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Imperial Lyric

New Poetry and New Subjects in Early Modern Spain

By Leah Middlebrook

Publication Year: 2009

Present scholarly conversations about early European and global modernity have yet to acknowledge fully the significance of Spain and Spanish cultural production. Poetry and ideology in early modern Spain form the backdrop for Imperial Lyric, which seeks to address this shortcoming. Based on readings of representative poems by eight Peninsular writers, Imperial Lyric demonstrates that the lyric was a crucial site for the negotiation of masculine identity as Spain’s noblemen were alternately cajoled and coerced into abandoning their identifications with images of the medieval hero and assuming instead the posture of subjects. The book thus demonstrates the importance of Peninsular letters to our understanding of shifting ideologies of the self, language, and the state that mark watersheds for European and American modernity. At the same time, this book aims to complicate the historicizing turn we have taken in the field of early modern studies by considering a threshold of modernity that was specific to poetry, one that was inscribed in Spanish culture when the genre of lyric poetry attained a certain kind of prestige at the expense of epic. Imperial Lyric breaks striking new ground in the field of early modern studies.

Published by: Penn State University Press

Series: Penn State Romance Studies

Front Cover

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pp. 1-4


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pp. 5-5


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pp. 6-9

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pp. 1-13

This is a book about poetry and ideology in early modern Spain. Set in the era when Spain was developing from a peninsular monarchy to the seat of a pan-European and global empire (roughly 1526–1600), this book addresses a curious phenomenon in early modern studies: despite the fact that in the 1990s and the early 2000s the humanities began to move beyond the traditional focus on Europe to develop a global reach, and the role of imperial...

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1. Sonnetization: Acu

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pp. 14-58

The kind of poetry we categorize as lyric was only just becoming established as a genre during the early modern period. Despite the prevalence of Petrarchism as a compositional praxis, canzone, sonnets, and the other poetic forms that Spanish, French, and English poets adopted from

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Otro tiempo llor

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pp. 59-102

One of the recurring themes encountered in the last chapter was the deliberate conflation of notions regarding kinds of poetry and kinds of men. The new lyric became consolidated and rose to privilege within the context of...

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3. Imperial Pastoral: Gutierre de Cetina Writes the Home Empire

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pp. 103-137

the lesson of chapter 2 might best be summarized: song enables, even as it constrains. However, most of the chapter represented Boscán’s attempts to condition the Canzoniere to the culture of modern life. Boscán’s poetics, as...

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4. Heroic Lyric

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pp. 138-174

Fernando de Herrera (1534–1597) was the poet of light. A skilled composer of odes and an innovator in early modern genres from literary criticism and history to saintly biography, Herrera chose light and the sun...

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Coda: The Tomb of Poetry

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pp. 175-180

When the license, the prestige, and the energies of poetry are appropriated by the hegemonic institutions of the church and the state, and when they are directed to the political end of glorifying state-sponsored subjects, are...


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pp. 181-187


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pp. 189-197

E-ISBN-13: 9780271052564
E-ISBN-10: 0271052562
Print-ISBN-13: 9780271035178
Print-ISBN-10: 027103517X

Page Count: 206
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: Penn State Romance Studies
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OCLC Number: 613344605
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Imperial Lyric