Language, Authority, and Indigenous History in the Comentarios reales de los Incas

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The Comentarios reales de los incas, a classic of Spanish Renaissance prose narrative, was written by Garcilaso Inca de la Vega, the son of an Inca princess and a Spanish conquistador. It is full of ideological tensions and apparent contradictions as Garcilaso attempts to reconcile a pagan new-world culture with the fervent Christian evangelism of the period of the discovery and conquest of America. This study of the Comentarios is original both in adopting the perspective of discourse analysis and in its interdisciplinary approach. Margarita Zamora examines the rhetorical complexities of the Comentarios, and shows how, in order to present Inca civilization to Europeans, Garcilaso turned to disciplines other than traditional historiography, and in particular to the linguistic strategies of humanist philology and hermeneutics. Professor Zamora reveals how Garcilaso's views of the Incas were shaped by the dual nature of his background, by his commitment to humanism and Christianity, by the expectations he had of his readers, and by the discursive practices of his time.