Volume 42, 2021
Matthew V. Desing
Gender, Crisis, and Deviation in the Spaces of Clerical Romance
The Heterotopias of the Libro de Apolonio
The anonymous author of the Libro de Apolonio, the thirteenth-century mester de clerecía version of the popular Apollonius of Tyre legend, dedicates one-third of his lengthy poem to heterotopic spaces, and his unique portrayals of these rarified emplacements stand out from other medieval versions of the narrative. The way that the anonymous Castilian author navigates these spaces reveals much about the ideology of the mester de clerecía version, especially in regard to gender. In order to examine how this is the case, this article first explores the qualities of heterotopias and their presence across the Apollonius of Tyre narrative tradition; it then goes on to compare the ways that the mester de clerecía version of the legend portrays heterotopias differently from its Latin source text; finally, it examines how the anonymous Castilian author constructs heterotopias in ways that highlight the agency, skill, and access to discourse of the narrative’s two primary female characters.