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Illness And Intellectual Pursuits

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Chapter Summary

Beginning with his ascent to the throne, Alfonso X's life became a true personal drama he had to confront daily if he wanted to outdo his father. This chapter examines what precious little historical sources and Alfonso's works themselves tell us about his illnesses and determines to what point some crucial decisions may have been influenced by them. It then illustrates how during long periods of illness and convalescence he withdrew from the bustle of public life to devote himself to his literary passion. The literary creation is discussed in light of the cantigas, especially Cantiga 235, for it contains a synthesis of Alfonso's physical ailments and personal misfortunes between 1269 and 1278 which chronologically match key dates in his literary, juridical, and historical production. Finally, the chapter discusses the transcendental meaning of Alfonso's prime poetic work.

Keywords: Alfonso's works; Cantiga 235; illnesses; literary creation



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