November 10, 2020
The expansive story of Florida and Amador plays out over more than ten—perhaps closer to twenty—years and is set in Spanish and French kingdoms, contested borderlands, and even the Ottoman Empire, as Amador spends two years as prisoner of the King of Tunis, who hopes to “make a good Turk out of him” (138). It traces the development of Florida from an innocent young girl to an experienced woman who sees Amador’s attempts to seduce her for what they are, as she tells him, “I am a married woman, and I am not so ignorant that I do not clearly realize that it was violent passion that drove you to do what you did” (144).
Like the princess in the fourth story, Florida ultimately keeps quiet after she successfully defends herself against Amador’s attempted rape of her, as Parlamente tells us “It was enough for her that she had been delivered from the hands of her enemy, and as far as she was concerned Amador had been quite sufficiently punished by being thwarted in his attempt” (149). In the end, Amador perishes by his own hand in a battle between Christians and Moors and is mourned, ambiguously, “as his virtue and prowess deserved” (152).
This striking tale may well be the source of Madame de Lafayette’s Princesse de Clèves, as Leanna Bridge Rezvani and others have shown.
Our male (Hircan, Saffredent, and Geburon) and female (Parlamente, Oisille, and Longarine) storytellers respond quite differently to it…