This article analyzes the ways in which María de Zayas y Sotomayor incorporates in her novela Tarde llega el desengaño the Quarante troisiesme and Trente deuxiesme nouvelles of Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron. I consider the several reasons that Zayas would have been attracted to the French writer's stories. Zayas shifts some of the Marguerite's narrative elements into her novela with few alterations, transforms others by means of simplification and amplification, and adds material of her own invention in order to connect the pieces of the plot and to create a tragic outcome. She creates an underlying plot structure that consists of a linear series of ironic substitutions of the male protagonist's lover, wife, and surrogate wife. Zayas's adaptation of Marguerite's tales suits her baroque esthetics, her feminist polemical aim, and the form of the genre in which she writes. Both authors explore the concepts of guilt, innocence, confession, penitence, and forgiveness in ways that suit their different ideological aims.

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