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Spanish Film, Comedy, and the Nation
In Dark Laughter, Juan F. Egea provides a remarkable in-depth analysis of the dark comedy film genre in Spain, as well as a provocative critical engagement with the idea of national cinema, the visual dimension of cultural specificity, and the ethics of dark humor.
A Reader of Primary Documents
In this landmark reader, Benjamin Fraser offers in five parts 44 Spanish documents dating from 1417 to the present, translated for the first time to trace the turbulent history of Deaf culture in Spain. Part I: The Birth of Oralism and Deafness as Metaphor illustrates the predominant impression of deafness as isolation, exemplified by Teresa de Cartagena writings in 1455-60 about deafness as an island. Part II: The Return to Deaf Education highlights writers who wished to restore “the Spanish ‘Art’” of educating deaf students. Lorenzo Hervás y Panduro wrote The Spanish School of Deafmutes, or Method of Teaching Them to Write and Speak the Spanish Language in 1795. Yet, Madrid’s Royal School for Deaf-Mutes, which opened in 1805, taught deaf students using methodical signs adopted from France’s Abbé de l’Epée. Readings in Part III :The Contemporary Deaf Experience reveal considerations from the 1970s to the ‘90s of Deaf culture and linguistics similar to those in the United States, typified by the works of Inés Polo and Félix-Jesús Pinedo Peydró. The fourth part, The Recognition of Deaf Language and Culture, marks the expansion of academic research in Spain. María Angeles Rodríguez González spearheaded Spanish Sign Language (LSE) linguistics in 1992 with her publication Sign Language. The final part, A Selection of Deaf Poetry, concludes these documents with verse in Spanish spoken dialects rather than LSE, indicating that the evolution of the Deaf experience in Spain continues on its own path today.
Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Islamic Iberia
Al-Andalus, the Arabic name for the medieval Islamic state in Iberia, endured for over 750 years following the Arab and Berber conquest of Hispania in 711. While the popular perception of al-Andalus is that of a land of religious tolerance and cultural cooperation, the fact is that we know relatively little about how Muslims governed Christians and Jews in al-Andalus and about social relations among Muslims, Christians, and Jews. In Defining Boundaries in al-Andalus, Janina M. Safran takes a close look at the structure and practice of Muslim political and legal-religious authority and offers a rare look at intercommunal life in Iberia during the first three centuries of Islamic rule.
Safran makes creative use of a body of evidence that until now has gone largely untapped by historians-the writings and opinions of Andalusi and Maghribi jurists during the Umayyad dynasty. These sources enable her to bring to life a society undergoing dramatic transformation. Obvious differences between conquerors and conquered and Muslims and non-Muslims became blurred over time by transculturation, intermarriage, and conversion. Safran examines ample evidence of intimate contact between individuals of different religious communities and of legal-juridical accommodation to develop an argument about how legal-religious authorities interpreted the social contract between the Muslim regime and the Christian and Jewish populations. Providing a variety of examples of boundary-testing and negotiation and bringing judges, jurists, and their legal opinions and texts into the narrative of Andalusi history, Safran deepens our understanding of the politics of Umayyad rule, makes Islamic law tangibly social, and renders intercommunal relations vividly personal.
Nation, Time, Language, and Space in Hispanic Literatures
The Dialectics of Exile: Nation, Time, Language and Space in Hispanic Literatures offers a theory of exile writing that accounts for the persistence of these dual impulses and for the ways that they often co exist within the same literary works.
Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain
The counter-epic is a literary style that developed in reaction to imperialist epic conventions as a means of scrutinizing the consequences of foreign conquest of dominated peoples. It also functioned as a transitional literary form, a bridge between epic narratives of military heroics and novelistic narratives of commercial success. In Discourses of Empire, Barbara Simerka examines the representation of militant Christian imperialism in early modern Spanish literature by focusing on this counter-epic discourse.Simerka is drawn to literary texts that questioned or challenged the imperial project of the Hapsburg monarchy in northern Europe and the New World. She notes the variety of critical ideas across the spectrum of diplomatic, juridical, economic, theological, philosophical, and literary writings, and she argues that the presence of such competing discourses challenges the frequent assumption of a univocal, hegemonic culture in Spain during the imperial period. Simerka is especially alert to the ways in which different discourses-hegemonic, residual, emergent-coexist and compete simultaneously in the mediation of power. Discourses of Empire offers fresh insight into the political and intellectual conditions of Hapsburg imperialism, illuminating some rarely examined literary genres, such as burlesque epics, history plays, and indiano drama. Indeed, a special feature of the book is a chapter devoted specifically to indiano literature. Simerka's thorough working knowledge of contemporary literary theory and her inclusion of American, English, and French texts as points of comparison contribute much to current studies of Spanish Golden Age literature.
Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350-1700
In The Embodied Word: Female Spiritualities, Contested Orthodoxies, and English Religious Cultures, 1350–1700, Nancy Bradley Warren expands on the topic of female spirituality, first explored in her book Women of God and Arms, to encompass broad issues of religion, gender, and historical periodization. Through her analyses of the variety of ways in which medieval spirituality was deliberately and actively carried forward to the early modern period, Warren underscores both continuities and revisions that challenge conventional distinctions between medieval and early modern culture. The early modern writings of Julian of Norwich are an illustrative starting point for Warren’s challenge to established views of English religious cultures. In a single chapter, Warren follows the textual and devotional practices of Julian as they influence two English Benedictine nuns in exile, and then Grace Mildmay, a seventeenth-century Protestant gentry woman, “to shed light on the ways in which individual encounters of the divine, especially gendered bodily encounters expressed textually, signify for others both personally and socio-historically.” In subsequent chapters, Warren discusses St. Birgitta of Sweden’s imitatio Christi in the context of the importance of Spain and Spanish women in shaping a distinctive form of early modern Englishness strongly aligned with medieval religious culture; juxtaposes the fifteenth-century mystic Margery Kempe with the life and writings of Anna Trapnel, a seventeenth-century Baptist; and treats Catherine of Siena together with the Protestant Anne Askew and Lollard and Recusant women. In the final chapters she focuses on the interplay of gender and textuality in women’s textual representations of themselves and in works written by men who used the traditions of female spirituality in the service of competing orthodoxies.
Spain's Retreat, Europe's Eclipse, America's Decline
Throughout four millennia of recorded history there has been no end to empire, but instead an endless succession of empires. After five centuries of sustained expansion, the half-dozen European powers that ruled half of humanity collapsed with stunning speed after World War II, creating a hundred emerging nations in Asia and Africa. Amid this imperial transition, the United States became the new global hegemon, dominating this world order with an array of power that closely resembled that of its European predecessors. As Brazil, Russia, India, China, and the European Union now rise in global influence, twenty leading historians from four continents take a timely look backward and forward to discover patterns of eclipse in past empires that are already shaping a decline in U.S. global power, including:• erosion of economic and fiscal strength needed for military power on a global scale• misuse of military power through micro-military misadventures• breakdown of alliances among major powers• weakened controls over the subordinate elites critical for any empire’s exercise of global power• insufficient technological innovation to sustain global force projection.
Early modern Spanish literature is remarkably rich in erotic texts that conventionally chaste critical traditions have willfully disregarded or repudiated as inferior or unworthy of study. Nonetheless, eroticism is a lightning rod for defining mentalities and social, intellectual, and literary history within the nascent field that the author calls erotic philology. An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain takes sexuality and eroticism out of the historical closet, placing them at the forefront of early modern humanistic studies.
By utilizing theories of deviance, sexuality, and gender; the rhetoric of eroticism; and textual criticism, An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain historicizes and analyzes the particular ways in which classical Spanish writers assign symbolic meaning to non-normative sexual practices and their practitioners. It shows how prostitutes, homosexuals, transvestites, women warriors, and female tricksters were stigmatized and marginalized as part of an ordering principle in the law, society, and in literature. It is against these sexual outlaws that early modern orthodoxy establishes and identifies itself during the Golden Age of Spanish letters.
These eroticized figures are recurring objects of contemplation and fascination for Spain's most canonical as well as lesser known writers of the period, in a variety of poetic, prose and dramatic genres. They ultimately reveal attitudes towards sexual behavior that are far more complex than was previously thought. An Erotic Philology of Golden Age Spain thoughtfully anatomizes the interdisciplinary systems at the heart of the varied sexual behaviors depicted in early modern Spanish literature.
Print Culture and Collective Identity in the Rio de la Plata, 1780-1910
Starting in the late nineteenth century, the region of South America known as the Río de la Plata (containing modern-day Uruguay and Argentina) boasted the highest literacy rates in Latin America. In Everyday Reading, William Acree explores the history, events, and culture that gave rise to the region’s remarkable progress. With a specific focus on its print culture, in the form of newspapers, political advertisements and documents, schoolbooks, and even stamps and currency, Acree creates a portrait of a literary culture that permeated every aspect of life. Everyday Reading argues that the introduction of the printing press into the Río de la Plata in the 1780s hastened the collapse of Spanish imperial control and played a major role in the transition to independence some thirty years later. After independence, print culture nurtured a new identity and helped sustain the region through the tumult of civil war in the mid-1800s. Acree concludes by examining the role of reading in formal education, which had grown exponentially by the early twentieth century as schoolchildren were taught to fulfill traditional roles in society. Ultimately, Everyday Reading humanizes literary culture, demonstrating its unrecognized and unexpected influence in everyday lives.