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Baroque Horrors

Roots of the Fantastic in the Age of Curiosities

David R. Castillo

Publication Year: 2010

David Castillo takes us on a tour of some horrific materials that have rarely been considered together. He sheds a fantastical new light on the baroque. ---Anthony J. Cascardi, University of California Berkeley "Baroque Horrors is a textual archeologist's dream, scavenged from obscure chronicles, manuals, minor histories, and lesser-known works of major artists. Castillo finds tales of mutilation, mutation, monstrosity, murder, and mayhem, and delivers them to us with an inimitable flair for the sensational that nonetheless rejects sensationalism because it remains so grounded in historical fact." ---William Egginton, Johns Hopkins University "Baroque Horrors is a major contribution to baroque ideology, as well as an exploration of the grotesque, the horrible, the fantastic. Castillo organizes his monograph around the motif of curiosity, refuting the belief that Spain is a country incapable of organized scientific inquiry." ---David Foster, Arizona State University Baroque Horrors turns the current cultural and political conversation from the familiar narrative patterns and self-justifying allegories of abjection to a dialogue on the history of our modern fears and their monstrous offspring. When life and death are severed from nature and history, "reality" and "authenticity" may be experienced as spectator sports and staged attractions, as in the "real lives" captured by reality TV and the "authentic cadavers" displayed around the world in the Body Worlds exhibitions. Rather than thinking of virtual reality and staged authenticity as recent developments of the postmodern age, Castillo looks back to the Spanish baroque period in search for the roots of the commodification of nature and the horror vacui that accompanies it. Aimed at specialists, students, and readers of early modern literature and culture in the Spanish and Anglophone traditions as well as anyone interested in horror fantasy, Baroque Horrors offers new ways to rethink broad questions of intellectual and political history and relate them to the modern age. David Castillo is Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Jacket art: Frederick Ruysch's anatomical diorama. Engraving reproduction "drawn from life" by Cornelius Huyberts. Image from the Zymoglyphic Museum.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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pp. ix

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pp. xi-xv

This gallery of horrors takes readers on a journey through the early modern roots/routes of the fantastic in miscellany collections, sensationalist news, exemplary narratives, folktales, and legends. It puts the spotlight on a selection of works from the Spanish Golden Age (roughly 1550–1680) that is representative of the pan-European constellation of curiosities. This is a ...

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Introduction: A Taste for the Macabre in the Age of Curiosities

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pp. 1-35

Since the first public showings of plastinated corpses in Japan and Germany in the mid-1990s, audiences the world over have flocked to the controversial exhibits of German anatomist Gunther von Hagens. According to some estimates, von Hagens’ galleries of artificially manipulated cadavers have attracted tens of millions of spectators to make his BodyWorlds collection the most successful scientific exhibition ever. Arguably, Body Worlds owes some of its popularity ...

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One - Miscellanea: The Garden of Curiosities and Macabre Theater

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pp. 37-75

... As Marcel Bataillon says, “[e]ra el tipo mismo de la olla podrida que deleitaba a los robustos apetitos de la época” (Erasmo y España 637) (it is precisely the type of hodgepodge that satisfied the robust appetites of the period). In Spain, the second half of the sixteenth century is especially rich in works devoted to the compilation of all manner of curiosities. Much of this writing is explicitly pitched as entertainment ...

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Two - Sins of Our Fathers (and Spouses): The Preternatural in Baroque Exemplary Tales

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pp. 77-109

In his classic study La cultura del barroco(1975), Jos

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Three - Zayas' Bodyworks: Protogothic Moral Pornography or a Baroque Trap for the Gaze

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pp. 111-135

The sensationalist aspects of María de Zayas’ second collection of novellas, especially the extreme close-ups of tortured female bodies, have been linked to the manipulative aesthetics and propagandistic aims of of‹cial culture in baroque Spain (Maravall). Recently, Yvonne Jehenson and Marcia Wells have noted that although the repulsiveness of the Zayas’ portrayal of women’s bodies may distance it from...

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Four - Monsters from the Deep: Lozano's Le cueva de H

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pp. 137-159

On September21,2004, Spanish ex-president José María Aznar delivered his inaugural address as Georgetown University’s distinguished scholar in the practice of global leadership. His highly publicized speech outlined “seven theses on today’s terrorism.” Aznar congratulated the bipartisan commission on the September 11 terrorist attacks for taking the lead in defining...

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pp. 161-163

The seventeenth-century illusion of a purified Christian Spain demands a sacrificial cleansing: the expulsion of the Moriscos and the cleaning up of the past. The danger today is that the European Spain of the twenty-first century could make similar demands on itself. This is the point that Alexde la Iglesia makes in El d

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pp. 165-174


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pp. 175-177

E-ISBN-13: 9780472026685
E-ISBN-10: 0472026682
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472034918
Print-ISBN-10: 047203491X

Page Count: 204
Illustrations: 5 illustrations
Publication Year: 2010