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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.
Rather than being properties of the individual self, emotions are socially produced and deployed in specific cultural contexts, as this collection documents with unusual richness. All the essays show emotions to be a form of thought and knowledge, and a major component of social life—including in the nineteenth century, which attempted to relegate them to a feminine intimate sphere.
The collection ranges across topics such as eighteenth-century sensibility, nineteenth-century concerns with the transmission of emotions, early twentieth-century cinematic affect, and the contemporary mobilization of political emotions including those regarding nonstate national identities. The complexities and effects of emotions are explored in a variety of forms—political rhetoric, literature, personal letters, medical writing, cinema, graphic art, soap opera, journalism, popular music, digital media—with attention paid to broader European and transatlantic implications.
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.
Contemporary Iberian Debates
The contributors ask the following questions:
• What are the different rhetorical strategies employed by writers, artists, filmmakers, and activists to react to the degradation of life and climate change?
• How are urban movements using environmental issues to resist corporate privatization of the commons?
• What is the shape of Spanish debates on reproductive rights and biotechnology?
• What is the symbolic significance of the bullfighting debate and other human/animal issues in today's political turmoil in Spain?
Hispanic Issues Series
Nicholas Spadaccini, Editor-in-Chief
Hispanic Issues Online
Time, Knowledge, and Subjectivity in the Twentieth-Century Iberian and Latin American Newspaper Chronicle
Rethinks the concepts of nation, imperialism, and globalization by examining the everyday writing of the newspaper chronicle and blog in Spain and Latin America.
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.
Maurophilia and the Construction of Early Modern Spain
In the Western imagination, Spain often evokes the colorful culture of al-Andalus, the Iberian region once ruled by Muslims. Tourist brochures inviting visitors to sunny and romantic Andalusia, home of the ingenious gardens and intricate arabesques of Granada's Alhambra Palace, are not the first texts to trade on Spain's relationship to its Moorish past. Despite the fall of Granada to the Catholic Monarchs in 1492 and the subsequent repression of Islam in Spain, Moorish civilization continued to influence both the reality and the perception of the Christian nation that emerged in place of al-Andalus.
In Exotic Nation, Barbara Fuchs explores the paradoxes in the cultural construction of Spain in relation to its Moorish heritage through an analysis of Spanish literature, costume, language, architecture, and chivalric practices. Between 1492 and the expulsion of the Moriscos (Muslims forcibly converted to Christianity) in 1609, Spain attempted to come to terms with its own Moorishness by simultaneously repressing Muslim subjects and appropriating their rich cultural heritage. Fuchs examines the explicit romanticization of the Moors in Spanish literature—often referred to as "literary maurophilia"—and the complex, often silent presence of Moorish forms in Spanish material culture. The extensive hybridization of Iberian culture suggests that the sympathetic depiction of Moors in the literature of the period does not trade in exoticism but instead reminded Spaniards of the place of Moors and their descendants within Spain. Meanwhile, observers from outside Spain recognized its cultural debt to al-Andalus, often deliberately casting Spain as the exotic racial other of Europe.
Between 1585 and 1631, the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega wrote more than forty-five plays dealing with the theme of conjugal honor. Drawing on recent feminist theories and touching on literary, social, and anthropological aspects, Professor Yarbro-Rejarano demonstrates that hierarchical relations of gender, race, and social status mutually inform one another as structuring principles of these plays. She takes into account plays that reveal their conventional, formulaic views of the Christian feminine ideal as well as those whose variety and flexibility present women subverting their expected roles. By identifying moments of resistance and subversion in the texts, the author argues against excessively monolithic interpretations of such discourses of containment.
Along with Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, Fernando Arrabal is a major exponent of the Theater of the Absurd. In this study Arrabal's plays are seen as a contemporary expression of a festive form of theater that flourished during the Middle Ages and that had its roots in the drama of Aeschylus and Aristophanes.
With this view of Arrabal's work, Luis Arata explores the nature of play in art in the light of Jean Piaget's psychology. He thus offers a new way to approach festive and playful art.
Calderón, the great dramatist of Spain's Golden Age, was a skilled writer of comedy. His serious dramas have long been highly regarded in the English-speaking world, but his many sparkling comedies are an untapped reservoir for the contemporary theater. The four plays in this volume, three of which appear in English for the first time, have been translated by Kenneth Muir, the noted British scholar and director.
These are comedies of intrigue. They turn on mysterious, quarrels, and jealousies, and they abound in complication and misunderstandings, yet in the end all is explained, to the delight of the audience. Muir's long experience with acting and directing and his keen ear for the nuances of the English language, together with his perceptive critical scholarship, have enabled him to produce a text that actors can speak naturally, and that modern audiences can enjoy as did the audiences of seventeenth-century Spain. The graceful, poetical dialogue and the masterly stagecraft of Calderón are undiminished in these deft translations.
The plays featured are From Bad to Worse, The Secret Spoken Aloud, The Worst is Not Always Certain, and The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Name. Ann L. Mackenzie has provided an introduction to each play and notes on the text that will be useful to the actors and directors who seek to present these comedies as they were intended -- on the stage.