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Area and Ethnic Studies > Iberian Studies

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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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A King Travels

Festive Traditions in Late Medieval and Early Modern Spain

Teofilo F. Ruiz

A King Travels examines the scripting and performance of festivals in Spain between 1327 and 1620, offering an unprecedented look at the different types of festivals that were held in Iberia during this crucial period of European history. Bridging the gap between the medieval and early modern eras, Teofilo Ruiz focuses on the travels and festivities of Philip II, exploring the complex relationship between power and ceremony, and offering a vibrant portrait of Spain's cultural and political life.

Ruiz covers a range of festival categories: carnival, royal entries, tournaments, calendrical and noncalendrical celebrations, autos de fe, and Corpus Christi processions. He probes the ritual meanings of these events, paying special attention to the use of colors and symbols, and to the power relations articulated through these festive displays. Ruiz argues that the fluid and at times subversive character of medieval festivals gave way to highly formalized and hierarchical events reflecting a broader shift in how power was articulated in late medieval and early modern Spain. Yet Ruiz contends that these festivals, while they sought to buttress authority and instruct different social orders about hierarchies of power, also served as sites of contestation, dialogue, and resistance.

A King Travels sheds new light on Iberian festive traditions and their unique role in the centralizing state in early modern Castile.

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Kinship and Polity in the Poema de Mio Cid

by Michael Harney

This study of the social content of the only surviving Spanish epic provides a means of assessing the motives and intentions of the protagonist and of other characters. Chapters are devoted to such themes as the multifarious significance of kinship and lineage, with special attention to the role of fathers, uncles, and cousins in the world of clan loyalties; amity as a system of fictive kinship, personal honor, and public organization; the importance of women, and the meaning and function of marriage, dowry, and related practices; the emergence of the polity as a rivalry of social, legal, and economic systems; and the implications, within an essentially kin-ordered world, of the poem's notions of shame, honor, status, and social inequality.

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Knowing Subjects

Cognitive Cultural Studies and Early Modern Spanish Literature

by Barbara Simerka

In Knowing Subjects, Barbara Simerka uses an emergent field of literary study—cognitive cultural studies—to delineate new ways of looking at early modern Spanish literature and to analyze cognition and social identity in Spain at the time. Simerka analyzes works by Cervantes and Gracían, as well as picaresque novels and comedias. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, she brings together several strands of cognitive theory and details the synergies among neurological, anthropological, and psychological discoveries that provide new insights into human cognition.

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La corónica: A Journal of Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Vol. 29 (2000) through current issue

La corónica is a refereed journal published every spring and fall by the Modern Language Association’s Division on Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. It publishes groundbreaking articles written in English or Spanish on topics in medieval Spanish cultural studies, literature, and historical linguistics. Devoted to Hispanomedievalism in its broadest sense, La corónica also welcomes scholarship that transcends the linguistic and/or cultural borders of Spanish and explores the interconnectedness of those languages and cultures that coexisted in medieval Iberia. In addition to articles, La corónica features book reviews, reports, discussion forums, professional notices, and special thematic issues.

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La Diana of Montemayor as Social and Religious Teaching

Bruno M. Damiani

Jorge de Montemayor's great pastoral novel La Diana (1559), one of the fountainheads of Spanish Renaissance literature, has often been regarded as a work written merely to amuse an effete courtly world. Bruno M. Damiani argues here that, far from being simply a "pastoral dream," Diana has profound socio-historical and religious dimensions, and that Montemayor's intentions in it were largely moral and instructive.

The timeless, idyllic nature which forms the essence of the pastoral is, in the case of Diana, inextricably bound up with the grace and sophistication of urban Spanish culture. Indeed, this study shows, Montemayor's shepherds and shepherdesses exist not in an imaginary Arcadian land but in the very real Spain and Portugal of their author's own time, and many of the characters are disguises for actual persons of the Spanish court, including perhaps the author himself.

Similarly, the philosophical and religious concerns of Renaissance Spain are fully explored in the lives of Montemayor's sorrowing rustics. Symbolically they are sinners who have fallen from grace and must undertake a spiritual pilgrimage, one which ultimately leads them to an understanding of the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

Mustering a wealth of classical, biblical, medieval, and Renaissance sources, the author reveals the underlying fabric of Diana, an inter-twining of allegory, symbolism, and imagery intended to instruct Monte-mayor's readers in the path of virtue. Damiani's analysis of this important work offers us a clearer view of the intellectual life of Renaissance Spain.

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La espada, el rayo y la pluma

Quevedo y los campos literario y de poder

by Carlos Gutiérrez

This text explores the literary, cultural and political relationships of Francisco de Quevedo (1580–1645), one of the major writers of the Spanish Golden Age. It establishes the birth and development of the first Spanish literary field circa 1600 then focuses on the relationship between the literary field and the field of power (the King, the court at large and the Catholic Church hierarchy).

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La tradición manuscrita de los Sueños de Quevedo y la primera edición

by James Crosby

Francisco de Quevedo, the Spanish poet and satirist whose books were by far the most widely read in Spain in the 17 th century, died unaware that his genius had created modern satire in Spanish, and that for the ensuing five centuries, as we now know, his name would be a household word wherever Spanish was spoken. Between 1605 and 1621, Quevedo wrote a sequence of five "Dreams" or "Visions" ( Suenos y discursos ), in each of which he hilariously envisions Spanish society as populated by people rightfully condemned to Hell. These astonishingly witty and irreverent satires of contemporary Spanish culture, morality, prejudice and religious fanaticism, were composed in a style so allusive, elliptical and equivocal as to successfully entertain both those who barely understood their full range and import, and others who celebrated the poet's rebellious insinuations. Censorship prohibited the publication of such satire in its original form, but hundreds of copies were made by hand and circulated widely. In 1993 a critical edition of all of the surviving manuscripts was published. Today the Suenos are commonly read in modern editions of the first censored version, printed in 1627. The present book ( La tradicion. . . ), compares this version with all of the 43 extant manuscripts, and for the first time identifies those groups of manuscripts from which the publishers of the first edition derived their text. This text can now be seen as a version not only censored, but corrupted successively by copyists and editors who did not understand Quevedo's satire, and did not hesitate to add entire clauses, omit others and transfer sentences from one place to another.

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La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes y de sus fortunas y adversidades

Edited by Everett W. Hesse and Harry F. Williams

    First published in 1554 and banned by the Inquisition, the anonymous Lazarillo de Tormes begat a whole new genre—the picaresque novel. This classic has had enduring popularity as a literary expression of Spanish identity and emotion. Through its daring autobiographical form the reader observes the magnificent, conquering Spain of Charles the Fifth through the inner consciousness of the humble Lazarillo.
    This editon includes the annotated Spanish-language text and prologue (with modernized and regularized spelling) , a full vocabulary, and concise footnotes explaining allusions and translating phrases of varying difficulty.

Spanish-language with introductions in English

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The Latin American Literary Boom and U.S. Nationalism during the Cold War

Deborah Cohn

During the 1960s and 1970s, when writers such as Julio Cortazar, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa entered the international literary mainstream, Cold War cultural politics played an active role in disseminating their work in the United States. Deborah Cohn documents how U.S. universities, book and journal publishers, philanthropic organizations, cultural centers, and authors coordinated their efforts to bring Latin American literature to a U.S. reading public during this period, when interest in the region was heightened by the Cuban Revolution. She also traces the connections between the endeavors of private organizations and official foreign policy goals.


The high level of interest in Latin America paradoxically led the U.S. government to restrict these authors' physical presence in the United States through the McCarranWalter Act's immigration blacklist, even as cultural organizations cultivated the exchange of ideas with writers and sought to market translations of their work for the U.S. market.

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