In addition to being one of the founding fathers of the modern novel, Mateo Alemán also wrote a stimulating treatise on spelling reform published in 1609 in Colonial Mexico. The Ortografía castellana is widely considered one of the best books on spelling reform written in Early Modern Spain and its territories due to its unparalleled display of elaborate literary artifice. But beyond its great significance for the study of the history of language, orthographies and national identity, and the rise of phoneticism in the 16th century, Alemán’s book has an autobiographical dimension unparalleled among works of its kind. This autobiographical data consists of recollections of his childhood, his time at university, his conversations with school teachers, his work for the Contaduría Real, and many other events that transform his book into a personal diary. The present study examines the role of autobiography and how it determines the structure of the treatise. Our analysis will show that behind the autobiographical allusions hides a self-fashioning project whose main purpose is to create an image for posterity of the artist called Mateo Alemán and provide him with an epic background.

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Published on 01/01/2014

Volume 2, Issue 1, 2014
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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