Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction: The Practice of Worldly Wisdom: Rereading Gracián and the New World Order

Nicholas Spadaccini and Jenaro Talens

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pp. ix-xxxii

In recent years a good deal of cultural and literary theory has responded to the question asking how relations of power are part of a dynamic process that exceeds its negative attributes when it is seen only within the seemingly oppressive domain of the "state." Some of Michel Foucault's thoughts on this issue have become common currency...

Part I. The Politics of Modernity

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Chapter 1 At the Threshold of Modernity: Gracián's El Criticón

Alban K. Forcione

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pp. 3-70

Like other notable literary works of the early modern period — Montaigne's Essays, Cervantes's Don Quixote, and Milton's Paradise Lost—Gracian's Criticon is interesting not only for its innovative, in some cases one might say revolutionary, features, but also for its articulate dialogue with the traditional modes of conceptualizing and ordering human experience that the orthodox theology, philosophy, political...

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Chapter 2 On Power, Image, and Gracián's Prototype

Isabel C. Livosky

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pp. 71-88

Gracian's prescription for success in a world he characterizes as being in constant struggle is based on concealment, disguise, and opportunism. In the first "primor" of his first prescriptive treatise, The Hero (1637), the injunction to the candidate for greatness is "All should know you, nobody should encompass you; with this rule, a little will...

Part II. Subjectivities

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Chapter 3 Saving Appearances: Language and Commodification in Baltasar Gracián

Malcolm K. Read

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pp. 91-124

If confirmation is required that reading and interpreting an author are activities that presuppose committed interests and social pressures, then it is surely provided by the spectrum of different critical "approaches" to Gracian, from those that recuperate the Jesuit for Spain and Morality, to those that legitimize only his secularism. We will understand more about such critical conflict when we have learned...

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Chapter 4 Surviving in the Field of Vision: The Building of a Subject in Gracián's El Criticón

Luis F. Aviles

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pp. 125-150

It would not be difficult to demonstrate that Baltasar Gracian conceived the first half of the seventeenth century as a conflictive and perilous time for Spain. It was a time when the empire's grandeur was falling apart, when cultural unity was being contested along all fronts (Catalonia and Portugal being the most representative), and when military...

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Chapter 5 Gracián and the Emergence of the Modern Subject

William Egginton

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pp. 151-169

In the current discussions concerning the emergence of the modern subject, philosophers, historians, thinkers, and researchers from all disciplines have agreed that something happened around and during the seventeenth century that fundamentally changed European mentality, ushering in what many have chosen to call modernity. Michel Foucault...

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Chapter 6 Gracián and the Ciphers of the World

Jorge Checa

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pp. 170-188

Shortly before they arrive at the Island of Immortality, Critilo and Andrenio contemplate the Wheel of Time from one of the Seven Hills of Rome. Led by the Cortesano, their last guide, both protagonists of El criticon then receive what can be considered the culminating vision of their worldly pilgrimage, insofar as the Wheel provides them with...

Part III. Representations

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Chapter 7 Gracián and the Art of Public Representation

David Castillo

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pp. 191-208

In this study I seek to examine how Gracian's texts inform the redefinition of public—public persona, public space, public ostentation— that was taking place in early modern Europe. The essay is structured into three sections: the first explains Gracian's understanding of art and writing as avenues for the public representation of eminent men...

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Chapter 8 Symbolic Wealth and Theatricality in Gracián

Francisco J. Sanchez

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pp. 209-229

Within the society of the court and among the aristocratic-bourgeois groups of seventeenth-century Spain, there arises a concern for the role and place that literature and writing have in politics. In this context, I first analyze the notion of caudal as symbolic wealth, a notion that brings to light the close relationship that Gracian establishes between...

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Chapter 9 Gracián and the Scopic Regimes of Modernity

Oscar Pereira

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pp. 230-254

It seems that in academic circles, iconoclastic attitudes are on the rise. In a recently published article, D. M. Levin goes so far as to state that a change has taken place in our cultural paradigm, "from (the normativity of) seeing to (the normativity of) listening" (3). Some years earlier, Martin Jay already had noted that the iconoclastic tendencies present in Wagner, Nietzsche, and Heidegger are renewed and...

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Chapter 10 Gracián and the Authority of Taste

Anthony J. Cascardi

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pp. 255-284

In the opening chapter of Truth and Method (I960), Hans-Georg Gadamer described the work of Gracian as standing at the very beginning of the modern discourse on aesthetics, which concerns itself primarily with the question of taste.1 Typically, the problem of taste in its modern form has been understood in the following more or less Kantian terms: if knowledge involves establishing a relationship between...

Part IV. The Politics of Everyday Life

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Chapter 11 The Art of Worldly Wisdom as an Ethics of Conversation

Carlos Hernandez-Sacristan

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pp. 287-304

In this essay I aim to show how Gracian's Ordculo manual y arte de prudencia can be read in the light of a sociology of everyday life, such as that developed by Erving Goffman and his followers. 1 This is not, of course, to say that the conceptual world of Gracian's work is comparable to that of Goffman's. Nevertheless, they do address...

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Chapter 12 Gracián in the Death Cell

Michael Nerlich

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pp. 305-354

Sebastian Neumeister has recently pointed out that if German Gracian scholarship is particularly solid it is because of Werner Krauss and Hugo Friedrich. Of Krauss he says the following: "In 1943 he was to write the first monograph on Gracian after Borinski He [Krauss] understands Gracian as a court psychologist, with a humanistic culture...

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Afterword: Constructing Gracián

Edward H. Friedman

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pp. 355-372

Perhaps the most accurate adjective for Baltasar Gracian is difficult. Gracian belongs to a literary school that relishes obscurity for its own sake. Uniting concept and conceit, he challenges the analytical and rhetorical skills—the astuteness, the wit—of his readers. The rhetoric of conceptismo is hardly an empty rhetoric. Discursive play is linked to social, political, and theological issues. If the words of Gracian's...

Contributors

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pp. 373-376

Index

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pp. 377-394