Emplotting the Chinese in Argensola’s Conquista de las islas Malucas (1609)

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The early seventeenth century saw the appearance of a history of Iberian involvement with East and Southeast Asia: Bartolomé Leonardo de Argensola’s Conquista de las islas Malucas (1609). This article analyses key events of early modern Sino-Hispanic relations as recounted by Argensola. It will not offer a historical analysis of the Chinese in the Philippines, but rather a literary analysis of the means by which Argensola emplotted them. To this end, Hayden White’s notion of “emplotment” will be of use. My thesis is that the author emplots the Chinese as a cautionary tale in three parts –introduction (book IV), conflict (book VI) and denouement (book IX)– that warns readers of a danger. The argument that Sinophobia is a prominent theme of this chronicle has already been made in The Indies of the Setting Sun (2021). More broadly, Los chinos en Manila (2011) has studied the stereotypes about the Chinese present in Argensola’s Conquista and other early modern texts. I seek to build up on Ricardo Padrón’s and Juan Gil’s works with an analysis of the structure of Argensola’s narrative. I will also examine other literary and historical works as intertexts that Argensola emplots into his chronicle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalHispanic Journal (Indiana)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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