Cansinos Asséns‘s Monseñor Sabetay: a Reading

Ana Cecilia Prenz Kopušar


This paper aims to present the short story Monseñor Sabetay by the Spanish writer Rafael Cansinos Asséns published in the book The Jews in Sefarad. Episodes and Symbols. This text, intense and poetic, tells the story of the meeting between the author and the great Rabbi and Sephardic playwright of Bulgarian origin Šabetay Djaen which took place in Madrid during the period of the Second Republic. The work discusses not only the meeting between the two writers but also the process of reconciliation between the Spanish and the descendants of the Spanish Jews, expelled in 1492, from different, though partially convergent, cultural spaces and experiences. Here the Castillian Spanish space, represented by the writer Cansinos Asséns, whose Jewish origin is acknowledged, and the Bosnian space, represented by the work of the playwright Šabetay Djaen, whose literary development tool place partly in Bosnia, come together. Some characteristics of Cansino’s Jewish works are highlighted in the story and the dramatic work of Šabetay Djaen is also presented through the critical readings of his work by some contemporary intellectuals and scholars in Bosnia.


Sephardim, reconciliation, Jewish themes, Cansinos Asséns, Šabetay Djaen



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Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts
(Znanstvena založba Filozofske fakultete Univerze v Ljubljani) 

Print ISSN: 0353-9660
Online ISSN: 2350-4250