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Tales of Disillusion

Tales of Disillusion

(p.193) Tales of Disillusion (p.194)
Exemplary Tales of Love and Tales of Disillusion
María de Zayas y Sotomayor
University of Chicago Press

The Spanish text for the Tales of Disillusion is Alicia Yllera's edition, respecting her reordering of the tales, which she justifies in her introduction to the volume. Whereas Zayas entitled each of the ten Exemplary Tales, she published the Tales of Disillusion with only the first tale bearing its own title, referring to each of the other nine as simply a “tale of disillusion.” In this volume, darker Tales of Disillusion, all the fictional storytellers are women. The frame tale itself constitutes a twenty-first story, as Lisis loves don Juan, who openly prefers her cousin Lisarda. As she copes with this rejection, over the course of the first volume, Lisis agrees to wed another suitor, don Diego. As the Tales of Disillusion draws to a close, however, schooled by the cumulative exempla of the unhappy end of its multiple heroines, she chooses instead to break that engagement and withdraw to live as a secular resident in the female world of a convent. Along with the first and last of the Tales of Disillusion, this volume includes the Fifth Tale of Disillusion, thus including examples of the “disillusion” of one unmarried woman, one married woman, and one woman whom most readers consider evil. The choice provided a representative sample of the variety Zayas's stories offer. By naming contemporary women distinguished in learning, letters, and government in the voice of the narrator of the “Fourth Tale of Disillusion”; and third, particularly in the Tales of Disillusion, as Amy Kaminsky suggests, by creating a chorus of women's voices whose stories show an audience of both men and women that the socially prescribed gender relations are hazardous for women and detrimental to society, with the objective of modifying the behavior of both sexes and improving the lot of women.

Keywords:   María de Zayas, Exemplary Tales of Love, Alicia Yllera, Tales of Disillusion, Spanish literature, gender equality, abuse, women's voice, disillusion

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