Zambra, Codes of Honor, and Moorish Dress: Transculturation in Calderón’s Love after Death
This paper will offer a reading of Calderón’s Love after Death (Amar después de la muerte) that is removed from the binary opposition between Christianity versus Islam, which premise readings of the text as a pro-morisco play, and focuses on teasing out nuances of transculturation inherent in the text. At pivotal moments in the play, the morisco and the “pure” Christian are simultaneously presented in opposition and equality to one another in their shared adherence to a strict moral code of honor, which is arguably a Christian contribution to Spain’s hybrid culture. The cultural hybridization of clothing and costume points to the unreliability of visible signifiers that distinguished the morisco from the “pure” Spaniard and as a result, brings forth the difficulties Spain had in self-identification in opposition to the morisco. The only real signifier – the Arabic language – is linguistic, although it is clear many words from Arabic made their way into Spanish. Read in the context of a text produced in a Spain that was located at the border between purity and hybridity and between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe, it can be argued that the representations of cultural practices in Calderón’s re-imagination of the rebellion of Alpujarras, bring forth evidence of a gradual process of transculturation between the moriscos and Christians and shed light on Spain’s almost desperate attempt to fight that process. Through this lens, the conflict between the moriscos and the Christians appears to have been conceived in the struggle against external forces that relegated Spain to the periphery of Europe. As a result of anti-Spanish prejudices of the leyenda negra that identified “Spanishness” with “Moorishness,” Spain was at once the colonial center in relation to the Americas and the New World, and simultaneously, Europe’s very own morisco “other.”
Youssef, Jennie G.
"Zambra, Codes of Honor, and Moorish Dress: Transculturation in Calderón’s Love after Death,"
ROMARD: Vol. 58, Article 2.
Available at: https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/romard/vol58/iss1/2