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Abstract

Neo-Latin literature in colonial New Spain has a rich history that has only in recent years garnered broader interest from scholars. One of the most unique works produced in New Spain during this time is Jesuit scholar Francisco Javier Alegre’s Alexandrias, an epic that depicts Alexander the Great’s conquest of the Phoenician city of Tyre. As there is scant scholarship analyzing the literary elements of the Alexandrias, this paper focuses only on Alegre’s usage of ekphrasis—a detailed description of an object—in book one of the epic, rather than attempting to explore every allusive aspect in this dense text. Th rough allusive ekphrasis, Alegre elegantly incorporates the work of ancient poets such as Ovid not only to highlight his own ability as a poet, but also to subtly address topics that would otherwise be inappropriate for a Jesuit priest to write about. In addition to this more noticeable usage of allusion, Alegre’s specific manipulation of poetic language in this scene also reveals a potential reading of Alexander the Great as a historical analogue to Hernan Cortés, both of whom gained fame through conquest. Analysis of this text—even through an allusive lens alone—reveals the intricacy with which Alegre and his contemporaries were composing their works, and emphasizes the value of deeper investigations into Neo-Latin literature.

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