‘PARADOXING’ THE ALIEN: THE MORISCO IN EARLY MODERN ENGLISH TEXTS
Keywords: Moriscos, Early Modern English texts, paradox, Lust’s Dominion, Otheio
AbstractThis paper addresses the English early modern problematization of the Spanish Moriscos, tragic representatives of the period’s increasingly complex and contradictory preoccupation with the paradoxical identities of the ‘enemy within’, while it also attempts to establish their visibility in 16th and 17th century English culture. While the exploration of how early modern texts deal with various ‘others’ —both at home and abroad— has been sufficiently documented along the past two decades, this paper suggests that the English semiosphere (in Lotmanian terms) not only scripted and rejected these strangers but was also ‘contaminated’ with a multiplicity of others, who were simultaneously and paradoxically admired, absorbed, adapted, and misrepresented in a diversity of literary and non-literary texts: drama, dictionaries, pamphlets, and travel narratives. Among these others, the Spanish Morisco cuts across various faultlines, as a religious, cultural and political alien of uncertain identity and contradictory allegiance.
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