Tradición e innovación en las Novelas a Marcia Leonarda de Lope de Vega
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This dissertation makes a case for the importance played by four short stories, Lope de Vega's Novelas a Marcia Leonarda, in the development of the modern novel, and will contribute an exhaustive analysis of Lope's narrative strategy and the way he confronts and solves the various problems between theory and narrative practice, reconsidering the boundaries of fiction and revealing the permeability and porosity of the new genre The Novelas a Marcia Leonarda have received scarce attention by critics and only a handful of generic works and articles have been published on the subject. Critics have perceived "inconsistencies" to Aristotle's theory in the text, such as the numerous digressions or the implausability of certain episodes and characters. My dissertation claims just the opposite: these alleged inconsistencies are legitimate under the light of a different approach, as they are intended as devices to enhance the narrative. I consider the love-offering that frames the Novelas a Marcia Leonarda to be the key to interpretation of the real driving force that underlies all four stories; as love offerings, the four novelas are written exclusively to gratify a very particular reader. From this perspective, the literary creative process itself is depicted as a dialogue between two lovers, whose mutual interaction brings the story to life. The complicity between them makes the articulation of the story a game of two, where it is "allowed" to simultaneously praise the virtues and parody the weaknesses of the existing narrative forms. Considering the dialogue with Marcia as the key point of departure, my dissertation examines all the components that take part in the process of the gestation of the four stories: elements that belong to oral communication (such as the overall empathetic tone and the inclusion of spontaneous digressions), conventions and techniques from the most influential novelistic genres at the time (such as the Chivalric novel, the Pastoral novel, the Moorish novel and the Byzantine novel), the intertextual dialogue with Cervantes and some references to Lope's own biographical anecdotes and intimate facts about his relationship with Marta de Nevares, his last love and the alter ego of the reader Marcia.