Version of Record
In this captivating study of the interdependent realms of fact and fiction, Ruth MacKay explores an episode in early modern Iberian history that could easily be found alongside any of the intercalated tales in Cervantes’s Don Quixote: that of an itinerant pastalero, or baker, who pretended to be the long lost King Sebastian of Portugal. Sorting through the letters, chronicles, and inquisitorial documents of troubled monarchs, conspiring nobles, and restless religious, MacKay weaves together an impressive array of Spanish and Portuguese archival sources to re-create the conspiracy that surfaced in the Castilian town of Madrigal de las Altas Torres in 1594 and ultimately sought to remove Philip II from the Portuguese throne. Beginning with the premise that this ‘‘conspiracy relied on news’’ and that this news was circulated by the ‘‘startling number of people traveling along the Iberian peninsula’s network of roads,’’ MacKay shows that the stories crafted by the individuals in this case reveal their perceptions of the lived world and, more importantly, of the world they thought was possible (xxii).
University of Chicago Press
© 2013 by University of Chicago Press.
Garst-Santos, Christine, "Review of The Baker Who Pretended to Be King of Portugal by Ruth MacKay" (2013). Modern Languages and Global Studies Faculty Publications. 1.