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Conflictos de interés personal y público en personajes de la literatura transatlántica de la primera modernidad

Alicia Herraiz-Gutierrez, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


During the early modern age the notion of personal interest, a rational passion to seek self-benefit, pervades all aspects of Hispanic society. The literature of the time echoes the emerging dilemma between following social rules and breaking them to better achieve this self-interest. Conflicts like the breaking of a marriage promise, the obligation of filial obedience or the choice and manner of help between friends speak of a management of self interest in the face of conflicting and often opposed social norms. Additionally, there is the narcissistic crisis of the character who denies reality when confronted with the possibility of not achieving his or her desires, and the egotistical answer of those who decide to put their self-interest well above any societal rule. The consequences of the breaches of protocol to pursue the self-interest are varied and they depend on the discourse in which they are framed. While society does not tolerate deviations of the norm nor any threats to the social balance, it can excuse on occasions certain transgressive conducts when they lead to a benefit for the group and not solely the individual. In essence, even when disobeying the individual is expected to conform to certain norms and show his or her willingness to keep participating with the social rules.

Subject Area

Modern language|Modern literature|Literature

Recommended Citation

Herraiz-Gutierrez, Alicia, "Conflictos de interés personal y público en personajes de la literatura transatlántica de la primera modernidad" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI10270407.