Jennifer Nagtegaal: “To engulf an empire: Cannibalism and translatio imperii in La Numancia”

early-romance-studies-research-cluster_dec-1The pervasiveness of blood and bodily suffering in Cervantes’ La Numancia (ca. 1581) has captivated literary critics for decades. However, they have scarcely made mention of the cannibalistic ritual that occurs in the third act; the savage practice, according to French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (1961:385) “that we find the most horrible and disgusting.” The literary representation of cannibalism, long marginalized in scholarship, has only recently seen the limelight of scholarship. We analyse this act with the purpose of shedding new light on the classic and automatic identification Numantia-Spain, thus also entering the existing debate about the interpretive ambiguity of the play.

This talk, in English, is presented by the Early Romance Studies Research Cluster.