Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Hispanic & Luso-Brazilian Literatures & Languages


José Miguel Martínez Torrejon


drama; exile; Fes; poetry; Portugal; Spain


During the 15th and 16th century the coast of Morocco became a bone of contention between the neighboring kingdoms of Spain and Portugal and the Ottoman Empire. Geographically privileged the city of Fes grew into a pole of attraction for traders and soldiers of fortune, turning this Mediterranean corner into a melting pot of peoples and religions. Francisco da Costa, a noble diplomat from Lisbon was sent to Fes after the Battle of the Three Kings (1578) in order to negotiate the ransom of the Spanish and Portuguese prisoners. The ambassador managed to rescue and send back to the Peninsula an elevated number of hostages but himself never left Morocco. Forgotten and abandoned by his new King, Felipe II and all the nobles he helped, he died in Fes. During the long eleven years of his mission Da Costa produced a considerable amount of poetry, both lyric and religious as well as theatrical plays, gathered in one manuscript volume, his Cancionero, which after his death was sent to his wife in Lisbon. This Dissertation will study this Cancionero, today in the possession of the National Library of Portugal, and make a critical edition of the theatrical plays that constitute a portrait of this multicultural society and of the author himself: A Christian living in the Jewish neighborhood of a predominantly Muslim society. We will examine Da Costa's plays taken to the stage and see how under the innocent mask of entertainment lies a clear political agenda.



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