In the second part of Mateo Alemán's Guzmán de Alfarache (1604), the rogue Guzmán tries to convince himself to mend his ways. Misfortunes, he tells us, helped him have a glimpse of the light of virtue; he would prefer to die rather than relapse into wrongdoing. He falls asleep in tears as he admonishes himself. The next day he wakes up and finds himself transformed. He has a new heart. Notwithstanding controversies regarding the authenticity of Guzmán's repentance, the structure, language, and tone of his account clearly resonate with the rhetorical and narrative models associated with conversion in the Christian tradition. These models authenticate Guzmán's tale as a recognizable and credible conversion narrative; they verify his story. Ryan Szpiech's Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic not only makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of the complexity and subtlety that fictional conversion narratives like Guzmán's involve,...

You do not currently have access to this content.