Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Hispanic Studies


Laurence de Looze


This thesis explores the nature of the relationship between truth and text during a key moment in Castilian culture. Focusing on xiiith century historiography, supervised by King Alfonso X “el Sabio”, the thesis proposes an evolution of “textual truth” along a set of specific theoretical principles and formal (literary/rhetorical) features. The first part defines “authority” and “authorization” of the written word: Chapter 1 studies the fundamental issues surrounding the writing of History; Chapter 2 provides precedents, starting in the Bible, for an understanding of “sacred” authorship that will be recognizable in the Primera Crónica General; Chapter 3 analyzes representative portions of that text to determine how the authorial mode of the Bible is translated within the chronicle. This translation constitutes the main hypothesis of the present work. The analysis finds that the expression “la estoria” is one of the main strategies in which the authors link their writings with a transcendent sphere, where the past is contained. This sphere is inaccessible outside the intervention of authors that reserve for themselves the role of mere mediators. On the second part, the thesis suggests a trajectory that would allow projecting the theoretical principles that emerged from the first part onto a series of texts of the following centuries. As a conclusion to that process, it proposes a reading of the Spanish Baroque as a crisis of the concept of truth, expressed as a cultural processing, in aesthetic form, of a tradition that essentialized the link between writing and the real.