Alex Leasau; Jacob Nguyen; Rachel Cotten; Raquel Bornstein; y eds.

What happened to a young man the day he married

Don Juan Manuel

Map of Castilla la Nueva , Tomás López, available in the public domain by Wikimedia Commons .

Over the centuries, writers have used their works to communicate their ideas and to address the problems of their times. In 1282 in Escalona, ​​Spain, in the province of Toledo, Don Juan Manuel (Sturcken 15) was born. The grandson of King Ferdinand III and nephew of King Alfonso X, Juan Manuel was raised in a royal family. Unfortunately, very early in his life, Juan Manuel experienced the loss of both parents. For this reason, his uncle and the son of Alfonso X — Sancho IV — took care of Manuel and his brothers (“ Don Juan Manuel ”).

Manuel had a position in the army that fought against the Moors in his early life. During his life, there was an extensive conflict between the Aragonese, the Castilians, and the Muslims. Manuel formed and ended many loyalties with these groups throughout his life. For example, he became a member of a group of nobles who opposed the Castilian crown and King Alfonso IX. In addition, to gain security against Alfonso IX, Juan Manuel arranged a marriage with the daughter of the Aragonese king, Constanza (Sturcken 18-19). This marriage in 1312 was the second of three marriages of his – his first wife died early due to a serious illness – and all marriages were made to support his connections with other countries (Sturcken 18, 26, 45). His life, always full of conflicts, ended in 1348 (Sturcken 56).Count Lucanor .

Written between 1330-1335, Count Lucanor contains fifty-one stories, or “examples,” which serve to teach the reader a lesson. Manuel writes in the first part of Count Lucanorthat the work has morals to solve virtually all problems in life (Sturcken 66). He clarifies that he has no formal education and affirms that the work — written in Spanish instead of Latin, the written language of the academy — is for the public that has not benefited from this type of prestigious instruction (Sturcken 67). The work is the great achievement of Juan Manuel’s life and has gained a lot of attention from critics. The XLV example, “What happened to a young man the day he married” (also known as “What happened to a young man who married a very rebellious girl”), is a story in Count LucanorWell known because it is very controversial. The influences of this work are the literary traditions of the Middle East and the customs that were common in Muslim marriages [a bit ironic considering that Juan Manuel fought against them (Sturcken 87)]. Manuel uses framed narration Framed narration is a type of narrative technique often used in the Islamic culture of Al-Andalus. It is defined as a collection of stories framed by a global literary framework in which the characters tell stories to each other ( Wacks 89). Also called "frame story", and in English, this type of narrative is known as a "frame tale". [/ footnote] typical of the literary style of Muslims. Manuel had a taste for his literary culture, and that is why he was inspired to use aspects of it in Count Lucanor ( Keller 48 ).


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