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Francesc Eiximenis and the Court Culture of Medieval and Early Modern Iberia
In Chariots of Ladies, Nuria Silleras-Fernandez traces the development of devotion and female piety among the Iberian aristocracy from the late Middle Ages into the Golden Age, and from Catalonia to the rest of Iberia and Europe via the rise of the Franciscan Observant movement. A program of piety and morality devised by Francesc Eiximenis, a Franciscan theologian, royal counselor, and writer in Catalonia in the 1390s, came to characterize the feminine ideal in the highest circles of the Iberian aristocracy in the era of the Empire. As Eiximenis's work was adapted and translated into Castilian over the century and a half that followed, it became a model of devotion and conduct for queens and princesses, including Isabel the Catholic and her descendants, who ruled over Portugal and the Spanish Empire of the Hapsburgs.
Silleras-Fernandez uses archival documentation, letters, manuscripts, incunabula, and a wide range of published material to clarify how Eiximenis's ideas on gender and devotion were read by Countess Sanxa Ximenis d'Arenós and Queen Maria de Luna of Aragon and how they were then changed by his adaptors and translators in Castile for new readers (including Isabel the Catholic and Juana the Mad), and in sixteenth-century Portugal for new patronesses (Juana’s daughter, Catalina of Habsburg, and Catalina’s daughter, Maria Manuela, first wife of Philip II). Chariots of Ladies casts light on a neglected dimension of encounter and exchange in Iberia from the late fourteenth to the mid-sixteenth centuries.
Distinguishing figural or typological allegory -- a method adapted from the Christian exegesis of the Old Testament -- from the broader Hellenistic concept of allegory, this book examines its use in representative poems of early Hispanic literature. The author focuses on the thematic and structural employment of this originally nonliterary device and comments on the literary problems it posed and the artistic effects which were achieved by it. The development of this particular allegorical method in medieval Hispanic literature -- works in Spanish, Portuguese, Galician, and Catalan -- he shows, was fully equal to that found in the medieval Latin, Italian, and English literatures, and an understanding of its use serves to clarify the interpretation of many individual poems.
Alfonso X (1221--1284) reigned as king of Castile and León from 1252 until his death. Known to history as El Sabio, the Wise, or the Learned, his appreciation for science and the arts led him to sponsor a number of books on the history of Spain since its Roman settlement. Among them were the Cantigas de Santa Maria, a collection of over four hundred poems exalting his favorite patron saint, Mary, and chronicles of all the kings of Castile and León, Navarre, Aragón, and Portugal.
Alfonso X died before his own life could be written. His was a reign fraught with political intrigue and double crosses, almost constant war and equally constant diplomacy, royal largesse and economic instability -- all of which led to open revolt and efforts by Alfonso's own son to depose the king. It would be another sixty-some years before King Alfonso XI would commission Fernán Sánchez de Valladolid to write Cronica de Alfonso X to memorialize his great-grandfather. As Alfonso XI's trusted counselor, ambassador, diplomat, and legist, Fernán was an understandable choice, but in the centuries since, his convoluted prose has proven extremely difficult extremely difficult for scholars.
Chronicle of Alfonso X is the first and only translation of the king's history. The original "clumsy Castilian" of Fernán Sánchez has now been transformed into literate and engaging English.
The Politics of History in Medieval and Early Modern Spain
Monarchs throughout the ages have commissioned official histories that cast their reigns in a favorable light for future generations. These accounts, sanctioned and supported by the ruling government, often gloss over the more controversial aspects of a king's or queen’s time on the throne. Instead, they present highly selective and positive readings of a monarch’s contribution to national identity and global affairs. In Clio and the Crown, Richard L. Kagan examines the official histories of Spanish monarchs from medieval times to the middle of the 18th century. He expertly guides readers through the different kinds of official histories commissioned: those whose primary focus was the monarch; those that centered on the Spanish kingdom as a whole; and those that celebrated Spain’s conquest of the New World. In doing so, Kagan also documents the life and work of individual court chroniclers, examines changes in the practice of official history, and highlights the political machinations that influenced the redaction of such histories. Just as world leaders today rely on fast-talking press officers to explain their sometimes questionable actions to the public, so too did the kings and queens of medieval and early modern Spain. Monarchs often went to great lengths to exert complete control over the official history of their reign, physically intimidating historians, destroying and seizing manuscripts and books, rewriting past histories, and restricting history writing to authorized persons. Still, the larger practice of history writing—as conducted by nonroyalist historians, various scholars and writers, and even church historians—provided a corrective to official histories. Kagan concludes that despite its blemishes, the writing of official histories contributed, however imperfectly, to the practice of historiography itself.
Mary and the Politics of Seventeenth-Century Spanish Theater
Few characters were as ubiquitous in the collective consciousness of early modern Spain as the Virgin Mary. By the 1600s, the cult of the Immaculate Conception had become so popularized that the Hapsburg monarchy issued a decree in defense of the Virgin's purity. In a climate of political disharmony, however, this revered icon—often pictured as the passive, chaste, and pious mother of God—would become an archetype of paradox within the Spanish imagination. In The Comedia of Virginity, Mirzam Perez underscores how the character of the Virgin Mary was represented on the theater stage. Following a concise account of the historical, academic, and political forces operating within Hapsburg Spain, Perez dissects three comedias—three-act productions featuring both drama and comedy—and draws out their multivalent interpretations of Mary. In their own ways, these secular comedias reproduced an uncommonly empowering feminine vision while making light of the Virgin's purity. The Mary of the stage was an active, sinuous, even sensual force whom playwrights would ultimately use to support a fracturing monarchy.
Communities in Fiction reads six novels or stories (one each by Trollope, Hardy, Conrad, Woolf, Pynchon, and Cervantes) in the light of theories of community worked out (contradictorily) by Raymond Williams, Martin Heidegger, and Jean-Luc Nancy. _x000B_The book’s topic is the question of how communities or noncommunities are represented in fictional works. Such fictional communities help the reader understand real communities, including those in which the reader lives. As against the presumption that the trajectory in literature from Victorian to modern to postmodern is the story of a gradual loss of belief in the possibility of community, this book demonstrates that communities have always been presented in fiction as precarious and fractured. Moreover, the juxtaposition of Pynchon and Cervantes in the last chapter demonstrates that period characterizations are never to be trusted. All the features both thematic and formal that recent critics and theorists such as Fredric Jameson and many others have found to characterize postmodern fiction are already present in Cervantes’s wonderful early seventeenth-century “Exemplary Story,” “The Dogs’ Colloquy.” All the themes and narrative devices of Western fiction from the beginning of the print era to the present were there at the beginning, in Cervantes. _x000B_Most of all, however, Communities in Fiction looks in detail at its six fictions, striving to see just what they say, what stories they tell, and what narratological and rhetorical devices they use to say what they do say and to tell the stories they do tell. The book attempts to communicate to its readers the joy of reading these works and to argue for the exemplary insight they provide into what Heidegger called Mitsein, being together in communities that are always problematic and unstable. _x000B_
Epistolary Fiction and Queer Desire in Modern Spain
The Evolution of Galdos's "Fortunata y Jacinta"
In this book the author gets to the very core of what makes a successful and dynamic enterprise. Building upon his earlier work, The Ascendant Organization, and slaying a number of business fads and sacred cows along the way, he shows how to energize the enterprise in key areas such as leadership, teamwork, and innovation. With the use of many examples and cases and building upon considerable experience he shows the way forward for companies to achieve a sense of purpose and to energize their organizations. If you are tired of the latest business fad, then this will be the book for you.
Jews and Authority in the Crown of Aragon
In Contested Treasure, Thomas Barton examines how the Jews in the Crown of Aragon in the twelfth through fourteenth centuries negotiated the overlapping jurisdictions and power relations of local lords and the crown. The thirteenth century was a formative period for the growth of royal bureaucracy and the development of the crown’s legal claims regarding the Jews. While many Jews were under direct royal authority, significant numbers of Jews also lived under nonroyal and seigniorial jurisdiction. Barton argues that royal authority over the Jews (as well as Muslims) was far more modest and contingent on local factors than is usually recognized. Diverse case studies reveal that the monarchy’s Jewish policy emerged slowly, faced considerable resistance, and witnessed limited application within numerous localities under nonroyal control, thus allowing for more highly differentiated local modes of Jewish administration and coexistence. Contested Treasure refines and complicates our portrait of interfaith relations and the limits of royal authority in medieval Spain, and it presents a new approach to the study of ethnoreligious relations and administrative history in medieval European society.
The Jewish community of medieval Spain was the largest and most important in the West for more than a thousand years, participating fully in cultural and political affairs with Muslim and Christian neighbors. This stable situation began to change in the 1390s, and through the next century hundreds of thousands of Jews converted to Christianity. Norman Roth argues here with detailed documentation that, contrary to popular myth, the conversos were sincere converts who hated (and were hated by) the remaining Jewish community. Roth examines in depth the reasons for the Inquisition against the conversos, and the eventual expulsion of all Jews from Spain.
“With scrupulous scholarship based on a profound knowledge of the Hebrew, Latin, and Spanish sources, Roth sets out to shatter all existing preconceptions about late medieval society in Spain.”—Henry Kamen, Journal of Ecclesiastical History
“Scholarly, detailed, researched, and innovative. . . . As the result of Roth’s writing, we shall need to rethink our knowledge and understanding of this period.”—Murray Levine, Jewish Spectator
“The fruit of many years of study, investigation, and reflection, guaranteed by the solid intellectual trajectory of its author, an expert in Jewish studies. . . . A contribution that will be particularly valuable for the study of Spanish medievalism.”—Miguel Angel Motis Dolader, Annuario de Estudios Medievales