Bridging Past, Present and Future Through Art: El Mal Querer and Le Roman de Flamenca

Research Authorship: Georgina Wilson

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nuria Ibáñez | College of Arts and Sciences | Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Abstract: This on-going project examines how a best-selling Latin pop album resulted in a sudden and significant increase in the obscure medieval Occitan novel which inspired it. The widespread success of El Mal Querer (2018) by Spanish musician Rosalia has generated popular interest in the 13th century novel Le Roman de Flamenca which had previously been confined almost exclusively to the realm of academic interest. El Mal Querer presents the thematic framework of Le Roman de Flamenca – a vindication of the role of woman in love and in society – with a combination of folkloric flamenco stylization and urban musical influences. Rapid increase in consumer demand for the novel since the release of the album has resulted in the production of significantly more copies of Le roman de Flamenca, the publication of a new user-friendly edition by the University of Murcia and an increased demand in interviews with the medieval literature experts who worked to translate the novel. This phenomenon is an example of how contemporary art and popular culture are capable of presenting a piece of cultural patrimony in a socially-relevant way thus allowing for cultural representation in an increasingly homogenized global society. Despite it’s age, one finds that the encyclopedic medieval novel presents themes and concepts still relevant to today’s world such as multiculturalism, gender disparity, domestic abuse and social constructs surrounding romantic love.
Graduate Research
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