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Area and Ethnic Studies > Iberian Studies

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Iberian Jewish Literature Cover

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Iberian Jewish Literature

Between al-Andalus and Christian Europe

Jonathan P. Decter

This stimulating and graceful book explores Iberian Jewish attitudes toward cultural transition during the 12th and 13th centuries, when growing intolerance toward Jews in Islamic al-Andalus and the southward expansion of the Christian Reconquista led to the relocation of Jews from Islamic to Christian domains. By engaging literary topics such as imagery, structure, voice, landscape, and geography, Jonathan P. Decter traces attitudes toward transition that range from tenacious longing for the Islamic past to comfort in the Christian environment. Through comparison with Arabic and European vernacular literatures, Decter elucidates a medieval Hebrew poetics of estrangement and nostalgia, poetic responses to catastrophe, and the refraction of social issues in fictional narratives.

Published with the generous support of the Koret Foundation.

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Ideologies of Hispanism

Edited by Mabel Moraña

Bringing together contributions from top specialists in Hispanic studies - both Peninsular and Latin American - this volume explores a variety of critical issues related to the historical, political, and ideological configuration of the field. Dealing with Hispanism in both Latin America and the United States, the book’s multidisciplinary essays range from historical studies of the hegemonic status of Castillian language in Spain and America to the analysis of otherness and the uses of memory and oblivion in various nationalist discourses on both sides of the Atlantic. Wide-ranging though they are, these essays are linked by an understanding of Hispanism as a cultural construction that originates with the conquest of America and assumes different intellectual and political meanings in different periods, from the time of national cultural consolidation, to the era of modernization, to the more recent rise of globalization.

The Illusions of Doctor Faustino Cover

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The Illusions of Doctor Faustino

a novel

Juan Valera

Translated from the Spanish by Robert M. Fedorchek with an introduction by Agnes Moncy

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Imperial Lyric

New Poetry and New Subjects in Early Modern Spain

By Leah Middlebrook

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.

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Impurity of Blood

Defining Race in Spain, 1870-1930

Joshua Goode

Although Francisco Franco courted the Nazis as allies during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, the Spanish dictator’s racial ideals had little to do with the kind of pure lineage that obsessed the Nazis. Indeed, Franco’s idea of race—that of a National Catholic state as the happy meeting grounds of many different peoples willingly blended together—differed from most European conceptions of race in this period and had its roots in earlier views of Spanish racial identity from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In Impurity of Blood, Joshua Goode traces the development of racial theories in Spain from 1870 to 1930 in the burgeoning human science of anthropology and in political and social debates, exploring the counterintuitive Spanish proposition that racial mixture rather than racial purity was the bulwark of national strength. Goode begins with a history of ethnic thought in Spain in the medieval and early modern era, and then details the formation of racial thought in Spain’s nascent human sciences. He goes on to explore the political, social, and cultural manifestations of racial thought at the dawn of the Franco regime and, finally, discusses its ramifications in Francoist Spain and post–World War II Europe. In the process, he brings together normally segregated historiographies of race in Europe. Goode analyzes the findings of Spanish racial theorists working to forge a Spanish racial identity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when race and racial sciences were most in vogue across Europe. Spaniards devised their own racial identities using scientifically substantiated racial ideas and confronted head-on the apparent limitations of Spain’s history by considering them as the defining characteristics of la raza española. The task of the Spanish social sciences was to trace the history of racial fusion: to study both the separate elements of the Spanish composition and the factors that had nurtured them. Ultimately, by exploring the development of Spanish racial thought between 1870 and 1930, Goode demonstrates that national identity based on mixture—the inclusion rather than the exclusion of different peoples—did not preclude the establishment of finely wrought and politically charged racial hierarchies. Providing a new comprehensive view of racial thought in Spain and its connections to the larger twentieth-century formation of racial thought in the West, Impurity of Blood will enlighten and inform scholars of Spanish and European history, racial theory, historical anthropology, and the history of science.

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Indios en escena

La representación del amerindio en el teatro del Siglo de Oro

by Moisés Castillo

Indios en escena engages both the Baroque and Colonial fields of Hispanism in order to reevaluate fourteen major plays of Spanish Golden Age literature from a social-historical perspective. Castillo argues that these plays portray Amerindians not in their “otherness” but as subjects of empire.

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The Inverted Conquest

The Myth of Modernity and the Transatlantic Onset of Modernism

Alejandro Mejías-López

Modernismo (1880s–1920s) is considered one of the most groundbreaking literary movements in Hispanic history, as it transformed literature in Spanish to an extent not seen since the Renaissance. As Alejandro Mejías-López demonstrates, however, modernismo was also groundbreaking in another, more radical way: it was the first time a postcolonial literature took over the literary field of the former European metropolis. Expanding Bourdieu’s concepts of cultural field and symbolic capital beyond national boundaries, The Inverted Conquest shows how modernismo originated in Latin America and traveled to Spain, where it provoked a complete renovation of Spanish letters and contributed to a national identity crisis. In the process, described by Latin American writers as a reversal of colonial relations, modernismo wrested literary and cultural authority away from Spain, moving the cultural center of the Hispanic world to the Americas. Mejías-López further reveals how Spanish American modernistas confronted the racial supremacist claims and homogenizing force of an Anglo-American modernity that defined the Hispanic as un-modern. Constructing a new Hispanic genealogy, modernistas wrote Spain as the birthplace of modernity and themselves as the true bearers of the modern spirit, moved by the pursuit of knowledge, cosmopolitanism, and cultural miscegenation, rather than technology, consumption, and scientific theories of racial purity. Bound by the intrinsic limits of neocolonial and postcolonial theories, scholarship has been unwilling or unable to explore modernismo’s profound implications for our understanding of Western modernities.

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Juan de Sogovia and the Fight for Peace

Christians and Muslims in the Fifteenth Century

Anne Marie Wolf

Juan de Segovia (d. 1458), theologian, translator of the Qur'an, and lifelong advocate for the forging of peaceful relations between Christians and Muslims, was one of Europe's leading intellectuals. Today, however, few scholars are familiar with this important fifteenth-century figure. In this well-documented study, Anne Marie Wolf presents a clear, chronological narrative that follows the thought and career of Segovia, who taught at the University of Salamanca, represented the university at the Council of Basel (1431–1449), and spent his final years arguing vigorously that Europe should eschew war with the ascendant Ottoman Turks and instead strive to convert them peacefully to Christianity. What could make a prominent thinker, especially one who moved in circles of power, depart so markedly from the dominant views of his day and advance arguments that he knew would subject him to criticism and even ridicule? Although some historians have suggested that the multifaith heritage of his native Spain accounts for his unconventional belief that peaceful dialogue with Muslims was possible, Wolf argues that other aspects of his life and thought were equally important, especially his approach to the Bible and his experience at the Council of Basel, where his defense of conciliarism in the face of opposition contributed to his ability to defend an unpopular position and where his insistence on conversion through peaceful means was bolstered by discussions about the proper way to deal with the Hussites. Ultimately Wolf demonstrates that Segovia's thought on Islam and the proper Christian stance toward the Muslim world was consistent with his approach to other endeavors and with cultural and intellectual movements at play throughout his career.

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Juanita la Larga

a Novel

Juan Valera

Juanita la Larga (1896), the third of Juan Valera's eponymous novels with a female protagonist, unfolds in a small town in nineteenth-century Spain and tells the story of a young girl's romance with a wealthy widower many years her senior.

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Judging Maria de Macedo

A Female Visionary and the Inquisition in Early Modern Portugal

Bryan Givens

On February 20, 1665, the Inquisition of Lisbon arrested Maria de Macedo, the wife of a midlevel official of the Portuguese Treasury, after she revealed during a deposition that, since she was ten years old, an enchanted Moor had frequently “taken” her to a magical castle in the legendary land of wonders known as the Hidden Isle. The island paradise was also the home of Sebastian, the former king of Portugal (1557–1578), who had died in battle in Morocco while on crusade in 1578. His body remained undiscovered, however, and many people in seventeenth-century Portugal—including Maria—eagerly awaited his return in glory. In Judging Maria de Macedo, Bryan Givens offers a microhistorical examination of Maria’s trial before the Inquisition in Lisbon in 1665–1666, providing an intriguing glimpse into Portuguese culture at the time. Maria’s trial record includes a unique piece of evidence: a pamphlet she dictated to her husband fifteen years before her arrest. In the pamphlet, reproduced in its entirety in the book, Maria recounts in considerable detail her “journeys” to the Hidden Isle and her discussions with the people there, King Sebastian in particular. Not all of the components of Maria’s vision were messianic in nature or even Christian in origin; her beliefs therefore represent a unique synthesis of disparate cultural elements in play in seventeenth-century Portugal. Because the pamphlet antedates the Inquisition’s involvement in Maria’s case, it offers a rare example of a non-elite voice preserved without any mediation from an elite institution such as the Inquisition, as is the case with most early modern judicial records. In addition to analyzing Maria de Macedo’s vision, Givens also uses the trial record to gain insight into the values, concerns, and motives of the Inquisitors in their judgment of her unusual case. He thus not only examines separately two important subcultures in early modern Portugal, but also analyzes how they interacted with each other. Introducing a unique feminine voice from the early modern period, Judging Maria de Macedo opens a singular window onto seventeenth-century Portuguese culture.

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