Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Settling Down: Itinerant Empire and the Ends of Conquest in El burlador de Sevilla

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2019), 96, (8), 799–814.

Abstract

This article offers a reading of Tirso de Molina’s El burlador de Sevilla (1630) as a text concerned with the management of empire by drawing on comparisons to sixteenth- and seventeenth-century tracts that dispute the merits of conquest. Though the early modern transatlantic context has remained on the margins of scholarship on El burlador, this article illustrates that the play shares concerns with contemporary imperial tracts over the effects of mobility and conquest on the maintenance of Iberian empire. In the process, it shows that Don Juan’s sexual transgressions do not reveal a nascent individualism, but rather enact a disruptive praxis whereby conquest opposes the establishment of a stable imperial landscape. This reading of El burlador through an imperial lens highlights how the play reveals that an imperial system predicated on conquest cannot settle its subjects or its geography.

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Author details

Goldmark, Matthew