continued to receive from him, responded with renewed caresses that such was her intention, and that the sooner it could be arranged and carried out, the better for her, for neither her misfortunes nor the love she felt for the hapless don Dionís left her any other option. With this final point of reason, don Gaspar’s love for her was completely uprooted and forgotten, and in less than the two months that Florentina needed to recover her strength, heal completely, and negotiate everything quickly—for it was necessary to give an account of the case to His Majesty, who piously pardoned Florentina’s blame in what had transpired— she realized her desire to enter the religious life in one of the most sumptuous convents of Lisbon, with her pain and the wounds that don Dionís had given her serving as punishment, her dowry and other expenses supplied by the huge estate she inherited from one side of the family and the other, where she today lives a saintly and most holy life, corresponding with don Gaspar, of whom, ever thankful, she is not forgetful but rather sends many gifts in payment for the debt she owes him. And he, having returned to Madrid with His Majesty, married in Toledo, where he lives today, and it was from him himself that I heard this tale of disillusion to which you have just listened.

Scarcely had the lovely Lisis concluded her tale of disillusion than the lovely doña Isabel, as one aware of what Lisis intended to do, while she [Lisis] rested before saying what remained to be said to conclude the entertaining soiree (because Lisis had communicated her intention to her), setting her harp aside, picked up a guitar and sang alone what follows: “To the meadow, in which rustic thorns breed my salty humors, fruit that my soul makes from melancholy separation, “I go to weep over a most cruel man, oblivion of a tragic love, which, were it most fortunate,



Tw o I would sing about in a sprightly style. “For like a fantastic vision, not even the lids of my eyes saw, for with a harmonious voice he won a dwelling in my soul. “With only theoretical concepts my love enjoys the bridal bed, although with funereal forgetfulness, it reduces the scope of my life. “Most anguished speeches do these poplar trees hear, for distress, without staunchest blame, gifts the soul with spurge.32 “I sing not as the oriole,33 or as a harmonious goldfinch, rather lament as a turtledove when she is alone on the wild, barren plain. “Since my love was platonic, and in him the flame was not tacit, he wanted not, with discreet longing, to be thunder, but lightning. “I love in theory only, satisfying myself with preambles, and thus he has forgotten, most cruelly, a pure and magnanimous love. “O meadows and dry grasses, mountains and chilly icicles! Hear in harmonious anxieties these languishing sighs. “With my most tender tears, your crystalline streams will be roaring rivers with which Hispania’s seas are widened.34 “And if of my staunch35 death you should see the pallid tremblings, 32. Spurge is an herb that has flowers without petals and a bitter, milky juice. 33. The oriole has a loud, melodious song. 34. “Hispania” derives from “Hesperia,” one of the Greek names for the Iberian peninsula. 35. The repetition of this strange adjective acérrima, “staunch,” seems inspired less by semiotic logic than poetic display; Isabel sings in proparoxytone verse, accented on the antepenultimate

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n and my most weary life abandon its vital traffic, “tell the sweet-singing songbird who, with ill-felt song, captivates the most carefree birds with a mechanical style. “Given that the one who is an illustrious hero, and of such transparent valor, deceives, being most illustrious, pretending to seraphic fires, “what can we expect from the commoner but misfortunes and scandals; let him behold the unhappy Theseus tied to the Caucasian rock.36 “For if true reasoning, with a sweet and practiced style, sets the bait for the turtledoves that live with spirit free, “what miracle is it that, hearing him, they fly away from the tender vines? And what miracle that, burning up, I remain confused, like the gadfly? “For if he sees she is benevolent, it is fierce and rough behavior that he, flying away lightly, abandon her in bitter spurge. “For though he love his lovely oriole, it is a barbarous style, since this love is as chaste as it is, to repay her so tyrannically. “For over the longest time there has not been seen, in my abode, of his deadly memory, nor of his will, a trace.37

syllable, not a common accentual pattern in Spanish. except in adjectives rendered in the superlative, as in Italian musical terms such as pianissimo or fortissimo. 36. Zeus punished Prometheus, not Theseus, for giving fire to humans by chaining him to a rocky peak in the Caucasus. 37. Zayas withholds the subject, “a trace,” making the syntax hard to follow, although this withholding reflects the disappearance of the loved one. Setting the syntax right, the verses



Tw o “For did he love with his mind, he would not mind being Tantalus,38 nor would he forget most easily our tender and sweet dialogues.” A turtledove was singing this in a hoarse and funereal tone, seated on a funereal cypress that stood on the dry, barren plain. “Noble and discreet gentlemen and most lovely ladies,” said the intelligent Lisis, upon seeing that doña Isabel had finished her ballad, “I believe that the defense of women has been quite well aired, to which end I set about to organize this second part of my entertaining and decorous soiree, for although I do confess that there are many women who, with their vices and erring ways, have given men motivation to disesteem them as they do today, that is no reason, speaking somewhat crudely, to measure them all with the same stick. For it is clear that in a machine as expansive and extensive as that of the world, there will be good women and evil ones, just as there are men of the same types, for to deny this would be to deny glory to so many saints who have already passed from this life and who now enjoy God therein, and virtue to the thousands who pretend to sanctity. But it is unreasonable that people continue so long in the disesteem of women, and without excepting a single one, just as with original sin, they include them all. For, as has been said in various moments of this discourse, the evil ones are not women, and all women cannot be evil, for this would mean that God did not create souls worthy of heaven in them, rather monsters to consume the world. “Well I know that some will say to me, ‘Which are the good ones, given that even among those of highest rank were found tricks and lies?’ To that I respond that these women are more beastly than common women; forgetful of their obligation, they propel the world to disesteem them, for since their unlucky star inclines them to this mischief, they would bear less blame were they to take refuge in modesty. This is the case if vice reaches the deities, which I myself cannot believe, but rather am convinced that some common women, believing they will win the esteem of men, must (hiding behind a cloak) sell themselves as queens and then later return read, “For over the longest time, a trace of his deadly memory, or [a trace] of his will [to love me], has not been seen in my abode.” 38. For the identity of Tantalus, see “Her Lover’s Slave,” n. 25.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n to their original selves, like ladies in a play. And since men are set against them, they fall for whatever weakness these women present, and in support of their opinion insist that even women who are more obliged [by virtue of their higher class] no longer protect that esteem. And here one sees the malice of some men, for I do not wish to say all men, although in general they have all fallen into the vice of esteeming novelty, and since it is the latest thing to speak ill of women, they all say that what everyone is doing is what must be done. What astounds me is that noblemen, the honorable and virtuous ones, go along with what everyone else is saying, without the nobility that heaven bestowed upon them, nor the virtues that they could bestow upon themselves, nor do the sciences they are always studying have any effect at all.39 For well they might learn from them, since they are so studious, that there are and have been, in past and present ages, many good and saintly women, virtuous, studious, modest, valiant, unwavering, and constant. “I confess that they are in some ways right, that today there are more licentious and lost women than ever before, but not such that good women are lacking to the point of not exceeding the number of evil ones. And looking back in time for support of this truth, men cannot deny me the fact that in antiquity there were very celebrated women, for to deny this is to deny the innumerable female saints of whom the church sings: so many martyrs, so many virgins, so many widows and chaste women, so many who have died and suffered the cruelties of men, for if such were not the case, these ladies who have told these tales of disillusion would have had little cloth from which to cut their stories, all as truthful as truth itself; so much so that the storytellers contributed little to the plots, and they did not even have to work to embellish them. “What human or divine law do you find, noble gentlemen, to set you so staunchly against women to the extent that scarcely can one of you be found who defends them when you see that so many pursue them? I should like to ask you if with such behavior you fulfill the obligation you have to be noble and what you promise when you put upon your chests the insignias of nobility, and what sense it makes if you do not keep the vows you take when you are given them? Indeed I believe that you desire those insignias and pretend to them only for show, like stockings of crude silk and long hair. What do you think is the origin of the lack of valor you all have today, that you suffer the enemies of Spain to remain here within and our king 39. “Science” in this period had a broader meaning than today and referred to the act of learning in general, from a broad range of disciplines.



Tw o on campaign and you at the Prado40 and on the riverbanks, all bedecked in fineries and womanish clothes, and the few who accompany him sighing over the fleshpots of Egypt?41 [The origin is] the low estimation you have of women, for, by my faith, were you to esteem and love them as was done in times gone by, so as not to see them in the power of your enemies, you yourselves would offer not only to go to war and fight, but to die, offering your throat to the blade, as in the olden days, and particularly as was done in the times of King don Fernando the Catholic,42 when men did not have to be dragged along to battle by force or in handcuffs, as they do now (infelicity and misfortune of our Catholic king), but rather they themselves offered up their estates and persons: the father to defend his daughter, the brother his sister, the husband his wife, and the gallant his lady. And this they did so as not to see them in prison and made captives, and, what is worse, dishonored, which is what I believe will happen if you do not find the courage to defend them. “But since you now esteem them as the most vile and least valuable jewel of your household, you could not care less if they are made slaves of other men and in other kingdoms, for by my faith, should common men see you with valor to defend us, they would all do the same in imitation of you. And should you believe that if you go off to battle, they will aggrieve your honor and offend you, follow your king to defend us, for when we are left alone, we will be Moses who, through prayer, will allow Joshua to triumph.43 “Is it possible that you see us now almost in the power of your enemies, for between where they are and where we are lies no defense except your heroic hearts and valorous arms? And that you are not ashamed of being at court, wrinkling up your fineries and growing your hair, trampling about in 40. The Prado during this period was “the pleasant place adorned with trees that is usually close to cities and serves for diversion and strolling, as in Madrid the New Prado, that of San Gerónimo” (DA). Felipe IV did indeed go to the front to direct the combat against the Catalan rebels and their French allies in 1643 and 1644, partly because the nobility argued that they were not obliged to go on campaign except to accompany the king. See Margaret R. Greer, “Cazadores divinos, demoniacos y reales en los autos de Calderón de la Barca,” in Actas, Congreso Internacional sobre los autos sacramentales de Calderón de la Barca, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 1997, ed. Ignacio Arellano et al. (Kassel: Reichenberger, 1997), 217–42. 41. This metaphor evokes the Jews recalling the abundance of food in Egypt while wandering in the Sinai desert (Numbers 11: 5–6). It refers to any nostalgic longing for the way things used to be or are perceived to have been. 42. Ferdinand of Aragon, husband of Isabel the Catholic, lived from 1452 to 1516. Because he ruled during Spain’s most expansive imperial age, he was highly idealized during the baroque period as a model of the ideal king. Machiavelli based the figure of The Prince on him. 43. Joshua, successor of Moses, is the Bible’s greatest warrior. His most famous victory is the battle of Jericho. The idea may be that women’s prayer will serve as the legendary trumpets that afforded him victory by making the walls of Jericho crumble.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n carriages and strolling through meadows, and instead of defending us, you rob us of our reputation and honor, telling tales of things that happen to you with ladies, things I am sure are more inventions of malice than truths, boasting of things that could not possibly have been truly done even by public prostitutes, merely to carry out your perverse intention, all this the product of the idleness in which you waste your time to the offense of God and your nobility? That Spanish hearts behave thus! That Castilian souls endure this! The clever man spoke well who said that the French have stolen your valor from you, and you their way of dressing. “Esteem and honor women and you will see how your lost valor is reborn in you. And if it seems to you that women do not deserve this service, you are deceived, for if two disoblige you with their bad behavior, there are an infinite number who behave well. And if for one good woman many evil ones deserve forgiveness, may those few [bad ones] merit your forgiveness on behalf of the many good women this century enjoys, as you will see if you get into the habit of visiting the sanctuaries of Madrid and other places, for the number of women you will see frequenting the sacraments daily is greater than those who seek you out in the meadows and along the riverbanks. There have been and there are many good women, gentlemen. “Cease, cease, in God’s name, your rude opinion, and do not let yourselves be carried away by what the novelty-seeking rabble say, for were there no other than our most serene and holy queen, doña Isabel de Borbón44 (whom God took away because the world did not deserve her, the greatest loss that Spain has endured), for her alone women deserve a good name, the evil women saving themselves through that name, and the good women winning glorious praises. And you should justly deliver those praises, for I assure you that when the plebeians speak badly of them, if they knew that the noblemen would defend them, out of fear alone they would treat women well. But they see that you listen to their opprobrium with pleasure and they behave like court fools, who pile liberty upon liberty, shamelessness upon shamelessness, and malice upon malice. “And I say that the man who speaks badly of women is neither a gentleman, nor noble, nor honorable, though those women be bad, given that as such they should be pardoned on behalf of the good ones. And as a challenge, I say that the man who speaks badly of them does not meet his 44. Of Isabel de Borbón, Yllera notes: “Daughter of Henri IV of France and Marie de Medicis. Born in 1603 in Fontainebleau and died in 1644 in Madrid. Married Felipe IV in 1620. She was much esteemed by the people. She was the mother of Prince Baltasar Carlos, dead at age fourteen, and Princess María Teresa, wife of Louis XIV of France, as well as other children who died during infancy” (Zayas, Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos), 506 n. 9).



Tw o obligations. And since I have taken up my pen after so many years that I had laid it aside, in their defense I shall take up the sword to do the same, for offenses draw energy from places where there is none; not for myself, for I do not need it, since you all know me by what I have written, but not by sight, rather for all women, on behalf of the mercy and pity that your bad opinion of them generates in me. “And you, lovely ladies, of all walks of life and all classes, what more tales of disillusion do you await than the undoing of your reputation at the hands of men? When will you wake up to the fact that they seek nothing but your downfall and destruction, and then to tell even more about what goes on with you? Is it possible that, with so many things as you have seen and heard, you do not acknowledge that in men will endures no longer than appetite, and when that ends all is finished? If not, recognize it in the man who most says that he loves a woman; let him find her committing some silly little offense and see if he will forgive it, like God, because he loves us so, pardons us immediately for as many offenses as we commit against him. “Do you plan to be more fortunate than those women talked about in these tales of disillusion? That is what most deceives you; for every day, since the world is approaching its end, everything is going from bad to worse. Why do you wish for a weathervane as movable as the will of man, to risk your reputation and life at the cruel hands of men? And the greatest misfortune is that perhaps those women who are not guilty die, and the guilty ones live. Well, I will not be that way, for the understanding that all other women lack will not be lacking in me. “And thus you, sir don Diego,”45 proceeded the wise Lisis, turning to the man who expected to see her be his wife, “know that it would not be reasonable that I, desiring to undeceive, deceive myself, not because there can be any deceit in being your wife, but rather because it is not right for me to trust my good fortune, for I do not feel that I am on any firmer ground than the lovely doña Isabel, whose many trials earned her nothing, as we were told in her tale of disillusion, which is where my fears had their origin. Consider Camila, for whom being virtuous was not enough to be freed from misery, and for not informing her husband, she not only died but was left blamed.46 Roseleta, who did inform hers, was not freed from punishment

45. Zayas mistakenly wrote “don Dionis” when the context clearly calls for “don Diego.” For a reading of the unconscious logic of this slip and its connection to her objective in writing this framed collection as she does, see Greer, María de Zayas, chap. 10, esp. 343–44. 46. Camila, a protagonist of the “Second Tale of Disillusion,” is poisoned by her husband after his lover’s brother rapes her. She did not inform her husband of this brother’s advances.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n 47


either. Elena suffered in innocence and died tormented. Doña Inés was not saved by the fact that a magician, with his confusions and spells, robbed her of her judgment, nor was Laurela by the fact that she was deceived by a traitor.49 Nor did doña Blanca’s virtue or purity serve her for anything.50 Nor doña Mencía the fact that she loved without blame.51 Nor doña Ana’s being free from it, nor ever having sinned, for she died only for being poor.52 Beatriz needed all of the Mother of God’s favor to save her life, besieged by so many trials, and not all of us deserve this intervention of the Virgin.53 It served doña Magdalena for nothing to be modest and virtuous to free herself from the betrayal of an infamous servant, from which not a woman in the world can free herself, for if we are good, they bear false witness against us, and if we are ruinous, they reveal our offenses. Because male and female servants are domestic animals and unavoidable enemies whom we regale and on whom we spend our patience and estate, and in the end, like the lion who turns against the lion keeper weary of raising and feeding it and kills him, so do they, in the end, kill their masters and mistresses, telling what they know about them and what they do not know, never wearying of gos-

47. Roseleta is a protagonist of the “Third Tale of Disillusion.” Wrongly believing that she was unfaithful to him with his best friend, her husband bleeds her to death. Roseleta did inform her husband of his best friend’s advances and demanded he avenge their honor. This story is a reworking of the novella intercalated in the first part of Don Quixote, ”El curioso impertinente” (The Curious-Impertinent). 48. In the “Fourth Tale of Disilllusion,” the virtuous Elena is wrongly defamed by a servant, and her husband, believing the false accusation, starves her to death. He goes mad upon learning of his wife’s innocence. 49. Laurela (“Sixth Tale of Disillusion”) is deceived by Esteban, who enters her service dressed as a woman, reveals himself as a man, and promises to marry her, only to disclose the fact that he is already married after he has taken her virginity. Laurela’s father makes a wall collapse on her to kill her. 50. Blanca is the protagonist of the “Seventh Tale of Disillusion.” Married to the prince of Flanders, she is bled to death on orders of her father-in-law after she catches her husband having sexual relations with his manservant. 51. Mencía, female protagonist of the first half of the “Eighth Tale of Disillusion,” is stabbed to death by her brother, with her greedy father’s approval, when he learns she has entered into a marriage vow against their will. 52. Ana is the female protagonist of the second half of the “Eighth Tale of Disillusion.” Married to Mencía’s brother (see note above), she is beheaded by him and his friend when his father disinherits him for having married her. 53. The “Ninth Tale of Disillusion” is based on the apocryphal vita of Saint Beatriz of Rome. Beatriz’s brother-in-law desires her and conscripts the devil to overcome her virtue. In a Byzantine tale of cyclic peripeteia, the Virgin intervenes on her behalf to befuddle the devil, orchestrating the final victory over him with Beatriz’s conversion of her brother-in-law to virtue; she enters a convent.



Tw o siping about their lives and habits. And the worst thing is that we are unable to get along without them, out of vanity, or our foolish little honor. “Well, if a sad little life has so many enemies, and the greatest of them is a husband, then who can oblige me to enter into a battle from which so many have emerged defeated, and will continue to emerge [thus] as long as the world endures, given that I am neither more valiant nor fortunate? Your merits are such that you will find a more courageous and less undeceived wife, for although I am not so by virtue of experience, I am by knowledge. And just as in gambling, the one who observes judges better than the one who is playing, [so] I, looking on, [judge better] not only these tales of disillusion but what all married women present to me, some lamenting their gambling husbands, others husbands who have a lover, and many whose husbands do not attend to their honor, and to avoid giving a fine gift to their wives, endure the fact that another man does so. And more so because, when things proceed thus, after they pretend to ignore it, they come to an understanding by killing the wife. And it were better to kill the men since they were the ones who gave rise to the opportunity, as I have seen in Madrid, for since the day this soiree began, which was Tuesday of Carnival in this very year of 1646, many scandalous cases have taken place. I am so cowardly that, like one who has committed some crime, I am taking refuge in the sacred54 and take shelter in the retired life in the convent, from where I plan (as from a parapet) to watch what happens to everyone else. And thus, with my beloved doña Isabel, whom I plan to accompany as long as I live, I am going to save myself from the deceits of men. “And you, lovely ladies, if what has been written does not undeceive you, be undeceived by what you see me do. And by way of taking my leave of the gentlemen, I beg them to change their intentions and language with women, for if my written defense is insufficient, all of us women will have to take up arms to defend ourselves from their evil intentions and defend ourselves from the enemy, although I know not what greater enemy [there can be] than they, who bring upon us greater ruin than our enemies.” Having said this, the discreet Lisis rose and, taking the lovely doña Isabel by one hand, and her cousin doña Estefanía by the other, bowing courteously, without awaiting reply, went into another room, all three of them, leaving her mother, ignorant of her intentions, confused, don Diego desperate, and everyone in admiration of her decision. Don Diego, malcontent, sick to death, without taking his leave of any54. On the church or convent as asylum, see “Taking a Chance on Losing,” n. 33.

Ta l e s o f D i s i l l u s i o n one, left the room. They say he went to serve the king in the war of Catalonia, where he died because he put himself in the situations of greatest danger. Everyone, taking their leave of Laura, congratulated her greatly for her daughter’s divine understanding, and went home, some taking with them things that caused admiration, all taking things to tell, and many taking things about which to gossip from the soiree, for in the court there are many lay vermin whose greatest pleasure is speaking evil of others’ actions, and the richest thing is that they do not know how to understand those acts. The next day, Lisis and doña Isabel, with doña Estefanía, went to her convent with great pleasure. Doña Isabel took the vows of a nun, and Lisis lived there as a secular member of the community.55 And when Laura had put her estate in order so that it would produce the income she and her daughter needed, she joined them so as not to be separated from her beloved Lisis, notifying doña Isabel’s mother, who came to be with her as well, as soon as she found out where her daughter was, becoming a nun, where it was found out that don Felipe had died at the war. A few months later, Lisarda married a foreign gentleman, very wealthy, leaving don Juan upset, and he confessed that, for having been disloyal to Lisis, he had gotten the payment he deserved from Lisarda, from which he caught a dangerous disease and while ill with it died in a frenzy. I have reached the end of my entertaining soiree, and at the end I ask the ladies to take care with their daring behavior, if they wish to be esteemed by men, and the gentlemen that they show themselves as such, honoring women, for this is so good for them, or that they understand they have been challenged for not meeting the obligations to which the laws of chivalry hold them in the matter of defending women. Farewell.

Now, most illustrious Fabio,56 to satisfy your request that this story not have a tragic ending, the lovely Lisis remains in the cloister, fearful lest some deceit undeceive her, not forewarned by her own misfortunes. This

55. In Spanish convents during this period there were four groups of women: nuns; female servants; young girls being educated by the nuns; women of all ages who had retired to the convent for reasons other than a religious vocation (such as social disgrace or an insufficient dowry to wed), who did not take solemn vows and could leave the convent if they chose. 56. This Fabio whom Zayas addresses in her authorial voice has occasioned considerable critical debate, but his presence as a supportive masculine figure echoes that of the Fabio of “Taking a Chance on Losing.”



Tw o is not a tragic ending but rather the happiest possible, since, wealthy and desired by many, she subjected herself to no one. If your desire to see her continues, seek her out with chaste intention, with which you will find her as much yours, with a will as firm and chaste as she promised, and as much your servant as ever, and as you deserve, for even in recognizing this she is outdone by none. Doña María Zayas y Sotomayor


Items followed by a title in English are included in this volume. Novelas amorosas y examplares Preliminaries (censorial approval, licenses for publication, poems) Al que leyere Prólogo de un desapasionado Introducción 1. Aventurarse perdiendo 2. La burlada Aminta y venganza del honor Noche segunda 3. El castigo de la miseria 4. El prevenido engañado Noche tercera 5. La fuerza del amor 6. El desengaño andando y premio de la virtud Noche cuarta 7. Al fin se paga todo 8. El imposible vencido Noche quinta 9. El juez de su causa 10. El jardín engañoso

Exemplary Tales of Love

To the Reader Prologue by a Disinterested Person Introduction Taking a Chance on Losing Second Night Forewarned but Fooled

Fifth Night The Judge of Her Own Case The Deceitful Garden


Appendix A Parte segunda del Sarao y entretenimiento honesto (Desengaños amorosos) Introducción Desengaño 1: La esclava de su amante Desengaño 2 Desengaño 3 Desengaño 4 Noche segunda Desengaño 5 Desengaño 6 Desengaño 7 Desengaño 8 Noche tercera Desengaño 9 Desengaño 10

Tales of Disillusion

Introduction First Tale of Disillusion: Her Lover’s Slave

Second Night Fifth Tale of Disillusion

Tenth Tale of Disillusion





















Map courtesy Petra Rostohar


Included here are key terms that require explanation and occur more than once in this anthology. Subsequent occurrences of the word in a similar context are marked by an asterisk (*) to indicate their inclusion in this glossary. affection(s) see “will.” ballad (romance) a composition of variable length with an eight-syllable line and assonantal rhyme in the odd lines. A poetic form original to Spain’s medieval frontier tradition, the romance enjoyed renewed popularly in the baroque period, when it was transformed from an oral composition of a narrative nature into a highly wrought poetic piece that could be lyric or narrative in nature. basilisk legendary reptile whose look and breath are fatal. entremeses short, often satirical theater pieces usually performed between the acts of plays. escudo gold coin introduced into Spanish currency in 1537. Although its original value was high, it declined with the successive coinage debasements of Felipe III. estrado an interior space of Moorish design, consisting of a raised platform, heated by braziers, on which carpets and pillows were placed for women to sit; it was the receiving space in the house (see fig. 3). gallarda Spanish court dance in which only the feet were moved. house (casa) used as a synecdoche to mean not only the material house and the household in it, but the patriarchal clan whose generations culminate in the character using the word. lamé fabric of silk, cotton or wool interwoven with metallic thread. lord (dueño) beloved; in the amorous discourse of this period, it referred to men and women alike. masque courtly, often allegorical entertainment of dance, song, and music; the fact that they were private spectacles in which the actors covered their faces while performing made them an acceptable means for noblewomen to exercise their dramatic energies, given that “good women” did not appear on stage. morisco Spanish Moors who accepted Christianity. What is today Spain, or part



Appendix C thereof, was occupied by Moors from 711 until 1492, when Granada, the last Moorish kingdom of Spain, surrendered to Christian forces. As the sixteenth century passed, their fidelity to Catholicism was held in question, and in 1609 a royal edict was promulgated dictating their expulsion from all Spanish kingdoms, a process that lasted until 1614. parts (partes) qualities, abilities, capacities, talents, as in the phrase “a person of parts.” prattle, prattlings (bachillerías) from bachiller, technically the term for one who had the modern equivalent of a high-school diploma, but used also to imply someone who talked cleverly without a firm foundation of knowledge, particularly when used in the feminine, bachillera. qualities see “parts.” quartan fever illness whose rhythm (recurring fevers every fourth day with two intermittent days) is similar to that of some types of malaria; it was common in seventeenth-century Europe. strolling (paseo, pasear) part of the early modern courting ritual involving passing beneath the windows of a lady’s house in hopes of a glimpse of her. The more adventurous gallants arranged a serenade. The greater the visibility of the gallant, the less discreet the endeavor and the greater the risk to her reputation. Two or more suitors de paseo at the same woman’s house guaranteed violence, since the honor code obliged a man to defend that space as his own. token (prenda) virginity; chastity; gifts or other proofs of love, including sexual gifts or children. It is also used as an objectifying means to signify a woman, usually in contexts of a relationship in which the man does not intend to marry her. will (voluntad) in Christian theology and Thomistic psychology, one of the three faculties of the soul, along with intellect and memory; it might be rendered as disposition, wish, desire, choice, decision, liking, or affection. In lovers’ discourse, it can also be painted as destiny, the “stars” that dispose one person to love a particular individual.



Alberti, Leon Battista (1404–72). The Family in Renaissance Florence. Trans. Renée Neu Watkins. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1969. Arenal, Electa and Stacey Schlau, eds. Untold Sisters: Hispanic Nuns in Their Own Works. Trans. Amanda Powell. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1989. Astell, Mary (1666–1731). The First English Feminist: Reflections on Marriage and Other Writings. Ed. and Introd. Bridget Hill. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986. Astell, Mary and John Norris. Letters Concerning the Love of God. Ed. E. Derek Taylor and Melvyn New. The Early Modern Englishwoman 1500–1750: Contemporary Editions. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Atherton, Margaret, ed. Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co., 1994. Aughterson, Kate, ed. Renaissance Woman: Constructions of Femininity in England: A Source Book. London & New York: Routledge, 1995. Barbaro, Francesco (1390–1454). On Wifely Duties. Trans. Benjamin Kohl in Kohl and R. G. Witt, eds., The Earthly Republic. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978, 179–228. Translation of the Preface and Book 2. Behn, Aphra. The Works of Aphra Behn. 7 vols. Ed. Janet Todd. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1992–96. Blamires, Alcuin, ed. Woman Defamed and Woman Defended: An Anthology of Medieval Texts. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992. Boccaccio, Giovanni (1313–75). Famous Women. Ed. and trans. Virginia Brown. The I Tatti Renaissance Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001. ———. Corbaccio or the Labyrinth of Love. Trans. Anthony K. Cassell. Second revised edition. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1993. Booy, David, ed. Autobiographical Writings by Early Quaker Women. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004. Brown, Sylvia. Women’s Writing in Stuart England: The Mother’s Legacies of Dorothy Leigh, Elizabeth Joscelin and Elizabeth Richardson. Thrupp, Stroud, Gloceter: Sutton, 1999. Bruni, Leonardo (1370–1444). “On the Study of Literature (1405) to Lady Battista Malatesta of Moltefeltro.” In The Humanism of Leonardo Bruni: Selected Texts. Trans. and



Series Editors’ Bibliography Introd. Gordon Griffiths, James Hankins, and David Thompson. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Studies and Texts, 1987, 240–51. Castiglione, Baldassare (1478–1529). The Book of the Courtier. Trans. George Bull. New York: Penguin, 1967; The Book of the Courtier. Ed. Daniel Javitch. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2002. Christine de Pizan (1365–1431). The Book of the City of Ladies. Trans. Earl Jeffrey Richards. Foreward Marina Warner. New York: Persea Books, 1982. ———. The Treasure of the City of Ladies. Trans. Sarah Lawson. New York: Viking Penguin, 1985. Also trans. and introd. Charity Cannon Willard. Ed. and introd. Madeleine P. Cosman. New York: Persea Books, 1989. Clarke, Danielle, ed. Isabella Whitney, Mary Sidney and Aemilia Lanyer: Renaissance Women Poets. New York: Penguin Books, 2000. Couchman, Jane and Ann Crabb, eds. Women’s Letters Across Europe, 1400–1700. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Crawford, Patricia and Laura Gowing, eds. Women’s Worlds in Seventeenth-Century England: A Source Book. London & New York: Routledge, 2000. ”Custome Is an Idiot”: Jacobean Pamphlet Literature on Women. Ed. Susan Gushee O’Malley. Afterword Ann Rosalind Jones. Chicago and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2004. Daybell, James, ed. Early Modern Women’s Letter Writing, 1450–1700. Houndmills, England & New York: Palgrave, 2001. Domestic Politics and Family Absence: The Correspondence (1588–1621) of Robert Sidney, First Earle of Leicester, and Barbara Gamage Sidney, Countess of Leicester. Ed. Margaret P. Hannay, Noel J. Kinnamon, and Michael G. Brennan. The Early Modern Englishwoman 1500–1750: Contemporary Editions. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Elizabeth I: Collected Works. Ed. Leah S. Marcus, Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Elyot, Thomas (1490–1546). Defence of Good Women: The Feminist Controversy of the Renaissance. Facsimile Reproductions. Ed. Diane Bornstein. New York: Delmar, 1980. Erasmus, Desiderius (1467–1536). Erasmus on Women. Ed. Erika Rummel. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996. Erauso, Catalina de. Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World. Trans. Michele Ttepto & Gabriel Stepto; foreword by Marjorie Garber. Boston: Beacon Press, 1995. Female and Male Voices in Early Modern England: An Anthology of Renaissance Writing. Ed. Betty S. Travitsky and Anne Lake Prescott. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. Ferguson, Moira, ed. First Feminists: British Women Writers 1578–1799. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1985. Galilei, Maria Celeste. Sister Maria Celeste’s Letters to her father, Galileo. Ed. and trans. Rinaldina Russell. Lincoln, NE & New York: Writers Club Press of Universe.com, 2000; To Father: The Letters of Sister Maria Celeste to Galileo, 1623–1633. Trans. Dava Sobel. London: Fourth Estate, 2001. Gethner, Perry, ed. The Lunatic Lover and Other Plays by French Women of the 17th and 18th Centuries. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1994. Glückel of Hameln (1646–1724). The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln. Trans. Marvin Lowenthal. New Introd. Robert Rosen. New York: Schocken Books, 1977.

Series Editors’ Bibliography Harline, Craig, ed. The Burdens of Sister Margaret: Inside a Seventeenth-Century Convent. New Haven: Yale University Press, abr. ed., 2000. Henderson, Katherine Usher and Barbara F. McManus, eds. Half Humankind: Contexts and Texts of the Controversy about Women in England, 1540–1640. Urbana, IL: Indiana University Press, 1985. Hoby, Margaret. The Private Life of an Elizabethan Lady: The Diary of Lady Margaret Hoby 1599–1605. Phoenix Mill, Great Britain: Sutton Publishing, 1998. Humanist Educational Treatises. Ed. and trans. Craig W. Kallendorf. The I Tatti Renaissance Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002. Hunter, Lynette, ed. The Letters of Dorothy Moore, 1612–64. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004. Joscelin, Elizabeth. The Mothers Legacy to her Unborn Childe. Ed. Jean leDrew Metcalfe. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000. Kaminsky, Amy Katz, ed. Water Lilies, Flores del agua: An Anthology of Spanish Women Writers from the Fifteenth Through the Nineteenth Century. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1996. Kempe, Margery (1373–1439). The Book of Margery Kempe. Trans. and ed. Lynn Staley. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 2001. King, Margaret L., and Albert Rabil, Jr., eds. Her Immaculate Hand: Selected Works by and about the Women Humanists of Quattrocento Italy. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1983; second revised paperback edition, 1991. Klein, Joan Larsen, ed. Daughters, Wives, and Widows: Writings by Men about Women and Marriage in England, 1500–1640. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1992. Knox, John (1505–72). The Political Writings of John Knox: The First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women and Other Selected Works. Ed. Marvin A. Breslow. Washington: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1985. Kors, Alan C., and Edward Peters, eds. Witchcraft in Europe, 400–1700: A Documentary History. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000. Krämer, Heinrich, and Jacob Sprenger. Malleus Maleficarum (ca. 1487). Trans. Montague Summers. London: Pushkin Press, 1928; reprinted New York: Dover, 1971. Larsen, Anne R. and Colette H. Winn, eds. Writings by Pre-Revolutionary French Women: From Marie de France to Elizabeth Vigée-Le Brun. New York & London: Garland Publishing Co., 2000. de Lorris, William, and Jean de Meun. The Romance of the Rose. Trans. Charles Dahlbert. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971; reprinted University Press of New England, 1983. Marcus, Leah S., Janel Mueller, and Mary Beth Rose, eds. Elizabeth I: Collected Works. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Marguerite d’Angoulême, Queen of Navarre (1492–1549). The Heptameron. Trans. P. A. Chilton. New York: Viking Penguin, 1984. Mary of Agreda. The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin. Abridgment of The Mystical City of God. Abr. by Fr. Bonaventure Amedeo de Caesarea, M.C. Trans. from French by Abbé Joseph A. Boullan. Rockford, IL: Tan Books, 1997. Moore, Dorothy. The Letters of Dorothy Moore, 1612–64: The Friendships, Marriage and Intellectual Life of a Seventeenth-Century Woman. Ed. Lynette Hunter. The Early Modern Englishwoman 1500–1750: Contemporary Editions. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004.



Series Editors’ Bibliography Mullan, David George. Women’s Life Writing in Early Modern Scotland: Writing the Evangelical Self, c. 1670–c. 1730. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Myers, Kathleen A. and Amanda Powell, eds. A Wild Country Out in the Garden: The Spiritual Journals of a Colonial Mexican Nun. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999. Ostovich, Helen and Elizabeth Sauer, eds. Reading Early Modern Women: An Anthology of Texts in Manuscript and Print, 1550–1700. New York: Routledge, 2004. Rabell, Carmen R. Rewriting the Italian Novella in Counter-Reformation Spain. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Tamesis, 2003. Reading Early Modern Women: An Anthology of Texts in Manuscript and Print, 1550–1700. Ed. Helen Ostovich and Elizabeth Sauer. New York: Routledge, 2004. Russell, Rinaldina, ed. Sister Maria Celeste’s Letters to Her Father, Galileo. San Jose & New York: Writers Club Press, 2000. Teresa of Avila, Saint (1515–82). The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila by Herself. Trans. J. M. Cohen. New York: Viking Penguin, 1957. ———. The Collected Letters of St. Teresa of Avila. Volume One: 1546–1577, trans. Kieran Kavanaugh. Washington, DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 2001. Volume two is forthcoming. Travitsky, Betty, ed. The Paradise of Women: Writings by Englishwomen of the Renaissance. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1981. Weyer, Johann (1515–88). Witches, Devils, and Doctors in the Renaissance: Johann Weyer, De praestigiis daemonum. Ed. George Mora with Benjamin G. Kohl, Erik Midelfort, and Helen Bacon. Trans. John Shea. Binghamton, NY: Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 1991. Wilson, Katharina M., ed. Medieval Women Writers. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1984. ———, ed. Women Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1987. ———, and Frank J. Warnke, eds. Women Writers of the Seventeenth Century. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1989. Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Men; with A Vindication of the Rights of Women. Ed. Sylvana Tomaselli. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Also The Vindications of the Rights of Men, The Rights of Women. Ed. D. L. Macdonald & Kathleen Scherf. Peterborough, Ontario, Canada: Broadview Press, 1997. Woman Defamed and Woman Defended: An Anthology of Medieval Texts. Ed. Alcuin Blamires. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992. Women Critics 1660–1820: An Anthology. Edited by the Folger Collective on Early Women Critics. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995. Women Writers in English 1350–1850: 15 published through 1999 (projected 30-volume series suspended). Oxford University Press. Women’s Letters Across Europe, 1400–1700. Ed. Jane Couchman and Ann Crabb. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Women’s Life Writing in Early Modern Scotland: Writing the Evangelical Self, c. 1670–c. 1730. ed. David G. Mullan. The Early Modern Englishwoman 1500–1750: Contemporary Editions. Aldershot and Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Wroth, Lady Mary. The Countess of Montgomery’s Urania. 2 parts. Ed. Josephine A. Roberts. Tempe, AZ: MRTS, 1995, 1999.

Series Editors’ Bibliography ———. Lady Mary Wroth’s “Love’s Victory”: The Penshurst Manuscript. Ed. Michael G. Brennan. London: The Roxburghe Club, 1988. ———. The Poems of Lady Mary Wroth. Ed. Josephine A. Roberts. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1983. Zayas y Sotomayor, María de. The Disenchantments of Love. Trans. H. Patsy Boyer. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997. ———. The Enchantments of Love: Amorous and Exemplary Novels. Trans. H. Patsy Boyer. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1990.


Abate, Corinne S., ed. Privacy, Domesticity, and Women in Early Modern England. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2003. Ahlgren, Gillian. Teresa of Avila and the Politics of Sanctity. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1996. Akkerman, Tjitske & Siep Sturman, eds. Feminist Thought in European History, 1400–2000. London & New York: Routledge, 1997. Allen, Sister Prudence, R.S.M. The Concept of Woman: The Aristotelian Revolution, 750 B.C.—A.D. 1250. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1997. ———. The Concept of Woman: Volume II: The early Humanist Reformation, 1250–1500. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002. Altmann, Barbara K. and Deborah L. McGrady, eds. Christine de Pizan: A Casebook. New York: Routledge, 2003. Ambiguous Realities: Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Ed. Carole Levin and Jeanie Watson. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987. Amussen, Susan D. And Adele Seeff, eds. Attending to Early Modern Women. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1998. Andreadis, Harriette. Sappho in Early Modern England: Female Same-Sex Literary Erotics 1550–1714. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001. Arcangela Tarabotti: A Literary Nun in Baroque Venice. Ed. Elissa B. Weaver. Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2006. Architecture and the Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe. Ed. Helen Hills. Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Armon, Shifra. Picking Wedlock: Women and the Courtship Novel in Spain. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002. Attending to Early Modern Women. Ed. Susan D. Amussen and Adele Seeff. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 1998. Backer, Anne Liot Backer. Precious Women. New York: Basic Books, 1974. Ballaster, Ros. Seductive Forms. New York : Oxford University Press, 1992. Barash, Carol. English Women’s Poetry, 1649–1714: Politics, Community, and Linguistic Authority. New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. Barker, Alele Marie and Jehanne M. Gheith, eds. A History of Women’s Writing in Russia. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Battigelli, Anna. Margaret Cavendish and the Exiles of the Mind. Lexington, KY: University of Kentucky Press, 1998.



Series Editors’ Bibliography Beasley, Faith. Revising Memory: Women’s Fiction and Memoirs in Seventeenth-Century France. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990. ———. Salons, History, and the Creation of 17th-Century France. Aldershot and Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2006. Becker, Lucinda M. Death and the Early Modern Englishwoman. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Beilin, Elaine V. Redeeming Eve: Women Writers of the English Renaissance. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987. Bennett, Lyn. Women Writing of Divinest Things: Rhetoric and the Poetry of Pembroke, Wroth, and Lanyer. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2004. Benson, Pamela Joseph. The Invention of Renaissance Woman: The Challenge of Female Independence in the Literature and Thought of Italy and England. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1992. ———and Victoria Kirkham, eds. Strong Voices, Weak History? Medieval and Renaissance Women in their Literary Canons: England, France, Italy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003. Berry, Helen. Gender, Society and Print Culture in Late-Stuart England. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Beyond Isabella: Secular Women Patrons of Art in Renaissance Italy. Ed. Sheryl E. Reiss and David G. Wilkins. Kirksville, MO: Turman State University Press, 2001. Beyond Their Sex: Learned Women of the European Past. Ed. Patricia A. Labalme. New York: New York University Press, 1980. Bicks, Caroline. Midwiving Subjects in Shakespeare’s England. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Bilinkoff, Jodi. The Avila of Saint Teresa: Religious Reform in a Sixteenth-Century City. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989. ———. Related Lives: Confessors and Their Female Penitents, 1450–1750. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2005. Bissell, R. Ward. Artemisia Gentileschi and the Authority of Art. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. Blain, Virginia, Isobel Grundy, & Patricia Clements, eds. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Blamires, Alcuin. The Case for Women in Medieval Culture. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. Bloch, R. Howard. Medieval Misogyny and the Invention of Western Romantic Love. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. Bogucka, Maria. Women in Early Modern Polish Society, Against the European Background. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004. Bornstein, Daniel and Roberto Rusconi, eds. Women and Religion in Medieval and Renaissance Italy. Trans. Margery J. Schneider. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996. Brant, Clare & Diane Purkiss, eds. Women, Texts and Histories, 1575–1760. London & New York: Routledge, 1992. Briggs, Robin. Witches and Neighbours: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft. New York: HarperCollins, 1995; Viking Penguin, 1996. Brink, Jean R., ed. Female Scholars: A Tradition of Learned Women before 1800. Montréal: Eden Press Women’s Publications, 1980.

Series Editors’ Bibliography ———, Allison Coudert, and Maryanne Cline Horowitz. The Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe. Sixteenth Century Essays & Studies, V.12. Kirksville, MO: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, 1989. Broude, Norma and Mary D. Garrard, eds. The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History. New York: HarperCollins, 1992. Brown, Judith C. Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Renaissance Italy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. ———and Robert C. Davis, eds. Gender and Society in Renaisance Italy. London: Addison Wesley Longman, 1998. Brown-Grant, Rosalind. Christine de Pizan and the Moral Defence of Women: Reading Beyond Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Burke, Victoria E. Burke, ed. Early Modern Women’s Manuscript Writing. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004. Burns, Jane E., ed. Medieval Fabrications: Dress, Textiles, Cloth Work, and Other Cultural Imaginings. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. Bynum, Carolyn Walker. Fragmentation and Redemption: Essays on Gender and the Human Body in Medieval Religion. New York: Zone Books, 1992. ———. Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious Significance of Food to Medieval Women. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. Campbell, Julie DeLynn. “Renaissance Women Writers: The Beloved Speaks her Part.” Ph.D dissertation, Texas A & M University, 1997. (UMI#: 9729168) Catling, Jo, ed. A History of Women’s Writing in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Cavallo, Sandra, and Lyndan Warner. Widowhood in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. New York: Longman, 1999. Cavanagh, Sheila T. Cherished Torment: The Emotional Geography of Lady Mary Wroth’s Urania. Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press, 2001. Cerasano, S. P. and Marion Wynne-Davies, eds. Readings in Renaissance Women’s Drama: Criticism, History, and Performance 1594–1998. London & New York: Routledge, 1998. Cervigni, Dino S., ed. Women Mystic Writers. Annali d’Italianistica 13 (1995) (entire issue). ———and Rebecca West, eds. Women’s Voices in Italian Literature. Annali d’Italianistica 7 (1989) (entire issue). Charlton, Kenneth. Women, Religion and Education in Early Modern England. London & New York: Routledge, 1999. Chojnacka, Monica. Working Women in Early Modern Venice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. Chojnacki, Stanley. Women and Men in Renaissance Venice: Twelve Essays on Patrician Society. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000. Cholakian, Patricia Francis. Rape and Writing in the Heptameron of Marguerite de Navarre. Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991. ———. Women and the Politics of Self-Representation in Seventeenth-Century France. Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2000. Christine de Pizan: A Casebook. Ed. Barbara K. Altmann and Deborah L. McGrady. New York: Routledge, 2003. Clogan, Paul Maruice, ed. Medievali et Humanistica: Literacy and the Lay Reader. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000.



Series Editors’ Bibliography Clubb, Louise George (1989). Italian Drama in Shakespeare’s Time. New Haven: Yale University Press. Clucas, Stephen, ed. A Princely Brave Woman: Essays on Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Coakley, John W. Women, Men, and Spiritual Power: Female Saints and Their Male Collaborators. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. Conley, John J., S.J. The Suspicion of Virtue: Women Philosophers in Neoclassical France. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2002. Crabb, Ann. The Strozzi of Florence: Widowhood and Family Solidarity in the Renaissance. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000. The Crannied Wall: Women, Religion, and the Arts in Early Modern Europe. Ed. Craig A. Monson. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992. Creative Women in Medieval and Early Modern Italy. Ed. E. Ann Matter and John Coakley. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994. (sequel to the Monson collection, below) Crowston, Clare Haru. Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675– 1791. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001. Cruz, Anne J. and Mary Elizabeth Perry, eds. Culture and Control in Counter-Reformation Spain. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1992. Datta, Satya. Women and Men in Early Modern Venice. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Davis, Natalie Zemon. Society and Culture in Early Modern France. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1975. Especially chapters 3 and 5. ———. Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1995. DeJean, Joan. Ancients Against Moderns: Culture Wars and the Making of a Fin de Siècle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997. ———. Fictions of Sappho, 1546–1937. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989. ———. The Reinvention of Obscenity: Sex, Lies, and Tabloids in Early Modern France. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. ———. Tender Geographies: Women and the Origins of the Novel in France. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991. D’Elia, Anthony F. The Renaissance of Marriage in Fifteenth-Century Italy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004. Demers, Patricia. Women’s Writing in English: Early Modern England. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. Dictionary of Russian Women Writers. Ed. Marina Ledkovsky, Charlotte Rosenthal, and Mary Zirin. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. Diefendorf, Barbara. From Penitence to Charity: Pious Women and the Catholic Reformation in Paris. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004. Dixon, Laurinda S. Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-Enlightenment Art and Medicine. Ithaca: Cornell Universitiy Press, 1995. Dolan, Frances, E. Whores of Babylon: Catholicism, Gender and Seventeenth-Century Print Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999. Donovan, Josephine. Women and the Rise of the Novel, 1405–1726. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. Dyan, Elliott. Proving Woman: Female Spirituality and Inquisitional Culture in the Later Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004.

Series Editors’ Bibliography Early [English] Women Writers: 1600–1720. Ed. Anita Pacheco. New York & London: Longman, 1998. Eigler, Friederike and Susanne Kord, eds. The Feminist Encyclopedia of German Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. Encyclopedia of Women in the Renaissance: Italy, France, and England. Edited by Diana Robin, Anne R. Larsen, and Carole Levin. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC Clio, 2007. Engendering the Early Modern Stage: Women Playwrights in the Spanish Empire. Ed. Valeria (Oakey) Hegstrom and Amy R. Williamsen. New Orleans: University Press of the South, 1999. Erdmann, Axel. My Gracious Silence: Women in the Mirror of Sixteenth-Century Printing in Western Europe. Luzern: Gilhofer and Rauschberg, 1999. Erickson, Amy Louise. Women and Property in Early Modern England. London & New York: Routledge, 1993. Extraordinary Women of the Medieval and Renaissance World: A Biographical Dictionary. Ed. Carole Levin, et al. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000. Ezell, Margaret J. M. The Patriarch’s Wife: Literary Evidence and the History of the Family. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987. ———. Social Authorship and the Advent of Print. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. ———. Writing Women’s Literary History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1993. Farrell, Michèle Longino. Performing Motherhood: The Sévigné Correspondence. Hanover, NH and London: University Press of New England, 1991. Feminism and Renaissance Studies. Ed. Lorna Hutson. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Ed. Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy, and Patricia Clements. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990. Feminist Encyclopedia of Italian Literature. Edited by Rinaldina Russell. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. Feminist Thought in European History, 1400–2000. Ed. Tjitske Akkerman and Siep Sturman. London & New York: Routledge, 1997. Ferguson, Margaret W. Dido’s Daughters: Literacy, Gender, and Empire in Early Modern England and France. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003. ———, Maureen Quilligan, and Nancy J. Vickers, eds. Rewriting the Renaissance: The Discourses of Sexual Difference in Early Modern Europe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987. Ferraro, Joanne M. Marriage Wars in Late Renaissance Venice. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. Fletcher, Anthony. Gender, Sex and Subordination in England 1500–1800. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. Franklin, Margaret. Boccaccio’s Heroines. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2006. French Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Source Book. Ed. Eva Martin Sartori and Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1991. Frye, Susan and Karen Robertson, eds. Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women’s Alliances in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Gallagher, Catherine. Nobody’s Story: The Vanishing Acts of Women Writers in the Marketplace, 1670–1820. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.



Series Editors’ Bibliography Garrard, Mary D. Artemisia Gentileschi: The Image of the Female Hero in Italian Baroque Art. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989. Gelbart, Nina Rattner. The King’s Midwife: A History and Mystery of Madame du Coudray. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Giles, Mary E., ed. Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Gill, Catie. Women in the Seventeenth-Century Quaker Community. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Glenn, Cheryl. Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition from Antiquity Through the Renaissance. Carbondale & Edwardsville, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1997. Goffen, Rona. Titian’s Women. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997. Going Public: Women and Publishing in Early Modern France. Ed. Elizabeth C. Goldsmith and Dena Goodman. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995. Goldberg, Jonathan. Desiring Women Writing: English Renaissance Examples. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. Goldsmith, Elizabeth C. Exclusive Conversations: The Art of Interaction in Seventeenth-Century France. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988. ———, ed. Writing the Female Voice. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989. ———& Dena Goodman, eds. Going Public: Women and Publishing in Early Modern France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995. Grafton, Anthony, and Lisa Jardine. From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in Fifteenth-and Sixteenth-Century Europe. London: Duckworth, 1986. The Graph of Sex and the German Text: Gendered Culture in Early Modern Germany 1500–1700. Ed. Lynne Tatlock and Christiane Bohnert. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodolphi, 1994. Grassby, Richard. Kinship and Capitalism: Marriage, Family, and Business in the EnglishSpeaking World, 1580–1740. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Greer, Margaret Rich. Maria de Zayas Tells Baroque Tales of Love and the Cruelty of Men. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000. Grossman, Avraham. Pious and Rebellious: Jewish Women in Medieval Europe. Trans. Jonathan Chipman. Brandeis/University Press of New England, 2004. Gutierrez, Nancy A. ”Shall She Famish Then?” Female Food Refusal in Early Modern England. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Habermann, Ina. Staging Slander and Gender in Early Modern England. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Hacke, Daniela. Women, Sex and Marriage in Early Modern Venice. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004. Hackel, Heidi Brayman. Reading Material in Early Modern England: Print, Gender, Literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Hackett, Helen. Women and Romance Fiction in the English Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Hall, Kim F. Things of Darkness: Economies of Race and Gender in Early Modern England. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995. Hamburger, Jeffrey. The Visual and the Visionary: Art and Female Spirituality in Late Medieval Germany. New York: Zone Books, 1998. Hampton, Timothy. Literature and the Nation in the Sixteenth Century: Inventing Renaissance France. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.

Series Editors’ Bibliography Hannay, Margaret, ed. Silent But for the Word. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1985. Hardwick, Julie. The Practice of Patriarchy: Gender and the Politics of Household Authority in Early Modern France. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998. Harris, Barbara J. English Aristocratic Women, 1450–1550: Marriage and Family, Property and Careers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Harth, Erica. Ideology and Culture in Seventeenth-Century France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983. ———. Cartesian Women. Versions and Subversions of Rational Discourse in the Old Regime. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992. Harvey, Elizabeth D. Ventriloquized Voices: Feminist Theory and English Renaissance Texts. London & New York: Routledge, 1992. Haselkorn, Anne M. & Betty Travitsky, eds. The Renaissance Englishwoman in Print: Counterbalancing the Canon. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990. Hawkesworth, Celia, ed. A History of Central European Women’s Writing. New York: Palgrave Press, 2001. Hegstrom (Oakey), Valerie, and Amy R. Williamsen, eds. Engendering the Early Modern Stage: Women Playwrights in the Spanish Empire. New Orleans: University Press of the South, 1999. Hendricks, Margo and Patricia Parker, eds. Women, “Race,” and Writing in the Early Modern Period. London and New York: Routledge, 1994. Herlihy, David. “Did Women Have a Renaissance? A Reconsideration.” Medievalia et Humanistica, NS 13 (1985): 1–22. Hill, Bridget. The Republican Virago: The Life and Times of Catharine Macaulay, Historian. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Hills, Helen, ed. Architecture and the Politics of Gender in Early Modern Europe. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Hirst, Jilie. Jane Leade: Biography of a Seventeenth-Century Mystic. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2006. A History of Central European Women’s Writing. Ed. Celia Hawkesworth. New York: Palgrave Press, 2001. A History of Women in the West. Volume I: From Ancient Goddesses to Christian Saints. Ed. Pauline Schmitt Pantel. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992. Volume 2: Silences of the Middle Ages. Ed. Christiane Klapisch-Zuber. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992. Volume 3: Renaissance and Enlightenment Paradoxes. Ed. Natalie Zemon Davis and Arlette Farge. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993. A History of Women Philosophers. Ed. Mary Ellen Waithe. 3 vols. Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff, 1987. A History of Women’s Writing in France. Ed. Sonya Stephens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. A History of Women’s Writing in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Ed. Jo Catling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. A History of Women’s Writing in Italy. Ed. Letizia Panizza and Sharon Wood. Cambridge: University Press, 2000.



Series Editors’ Bibliography A History of Women’s Writing in Russia. Edited by Alele Marie Barker and Jehanne M. Gheith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Hobby, Elaine. Virtue of Necessity: English Women’s Writing 1646–1688. London: Virago Press, 1988. Horowitz, Maryanne Cline. “Aristotle and Women.” Journal of the History of Biology 9 (1976): 183–213. Howell, Martha C. The Marriage Exchange: Property, Social Place, and Gender in Cities of the Low Countries, 1300–1550. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. ———. Women, Production and Patriarchy in Late Medieval Cities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Hufton, Olwen H. The Prospect Before Her: A History of Women in Western Europe, 1: 1500– 1800. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. Hull, Suzanne W. Chaste, Silent, and Obedient: English Books for Women, 1475–1640. San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library, 1982. Hunt, Lynn, ed. The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500– 1800. New York: Zone Books, 1996. Hutner, Heidi, ed. Rereading Aphra Behn: History, Theory, and Criticism. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1993. Hutson, Lorna, ed. Feminism and Renaissance Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. The Invention of Pornography: Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 1500–1800. Ed. Lynn Hunt. New York: Zone Books, 1996. Italian Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Edited by Rinaldina Russell. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. Jaffe, Irma B. with Gernando Colombardo. Shining Eyes, Cruel Fortune: The Lives and Loves of Italian Renaissance Women Poets. New York: Fordham University Press, 2002. James, Susan E. Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 1999. Jankowski, Theodora A. Women in Power in the Early Modern Drama. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1992. Jansen, Katherine Ludwig. The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. Jed, Stephanie H. Chaste Thinking: The Rape of Lucretia and the Birth of Humanism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1989. Jones, Ann Rosalind and Peter Stallybrass. Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Jordan, Constance. Renaissance Feminism: Literary Texts and Political Models. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990. Kagan, Richard L. Lucrecia’s Dreams: Politics and Prophecy in Sixteenth-Century Spain. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. Kehler, Dorothea and Laurel Amtower, eds. The Single Woman in Medieval and Early Modern England: Her Life and Representation. Tempe, AZ: MRTS, 2002. Kelly, Joan. “Did Women Have a Renaissance?” In her Women, History, and Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984. Also in Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koonz, and Susan M. Stuard, eds., Becoming Visible: Women in European History. Third edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998.

Series Editors’ Bibliography ———. “Early Feminist Theory and the Querelle des Femmes.” In Women, History, and Theory. Kelso, Ruth. Doctrine for the Lady of the Renaissance. Foreword by Katharine M. Rogers. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1956, 1978. Kendrick, Robert L. Celestical Sirens: Nuns and their Music in Early Modern Milan. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Kermode, Jenny and Garthine Walker, eds. Women, Crime and the Courts in Early Modern England. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994. King, Catherine E. Renaissance Women Patrons: Wives and Widows in Italy, c. 1300–1550. New York & Manchester: Manchester University Press (distributed in the U.S. by St. Martin’s Press), 1998. King, Margaret L. Women of the Renaissance. Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. King, Thomas A. The Gendering of Men, 1600–1700: The English Phallus. Vol. 1. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2004. Krontiris, Tina. Oppositional Voices: Women as Writers and Translators of Literature in the English Renaissance. London & New York: Routledge, 1992. Kuehn, Thomas. Law, Family, and Women: Toward a Legal Anthropology of Renaissance Italy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991. Kunze, Bonnelyn Young. Margaret Fell and the Rise of Quakerism. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994. Labalme, Patricia A., ed. Beyond Their Sex: Learned Women of the European Past. New York: New York University Press, 1980. Lalande, Roxanne Decker, ed. A Labor of Love: Critical Reflections on the Writings of MarieCatherine Desjardina (Mme de Villedieu). Madison, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2000. Lamb, Mary Ellen. Gender and Authorship in the Sidney Circle. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990. Laqueur, Thomas. Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990. Larsen, Anne R. and Colette H. Winn, eds. Renaissance Women Writers: French Texts/ American Contexts. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1994. Laven, Mary. Virgins of Venice: Enclosed Lives and Broken Vows in the Renaissance Convent. London: Viking, 2002. Ledkovsky, Marina, Charlotte Rosenthal, and Mary Zirin, eds. Dictionary of Russian Women Writers. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. Lehfeldt, Elizabeth A. Religious Women in Golden Age Spain: The Permeable Cloister. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Lerner, Gerda. The Creation of Patriarchy and Creation of Feminist Consciousness, 1000–1870. 2-vol. history of women. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986, 1994. Levack. Brian P. The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe. London: Longman, 1987. Levin, Carole and Jeanie Watson, eds. Ambiguous Realities: Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1987. Levin, Carole, Jo Eldridge Carney, and Debra Barrett-Graves. Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Levin, Carole, et al. Extraordinary Women of the Medieval and Renaissance World: A Biographical Dictionary. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2000.



Series Editors’ Bibliography Levy, Allison, ed. Widowhood and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Lewalsky, Barbara Kiefer. Writing Women in Jacobean England. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993. Lewis, Gertrud Jaron. By Women, for Women, about Women: The Sister-Books of FourteenthCentury Germany. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996. Lewis, Jayne Elizabeth. Mary Queen of Scots: Romance and Nation. London: Routledge, 1998. Lindenauer, Leslie J. Piety and Power: Gender and Religious Culture in the American Colonies, 1630–1700. London and New York: Routledge, 2002. Lindsey, Karen. Divorced, Beheaded, Survived: A Feminist Reinterpretation of the Wives of Henry VIII. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1995. Lochrie, Karma. Margery Kempe and Translations of the Flesh. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1992. Longino Farrell, Michèle. Performing Motherhood: The Sévigné Correspondence. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1991. Love, Harold. The Culture and Commerce of Texts: Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-Century England. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 1993. Lowe, K. J. P. Nuns’ Chronicles and Convent Culture in Renaissance and Counter-Reformation Italy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Lux-Sterritt, Laurence. Redefining Female Religious Life: French Ursulines and English Ladies in Seventeenth-Century Catholicism. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. MacCarthy, Bridget G. The Female Pen: Women Writers and Novelists 1621–1818. Preface by Janet Todd. New York: New York University Press, 1994. (Originally published by Cork University Press, 1946–47). Mack, Phyllis. Visionary Women: Ecstatic Prophecy in Seventeenth-Century England. Berkeley: University of California Pres, 1992. Maclean, Ian. Woman Triumphant: Feminism in French Literature, 1610–1652. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977. ———. The Renaissance Notion of Woman: A Study of the Fortunes of Scholasticism and Medical Science in European Intellectual Life. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980. MacNeil, Anne. Music and Women of the Commedia dell’Arte in the Late Sixteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Maggi, Armando. Uttering the Word: The Mystical Performances of Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi, a Renaissance Visionary. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998. Marshall, Sherrin, ed. Women in Reformation and Counter-Reformation Europe: Public and Private Worlds. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1989. Masten, Jeffrey. Textual Intercourse: Collaboration, Authorship, and Sexualities in Renaissance Drama. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997. Matter, E. Ann, and John Coakley, eds. Creative Women in Medieval and Early Modern Italy. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994. (sequel to the Monson collection, below) McGrath, Lynette. Subjectivity and Women’s Poetry in Early Modern England. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2002. McIver, Katherine A. Women, Art, and Architecture in Northern Italy, 1520–1580. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2006. McLeod, Glenda. Virtue and Venom: Catalogs of Women from Antiquity to the Renaissance. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1991.

Series Editors’ Bibliography McTavish, Lianne. Childbirth and the Display of Authority in Early Modern France. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature. Ed. Elizabeth A. Petroff. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Medwick, Cathleen. Teresa of Avila: The Progress of a Soul. New York: Doubleday, 1999. Meek, Christine, ed. Women in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. Dublin-Portland: Four Courts Press, 2000. Mendelson, Sara and Patricia Crawford. Women in Early Modern England, 1550–1720. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998. Merchant, Carolyn. The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution. New York: HarperCollins, 1980. Merrim, Stephanie. Early Modern Women’s Writing and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1999. Messbarger, Rebecca. The Century of Women: The Representations of Women in EighteenthCentury Italian Public Discourse. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2002. Miller, Nancy K. The Heroine’s Text: Readings in the French and English Novel, 1722–1782. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980. Miller, Naomi J. Changing the Subject: Mary Wroth and Figurations of Gender in Early Modern England. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1996. ———and Gary Waller, eds. Reading Mary Wroth: Representing Alternatives in Early Modern England. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1991. Monson, Craig A. Disembodied Voices: Music and Culture in an Early Modern Italian Convent. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995. ———., ed. The Crannied Wall: Women, Religion, and the Arts in Early Modern Europe. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992. Mooney, Catherine M. Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999. Moore, Cornelia Niekus. The Maiden’s Mirror: Reading Material for German Girls in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz, 1987. Moore, Mary B. Desiring Voices: Women Sonneteers and Petrarchism. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000. Mujica, Barbara. Women Writers of Early Modern Spain. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004. Musacchio, Jacqueline Marie. The Art and Ritual of Childbirth in Renaissance Italy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1999. Nevitt, Marcus. Women and the Pamphlet Culture of Revolutionary England, 1640–1660. Women and Gender in the Early Modern World. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2006. Newman, Barbara. God and the Goddesses: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003. Newman, Karen. Fashioning Femininity and English Renaissance Drama. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 1991. O’Donnell, Mary Ann. Aphra Behn: An Annotated Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2nd ed., 2004. Okin, Susan Moller. Women in Western Political Thought. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979. Ozment, Steven. The Bürgermeister’s Daughter: Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995.



Series Editors’ Bibliography ———. Flesh and Spirit: Private Life in Early Modern Germany. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1999. ———. When Fathers Ruled: Family Life in Reformation Europe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983. Pacheco, Anita, ed. Early [English] Women Writers: 1600–1720. New York & London: Longman, 1998. Pagels, Elaine. Adam, Eve, and the Serpent. New York: Harper Collins, 1988. Panizza, Letizia and Sharon Wood, eds. A History of Women’s Writing in Italy. Cambridge: University Press, 2000. Panizza, Letizia, ed. Women in Italian Renaissance Culture and Society. Oxford: European Humanities Research Centre, 2000. Parker, Patricia. Literary Fat Ladies: Rhetoric, Gender and Property. London and New York: Methuen, 1987. Pernoud, Regine and Marie-Veronique Clin. Joan of Arc: Her Story. Rev. and trans. Jeremy DuQuesnay Adams. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998 (French original, 1986). Perry, Mary Elizabeth. Crime and Society in Early Modern Seville. Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1980. ———. Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. ———. The Handless Maiden: Moriscos and the Politics of Religion in Early Modern Spain. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005. Petroff, Elizabeth A., ed. Medieval Women’s Visionary Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986. Perry, Ruth. The Celebrated Mary Astell: An Early English Feminist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986. Peters, Christine. Patterns of Piety: Women, Gender and Religion in Late Medieval and Reformation England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. The Practice and Representation of Reading in England. Ed. James Raven, Helen Small, and Naomi Tadmor. Cambridge: University Press, 1996. Quilligan, Maureen. The Allegory of Female Authority: Christine de Pizan’s “Cité des Dames”. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1991. ———. Incest and Agency in Elizabeth’s England. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005. Rabil, Albert. Laura Cereta: Quattrocento Humanist. Binghamton, NY: MRTS, 1981. Ranft, Patricia. Women in Western Intellectual Culture, 600–1500. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Rapley, Elizabeth. A Social History of the Cloister: Daily Life in the Teaching Monasteries of the Old Regime. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001. ———. The Dévotes: Women and Church in Seventeenth-Century France. Kingston, Ontario: Mc-Gill-Queen’s University Press, 1989. Raven, James, Helen Small and Naomi Tadmor, eds. The Practice and Representation of Reading in England. Cambridge: University Press, 1996. Reading Mary Wroth: Representing Alternatives in Early Modern England. Ed. Naomi Miller and Gary Waller. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1991. Reardon, Colleen. Holy Concord within Sacred Walls: Nuns and Music in Siena, 1575–1700. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Series Editors’ Bibliography Recovering Spain’s Feminist Tradition. Ed. Lisa Vollendorf. New York: MLA, 2001. Reid, Jonathan Andrew. “King’s Sister—Queen of Dissent: Marguerite of Navarre (1492–1549) and Her Evangelical Network.” Ph.D dissertation, University of Arizona, 2001. (UMI #: 3033623) Reiss, Sheryl E. and David G. Wilkins, ed. Beyond Isabella: Secular Women Patrons of Art in Renaissance Italy. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2001. The Renaissance Englishwoman in Print: Counterbalancing the Canon. Ed. Anne M. Haselkorn and Betty Travitsky. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1990. Renaissance Women Writers: French Texts/American Contexts. Ed. Anne R. Larsen and Colette H. Winn. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1994. Rereading Aphra Behn: History, Theory, and Criticism. Ed. Heidi Hutner. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1993. Rheubottom, David. Age, Marriage, and Politics in Fifteenth-Century Ragusa. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Richardson, Brian. Printing, Writers and Readers in Renaissance Italy. Cambridge: University Press, 1999. Riddle, John M. Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992. ———. Eve’s Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997. Robin, Diana. Publishing Women: Salons, the Presses, and the Counter-Reformation in SixteenthCentury Italy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. Roper, Lyndal. The Holy Household: Women and Morals in Reformation Augsburg. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989. Rose, Mary Beth. The Expense of Spirit: Love and Sexuality in English Renaissance Drama. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988. ———. Gender and Heroism in Early Modern English Literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. ———, ed. Women in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance: Literary and Historical Perspectives. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1986. Rosenthal, Margaret F. The Honest Courtesan: Veronica Franco, Citizen and Writer in SixteenthCentury Venice. Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992. Rublack, Ulinka, ed. Gender in Early Modern German History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Russell, Rinaldina, ed. Feminist Encyclopedia of Italian Literature. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. ———. Italian Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. Sackville-West, Vita. Daughter of France: The Life of La Grande Mademoiselle. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959. Sage, Lorna, ed. Cambridge Guide to Women’s Writing in English. Cambridge: University Press, 1999. Sánchez, Magdalena S. The Empress, the Queen, and the Nun: Women and Power at the Court of Philip III of Spain. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Sartori, Eva Martin and Dorothy Wynne Zimmerman, eds. French Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Source Book. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1991.



Series Editors’ Bibliography Scaraffia, Lucetta and Gabriella Zarri. Women and Faith: Catholic Religious Life in Italy from Late Antiquity to the Present. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. Scheepsma, Wybren. Medieval Religious Women in the Low Countries: The ‘Modern Devotion’, the Canonesses of Windesheim, and Their Writings. Rochester, NY: Boydell Press, 2004. Schiebinger, Londa. The Mind has no Sex?: Women in the Origins of Modern Science. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991. ———. Nature’s Body: Gender in the Making of Modern Science. Boston: Beacon Press, 1993. Schofield, Mary Anne and Cecilia Macheski, eds. Fetter’d or Free? British Women Novelists, 1670–1815. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1986. Schutte, Anne Jacobson. Aspiring Saints: Pretense of Holiness, Inquisition, and Gender in the Republic of Venice, 1618–1750. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001. ———, Thomas Kuehn, and Silvana Seidel Menchi, eds. Time, Space, and Women’s Lives in Early Modern Europe. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press, 2001. Seelig, Sharon Cadman. Autobiography and Gender in Early Modern Literature: Reading Women’s Lives, 1600–1680. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Seifert, Lewis C. Fairy Tales, Sexuality and Gender in France 1690–1715: Nostalgic Utopias. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Shannon, Laurie. Sovereign Amity: Figures of Friendship in Shakespearean Contexts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002. Shemek, Deanna. Ladies Errant: Wayward Women and Social Order in Early Modern Italy. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998. Sibling Relations and Gender in the Early Modern World: Sisters, Brothers and Others. Ed. Naomi Miller and Naomi Yavneh. Women and Gender in the Early Modern World. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2006. Silent But for the Word. Ed. Margaret Hannay. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 1985. The Single Woman in Medieval and Early Modern England: Her Life and Representation. Ed. Dorothea Kehler and Laurel Amtower. Tempe, AZ: MRTS, 2002. Smarr, Janet L. Joining the Conversation: Dialogues by Renaissance Women. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005. Smith, Hilda L. Reason’s Disciples: Seventeenth-Century English Feminists. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1982. ———. Women Writers and the Early Modern British Political Tradition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Snook, Edith. Women, Reading, and the Cultural Politics of Early Modern England. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Sobel, Dava. Galileo’s Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith, and Love. New York: Penguin Books, 2000. Sommerville, Margaret R. Sex and Subjection: Attitudes to Women in Early-Modern Society. London: Arnold, 1995. Soufas, Teresa Scott. Dramas of Distinction: A Study of Plays by Golden Age Women. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 1997. Spencer, Jane. The Rise of the Woman Novelist: From Aphra Behn to Jane Austen. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986. Spender, Dale. Mothers of the Novel: 100 Good Women Writers Before Jane Austen. London & New York: Routledge, 1986.

Series Editors’ Bibliography Sperling, Jutta Gisela. Convents and the Body Politic in Late Renaissance Venice. Foreword by Catharine R. Stimpson. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Steinbrügge, Lieselotte. The Moral Sex: Woman’s Nature in the French Enlightenment. Trans. Pamela E. Selwyn. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Stephens, Sonya, ed. A History of Women’s Writing in France. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Stephenson, Barbara. The Power and Patronage of Marguerite de Navarre. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004. Stocker, Margarita. Judith, Sexual Warrior: Women and Power in Western Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. Straznacky, Marta. Privacy, Playreading, and Women’s Closet Drama, 1550–1700. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Stretton, Timothy. Women Waging Law in Elizabethan England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. Strong Voices, Weak History: Early Women Writers and Canons in England, France, and Italy. Ed. Pamela J. Benson and Victoria Kirkham. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2005. Stuard, Susan M. “The Dominion of Gender: Women’s Fortunes in the High Middle Ages.” In Renate Bridenthal, Claudia Koonz, and Susan M. Stuard, eds. Becoming Visible: Women in European History. Third edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998. Summit, Jennifer. Lost Property: The Woman Writer and English Literary History, 1380–1589. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000. Surtz, Ronald E. The Guitar of God: Gender, Power, and Authority in the Visionary World of Mother Juana de la Cruz (1481–1534). Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991. ———. Writing Women in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain: The Mothers of Saint Teresa of Avila. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995. Suzuki, Mihoko. Subordinate Subjects: Gender, the Political Nation, and Literary Form in England, 1588–1688. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Tatlock, Lynne and Christiane Bohnert, eds. The Graph of Sex (q.v.). Teaching Tudor and Stuart Women Writers. Ed. Susanne Woods and Margaret P. Hannay. New York: MLA, 2000. Teague, Frances. Bathsua Makin, Woman of Learning. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1999. Thomas, Anabel. Art and Piety in the Female Religious Communities of Renaissance Italy: Iconography, Space, and the Religious Woman’s Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Tinagli, Paola. Women in Italian Renaissance Art: Gender, Representation, Identity. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1997. Todd, Janet. The Secret Life of Aphra Behn. London, New York, & Sydney: Pandora, 2000. ———. The Sign of Angelica: Women, Writing and Fiction, 1660–1800. New York: Columbia University Press, 1989. Tomas, Natalie R. The Medici Women: Gender and Power in Renaissance Florence. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2004. Traub, Valerie. The Renaissance of Lesbianism in Early Modern England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.



Series Editors’ Bibliography Valenze, Deborah. The First Industrial Woman. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995. Van Dijk, Susan, Lia van Gemert & Sheila Ottway, eds. Writing the History of Women’s Writing: Toward an International Approach. Proceedings of the Colloquium, Amsterdam, 9–11 September. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2001. Vickery, Amanda. The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. Vollendorf, Lisa. The Lives of Women: A New History of Inquisitional Spain. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2005. Walker, Claire. Gender and Politics in Early Modern Europe: English Convents in France and the Low Countries. New York: Palgrave, 2003. Wall, Wendy. The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1993. Walsh, William T. St. Teresa of Avila: A Biography. Rockford, IL: TAN Books & Publications, 1987. Warner, Marina. Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary. New York: Knopf, 1976. Warnicke, Retha M. The Marrying of Anne of Cleves: Royal Protocol in Tudor England. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000. Watt, Diane. Secretaries of God: Women Prophets in Late Medieval and Early Modern England. Cambridge, England: D. S. Brewer, 1997. Weaver, Elissa B. Convent Theatre in Early Modern Italy: Spiritual Fun and Learning for Women. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. ———, ed. Arcangela Tarabotti: A Literary Nun in Baroque Venice. Ravenna: Longo Editore, 2006. Weber, Alison. Teresa of Avila and the Rhetoric of Femininity. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. Welles, Marcia L. Persephone’s Girdle: Narratives of Rape in Seventeenth-Century Spanish Literature. Nashville: Vanderbilt University Press, 2000. Whitehead, Barbara J., ed. Women’s Education in Early Modern Europe: A History, 1500– 1800. New York & London: Garland Publishing Co., 1999. Widowhood and Visual Culture in Early Modern Europe. Ed. Allison Levy. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2003. Widowhood in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Ed. Sandra Cavallo and Lydan Warner. New York: Longman, 1999. Wiesner, Merry E. Working Women in Renaissance Germany. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1986. Wiesner-Hanks, Merry E. Christianity and Sexuality in the Early Modern World: Regulating Desire, Reforming Practice. New York: Routledge, 2000. ———. Gender, Church, and State in Early Modern Germany: Essays. New York: Longman, 1998. ———. Gender in History. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2001. ———. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993. ———. Working Women in Renaissance Germany. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1986.

Series Editors’ Bibliography Willard, Charity Cannon. Christine de Pizan: Her Life and Works. New York: Persea Books, 1984. Wilson, Katharina, ed. Encyclopedia of Continental Women Writers. 2 vols. New York: Garland, 1991. Winn, Colette and Donna Kuizenga, eds. Women Writers in Pre-Revolutionary France. New York: Garland Publishing, 1997. Winston-Allen, Anne. Convent Chronicles: Women Writing about Women and Reform in the Late Middle Ages. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2004. Women and Monasticism in Medieval Europe: Sisters and Patrons of the Cistercian Reform, ed. Constance H. Berman. Kalamazoo: Western Michigan University Press, 2002. Women, Crime and the Courts in Early Modern England. Ed. Jenny Kermode and Garthine Walker. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994. Women in Italian Renaissance Culture and Society. Ed. Letizia Panizza. Oxford: European Humanities Research Centre, 2000. Women in Reformation and Counter-Reformation Europe: Public and Private Worlds. Ed. Sherrin Marshall. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1989. Women in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe. Ed. Christine Meek. Dublin-Portland: Four Courts Press, 2000. Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World. Ed. Mary E. Giles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999. Women Players in England, 1500–1660: Beyond the All-Male Stage. Ed. Pamela Allen Brown and Peter Parolin. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Women, “Race,” and Writing in the Early Modern Period. Ed. Margo Hendricks and Patricia Parker. London and New York: Routledge, 1994. Women’s Letters Across Europe, 1400–1700: Form and Persuasion. Ed. Jane Couchman and Ann Crabb. Women and Gender in the Early Modern World. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Co., 2005. Woodbridge, Linda. Women and the English Renaissance: Literature and the Nature of Womankind, 1540–1620. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984. Woodford, Charlotte. Nuns as Historians in Early Modern Germany. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002. Woods, Susanne. Lanyer: A Renaissance Woman Poet. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. ———and Margaret P. Hannay, eds. Teaching Tudor and Stuart Women Writers. New York: MLA, 2000. Writing the Female Voice. Ed. Elizabeth C. Goldsmith. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1989. Writing the History of Women’s Writing: Toward an International Approach. Ed. Susan Van Dijk, Lia van Gemert & Sheila Ottway Proceedings of the Colloquium, Amsterdam, 9–11 September. Amsterdam: Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, 2001.



abuse (of women), 13, 24–25, 205, 244, 228, 245 Acciaiuoli, Andrea, xxiii Adam, xiii–xiv, xxi, xxvi adornment, 27–28, 47–48, 51, 56–58, 64–66, 68, 71, 77–79, 87, 94, 96, 106–108–110, 115, 118, 123–125, 128, 130, 137, 142, 147–148, 157, 162, 165, 169, 186, 201, 204–205, 213, 216, 240, 242, 247, 253, 258, 264–268, 271–273, 280, 290, 293, 295, 298, 311, 318–320 Adriana, doña, 73–78 advocate for women, 1, 30 Agrippa, Henricus Cornelius, xxi–xxiii Albano, 113–114 Alejandra, 222, 224, 30 Alemán, Mateo, 18 Alfonsi, Petrus, 17 Alfonso the Wise, King, 49n6, 281 Algiers, 199, 205, 239–240, 242 Alicante, 233, 241 Alonso, don (narrator), 55–56, 58, 100, 102, 142–144, 146, 276, 280 amazon, xxv , 142 Amete, 156–158, 160–164 Amezúa y Mayo, Agustín de, 17, 24, 31 Ana, doña (“Forewarned but Fooled”), 120, 124, 127–134, 138 Ana, doña (“Eighth Tale of Disillusion”), 323

Andalusia, 67, 87, 103, 259, 281 anguish. See suffering Anne of Brittany, Queen, xxiii Anne of Denmark, Princess, xxiii Anton, 99–101 Antonio, 116 apparel, xxvi. See also adornment Aquinas, St. Thomas (academy of), 10 Aquinas. See Thomas Aquinas, Saint Aragon, 11, 175, 209, 230 Arellano, Ignacio, 320n40 Arenal, Electra, 5n4 Argentaria (Polá), 2, 49 Ariosto, xxvi Aristotle, x–xii, 188 Armas Wilson, Diana de, 211n8 Artemisia, xxv Aspasia (or Aspano), 2, 29, 49 Astell, Mary, xxiii, xxv–xxvi Atandra, 245–255, 283 Atienza, Belén, 10n24, 10n26 Atienza Hernández, Ignacio, 25n62 audience/listening, 3, 21, 102, 174 Augustine, Saint, xiv Baeza, 67, 70–71, 73–74, 78–79, 84– 85 Balcazar y Alarcón, Pedro, 12 Baltasar, Prince Carlos, 321 Bandello, Mateo, 17 Barahona, Renato, 223n33 Barasa, María de, 5



Index Barbaro, Franceso, xxi, xxvi Barcelona, 6, 11, 13, 30, 65, 80–81, 92, 96, 134, 156–157, 171, 179 Barnes, Jonathan, x.n1 Bass, Laura R., 233n33 Battista, Leon Alberti, xxi Bazán, Emilia Pardo, 18, 19n45, 30, 30n78. See also Women Writers Beatriz (“Ninth Tale of Disillusion”), 323 Beatriz, doña (“Forewarned but Fooled”), 108–110, 112, 114–118, 124, 128 beauty, 20, 59–60, 65–66, 71, 95, 97, 100–101, 103–104, 106, 108–110, 112–113, 116, 119–120, 122– 127, 132, 134–136, 13–142, 144, 148, 151–153, 155, 157, 169, 175, 179–181, 184, 186, 189, 198–201, 205, 207–208, 210, 214, 222–223, 234–235, 243, 247, 251, 253, 256, 259–261, 263, 267, 269–270, 281– 282, 285–286, 291, 293–294, 296, 299–300, 302–303, 306–307, 312, 314, 322 Belisa, 212 Benito, 254 Bergamo, Filippo da, Of Illustrious Women, xix–xx Bible, xiii–xiv, xix, x, 309n28, 320n43 Blanca, doña, 323 blindness. See eyes blood, 133, 166, 294–295, 289, 299, 311–312, 314 Boccaccio, Giovanni, 17, 50n11; Concerning Famous Women, xix; Il Corbaccio, xv–xvi; catalogs, xxiii Bodin, Jean, xxii Book of the City of Ladies (Pizan) , xv, xviii–xix, xxiii–xxiv Borbón, Isabel de, 321 Botello, Miguel, 6n9 Boyce, Elizabeth, 21–22 Boyer, Patsy, 6n5, 32, 211n9 Brantôme, Pierre de, Lives of Illustrious Women, xx Bravo Morata, Federico, 119n30

Brotherhood of the Defenders of the Immaculate Conception, 6 Brown, Kenneth, 10, 10n24 Brownlee, Marina, 27, 27n70 Bruni, Leonardo, xxvi Brussels, 82 Buñol, 173 Caballeros, Jeréz de los, 6 Cabrera, Juan Alfonso de, 230n29 Caesares, Aurelia Martin, 199n4 Calderón de la Barca, Pedro, 18, 18n44, 117n28, 125n43, 140n66 Campbell, Gwyn Elizabeth, 5n4 Camila, 322 Camino, M. M., 2, 3n2 Campbell, Ysla, 217n17 Canary Islands, 13 Cantelma, Margherita of Mantua, xxiii Capra (Capella), Galeazzo Flavio, xxi Çaragoza, Bartolomé de, 12 Carlos (“The Deceitful Garden”), 179– 181, 183–184, 186–190 Carlos, don (“The Judge of Her Own Case”), 152–161, 166–173 Carrasco Urgoiti, Ma Soledad, 10n25 Carvajal, Mariana de, 54n3 Carneiro, Isabel Barbeito, 6n6, 6n8, 12, 12n29, 12n30 Caro de Mallén y Soto, Ana, 8, 18, 20 Cartagena, 241–242 Casa, Frank P., 217n17 Casamayor, Inés de (or Inés de Cayas y Sotomayor), 11–12 Casey, James, 67n16 Castell, Anthony K., xvi.n.3 Castiglione, Baldassare, Courtier, The, xx–xxi, 49n8 Castile, 11, 16, 18, 120, 292, 294, 300 Castillo de Larzával, Antonio del, 6n9 Castillo Solórzano, Alonso de 7–8, 9n20, 18 Castro, Pedro Fernández de (VII Count of Lemos), 6, 80 Catalán, Manuel Jiménez, 11 Catalonia, 11, 13

Index Catedra, Pedro M., 2n1 Catherine of Aragon, Queen, xxiii Catholic Church, x, xvii, xxiv, 13, 147n2, 199n5, 207,217n16, 249n53, 270, 278, 283n23 celibacy, xvii Celio, 22, 63, 88–91, 93–95, Cereta, Laura, xxiii Cervantes, 18–19, 23, 29, 30, 32n81, 117n28, 156n8, 165n17, 251n1 Charnon-Deutsch, Lou, 25n60 Champion of Women, The (Le Franc), xx Charles V (Holy Roman Emperor; Charles I of Spain), 165, 167, 170–171 Charles V, King of France, xxiii chastity, 119, 152, 140, 142, 153, 172, 188, 213–216, 260–261, 266, 274, 276, 288, 302, 309, 311–313, 317, 319, 323, 326 chivalry, 2, 3, 11, 19, 51 Claudia (of Naples), 8 Claudia, 213–216, 218, 224, 232, 237 Claudio (also called Claudia in ”The Judge of Her Own Case”), 22, 153– 158, 160–164, 166, 169, 172 Clothing. See adornment Cohen, J. M., 19n47 Col, Gontier, xx comedia, 18 constancy, 63, 66, 74, 96, 111, 123, 171, 187, 200, 210, 240–241, 251, 256–257, 264, 267, 283, 319 Constanza, 175–190 convent, xvii, 4, 5, 15, 16, 73, 78–80, 82–84, 94–95, 106–107, 138–138, 201, 245, 247, 281, 290, 295, 302, 314, 323–325 Corbaccio, Il, (Boccaccio), xv–xvi, xix Cordova, 143 Corinas, 29 Cornelia (of Rome), 2, 8, 50 Council of Castile, 9 Counter-Reformation, 15 Courtier (Castiglione), xx–xxi courtly love, xv, 21 Covarrubias, 115n24, 125n41, 140n67, 159n11, 257n11, 261n5, 270n12

Cox Davis, Nina, 27, 27n71 Cuevas, Francisco de las, 6n9 dagger. See weapon death, 64, 67, 70, 77, 79–80, 83, 87, 96, 104, 112, 114, 117, 134, 150, 153–154, 160–161, 164, 166, 170–171, 173–174, 179–180, 182, 184, 188–189, 198, 204, 214–216, 218, 221, 224, 226–228, 230–232, 235–236, 238, 242, 244–245, 257, 269, 284, 289–291, 294, 296, 298– 301, 304–305, 308–310, 313–314, 323–325 deceit, 47, 59, 65, 67, 81, 89–91, 93, 100, 107–108, 113, 118, 122, 124, 131–133, 138, 141–142, 158, 161– 162, 166, 171, 174, 177–178, 181, 185–186, 200, 205, 210–211, 213, 215–222, 230–231, 234–239, 241, 243, 246–247, 252, 256–258, 263– 265, 267–269, 282, 286, 295, 304, 309, 312–313, 317, 321–325 decór. See adornment Defourneaux, Marcelin, 265n11 desire, 3, 4, 22, 25, 27, 59, 66, 69–70, 72–73, 75, 83, 88–89, 93–95, 97, 100, 102–103, 106–109, 111, 118, 121–123, 130, 132–133, 139, 141, 143, 148, 150, 152–153, 155–157, 163, 169, 174–175, 177, 180, 183– 186, 191, 197–198, 201, 213, 219– 221, 223, 235, 237, 242–243, 248, 252, 261, 263, 266, 279, 283, 286, 294–292, 295, 300, 302–307, 309, 315, 322, 326 devil, 185–186, 188–190, 309–311, 314, 323 n.53 devotion, 63, 65, 95–96, 140, 152– 153, 284, 303 Diego, don (frame tale, narrator), 4, 23, 98, 102, 144–145, 148, 190, 197, 201, 322–324 Diego, don (“Fifth Tale of Disillusion”), 260, 262–275 Dionís, don de Portugal, 291–292, 297– 299, 301–303, 305–308, 310–315



Index Diotima, 2, 49 discreet. See discretion discretion, 54–55, 57, 60, 65–67, 74, 80–81, 85–86, 89, 93–95, 98, 102, 108, 135–144, 151, 156, 174, 176, 179, 181, 189, 190, 198–199, 212, 248, 251, 253–254, 267, 282, 285, 301–302, 316, 318, 324 disdain, 74 disguise, 65, 94, 234–235, 249, 265, 318 disillusion, 200–201, 205–206, 216, 221–222, 246, 251–253, 256–258, 281–283, 285, 315, 319, 322, 324 divorce, xii–xiii Domingo Briz, Juan, 29 Doña María (wife of Juan II of Castile), xxiii dowries, xii–xiii, xvi, 180 dreams, 68, 71, 73, 87, 186, 271–273, 275 Earle, T. F., 199n4 education of women, xxvi–xxvii, 15, 47–48, 51–52, 123, 285 Egypt, 320 Eighty Years’ War, 13 Ehlers, Ben, 199n5 Eleanora of Aragon, xxiii Elena, 323 Elizabeth I, Queen, xxv Elycot, Sir Thomas, xxv equality, ix, xx–xxi, xxvii, 1–3, 24 Equicola, Mario, xxi, xxiii Erasmus, xxi esdrújulo, 23 Eslara, Antonio de, 17–18 Esquer, Pedro de, 9 Esteban, 323 Estefanía, doña (narrator), 200, 247, 282, 324–325 Estela, 152–173 estrambote, 22 Ethiopian romance. See romance Eudocia (or Eudoxa), 2, 50 Eufrasia, doña, 210–211, 213, 216– 217, 219, 221, 224, 242, 244

Eve, xiv, xix, xxi, xxiv, xxvi exempla, 4 eyes, 59, 64, 67, 69, 70–72, 74, 88–90, 92–94, 96–97, 99, 100–102, 104–105, 108–111, 113–116, 118, 128–129, 141, 146, 151, 153, 155– 156, 168, 172, 174, 177–178, 182, 184–186, 197, 199, 202–203, 205, 207, 209–211, 215–216, 220–221, 225, 227–231, 234–235, 238–239, 241–242, 254, 256, 260–262, 265, 267, 269, 280–281, 283–284, 289, 291–292, 294, 296–297, 300, 303– 305, 308, 311, 314, 316. Fabia, 180–181, 189 Fabio, 62, 64–71, 73, 77–78, 80–83, 86–87, 89–90, 92–93, 95, 174, 304–305, 325 Fadrique, don, 103–110, 112, 114, 116–120, 123–125, 127–140, 143– 144 fantasy, 24–25, 68–69, 110, 157 Fariña Busto, María Jesús, 22n55 fate, 61, 188, 209, 213–214, 217–218, 233, 242, 296 fathers: household head, xii; power of, xii–xiii, 25, 67, 73–74, 76–82, 86– 88, 155, 160, 166, 172, 175–176, 179, 208–210, 211, 213, 215, 232– 233, 300–301 Fedele, Cassandra, xxiii Federico, 175–179, 181–182, 190 Felipe II, 13 Felipe, III, 13–14, 80, 261, 287 Felipe IV, 9, 13, 320–321 Felipe, don, 208, 220, 238, 244–245, 325. See also Luis Félix, don, 21, 70–79, 81–88, 92, 94, 96 female literacy, 2, 15 female writers/female community, 1, 2, 5, 21, 29–30 feminism, xix, xv, xxiii , 24–25, 31 Ferdinand of Aragon, 320 Fernandico (also called Fernando), 310–311, 313

Index Fernando, don, 165, 167. See also Estela Fez, 156–158, 160, 164–165, 205, 240 Fileno, 254–255 Filis (narrator), 54, 56, 58, 200 Flanders, 6, 13, 14, 70, 80–84, 181, 323 Florentina, doña, 291–315 Foa, Sandra, 24n59 Fontanella, Francesc, 10–12 Fonte, Moderata, xxv Francisca, doña (narrator), 200 Francisco, don (narrator), 59, 259, 273, 275, 280 Fraser, Eric, 32 Friedman, Ellen, 75h25 Friedman, Edward H., 26–27, 26n63, 26n68 Galen, x gallantry, 51, 55–56, 58, 68–70, 73, 86–89, 91–92, 103–104, 111, 119, 123, 129, 136, 143–144, 152–154, 156, 163, 169, 175–177, 179, 190, 197, 205, 207, 210, 260–261, 265, 272, 287, 291, 293, 300, 302, 310, 320 Galleries of Heroic Women (Le Moyne), xx Garcés, María Antonia, 156n8, 165n17, 239n41, 242n45 García-Nietos, María Carmen, 75n25 Gaskell, Philip, 47n1 Gaspar, don, 287–297, 299–300, 303– 304, 308, 314 Gerson, Jean, xx Gila, 99–101 Goggio, Bartolommeo, xxi, xxiii Goicoechea, Alicia, 68n18 Góngora y Argote, Luis de, 229n28 Gournay, Marie de, xxvi Goytisolo, Juan, 31, 31n80 Granada, 70, 103, 107, 118, 134–135, 138, 141 Grasa, Laura, 12 Greek romance, 19 Greer, Margaret R., 9n23, 13n33, 22n54, 26, 26n65, 26n67, 29n75, 49n3, 49n6, 50n12, 67n16, 88n47,

168n21, 229n28, 233n33, 320n40, 322n45 Grieve, Patricia E., 19n46 Griswold, Susan C., 24n58 Guazzo, Stefano, xxii Guiomar, doña, 86–88, 92, 96 Gutiérrez Arranz, Lidia, 151n1 hagiography, 19–20, 23 Halperin, David, 50n9 Hapsburg Spain, 13014 Hegstrom, Valerie, 7n10 Heliodorus, 19 Hernández Sánchez, María Leticia, 16n40 Hijar, Duke of, 11, 195n2 honor, xxiv, 67, 79, 85–86, 94, 96, 105, 115, 118, 128, 131, 135, 139, 143, 152, 160, 163, 165–167, 170, 172– 174, 179, 183–184, 186–187, 189, 200, 205, 207, 211, 214, 216, 219, 221, 231, 236–238, 245–246, 248, 256–257, 259, 261, 264–266, 268– 269, 275, 283, 285, 288, 299–301, 304, 309–310, 312–314, 319–324 Huarte de San Juan, Juan, 1, 15 humanism, xviii, xxi, xxiii, xxvi–xxvii, 15 Immortal Triumphs and Heroic Enterprises of 845 Women (Ribera), xx inconstancy. See constancy independence (in women), 21–22, 26 Inés, doña, 24, 259–267, 269–282, 323 innocence. See chastity intervention (divine or demonic), 20, 185–186, 189, 209, 309–310, 323 Isabel, doña (narrator; Tales of Disillusion), 207, 212, 237–238, 243–244, 246–247, 253, 256, 283, 285, 315, 318, 322, 324–325. See also Zelima Isabel, doña, 71, 73, 76–79, 81, 84 Italy, 14, 181 Jacimín, 163–164 Jacinta, 21–22, 28, 31, 67, 69, 71, 82, 85, 89, 93–96



Index Jagoe, C., 30n77 Jameson, Fredric, 25, 25n61 jealousy, 55, 57–58, 74–76, 91–92, 94, 99, 101, 104–105, 120, 124, 128– 129, 131, 132, 153, 155, 173–174, 176–178, 190, 202–204, 222–223, 225, 229, 241, 248–250, 283–284, 293, 299, 302, 303 Jerome, Saint, xiv Jesus Christ, xiv, 20, 95, 247 jewels. See adornment Jorge, don, 175–179, 181–190 Juan, don (narrator), 4, 23, 55–59, 96–97, 98–102, 119, 123–124, 127, 129, 130, 132, 134, 138, 144–145, 148, 151, 173, 190–191, 197–198, 201, 283, 325 Julia, Santos, 120n35 Justinian, xii Kaminsky, Amy, 5, 5n4 Kaplan, Sylvia Gray, 187n5 killing. See death King, Willard, 7, 7nn12–16 knife. See weapon Knox, John, xxv Krämer, Heinrich, xxii Lagreca, Nancy, 287n3 Lamentations (Mathéolus), xv, xviii Larson, Catherine, 7n10 Laura, doña (narrator), 23, 24, 55, 57, 98, 190, 199, 253, 256, 282, 325 Laurela, 323 Lawrance, Jeremy, 199n4 Le Franc, Martin, Champion of Women, The, xx Lehfeldt, Elizabeth, 5n4, 16n40, 83n38, 247n50, 302n22 Le Moyne, Pierre, Galleries of Heroic Women, xx Leonisa, 234–235, 239–241 Leonor de Portugal, condesa de Gelves, 84 Leonor, doña (narrator), 246 Lisarda (narrator), 4, 23, 54–55, 58–60, 96–98, 100, 102, 120–123,

144–145, 151, 190–191, 197–198, 200, 325 Lisbon, 287, 311, 315 Lisis (narrator), 4, 11, 23–24, 28, 54– 59, 96–98, 100, 102–102, 144–145, 147–158, 151, 173, 190–191, 197–198, 200–202, 205, 207, 212, 246–247, 251, 253, 285–287, 315, 318, 322, 324–325, literary academies/circles, 7, 11 Lives of Illustrious Women, (Brantôme), xx Lope de Vega, 7–9, 18, 23 Lope, don (narrator), 55–56, 58, 144 López, Gregorio, 221n23, 243n46 López Mayhew, Barbara, 7n10 Lorris, Guillaume de, xv Louis XIV, 321 love, 55, 59, 71–74, 83, 85, 90–96, 99, 101–103, 105, 108–112, 116, 118–119, 124, 127–128, 138, 141, 153–156, 158, 160–161, 166, 170– 172, 175–178, 180–185, 187–190, 199, 203–204, 210–212, 215–216, 219–221, 223–228, 230–231, 236, 238–240, 242–243, 246, 248, 249– 250, 254, 256, 259–263, 266–268, 287–289, 294–293, 296–297, 300– 307, 309, 313–318, 322 loveliness. See beauty Lowe, K. J. P., 198n4, 199n4 Lozano, Cristobal, 294n13 Lucan, 49n6 Luis, 220, 230, 231, 232, 235–242, 244. See also don Felipe Luisa, doña (narrator), 200 Luna, Álvaro de, xxiii, 50n11 Luna, Lola, 8n19 Lust. See desire Madrid, 6–8, 11, 14, 23, 29, 54, 62, 65, 76, 85, 88, 92–93, 95, 118–119, 124, 135, 138, 144, 246, 254, 276, 300, 315, 321, 324 Magdalena, doña, 291, 298–299, 302– 303, 305–313, 323 magic, xv, xxi–xxii, 269–275, 282, 323, See also witches

Index Mamora, 85, 87 Manuel, don, 21, 210–216, 218–224, 230–232, 234–242, 244–246 Mar Graña, Ma del, 16n39 Marcos, don, 100 Marfisa, 113–114, 150, 174 Margaret, Duchess of Austria, xxiii Marguerite de Navarre, 24 María Teresa, Princess, 321 marriage, xii–xiii, xv–xvi, xxi, 15–16, 25, 55, 67–75, 78, 83–84, 89–91, 94–95, 97, 103, 105–106, 108–109, 117–119, 128, 132, 135, 138, 140, 142–143, 145, 152, 155–156, 159, 172–173, 175, 178–179, 181–182, 184, 188, 190, 197, 199, 201, 208, 210, 214, 216, 218–219, 221–222, 230, 240–242, 244–245, 259–260, 264, 277, 282, 284, 291, 301–303, 305, 307, 309–310, 323 Martin-Estudillo, Luis, 17n42 martyr, 23, 259, 277, 309–319 Mateo, don, 108–110 Mathéolus, xv, xviii Matilde (narrator), 54–56, 58, 97, 144, 200, 283 Medici, Catherine de’, xxv Medici, Giuliano de’, xx Medrano, Sebastián Francisco de, 7 men: effeminate, 11, 185, 319–321; psychology of, x–xi; reproductive role, x–xi; superiority ascribed to (see Women, inferiority ascribed to) Mencía, doña, 323 Mendoza, Francisco de, 7 Menga, 99–101 Merrim, Stephanie, 16n41 Mesa, Captain Diego de, 81 Mesonero Romanos, Ramón de, 119n30 Meun, Jean de, Romance of the Rose, xv, xx Miguel, don (narrator), 55–56, 58, 144, 297, 299–300 Milan, 13 Molither, Ulrich, xxii Moll, Jaime, 9, 9n21

Monsalve, 8 Montalbán, Pérez de, 6n9, 7, 9, 18, 20, 32n81 Montesa Peydro, Salvador, 14n35 Montreuil, Jean de, xx Montserrat, 11, 61, 93, Morata, Olympia, xxiii mothers, xvi, 15, 23–26, 172–174, 179–181, 186, 189–190, 200, 209, 216, 247, 252, 300–301 Moya, Pérez de, 49nn6–8, 50nn9–12 Mujica, Barbara, 5n4 Muñoz, Ángela, 16n39 Murcia, 207–210, 236, 245 murder. See death Nader, Helen, 15n37 Nalle, Sarah, 2n1 Naples, 6, 13, 81–82, 85, 134–135, 179, 253 narrator, 23–24, 26 Nise (narrator), 54–56, 58, 120, 122– 123, 144, 200 nobility, xv–xvi, xx, xxiv, 15, 17, 20, 25–26, 28, 30, 47, 55, 62, 65, 67–68, 70, 77, 80, 94, 97, 103, 108, 135, 141, 152, 156, 158–160, 162– 163, 165, 169, 172, 175, 179–181, 185, 187–188, 197, 200, 208–210, 221, 227, 232, 237–238, 243, 246, 251, 257, 259–260, 275, 277, 281 Nogarola, Isotta, xxiii, xxvi Novela cortesana (court novella), 17 nun. See convent Octavio, 232–234, 245–246 Of Illustrious Women (Bergamo), xix–xx Olivares, Julian, 20n50, 21n51, 21–22, 31, 75n26, 85n43, 89n48, 101n7, 111n14, 137n58, 252n4 original sin, xiii, xxiv, 318 Padilla, Countess Luisa de, 232n31, 271 Pain. See suffering Pallavicino, Gasparo, xx Palencia, Fray Pedro de, 270n12



Index Paravisino, Fray Hortensio, 124n38 Parker, A. A., 229n8 Parker-Aronson, Stacey, 26, 26n66, 217n17 Passion. See desire pastoral poetry, 21 Paul, Saint, xiv Perry, Mary Elizabeth, 240n43, 265n11 petrachan love, 21 picaresque fiction, 18–19, 23, 30 Piedmont, 181 Piloto di Castro, Sonia, 32, 32n84 Pimental, don Diego, 85–97 pistol. See weapon Pizan, Christine de, xx, xxvii, 50n11; Book of the City of Ladies, xv, xviii–xix, xxiii–xxiv Plato, xi Pliny, 125n43 poetry competitions, 7, 11, 20 Poska, Allyson M., 15n37 Prado, 320 property, 17, 230, 299 protestantism, xvii querelle des femmes, xx Rabell, Carmen R., 201–202n11 Rémy, Nicolas, xxii reputation. See honor revenge, 76–77, 79–80, 97, 105, 123, 187, 197, 218, 227, 236–238, 241, 244–245, 252, 256, 269, 282, 296 revolt of Catalonia & Portugal, 13–14, 209 Rhodes, Elizabeth, 21n53, 27n69 Ribera, Pietro Paolo de, Immortal Triumphs and Heroic Enterprises of 845 Women, xx Ringrose, David, 120n35 Rodríguez de la Camara, Juan, Triumph of Women, xx Rodríguez del Padrón, Juan. See Rodríguez de la Camara Rojo, Anastasio, 2n1 Romance of the Rose, (Lorris, Meun), xv, xx

romance (ballad), 19–20, 22, 248, 331 Rome, 83–84, 134–135 Romero-Díaz, Nieves, 17, 17n42 Rosell y López, Cayetano, 9n20 Roseleta, 322 Roselo, Prince, 165 Ruiz de Castro y Portugal, Francisco (VIII Conde de Lemos), 253 Salamanca, 92–93 Salicio, 204–212, 220, 284 Sanchez, José, 7 San Ginés, 120, 123 Santiago, order of, 6 Sappho, 29 Sarabia, 72, 74, 77–78, 81, 83–84, 87–88 Scaliger, Joseph, 270n12 Schiesari, Juliana, 303n24 Schlau, Stacy, 5n4 seeing. See eyes Segura, Cristina, 120n35 Serafina, 103–108, 124, 128, 138, 143 Serrano y Sanz, Manuel, 5n5n 7, 7n10, 9n22, 12n31, 13 servants, xvi, 71–73, 76, 78, 81, 87, 92, 98, 112, 115, 117–118, 129, 134, 141, 145, 153, 167, 170, 178, 180, 212–213, 215, 217–218, 220, 222, 230–232, 235–236, 240, 246, 263–264, 273, 275, 277, 280–281, 288, 291–296, 298–299, 307–308, 310–312 Seville, 8, 70, 73, 107–110, 115, 118, 135, 144, 259, 267, 271, 275–276 sexual objectification, 3, 21 Scarron, Paul, 29, 32 Shelton, Thomas, 18n43 Sibyl (of Madrid), 9 Sicily, 6, 13, 134, 230–231, 234, 238, 253 slaves, xii, 105, 158, 161, 167, 183, 198–199, 205, 234, 238, 240, 242, 245–247, 298–299, 313 Smith, Paul Julian, 26, 26n64 Smith, William, 49n7 society, 5, 16

Index Soriano, Catherine, 54n3 Soufas, Teresa Scott, 303n24 Spadaccini, Nicholas, 17n42 Spain: as empire, 13–15; enemies of, 85, 319–320 speaking. See voice speech. See voice spell. See magic Spenser, xxvi Sprenger, Jacob, xxii Sturrock, John, 23n57, 32 suffering, 63–64, 66, 70, 72–74, 77, 80, 84–87, 92, 96, 102, 104–105, 107, 111–112, 116–117, 119–120, 122, 128–129, 132, 138, 150, 154, 156, 158, 160–161, 166, 170–171, 173, 176, 182–186, 188, 197, 198, 202, 203, 209, 211–214, 217–218, 220–227, 229, 231–233, 236, 238– 245, 247–248, 254–255, 262–263, 266, 269, 272–279, 281, 284, 289, 296, 302–309, 313–316, 319, 323 suicide, 77, 92, 130, 154, 156–157, 185, 187, 189, 218, 231, 240, 244, 268, 275, 277, 298–299, 314 sword. See weapon Sylvania, Lena E. V., 30–31 Targelia (of Thebes), 8 tears, 55, 58–59, 63, 66, 76, 80–81, 83, 86–87, 91–92, 95–96, 116–117, 121, 150, 156, 158, 160, 162–163, 171–172, 181–182, 185, 187, 189, 197, 199, 202–204, 207–208, 214– 215, 217–218, 224–225, 230–232, 234, 243, 246–247, 255–256, 272, 274, 276–278, 280, 282, 284, 296, 303–304, 306–308, 312, 314–315 Téllez Girón, Pedro, 134n54 Teodosia, 175–179, 182–184, 189–190 Tertullian, xiv Themistoclea, 2, 49 Teresa de Avila, Saint, 19, 19n47 Thirty Years’ War, 14 Thomas Aquinas, Saint, xi, xiv Timoneda, Joan, 17 Toledo, 202, 315

trickery. See deceit Tueller, James B., 80n34 Ulpian, xiii undeceive, 75–76, 102, 105, 138, 166, 282, 285–286, 309, 322, 324–325 unjust treatment of women. See abuse Valbuena Prat, Angel, 30–31, 31n79 Valdés, Juan, 12 Valdivielso, Joseph de, 29 Valencia, 84, 152, 155, 157–158, 160– 162, 167, 173, 199, 245 Valladolid, 6, 14, 129, 173 van Praag, J. A., 29 Van Schurman, Anna Maria, xxvi Vega, Garcilaso de la, 203n16 Vega Carpio, Lope de, 8n18 vengeance. See revenge Vicente, don, 104–106, 138 Vigil, Mariló, 16, 16nn38–39 Villamediana, Conde de 251n1 Violante, doña, 120, 124, 127–129, 131–133, 138 violence, 24, 27, 79, 81, 133, 164–164, 178–179, 204, 221, 244, 289, 304, 311–314 Virgin Mary, xv, 61, 147, 149, 323, 323n53 Vives, Juan Luis, xxi, xxiii, xxvi voice, 58, 63–65, 71–72, 82, 88, 96, 99, 101, 109–110, 112, 114–115, 122, 126, 128, 130–131, 136, 144, 153–154, 160, 163, 176–177, 208, 236, 254–257, 262, 265–266, 272, 285, 287, 289, 292, 297, 316 Vollendorf, Lisa, 5n4, 20n48, war, 14, 17, 90 weapon, 10, 12, 26, 68, 78–79, 81, 130, 133, 145, 160, 164, 172, 178– 179, 188, 218,230, 238, 244, 290, 295–296, 298, 304–305, 311–314, 320–323 Weber, Alison, 5n4 weeping. See tears Welles, Marcia, 217n18



Index Weyer, Johann, xxii Whitenack, Judith, 5n4 witches, xxi–xxii, xxvi (see also magic) women: in Bible, xiii–xiv; biology of, x–xi, 1–2; cross-dressing by xxv, 22, 65, 140, 153, 155, 165; defense of, xix–xxi, xxiii–xxiv, xxvi, 1–2, 13, 24–25, 47–50, 200, 285–287, 319– 321, 318–324; and humanists, xviii, xxi, xxiii, xxvi–xxvii; inferiority ascribed to, ix–xiv, xvi–xvii, xx, xxv, xxvii, 1, 2, 3, 5, 15, 17, 21, 24–25, 26, 29–30, 108, 286, 300; intelligence of, xx–xxi, 1, 3, 4, 47–50, 51, 124, 127, 135–138, 143–144, 208, 285, 318, 325; and law, xii-xiii; in power, xix, xxiv–xxvi, 3, 4, 15, 167–172; and property, xii–xiii, xvi, xxiv, 15, 179–181, 210; psychology of, x–xi; reproductive role, x–xii, xvi; role in family, xvi–xvii, sexual-

ity of, xi–xii, xxii, xxiv–xxvii, 3, 21; and work, xvi–xvii (see also education of women) writing, 69, 88, 91, 98, 122–123, 148, 151, 190, 199, 208, 253, 290, 322 Yllera, Alicia, 3n3, 6n5, 6n7, 11, 11n28, 29n76, 31, 32n81, 199n4, 204n17, 230n29, 251n1, 321n44 Zaida, 240–242, 244–245 Zaragoza, 6, 9, 11, 13, 85, 175, 179, 182–183, 209, 217, 236, 242, 245, 253 Zayas y Sotomayor, Fernando de, 5–6 Zayde, 161 Zelima, 198–200, 202, 204–205, 207, 234, 236, 238, 240. See also doña Isabel [narrator]) Zenobia, 2, 50