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  • Preface. Re-Envisioning Early Modern Iberia: Visuality, Materiality, History
  • Barbara Fuchs

The essays collected in this special issue of Hispanic Review were first presented at a symposium at the University of Pennsylvania on February 15, 2008, where they were followed by the roundtable “Grounding Interdisciplinarity.” Probing the boundaries of the field, this volume includes some of the most exciting new directions in early modern Hispanic studies. The essays collected here are not just interdisciplinary but intellectually expansive: they take as their purview the culture of the early modern Hispanic world without dividing it up according to our own anachronistic paradigms. These critics look broadly at textual, pictorial, cartographic, and material representations. They engage closely with the period’s multifaceted imaginary, recovering the considerable ideological force that shaped even the most “objective” of representations, as in Ricardo Padrón’s study of the cartographic creation of a Hispanic Pacific Ocean. They probe in a highly self-conscious manner the problems attendant upon writing marginal histories, or the histories of figures marginalized by the canon, such as the black freedman poet Juan Latino, in Elizabeth Wright’s essay, or, in Karina Galperin’s, the much-maligned Dido, queen of Carthage. They recover urban practices, such as the tapado, anatomized here by Amanda Wunder and Laura Bass, or gambling, analyzed by Enrique García Santo-Tomás, too disreputable to figure into mainstream historical scholarship, and note how those practices nonetheless contributed to fashioning the everyday existence of early modern men and women. Most importantly, perhaps, these studies revisit cultural touchstones—the battle of Lepanto, the city of Madrid—with a skeptical eye, showing how the literary and pictorial texts that record them can fundamentally re-envision their ideological valence.

In an effort to reproduce the dialogic and collaborative nature of the initial [End Page v] symposium, I have asked each of the presenters to write a response to one of the other essays in the collection. These responses usefully educe the potential of each essay, imagining the disciplinary vector that leads from it to new work, in novel articulations of the field. [End Page vi]

Barbara Fuchs
University of Pennsylvania


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