cervantes2016To mark the 4th centenary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the European Academy of Yuste Foundation is partnering the University of Extremadura in the organization of a conference titled “Another literary perspective. Extremadura and America in the life and work of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra”, directed by Professor Miguel Ángel Teijeiro from the area of Spanish Literature of the Department of Hispanic Philology and General Linguistics.

The conference began at the Royal Monastery of Yuste, the final resting place of Emperor Charles V and an emblematic site in the history of Spain, Europe and America, a symbol of the era in which Cervantes was born. “We are in Yuste because this conference focuses on the relationship between Cervantes, Extremadura and America”, declared Teijeiro. “Cervantes knew both the military empire of Charles V and Lepanto and the more bureaucratic reign of Philip II”, he added.

At the opening ceremony, Francisco Pérez Urbán, General Director of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Extremadura and a trustee of the Foundation, stressed that Cervantes’ work, especially Don Quijote de la Mancha, connects Europe through humanism”, adding that “one of the author’s secrets was to represent the thought and humanity of an entire era in words”, allowing the book to “go beyond the boundaries of geography and time and reach us as a modern-day text”.

The main aim of the conference is to perform an analysis of the relationship between Cervantes and his work and Extremadura and to study the connection with America within the historical context of the 16th and 17th centuries. According to Teijeiro, “there is no proof or certainty that Cervantes passed through Extremadura, but there are literary references which lead us to believe that he knew the geographical locations of Trujillo, Plasencia, Badajoz and Guadalupe very well”. In this sense, the conference director stated that “the Virgin of Guadalupe is the patroness of captives and Cervantes was held captive in Algiers for five years, and so it is possible that, on the way to Lisbon, his journey led him towards Guadalupe”. Cervantes made reference to Extremadura in various tales, such as El Quijote and El celoso extremeño, and in the latter book we can find “the relationship between the author, Extremadura and America, which we have sought to highlight in the conference”.

The Foundation thus takes part in the commemoration of the most widely-read Spanish author of all time, a universal figure of Spanish literature and a European cultural reference, organizing and supporting different activities.

The conference will address the historical context and the author’s relationship with Emperor Charles V and America by means of lectures given by Professors José Martínez Millán, from the Autonomous University of Madrid, Alfonso Rodríguez Grajera, from the University of Extremadura, and Héctor Brioso, from the University of Alcalá de Henares. The conference will continue on Wednesday and Thursday at the Faculty of Philosophy and Arts on the university campus in Cáceres.

This conference enjoys the collaboration of the Cultural Foundation of Extremadura, the Extremadura Centre for Studies and Cooperation with Latin America (CEXECI), the Provincial Councils of Cáceres and Badajoz and the Royal Academy of Arts and Literature of Extremadura.