The language of seduction in seventeenth-century Hispanic literature and society

Narratives of Don Juan: the language of seduction in seventeenth-century Hispanic literature and society

Patricia Seed

How do men seduce? With looks, gestures, and movement, with voices, sighs, and sounds, with promises, words and stories. Seduction is not any one thing said, seen, or done, but a whole elaborately joined set of scenes containing movement, sounds, and gestures. Yet in our society, as in all societies, the sights and sounds of seduction are far from random. Rather seductions occur through culturally proscribed codes. Gestures or promises must occur in a certain order, follow a prescribed form, certain language must be used, or the seduction will not succeed. A seducer, above all, must persuade his audience; if not, there is no seduction. Hence both the content of the cultural code that he employs and how he evokes it must have the power to convince. Defining exactly how seduction operates and why it succeeds even in contemporary society is difficult: the obstacles are multiplied by historical distance and cultural difference. Physical gestures and body language are hard to retrieve; the sight of bodies in movement nearly impossible to recreate. The exact tone and register of sounds are equally difficult to resuscitate. What remains of the past is written language. Some of this language describes movement and sounds, but it leaves to us the task of re-imagining how a voice sounded or how a movement looked. All that written language can disclose is what was said and when. It thus can tell us the order in which declarations of intentions were made, promises of marriage proffered, and love declared. Besides establishing the sequence by which seduction unfolds, written language also provides us with the range of rhetorical expressions–the metaphors and comparisons, images and reflections–that lay at the core of the speech. While written language therefore cannot tell us exactly how men seduced, it can tell us about the cultural codes used in seducing women: the sequence of rhetorical stratagems. Hence to understand how these cultural codes operated in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Hispanic America is difficult. Our principal and indeed only source of detailed information is the formal allegations (known as breach of promise cases) prosecuted in church courts. Yet these suits had to institute a complaint using a series of legal formulas. These formulas were highly stylized, and found in the ubiquitous legal handbooks of Spanish society.(2) Initiating a complaint required no more effort than copying the wording, filling in the name of the two parties and signing the name of the lawyer at the end of the petition. According to this formulaic complaint the woman was an innocent victim of a man who had led her astray. The legal phrases reflect an explicit cultural construct of seduction, the conviction that sexual activity resulted from a woman’s being deceived. About the looks, gestures, and conversation that led to this deception strictly legal proceedings remained relatively silent. Even in the subsequent allegations and counter-allegations that characterized these proceedings, Spanish-American church officials were concerned with the sequence of events, not with the rhetorical tactics. They were concerned with what happened when–the formal dimensions of the cultural code–rather than how or why seduction succeeded. Cultural analysis–whether in history, anthropology or sociology–has always been about the domain of such mediating practices, addressing questions of how and why. For cultural analysis deals with the motivations, emotional expectations, and systems of signification by which a whole or part of a society understands itself. In colonial Spanish-American society, this entails understanding the cultural dynamic of mutual emotional expectations intervening in the process labeled seduction. Seduction differs from other cultural practices, in that it operates principally as an exchange of feelings. Yet insight into those feelings has proved especially troublesome for historians because men’s and women’s accounts of their emotions are extremely sparse, especially in Spanish-American societies where literacy had scarcely penetrated the social hierarchy, leaving little by way of letters or other documentary traces abundant in other Western European societies. It is further complicated by knowledge that the display of vulnerability after the seduction may prove something of an embarrassment. Hence a certain reluctance operates to conceal the range of emotional expression in courtship during formal legal proceedings. In recent years, the analysis of emotion in both seduction and romance has been restricted largely to women, perhaps not surprisingly given its current assignment in contemporary culture to the “female sphere.”(3) But the principal inflection of the Hispanic concept of “seduction” is its male agency, by definition, the action of one gender (men) upon the other (women). Since the core of the cultural concept of “seduction” relies upon a belief in men’s agency, a man’s leading astray, this study will examine how Spanish men employed the language of emotion to seduce in love letters, and how they presented themselves as acting and feeling in the process of seduction in a seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Mexico.(4) The task of a broader cultural analysis of men’s narratives of seduction, however, also entails critically assessing how this male-inflected cultural definition involves emotional expectations created by both genders as part of an intricate cultural and social dynamic. To understand the basic dynamics of seduction, this article will establish the formal code by which men’s behavior could be labeled “seduction” by church officials in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century archdiocese of Mexico using two-thirds of the surviving accusations of breach of promise.(5) Since church courts were the last resort when informal efforts at mediation and family and community pressures failed, the men who appear in this study most nearly fit the definition of seducer. In order to illuminate the distinctiveness of Hispanic conceptions of seduction, comparisons will be made with seventeenth- and eighteenth-century expressions from nearby France as well from more familiar contemporary Anglo-American genres. Sprawling over much of the central plateau the archdiocese of Mexico during the colonial period covered fertile agricultural land and large silver mines. It also encompassed the seat of the viceregal capital, and a major commercial center. Hence the region attracted larger numbers of European immigrants than less prosperous areas. It was these recent arrivals and subsequent generations of their Spanish offspring who constituted nearly all of the plaintiffs and defendants alleging seduction to church officials over the course of the colonial era. Constituting only a tiny portion of the mostly Indian population–at most ten percent–this largely Spanish group remained the principal actors in the surviving records of seduction cases from the first extant accusation in church courts in 1621 until 1780, when legislation mandating increased secular supervision of these cases began to be implemented.(6) It was from pleas originating in the Spanish community, invoking Spanish linguistic and cultural concepts, presented to be judged by Spanish priests that our understanding of the dynamics of seduction in colonial Mexico emerges. Supplementing our knowledge of the formal codes defining seduction is prescriptive writing. Some of this literature was directed at lawyers in the framework of legal handbooks, some at priests in the form of confessional guidelines, others, most notably Pedro Lujan’s Matrimonial Colloquies, were directed at the literate public. To enhance our insight into the emotional dynamics that were the crux of a seduction, however, it is necessary to go beyond the usual collection of social historical materials. To provide a more convincing and persuasive account of the informal, mediating social customs regarding the display of emotions that constituted the heart of seductive persuasion, this article promotes the mutual engagement of historical and literary materials. Rather than simply renounce any efforts to understand the culturally structured play of emotions in the past, it is possible to reappropriate literary forms of representation, including “high” literature not as the focus of authoritative vision or insight, but simply as part of “a tissue of quotations drawn from innumerable centers of culture,” to place literature within the context of culture.(7) In Hispanic culture there is a literary work whose portrayals of men seducing women have come to stand for seduction itself, and whose central character, Don Juan, has come to epitomize the male seducer, his techniques and strategies. To better understand the power of the emotionally seductive language of Spanish men in the archdiocese of Mexico, this article will juxtapose the love letters women presented in breach of promise suits with the language of the play whose central character, Don Juan, has become synonymous with Hispanic men’s narratives of seduction. The play itself was originally entitled The Deceiver of Seville [El Burlador de Sevilla]. El Burlador de Sevilla was first written sometime between 1616 and 1625 by Spanish friar Gabriel Tellez under the pseudonym Tirso de Molina(8) at a time when imprecations such as those Fray Gabriel Tellez might issue in his clerical capacity were ineffectual against the widespread social practice of seduction. Using the medium of theater instead of the customary futile clerical warnings, the priest-playwright “Tirso de Molina” was thus able to actually depict the great deceiver (burlador) being carted off to hell, rather than merely threatening men with this possibility. The pivotal warning in Act 1 “By the same fate that you pretend to and deceive women, so will you pay with death”(9) can be enacted on stage. Hence this historicized reading sees The Deceiver as a morality play, an extended cultural critique by a Spanish priest not unlike those deciding the outcome of seduction cases in Mexican ecclesiastical courts. In both instances clerics delivered a critique of the prevalent but unacceptable practice of seduction in light of the prevailing religious and cultural norms. Fray Gabriel Tellez details four seductions divided symmetrically by class: two noblewomen and two ordinary women presented in pairs, first a noblewoman (Isabella), then a commoner (Tisbea) followed by another noblewoman (Dona Ana) and a second commoner (Aminta). While two of Don Juan’s seductions occur across boundaries of social status and influence, an equal number take place within his own elite social class. The curtain rises in Tirso’s play on the royal palace in Naples as Don Juan is in the act of leaving Duchess Isabella, the Queen’s lady-in-waiting, after having made to love to her. His first lines in the play are that he will fulfill his promise “Again I swear to fulfill the sweet yes” (“De nuevo os juro de cumplir el dulce si”) (Act 1) Isabella begs him to repeat his assurance “Will my dreams, promises and offerings be realized?” (“?Mis glorias seran verdades, promesas y ofrecimientos?”) to which he responds “Yes, my dear” (“Si, mi bien”). The question to which “yes” is the answer was so obvious in seventeenth-century Spain, yet so unfamiliar to a modern English-speaking audience that one recent translation has inserted the explanation in Isabella’s mouth “because of your pledge to be my husband.”(10) In the Spanish original we have already come across one of the major unexplained cultural assumptions–the question to which the answer is “yes” is the unwritten but traditionally implicit question “will you marry me?” an obvious supposition in a work produced for a Hispanic audience but one which must be rendered explicitly in a cross-cultural (English) translation. The revelation of deception occurs a moment later when, the man’s face is illuminated by light, a mortified Isabella demands to know who he is and screams for help. Don Juan’s honest admission to his uncle “the truth … I deceived and enjoyed Isabella” is followed by the revelation of technique “I pretended to be Duke Octavio,” Isabella’s intended. The expectation of sexual relations following a promise to marry was rendered explicitly in the formula recommended by the major Hispanic legal handbooks for a breach of promise lawsuit. A woman must state her seduction was initiated “by [his] giving a promise to marry, which I accepted, and returned on the same terms.”(11) The actual language of women in lawsuits and criminal actions in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century archdiocesan courts of Mexico rendered the expression only slightly differently. Sexual relations were initiated either “by virtue of the promise” [en virtud de] or “under the [conditions] of the promise” [bajo la palabra](12) conveying the idea that the promise to marry created so definitive an expectation of marriage that sexual relations were, if not normal, at least understandable and perhaps forgivable transgressions of the prohibition against premarital sex. For the seduction of the second noblewoman, Dona Ana, Don Juan operates slightly differently. The king of Castile has arbitrarily promised Dona Ana’s hand in marriage to someone she does not know and cares nothing for. Hoping to prevent this marriage she does not desire, Dona Ana embarks upon the strategy of last resort customarily employed by couples facing either similar situations or intransigent familial opposition to their own choice. She writes to the Marquis de la Mota, the man who loves her and whom she loves, and offers to have sexual relations with him. Since the only acceptable outcome of such an encounter is marriage, the object of her strategy is to force both the king’s and her father’s hand. Don Juan, however, intercepts the note, and employing the disguise of the her true love, enters her house at the appointed hour. When Dona Ana realizes that the man in the cloak is not her intended, her screams rouse her father who duels with Don Juan only to fall mortally wounded. While it is Dona Ana’s father, reincarnated as a stone statue who ultimately delivers Don Juan’s final punishment–being cast into hell, he is not the only man in the play to condemn the actions of Don Juan. While a contemporary version of the play might express sentiments of male solidarity and female gullibility, no such gender-based solidarity operates in the seventeenth-century Deceiver of Seville. In Naples, Don Pedro delivered a tongue-lashing to his nephew which conveyed a sense of moral outrage similar to that which Isabella’s own kin might have evinced; his father also reprimanded him for the same seduction “treachery, and to a friend?” (“traicion y con un amigo?” [Act 2]) referring to the friendship existing between Don Juan and Isabella’s fiance as fellow members of the nobility. Such chastisement relies upon a culturally understood code among noblemen that condemns the seduction of a fellow noble’s fiancee, especially a friend’s. Don Juan’s actions in deceiving his friend who was in love with Dona Ana are a similar affront. Such conduct constitutes betrayal, “traicion” in the words of Don Juan’s father, the core of which resides in his having betrayed the trust of a social equal and attempted to dishonor his fiancee who was under his friend’s protection. Nor do such offenses stop at his fellow nobles. Since he seduced Isabella in the palace where she was under the security of the king of Naples, he challenged royal protection for women at court. The King of Castile was offended by his seduction of Dona Ana, because he had given his royal promise that she would marry another man. Don Juan’s offenses to paternalism–the culturally hegemonic idea that women “belong to” and are “protected” by men–are triple: he affronts friends, kings, and women. He offends friends of his own class because he fails to respect their protection of the women they love or are engaged to marry, he trespasses against kings because he fails to respect royal protection, and he attacks women because they rightly rely upon the security of men’s promises of marriage to engage in sexual relations. Tirso de Molina’s rendering of how seduction violates the code of male paternalism regarding women explains both the notable absence of shared gender solidarity about the gullibility of women as well as the moments of moral outrage by other men against Don Juan in the course of the play. If the seduction of noblewomen is rendered possible by their belief in the security of a marriage promise among social equals, no such assumption would be believable in the case of Don Juan’s next two victims. The existence of a promise to marry the daughters of a petty farm owner and fisherman by a member of Spain’s aristocracy would be improbable. Because marriage promises were less likely given the disparity in social status it is in these two seductions that Tirso de Molina develops Don Juan’s emotional rhetoric of seduction at great length. This period of emotional suasion during courtship and seduction was passed over in legal briefs with only a handful of verbs, but occasional references suggest the importance of stylized routines of the sort described more fully in the play. The legal formula books for use in breach of promise suits in colonial Mexico characterize courtship by the sketchy formulaic expression “He approached me and wooed me with gallantry” [“me trato y requirio de amores”].(13) The language of “tratar” suggests an initial approach, which is rejected, followed by an insistent persuading “requerir.” Lawyers in Mexican church court pleas sometimes employed a set of related terms, “instanciar” and “suplicar.” “Instanciar,” meant prosecution or process of a suit or the first place in a judicial appeal, a slightly more formal rendition of “tratar.” Like “requerir,” “suplicar” means entreating, pleading (to a superior) and in legal pleas, an appeal of an earlier decision. The two pairs of verbs–tratar/requerir and instanciar/suplicar–both suggest that the seducer’s initial approach must necessarily be rejected, and that a man must plead with a woman in order to succeed. Maria de los Reyes declared in 1663 that a young man had “approached and pleaded with me.” A man who transported large sums of money for merchants declared in 1699 that his friend, Antonio Rosas, had approached Andrea Velasquez pleaded with her [requerido] until they had run off together. Martin Lopez “approached and pursued me,” said another. The language employed was sometimes stronger: one young woman said “[he] began to persecute me until I fell in love with him.” (“dio a perseguirme enamorandome”).(14) Since all that mattered for church legal proceedings was proving the existence of a promise prior to sexual relations the content of the pursuit, the entreating and pleading, was not noted. Yet within this seductive theater of looks, gestures, and discussion, one aspect was viewed as particularly treacherous. Warned one popular sixteenth-century marriage guide by a priest, a seducer’s language was like a rope which encircles and then traps a woman. “Conversation,” it warns, “is the strongest lasso” of a seducer.(15) The content of these conversations is laid out in detail by “Tirso de Molina’s” Don Juan in his seductions of the fisherman’s and farmer’s daughters. The first such detailed “conversation” occurs with the fisherman’s daughter, Tisbea. Saved from drowning in a shipwreck, Don Juan washes up on the shore near Tisbea’s village. His first words profess an immediate and powerful emotional response to seeing her: “I live with you, while in the sea I drown … from the hell of the sea I land in your clear sky … while in your divine east I am reborn.” The allusions to emotional rebirth (“I live with you,” “I land in your clear sky,” “In your divine east I am reborn”) mark the dramatic distance in which he finds himself after seeing her. He even explains the suddenness of his feelings by means of a clever word-play “there is no reason to be astonished, since to go from love (amar) to sea (mar) one only drops a single letter.” This frank acknowledgement of emotions–of feeling reborn “in your clear sky” after a tempest and an emotional unity with her (“I live with you”)–strives to break down Tisbea’s resistance and natural skepticism by refusing to allow her to maintain an emotional distance. This skepticism is manifested in her own repeated reservation “pray to God you do not lie,” and her initial rejection of his approach. Turning Tisbea’s words back upon her, Don Juan replies “Then pray to God lass, that I drown in water so I end my life sane, and not die crazy for you.” The seduction thus opens with Don Juan’s immediate declaration of feelings. But in order for a seduction to occur, Don Juan must promise to marry Tisbea despite the difference in status. When Don Juan makes his final move, “I promise to be your husband.” Tisbea objects, “I’m not your social equal,” to which Don Juan replies “Love is the king who justly levels silk with sackcloth.” “I almost want to believe you,” responds Tisbea, “but you men are traitors.” Don Juan remonstrates with her, ridiculing her disbelief “How can you ignore my loving conduct? You wrap my soul in your hair.” His final words express the image of Tisbea’s power over him, encompassing his core (his soul) within her hair. Persuaded by his acknowledging her emotional power over him, Tisbea promises to be his wife. The ritual promise which secures the seduction is more than a simple pledge, for Don Juan swears a solemn oath “I swear … I will be your husband” (“juro … de ser vuestro esposo”). Once Tisbea has accepted and returned the promise in the traditional fashion (by extending her hand and voicing her own reciprocal promise to marry him)(16) there is no longer a barrier between Don Juan and the sexual relationship he seeks. Echoes of Tisbea’s hesitation over the trustworthiness of marriage promises when social differences were great occurred in the voice of a young mestiza (mixed-race) girl in the town of Malinalco in 1687. She declared that her Hispanicized seducer had reassured her (as Don Juan had Tisbea) “I do not intend to deceive [hacer burla] or trick you, but to marry you.” But like Don Juan, the man from Malinalco was a deceiver. “Reaffirming his promise to be my husband, Antonio Morales got what he was after” (“afirmandole el dicho Antonio de Morales en que habia de ser mi marido conseguio lo que pretendia.”).(17) The play’s final seduction, that of Aminta, daughter of a poor but honorable small farm-owning family, occurs on the night of her wedding to another man Batricio. When Aminta scoffs at him, Don Juan turns to the single element that a poor woman enamored of another man should be unable to resist, his standing in society. “I am a noble lord, head of the family of the Tenorios, ancient conquerors of Seville. My father is esteemed and revered second to the king, and at court his voice decides life or death” (Act 3). The Spain of Tirso’s day was an era in which the king ruled through noblemen called privados or validos, men who enjoyed the king’s favor and who exercised a great deal of his power. Don Juan Tenorios’s father is clearly one of these men. Proclaiming his willingness to marry Aminta “although the kingdom murmurs

against it, although the king opposes it, and although my father, angered, threatens to prevent it, your husband I must be.” Don Juan expresses a romantic eagerness to wed despite the opposition of his family and king. In so doing he renders his extraordinary social standing–old nobility (from the conquerors of Seville) and power–“my father, second to the king,”–impotent in the face of romance. In a breath-taking reversal of powerful hierarchies of status and power, Don Juan establishes a heady moment of power for an ordinary woman. While a twentieth-century English or American audience might expect that Don Juan’s invocation of his father’s position to preface to an invitation to become his mistress or concubine, this did not occur in the play. Seduction in seventeenth-century and even contemporary Hispanic society, required the ritual promise to marry. Contemporary Mexican jokes about the “ease” of seducing non-Hispanic women frequently turn on their failure to demand a marriage promise before engaging in sexual relations. As with Tisbea, Don Juan takes Aminta’s hand and says that he will be her husband but Aminta demands that he swear a solemn oath.(18) Don Juan responds “I swear by this hand, my lady, that if hell freezes over, I will marry you.” Satisfied by the vow, Aminta agrees to be his wife. To overcome what remaining reluctance she has to engage in sex with him, he says “Tomorrow you will put on your beautiful feet shoe ornaments of polished silver embellished with nails of gold from Africa, and imprison your alabaster throat with necklaces and rings on your fingers with settings of pearls so fine they appear translucent” (Act 3). The references to feminine beauty are made in passing, there is no use of vanity to seduce as recommended by French manuals for courtship and practiced by Moliere’s Don Juan in similar circumstances.(19) Nor had Don Juan attempted to appeal to Tisbea’s vanity during the earlier seduction. The jewels are gifts which will confirm the inversion of status, the humble rendering of a wealthy and powerful man at a poor woman’s feet. Aminta assents by acknowledging her willingness to marry, and the seduction takes place. Similar kinds of rendering of political standing and social status occurred in the litigation over seduction in Mexican church courts. In the pursuit of the beautiful daughter of a Mexico City baker in 1768, a royal bureaucrat lays his political standing and well-placed social connections before her. “Besides the reports which you could acquire from the most honored people of the city, I will send you documents, and a title [job appointment] from His Majesty.” Martin Joaquin Andonagui is not as well related to the king as Don Juan Tenorio, but employs a similar strategy, tracing his own political lineage to the man who is technically the origin of all political power. Having thus established his political connections as well as his social ones he proceeds to lay his status at her feet. “I hope to merit the honor” [of a response]; “because if it is favorable, it will provide me with cause for rejoicing; if it is unfavorable” [cause for] “sorrow” (regret). “Espero merecer el honor de que … me diga en respuesta su determinacion; para que siendo favorable me sirva de regocijo, y siendo adversa de pesar.”(20) That despite all his connections to status and power he will be moved to rejoicing or sorrow, solely based upon her response, plays upon his emotional dependence upon her. The final necessary element in the formal definition of seduction is the requirement that the woman seduced have been a virgin. A series of final fleeting references in El Burlador of Sevilla touch upon this issue. Dona Isabella laments the theft of her virginity “the natural gift which I esteemed and most desired” (Act 3). (“Natural gift” was also the circumlocution favored by church officials in breach of promise suits.) Tisbea, who has been unmoved by other men before Don Juan (and hence a virgin), refers to his actions with the metaphor of a snake attacking her tender grass in the same scene. Aminta openly tells the king (Act 3) that Don Juan has taken her honor (another more popular circumlocution for virginity but also mentioned in breach of promise suits) and Don Juan’s servant reveals at the end that only Dona Ana’s virginity was intact, since Don Juan had failed to complete the act before discovery of his deception and her screams. (Act 3) The references to virginity in the play are brief because the shared cultural assumption that seduction invariably involves a woman who was a virgin. Of Don Juan’s four victims, only Tisbea must establish her virginity at length. Prior to her seduction she declares first that she conserves her honor like a delicious fruit surrounded by straw, (“Mi honor conservo en pajas como fruta sabrosa”) a metaphorical description of her body as well. She also alludes to her virginity itself as glass that is not broken (“vidrio guardado en ellas para que no se rompe”). This insistence upon her virginity prior to the scene of seduction, is most likely because as a fisherman’s daughter, and the socially humblest of the four women, Tisbea was the woman most readily perceived as likely to have lost her virginity. In real-life, the cultural assumptions of virginity were not always born out, but it was necessary to assert this in order to fit the cultural construct of seduction.(21) Declarations of “having [lost] my virginity” invariably appeared in hundreds of lawsuits. But instead of the erotic metaphors of straw-surrounded fruit, legal formula books suggested women use the circumlocution “living modestly and honestly” to allude to their virginity prior to the seduction. “The entire town has witnessed the modesty and honesty with which I have always lived,” wrote Dona Maria Ana Rosillo in January 1770. “Never have I given any indication (to the contrary) until Don Francisco tried to marry me. Secure in his pledge to be my husband I did not refuse [his requests] to see me at all hours of the night, and I allowed him to enter sometimes by the door, and other times by the walls.”(22) Like Tirso’s Dona Ana and Dona Isabella, neither of whom refused nocturnal entrance to the man they thought was their fiance, Dona Maria Ana relied upon the implicit expectation of a marriage promise’s release from the customary constraints of “modesty and honesty.” The central emotional dynamics appearing in Don Juan’s seductions of Tisbea and Aminta emerge in the love letters of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Spanish men. The initial appeal is ritually rejected, followed by the pleading [“instancias” and “suplicaciones”] that characterized the seductions of Tisbea and Aminta. The content of these pleadings also revolve around declarations that their very survival is at stake, their personal and professional lives valueless without this woman’s love. Warnings to young women about the worthlessness of such declarations was a staple of religious literature. Moralists cautioned that a seducer will say that he dies for her love or that he will die if he does not have her.(23) Where such language appeared most frequently in the love letters of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Spanish men in the New World was in the closings of their letters. Rather than insisting that love was forever, the closing of love letters was frequently suggestive of love until death: “yours,” [he who] “adores you until death” “tuyo que te adora” (unreadable) “hasta la muerte.”(24) A young man whose parents who are trying to put a young man in a monastery to prevent him from marrying is signed “Good bye my heaven, yours until death.”(25) But at least rhetorical willingness to die if he cannot have her also appears. “The cost of my own blood,” wrote Laureano Antonio Gama, “will not suffice to reciprocate the many favors you do for me.”(26) Thinking his intended has broken off the engagement, another man closes his letter “My soul, my pearl, and my dear … your firm and true lover who will sacrifice his life to see you since he can no longer obtain you. (“Mi alma, mi perla y mi bien … tu firme y verdadero amante quien su vida sacrificara por verte, ya que conseguirte no puede.”)(27) Like Don Juan’s declaration to Tisbea that he was willing to lay down his life for her, Spanish men also metaphorically expressed willingness to sacrifice their lives for their loves. Pantaleon Aguiar’s letter to Dona Rosalia Murguia in the fall of 1782 expresses slightly less exaggerated sentiments. “Without you I have nothing. Food does not sustain me, water does not satisfy my thirst, nor does anything except your tender love which has left me without soul, without enjoyment, and even without life.” (“Sin ti no tengo nada. La comida no me es sustenta, [sic] la agua no sasia mi sed ni nada la de mi tierno amor el que me tiene sin alma sin gusto y aun sin vida.”)(28) Pantaleon Aguiar’s contrast of life’s flatness “without a soul, without enjoyment, and even without life” evokes the metaphors of death drawn upon by Tirso’s Don Juan. “In the sea I drown,” “the hell of the sea,” is where his life was prior to encountering Tisbea. While the playwright emphasizes life and rebirth through love (“I land in your clear sky,” “in your divine east I am reborn”), Spanish men rely principally upon death (loss, absence, or refusal of love). Yet both sets of writings depend upon the same metaphorical opposition of life and death for describing love and its loss. While perhaps appearing exaggerated to contemporary Anglo-Saxon eyes the ready use of metaphors of death for the loss or refusal of love is perhaps needed to establish the centrality of a woman’s response to men’s lives, existences in which they do not otherwise figure prominently. As in The Deceiver of Seville, the more positive dynamic of seductive rhetoric involved declarations of the emotional power that women exercise over men. While clerics warned that men would profess to adore a woman, flatter her that she is beautiful, graceful, eloquent, and talented(29) such appeals were not a feature of Hispanic courtships. They were an unsuccessful tactic of Don Juan in courting Aminta and were likewise notably absent form the love letters of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century young Spanish men. Far more common was the display of emotional vulnerability which characterized Tirso de Molina’s Don Juan. “Your much desired letters,” wrote Laureano Antonio Gama, “so expressive and affectionate … have filled my soul with joy and satisfaction … I will idolize you and have all of you en graved on my heart and not lose you from sight.” (“sus apreciables cartas … tan expresivas y carinosas, que me han llenado el alma de gozo y de complacencia … idolatrarla y en tener la toda gravada en mi corazon y no perderla de vista.”). Laureano frankly admits his response to her–his soul fills with pleasure and he wants to contain her (iconically) within him. Another letter begins, [I write with] my heart in shreds in my chest” (“Con el corazon hecho pedazos en el pecho”).(30) Another man expressed his vulnerability in overtly physical symptoms: “I have not written you before because I have had a tremendous headache which I suspect was caused by thinking about your tears. Your tears are impressed on my soul and have filled it with compassion and my heart with grief. Your sorrow has worried me greatly.” “No te he escrito antes. Yo quedo con gran dolor de cabeza y juzgo que la causa [fue] el pensar conque me tienen tus lagrimas, que tan impresas estan en mi alma para enternecerla, y en mi corazon para afligirlo,”(31) thus extending his vulnerability to an empathetic headache caused by her grief. The same young man continued his admission of feelings a month later with a growing sense of despair. “With so many delays and bad times, I am suffering unimaginably in thinking that I will lose a jewel…. In delay lies danger; but seeing you, indeed merely passing your street every day and thinking that confined in that house is my adored owner somewhat mitigates my grief…. Please take me out of pain; my rejoicing and content will be so great having you in my arms that I will not know what to do…. After Easter I must leave for my post (and the royal celebrations which I have prepared) and I wish you would come with me to enjoy … for if you are not there, how can I tolerate or enjoy myself, regardless of how magnificent the functions…. In your letter you say that I will be interested in someone more to my liking. This arrow has plunged through my heart, when it is only you I adore, and you I think of. In fact all the goddesses of the world could be introduced to me and I would rather that God permitted me to die rather than give my hand to anyone else. And so my dear, I beg of you do not repeat such a statement because I infer from it that you have little confidence in me…. God knows … how anxious I am to see you in my arms. Your desired husband.”(32) In his growing fear that she will refuse him, the young man increasingly displays the vulnerability and anguish which were accepted parts of women’s traditional role. The pain, the arrow she plunges into his heart, his desire that God allow him to die rather than survive a refusal, manifest his adopting the stereotypically feminine pose of the suffering woman, thus carrying out an inversion of the traditional expressive roles assigned men and women. In this seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Spanish world dominated by hyper-masculinity and displays of strength(33) the limited possibilities for men to express emotions appear to have been restricted entirely to their relations with women, first as children and later as adults. Perhaps for this reason, expressions of sentiment also recalled the early affection of children, especially sons for their mothers. In closing a letter to his beloved Fernando Perez Maranon writes “Your little son who esteems you,” [“tu hijito que te estima.”] and Jose Luis de los Rios closes similarly “Your son who esteems you as you deserve” [“hijo que la estima como merece”](34) thus classing their affections with the boundless devotion of a son for his mother, invoking the memories or fantasies of the early love between mother and child. The admittedly anachronistic gesture of contemporary Hispanic men who often call a woman “mamacita” (little mother), similarly recalls the same kind of blind devotion of a young son for his mother. The failure of such potentially incestuous expressions to appear in a popular play written by an orthodox cleric in an era of strict inquisitorial censorship is not surprising, but provides insight into the reversal/inversion of gender roles in courtship. The love letters show a radical inversion of traditional male roles; their rhetoric display emotional vulnerability, willingness to suffer, and gestures of sacrifice. Men not only assume the emotional expressive role that is customarily women’s but invert generational order–a man becomes a little boy. Contemporary American usage of the term “baby,” lacks crucial characteristics of the “mamacita” and “hijito” dynamic. It used by men to characterize women (not themselves). Even though it may evoke the affection of the parent-child bond, rather than inverting gender roles, “baby” as a form of address merely rein forces traditional male superiority (she is the baby) a distinction which is further strengthened by the absence (in English) of a woman’s reciprocal designation. Preserving merely the language of plays hides the quality of seduction as performance, and so our clues as to how the words sounded, how they appealed, and indeed how they were performed, need to be supplied from elsewhere. In Pedro Lujan’s often reprinted and even recopied guide for young people entitled Matrimonial Colloquies young women are warned that young men will display their emotions in physical (non-verbal) ways. “He [a seducer] will pretend to appear agitated or excited, he will sigh, or apparently faint.” By engaging in stereotypically feminine behavior–fainting, sighing, mooning–he effaces his traditional male (macho) self-control; thus abrogating his male dominance through physical gestures.(35) Lujan does not include tears among the list of frequently employed physical gestures, but Martin Andonagui on March 4, 1768 wrote a letter to his intended thinking the relationship was over. He begins by asking her to return his letters, and he will do the same with hers “although with the pain of thinking that I will be left without the pledge” [her written marriage promise] “I adored so much. You have been the cause of the indisposition I have been suffering these last few days. If only I think of your father’s refusal, I am in complete despair. This has already taken place, since you can see how my heart has been left full of continual anguish, pain, and torment.” And at this point he self-consciously breaks off the epistle saying “My beloved, I cannot go on” [writing] “because my sighs and tears are springing forth” [at this point there is an obvious tear mark on the letter].(36) The unacceptable son-in-law makes use of his emotions to the extent of placing teardrop on the letter as proof of the fact that he has been crying over her and to persuade her of the devastation that her father’s refusal of his request for her hand has caused. This overt display of emotions also functions as a reversal of roles, as Martin adopts the position of the emotional suffering woman, portraying him/herself as victimized by the other and in this case by her father.(37) The appeal, the use of emotions, appears to have affected her because she does not return the letters, but rather continues to correspond with him for several more weeks. In addition to adopting the traditional emotionally expressive roles of women, men in both The Deceiver of Seville and in seventeenth-century Mexico declared their willingness to serve and even obey the women they sought. “In spite of this [his unworthiness] I desire and will continue to desire to serve you and to fulfill your wishes with love.”(38) Another young man vowed obedience to his intended, “Thanks to God I have what is necessary to serve you in whatever I can…. I love you, adore you, respect you, and obey you. I will obey whatever you order because I esteem you as you desire my adored beloved.”(39) “Yo, gracias a Dios, tengo para servirte en cuanto yo pueda como que soy tu esposo…. Te amo, adoro, venero y obedesco. Obedecere en cuanto me mandares por estimarte como quieres mi adorada prenda.” On another occasion he wrote “The request you made of me … I do because it is something you want. For what thing does my soul” [i.e. you] “order that I do not blindly obey? My greatest consolation is obeying and serving the one I esteem … I will sacrifice myself to please you and give you pleasure.”(40)” Giving presents demonstrated a willingness to serve as well. “My soul, my life, beloved of my heart … from the moment I have the honor of having you in my power, I will buy for you not only a gold cigarette case, a watch, and fashionable clothes; but also I will try to provide you with all the entertainment and pleasures you desire.” “Mi alma, mi vida, y prenda de mi corazon he … desde el instante que tenga el honor de verte en mi poder te comprare no solo cigarrera de oro, reloj, trajes de moda; sino procurare darte todos tus gustos y diversiones” All the things he promises to give her are not intended solely as evidence of his capacity to support her, but they are offered to her also as evidence of the reversal of power–that he will give her these feelings, as part of his deferring to her, rather than, as she is having to do in her own family, defer to her father.(41) This pattern of deference extends to the willingness to become a woman’s servant, even her slave. Like Don Juan’s declaration to Tisbea “Your slave I will be,” Spanish men frequently closed their love letters with languages such as the following “your servant who esteems you as you deserve” “seguro criado … que la estima como merece.”(42) A related change to the traditional formal closing “I kiss the feet of your worship” [Beso sus pies de vuestra merced] added the phrase “as your slave.”(43) Elaborations of the theme of man’s slavery to women appeared in the expressions that men were owned by women. “My idolized owner,”(44) said one letter, while another began “Adored owner of my eyes” (“Adorado dueno de mis ojos”).(45) But since the letters appearing in the Mexican church courts were composed in the New World, the willingness to be a woman’s slave was sometimes also expressed in racial terms–the willingness to be her “black.” In the New World slavery was associated most powerfully with race, so that letters used the expression “black” (negro) to refer the inversion of slavery. Carlos Lopez de la Torre wrote in one letter that Pepita was the queen of his heart, while he was merely her black (slave) who loved and esteemed her(46) “es la reina en mi corazon” “te encargo me guardes lealtad que yo asi te prometo estes tu negro que te ama y quiere” thus exaggerating the distance between their positions on the social scale (queen and slave). The desire to be a woman’s slave sometimes also occurred in metaphors of physical appearance. One young Spaniard wrote love letters to his “guerita,” a term for “blond” and signed his letter “your black who loves and wants you” thus [“tu negro que te ama y quiere”](47) thus employing the metaphorical referents of skin and hair color to stand for the reversal of their positions in courtship. The inversion of traditional gender roles in these letters spans their representation in racial (black/guerita), social (servant/owner), ruling (slave/queen), generational (mamacita/hijito), physical (crying/cheering up) and emotional (suffering/dominating) terms. Thus a richer range of expressions illustrates the fundamental inversion of gender roles in the love letters than appears in The Deceiver of Seville. While metaphors of subservience and inversion also occur in medieval courtly love, their origins are controversial. Some prominent Spanish literary critics have even suggested that such expressions originated on the Iberian peninsula.(48) Regardless of their beginnings, the cultural understandings of service differ among Western European societies since cultural heritages are always appropriated in locally distinctive ways. To highlight the unique regional characteristics of the language of inversion and service in Spanish letters it is worth briefly comparing them with usages from a similar genre in France. That nation shared a similar heritage of courtly love. By contrasting popular letter-writing manuals from the two countries, and Moliere’s retelling of the Don Juan story for a French audience less than fifty years later, several significant contrasts emerge.(49) The first and most striking distinction appears in the narrative sequence. The promise to marry, the basic premise of Don Juan’s seductions is either completely missing from the French letters, or occurs only at the very end of the correspondence; in the Spanish letters, the promise initiates correspondence. In Tirso de Molina’s play the promise to marry is referenced figuratively and implicitly, its significance being well understood; in Moliere’s Dom Juan the promise to marry not only must be rendered explicitly, it must become marriage itself and so fundamentally alters the nature of the transgression (seduction). Not only the narrative sequence of love letters, but the fundamental rhetorical figures or tropes of the Spanish letter manuals are distinctive. Hispanic manuals are full of the elaborately evoked gender role inversions: the declaration of willingness to be a woman’s slave, repeated offerings (as for a shrine), descriptions of actual physical reversals of position, where the man heightens the turnabout by describing himself as prostrate at her feet. In contrast, French letter-writing guides are more mundane.(50) Often, they simply employ the verb “to serve” [“servir”], as a gesture of courtesy; the descriptions of physical alteration of positions is missing; and the sequence of offerings (gifts) and the declarations of willing enslavement are absent. The final distinctive difference from the French rhetoric of courtship resides in the whole-hearted willingness of Spanish letter-writers to display emotional vulnerability and reverse the customary roles of emotional dependence. Not only is the sense of emotional susceptibility lacking among the French, but as Domna Stanton has argued,(51) such display violated the norms of polite society, which cultivated a greater emotional distance between men and women, even in courtship. Spanish men were more than willing to earnestly adopt, in rhetoric if not in behavior, feminine demeanor in order to successfully court the women they wanted. Nor are such stratagems embraced in Anglo-American traditions. The most striking difference between the Hispanic and Anglo-American traditions is that the former are characterized principally by a willingness to accept and even embrace the emotional vulnerability and dependence upon women characteristic of love or seduction. The plots of even contemporary Anglo-American romance novels depend largely upon the strategies by which men resist acknowledging their vulnerability and deny their emotional dependence until the very end of the story.(52) By contrast, the Spanish men acknowledge and eagerly embrace the emotional vulnerability from the outset, declaring their desire to marry. In Anglo-American romantic fiction, the offer to marry is usually the final stage in courtship. In Don Juan and for don juans, the promise to marry is merely the initial step, the necessary precondition for commencing seduction, signaling the embrace of the period of emotional vulnerability. Conclusion We come to a particular reading not as blank ciphers but as persons familiar with a complex range of words, thoughts, and expressions.(53) Hence our reading of text does not begin the moment we open to a page, but originates, as Barthes expressed it, in a “tissue of culture.” The range of meanings available within this tissue are more easily grasped at the place and time of a text’s creation; they are made more difficult by geographic, temporal, and cultural distance. Literary theorists, who practice what Paul Ricoeur calls a “hermeneutics of suspicion,”(54) that is, a concern with what is suppressed or consigned to the margin in particular texts by the dominant discourses of a society, delve into historical records so as to specify the reasons for such submersions, repressions, and marginalizations that they detect in works of literature. For example, the culturally taken for granted assumption that a mere promise of marriage releases a woman from the moral requirements of chastity is only glancingly alluded to in Tirso de Molina’s play but explored exhaustively in lawsuits over broken promises to marry, thus creating a discursive “silence” in literature which stems not from repression but from conspicuous self-evidence. In contrast, there is indeed a moral constriction working on language in texts understood as public, making such otherwise common expressions of courtship as “little son”–suggestive of incest–unspeakable in the theater. But a hermeneutics of suspicion need not be restricted merely to the language in which concepts or ideas are discussed, but should also be applied to cultural constructs themselves. To understand the emotional dynamics of seduction in historical context neither literature nor history suffices by itself. The cultural construct of seduction, with its formulaic narrative of male agency and female victimization, itself constituted a normative framework, narrated by women in breach of promise suits, by authors of didactic and prescriptive literature, and by a cleric in El Burlador de Sevilla. The construct of seduction suppressed two significant alternative understandings of seduction. First, it stifled any version suggesting female agency or initiative in a sexual relationship,(55) and secondly, it inhibited the potential for portraying seduction as part of a more complicated emotional dynamic in which women and men may both have benefited. The culturally located expectations of seduction were in fact manipulated both by women themselves, and their families. Both utilized the expectation of “seduction” in order to force men into marrying. Anticipating the conventional expectation that their daughter had been the dupe of a man, Spanish families attempted to play the marriage market to ensure the most satisfactory spouse for a daughter by colluding in her sexual relationship, and then “catching” the couple and if the man refused to marry, labeling the process “seduction.”(56) But the greatest challenge to the construct of seduction is the evidence not that men refused to marry, but that women in considerable numbers refused to marry men with whom they were having a sexual relationship and even those by whom they had children.(57) Such actions were repressed as discourses in part by lacking a formal or official outlet such as lawsuits. Under the cultural narrative of “seduction” women were not believed to be independent agents, only victims, and hence could not have credibly originated the promise to marry, and therefore could not be, and indeed were not, held responsible (sued) for their promises in court.(58) The evidence of women’s refusals to marry further challenges the contemporary avatar of the “seduction” construct, the belief that illegitimacy was restricted to women of lower social status in relationships with men of higher social standing. This interpretation, lacking as it does in firm statistical evidence, merely recapitulates in the language of modern social explanation the belief that illegitimacy arose only in circumstances in which women could be credibly “seduced” by men, that is, situations of social inequality. For if seduction operated only or even primarily in this social setting, why would women refuse to marry when marriage would guarantee financial and social status for herself and her children? The refusal by women to marry suggests, as does a growing body of statistical and other evidence,(59) that illegitimacy encompassed a far broader range of society and a greater variety of social dynamics. More importantly, it indicates that there were substantial benefits for women to prolonging the period formally defined as courtship, and which was only retrospectively, and in certain cases, narrated as the cultural construct of seduction. And indeed it makes sense that despite the formulaic rhetoric victimization demanded by the cultural construct of seduction there were indeed emotional benefits accruing to both sides. For men’s display of emotional vulnerability to succeed it needed to offer profound satisfaction to both genders: what it appears to have offered women was the pleasure of being placed (howsoever temporarily) in a position of strength or dominance vis-a-vis men, and while for men it afforded a release from the constraints imposed by the hyper-masculinity demanded of their relations with other men. The willingness to appear vulnerable usually stems from a position of strength, and men’s capacity for emotional exposure in courtship in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Spanish society was founded upon that overwhelming dominance in traditional orders usually called “patriarchy,” or the rule of men. The repeated appeals, the attitude of supplication (literally “suplicar”) indicates a humility which was the opposite of the rigid pride and hypersensitivity to affront which Spanish men were noted for in their relations with other men. What rendered this period of emotional expressiveness (for men) and psychological dominance (for women) unique was its limitation to the period formally defined as courtship. In marrying, the cultural expectations of conduct reverted to the rule of men, male dominance and female subservience. “Once married,” wrote one cleric commenting on the difficulty in coercing couples into marriage, “this little drama [of courtship between men and women] alters completely and tragically. The man takes on the authority of a husband.He wants to command her whom he formerly was in the habit of only entreating and pampering.”(60) Perhaps not surprisingly women were often reluctant to abandon their privileged position in courtship to the righting of gender roles in marriage. When harassed by clergymen to marry, they were often loath to relinquish the emotional privileges of a relationship in which men were expected to comport themselves as suitors.(61) Lengthy periods of concubinage were resulted, since without attaching the formal significance of matrimony to the relationship, the emotional expectations continued to be those of courtship. Women’s reluctance to marry, coupled with the parallel ambivalence of men (about the responsibilities connected to the traditional male role),(62) ironically rendered the potential for seduction and illegitimacy all the greater. Together with a more generous treatment of the rights of inheritance of illegitimate offspring under Iberian law than elsewhere in Europe,(63) the different emotional expectations of courtship and marriage contributed to producing a society with the highest illegitimacy rates in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century West despite all the fulminations of moralists, confessors, and playwrights. The paradox of the most unforgiving ideology of premarital chastity linked to the highest illegitimacy rates in Western Europe(64) makes sense partly as the result of mutually gratifying emotional dynamic of courtship or seduction in which men and women each in a different way experienced a temporary inversion of rigid gender roles. Department of History Houston, TX 77251 ENDNOTES Acknowledgements: I would like to thank the Tinker Foundation for a post-doctoral fellowship funding the research on illegitimacy and Megan Seaholm for research assistance. Helpful comments have come from Rolena Adorno, Michelle Farrell, Pilar Gonzalbo Aizpuru, Peter Hulme, Susan Kellog, Linda Lewin, George Marcus, Muriel Nazarri, Cynthia Redding, and the Centro de Estudios Historicos of the Colegio de Mexico. 1. The quote is from Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text [1971] Trans. by Stephen Heath (New York, 1977), 146. 2. The opposite view is taken by Shoshana Felman:”History … is made up of trivialities,” since “unlike saying, doing is always trivial.” Literary Speech Act: Don Juan with J. L. Austin, or Seduction in Two Languages, trans. Catherine Porter (Ithaca, 1983), 117. 3. One of the most popular eighteenth century manuals was Francisco Antonio Elizondo, Practica universal forense 4th ed. (Madrid, 1779). For the seventeenth century the most popular manual was Juan de Hevia Bolanos, Curia philipica (orig. pub. 1602) Other examples of manuals include Manuel Fernandez de Ayala, Practica y formulario de la real chancelleria de Valladolid (Valladolid, 1667), Pedro Molinos, Libro de la practica judiciaria del reyno de Aragon (Zaragosa, 1575), Gabriel de Monterroso y Alvarado, Practica criminal y civil (Valladolid, 1566), Juan Munoz, Practica para procuradores para seguir pleitos civiles e criminales (Madrid, 1618). Similar formularies existed for commercial law as well. See Richard L. Kagan, Law suits and Litigants in Castile 1500-1700 (Chapel Hill, 1981), 148-150. 4. Linda S. Kauffman Discourses of Desire: Gender, Genre, and Epistolary Fictions (Ithaca, 1986); Gabrielle Verdier, “Gender and rhetoric in some seventeenth-century love letters,” L’esprit createur 23 (1983): 45-57. 5. The archival sources come from the records of the ecclesiastical court of the provisor (usually also the vicar general) of the archdiocese of Mexico. The records of the provisor’s court have been dispersed through the Ramos Matrimonios, Bienes Nacionales, Archivo del Provisorato, and Civil of the National Archives of Mexico, hereafter AGN. 6. This study used the extant cases from Matrimonios, Archivo del Provisorato, and Civil, some 330 cases in all. 7. Richard Konetzke, ed. Coleccion de documentos (Madrid, 1962), 3: 406-413; Patricia Seed, To Love, Honor, and Obey in Colonial Mexico (Stanford, 1988), 200-204. There is no indication that the region’s many indigenous groups had anything like the concept of seduction. 8. Originally suggested by the new literary historicism this direction has been adopted by the emerging cultural studies movement. Even a prominent critic of the new historicism acknowledged “an enormous range of new topics opened for historical investigation; topics such as the way emotions and what we call instincts … are produced in a particular historically specific social formation.” Jean Howard, “The New Historicism in Renaissance Studies,” English Literary Renaissance 16 (1986): 27-35, esp. p. 21. See also Catherine Belsey, “Towards Cultural History–in Theory and Practice,” Textual Practice 3 (1989): 159-72. For the new literary historicism generally see Stephen Greenblatt’s “Introduction,” in his edited The Forms of Power and the Power of Forms in the Renaissance (Norman, OK, 1982); Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism (Manchester, Eng, 1985); Jonathan Goldberg, “The Politics of Renaissance Literature: A Review Essay,” ELH 49 (1982): 514-42; Louis A. Montrose, “Renaissance Literary Studies and the Subject of History,” English Literary Renaissance 16 (1986): 5-12; Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare (Chicago, 1980). 9. Classic literary histories of Don Juan are Georges Gendarme de Bevotte, La legende de Don Juan: son evolution dans la litterature des origines au romantisme [orig. ed. 1906] (Geneva, 1970) who described his aim as finding “en chaque ouvre a la fois la personalite de son auteur, et l’influence proponderante de son temps et de son pays.” La legende de Don Juan, p. xvi, and more recently, Leo Weinstein, The Metamorphoses of Don Juan (Stanford, 1959). Gendarme de Bevotte (p. 66) considers 1625 the earliest possible date of composition, but Weinstein, The Metamorphoses of Don Juan, p. 7 thinks it may have been as early as 1613. Guillermo Diaz Plaja, p. 7 places the earliest date at 1616 while Dona Blanca de los Rios, “El viaje de Tirso a Santo Domingo y la genesis del ‘Don Juan'” Raza Espanola 6 (1924): 4-35, sets the date between 1625 and 1629. The first published version appeared in 1630. 10. The Spanish text used is Tirso de Molina El Burlador de Sevilla (Mexico, 1987). All translations are mine. 11. The Playboy of Seville, trans. by Adrienne M. Schizzano and Oscar Mandel, Act 1 scene 1, in Mandel, ed. The Theater of Don Juan (Lincoln, Neb., 1963), p. 51. 12. Elizondo, Practica universal forense 4th ed., I: 342, 346. 13. “Le dio palabra de casamiento el dicho Franciso Martinez en virtud del cual le hubo su virginidad” AGN, Matrimonios, vol. 88, f. 28w (1629). This latter meaning of “bajo” appears to mean “under the protection of” a phrase largely synonymous with “by virtue of which.” For the phrase “mediante la cual” see AGN Matrimonios, vol. 48 exp. 36 (1628) Archivo del Provisorato, caja 23a Jose Angeles-Maria Encarnacion (1686); Matrimonios, vol. 83 fs. 345-50v (1731); or later “bajo palabra de casamiento le avia avido su virginidad” Matrimonios, vol. 50 exp. 22 (1705); Matrimonios, vol. 71 exp. 86 (1663); Matrimonios, vol. 78 fs. 38-43v (1726); Matrimonios, vol. 83 fs. 345-50v (1731); 51 exp. 67 (1767); “me hubo mi virginidad bajo de palabra de casamiento,” Matrimonios, vol. 51 exp 64 (1731); “debajo de ella avido su virginidad,” AGN Matrimonios, vol. 42 exp. 1, f.1,2 (1688); Documentos en proceso Bilbao-Lopez (1708). “A young man studying to be a priest who seduced a young servant girl in his household said that he did not take her virginity, nor for this reason, nor any other did I give her a promise to marry.” Declaration by Don Francisco de Maya, May 4, 1688, AGN, Matrimonios, vol. 42 exp. 1, f. 2 (1688). Jose Mariano Ayala 17 year old mestizo in 1758 says the same thing “bajo de la cual le hube su virginidad.” For the complaints of Spanish clerics about this practice, see Juan Bautista, Advertencias para confesores p. 7; Manuel Perez, Farol Indiano (Mexico, 1713), p. 44; Pena Montenegro, Itinerario para parrocos. 14. Elizondo, Practica universal forense 4th ed., I: 342, 346. “The text is a tissue of quotations drawn from innumerable centers of culture.” Roland Barthes(1)

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