Estoria de Espana and the Ideology of Historical Discourse - Case Study Example

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This paper "Estoria de Espana and the Ideology of Historical Discourse" discusses Estoria de Espana as a historical discourse that epitomizes Roland Barthes’ contention that this form of narrative is a product of ideology. The work does not simply string together data in a purely scientific way…
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Estoria de Espana and the Ideology of Historical Discourse
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Download file to see previous pages Hayden White said the ‘the facts might be truthfully set forth, and the interpretation of them misguided. Or conversely, a given interpretation of events might be suggestive, brilliant, perspicuous, and so on, and still not justified by the facts or square with the story related in the narrative aspect of the discourse.’(White 1987 p.28) When looked at in this light, Rolland Barthes’ statement that historical discourse is essentially a product of ideology. Estoria de Espana, a Spanish historical discourse, reflects the veracity of Barthes’ statement.

Alfonso X, also known as El Sabio for the wise, became king of Leon and Castile in the year 1252 until his death in 1284. During his reign he commissioned scholars at the School of Translators to write many works of interest particularly translations of historical works, scientific data and legal cannons. He also commissioned original literary works including the Estoria de Espana which is believed to have commenced in 1260 and was not completed until after Alfonso’s death in 1289. (Weller)
The first version of Estora de Espana which was completed in 1270 contained approximately four hundred chapters. The final version approved by Alfonso X contained 612 chapters. (Deyermond, 2001 pp 157-158) The work purports to represent a chronicle of Spanish history from the far reaches of Biblical times to the reign of Alfonso. (Deyermond, 2001) Interspersed in the historical chronology of events are myths as well as legends and historical sources origination from the Greeks. Be that as it may, Estoria de Espana was accepted as the history of Spain until the Modern Age.(Deyermond 2001)

Despite the fact that Estoria de Espana purports to be a historical discourse, the sources used in its compilation is evidence easily supportive of Barthes’ contention that a historical discourse is a product of ideology. Even the manner and style of delivery suggest that Barthes is correct. Nancy Joe Dyer noted that ‘each authority-the Bible, patristic writers, classical and folk literature-displayed its own distinctive style of language and unique patterns of content selection, thereby implying preexisting different ideological and creative criteria.’ (Dyer) ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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