My dissertation analyzes the interpersonal relationships of the characters in Cervantes' prose fiction, especially Don Quijote and the Novelas Ejemplares, in terms of the theory and practice of economic exchange as it was understood in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Some of the most lucid economic debate of this period was conducted by a group of Scholastic theologians associated with the University of Salamanca, who developed influential theories of value, the just price and credit based on Scholastic principles of natural law and justice. A large number of political economists likewise wrote many treatises on economic policy in an effort to restore Castile's waning wealth and power. I have drawn principally on these two kinds of sources, both presented as practical responses to radical changes in the economic, social and political life of the period, in an effort to understand the lexical and conceptual terms that framed economic discourse in the Siglo de Oro. I demonstrate that Cervantes appropriates the full panoply of contemporary economic thought and vocabulary to describe his characters' social interchanges. Chapter one is a study of the episode of Marcela and Grisóstomo, read as a story of real-world sterility against the abundance that don Quijote describes in his speech on the Golden Age and within the context of the agricultural and demographic crisis that Castile suffered beginning in the 1580s. Chapter two treats the yelmo de Mambrino as a gold coin and studies it as an object of variable economic value within the contemporary theory of the "common estimate" of the just price. It develops a reading of Cervantes' political critique of Castilian foreign policy and the currency devaluations and credit manipulations used to finance it. Finally, chapter three studies the concept of industria and economic production within the transatlantic context of increasingly fluid class structures, particularly with regard to the Exemplary Novel El celoso extremeño and the episode of Camacho's Wedding in Part II of Don Quijote.
Brewer, Brian D.,
"La economí a en Cervantes: Espacios sociales de intercambio y productividad"
Hispanic Studies Theses and Dissertations.
Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.