The Apostolic Hero and Community in Ramon Llull's Blanquerna: A Literary Study of a Medieval Utopia

The Apostolic Hero and Community in Ramon Llull's Blanquerna: A Literary Study of a Medieval Utopia

by Roberto J. Gonzalez-Casanovas


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This study examines a masterpiece of medieval religious literature, Blanquerna (1283), written in Catalan by Ramon Llull (1232-1316), Doctor Illuminatus and Apostle to Islam, better known for his theological systems and missionary works. Blanquerna is a popular utopia about reconverting Christians, reforming Rome and all Christendom, and evangelizing infidels and pagans: it shows Blanquerna's spiritual journey as he reforms monastery and countryside, cathedral and city, papacy and Church, and then writes a contemplative guide and mystical allegory. This study applies critical theories of historicism, reception, genre, and rhetoric to a detailed analysis of Blanquerna, as fictional hagiography and apostolic utopia, so as to examine cultural contexts, religious narrative, and exemplary textuality. It relates the novel to Llull's autobiography, literary works, and missionary arts; considers parallels in popular preaching, didactic works and reform movements; and compares exemplary typology and narratology in Blanquerna and in the Castilian version of Barlaam.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820419466
Publisher: Lang, Peter Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date: 12/01/1995
Series: Catalan Studies Series: Translations and Criticism , #3
Pages: 162
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

The Author: Roberto J. González-Casanovas, an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Kentucky, has also taught at Harvard, Yale, Simmons, and Catholic University. He holds a Ph.D. from Harvard, where he pursued cultural history, comparative literature, and religious studies. Dr. González-Casanovas has published numerous articles on medieval and renaissance Iberia, and has two books in press: La novela ejemplar de Ramón Llull: Interpretaciones literarias de la misión (Júcar), on Llull's religious and literary evolution, and Cultural Politics and Poetics in Catalan Historiography from Muntaner to Martorell (Lang). His current research focuses on the cultural rhetoric and cross-cultural contexts of medieval chronicles and travels from Iberia to Byzantium. He also edits a journal on Alfonso X's Iberia, Exemplaria Hispanica.

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