Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type

Professional Paper

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures



Faculty Mentor Department

Modern and Classical Languages

Faculty Mentor

Jannine Montauban


Zayas, Spanish, beauty, misfortune, Golden Age, literature

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Spanish Literature


The age-old question of what beauty is has been a common discussion among artists and philosophers for centuries. Maria de Zayas, a 17th century Spanish novelist mostly known for her novella collections Amorous and Exemplary Novels (1637) and The Disenchantments of Love (1647), describes violence and deception of beautiful women at the hands of men. In this paper, I will explore Zayas’s motives for all the female heroines being beautiful and how this all relates to the connection between beauty and misfortune that is seen throughout her works as well as many other pieces of literature. By comparing Zayas’s novellas with traditional fairy tales and Greek and Roman mythology we will understand how women were traditionally viewed as dual natured, their status and value during 17th century Spain, and the traditional western narrative of blaming female victims rather than the male perpetrator. This literary exploration will emphasize the lack of control men had around “beautiful” women and how men felt a sense of entitlement and ownership over women during the 17th century.

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project




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