The Sense of Place in Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá’s Historia de la Nueva México
In this essay I propose to explore when, how and where allusions are made to space in Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá’s Historia de la Nueva México. In order to appropriately discuss such a concept, I first contextualize the text in critical and literary historical terms. Next, I examine the various references to physical landmarks along the route from central Mexico toward New Mexico, paying close attention to how and why such references are made. Then I discover that there is a pendulum effect between geographical space and mythic allusion. The end of the poem concentrates on action that takes place within the walls of the Acoma Indians and the events — including thought processes — involving the Spaniards. The oscillatory structure helps describe how the text struggles with conflicting interests between a military chronicle and a morality play.