In the nineteenth-century romance “Doña Francisca la cautiva [the captive]” written by Pedro de Fuentes (1831), the Virgin Mary convinces a woman to redeem a man through her Christian influence. The female body becomes the instrument to bring about this spiritual redemption. During a trip from Naples to Rome, Doña Francisca, accompanied by her three children, is kidnapped by Turkish pirates and enslaved by the Renegade, a former Christian slave converted to Islam. This romance was written during the Tanzimat period between 1830 and 1880 when Ottoman writers and activists advocated the elimination of slavery within the Ottoman Empire. This romance shares characteristics with slave narratives (first person testimonies, demonstrating the brutalities of slavery) and with martyriologies (exempla of how Christian martyrs should behave). These two testimonial narrative forms and Fuentes's romance follow what Enrique Fernández and Donald W. Riddle have termed the "martyriological model.”
©2008 Letras Peninsulares
Parker Aronson, Stacey L. "The Martyred Maternal Body in Pedro de Fuentes' Doña Francisca la Cautiva." Letras Peninsulares v. 21, no. 2/3, Fall/Winter 2008-2009, pp. 249-263.