Affective Geographies: Cervantes, Emotion, and the Literary Mediterranean

Document Type


Publication Date



For Miguel de Cervantes, to narrate a Mediterranean experience is to necessarily speak of an emotional experience. Affective Geographies takes as its point of departure the premise that literature is as influential in constructing the Mediterranean as are its geographic, climatic, or economic features. As the writer with the most vast and varied Mediterranean experience of his era, Cervantes is exceptionally well-suited for the critical task of recovering the literary Mediterranean. Engaging with the interdisciplinary fields of Mediterranean studies, affect theory, and the history of emotion, Paul Michael Johnson reads Cervantes's texts alongside the affective structures that inscribe the Mediterranean as a space of conflict, commerce, expansion, and empire. In particular, he argues that Cervantes's writing, with its uncommon focus on the Moorish, Islamic, and North African experience, can serve to realign misconceptions about the Mediterranean we have inherited today. Affective Geographies proposes that, with a more than four-hundred-year history of impacting the hearts and minds of readers, Cervantes's works constitute a literary longue durée, ramifying beyond fiction to alter the popular imaginary and long-term cultural landscape.