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Reviews239 Mclnnis,Judy B., Ed. Models in Medieval Iberian Literature and Their Modern Reflections: Convivencia as Structural, Cultural, and Sexual Ideal. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta, 2002. Ivii + 377 pp. ISBN 158871 -009-2 Models in Medieval Iberian Literature and Their Modern Reflections is a compilation of articles selected from papers originally presented at two conferences in 1998, and published as an homage volume for the late Juan Espadas. The editor presents this seemingly disparate collection as unified by the concept of convivencia, a notion that has usually been applied to the phenomenon of cultural tolerance in medieval Iberia, where communities of Muslims, Jews and Christians co-existed. While convivencia is said to have come to an end after the historical events at the end of the fifteenth century to favor the construction of a national identity based on religious unity in Christianity, in this book the traditional use of the term is enriched and its scope amplified. As Judy Mclnnis explains: "one might say that while it [conmvencia] ceased in relation to cultural minorities, it has existed universally in the necessary co-existence of men and women. ... [The latter formed] a subjugated population within a dominant phallocentric structure" (xi). In this sense, the term convivencia articulated in this volume equates notions of ethnic or religious difference with that of gender difference in the study of the economies of power in Iberian societies. Explained this way, convivencia ceases to be a concept exclusive for the study of the Hispanic ethnic diversity of the Middle Ages and is stretched to reach forward not only to describe gender interaction, but also to illustrate the political and cultural complexity of present day Spain. This last treatment, the one that links past and present, finds its way into the collection by offering the study of several cases of modern and contemporary Spanish writers who delve into Spain's medieval past to explain their current anxieties. The book is divided in three sections. The first, "Models in Iberian Medieval Literature", contains articles that focus primarily on medieval female centered literature. John E. Keller's "The Blessed Virgin as a Patron of the Arts and Letters" briefly describes the plot of five of the Cantigas de Santa María where Mary is presented as a protector of poets who celebrated her. José L. Freire's "The Cantigas de Santa María: Social Perception and Literary Portrayal ofJews and Muslims and Historical Reality" reviews the extant scholarship on the topic followed by a brief historical analysis of the social roles of Muslims and Jews La corónica 32.2 (Spring, 2004): 239-41 240ReviewsLa corónica 32.2, 2004 in medieval Spain. Freiré also includes an Appendix with an annotated bibliography of works on the Jewish and Muslim presence in the Cantigas. Anthony J. Cárdenas's "The Theophilus Legend in Prose, Poetry, and Miniatures of the Códice Rico of Alfonso X: Compacting with Hell and Closing the Devil's Gate" examines the differences between the visual and textual versions of the Theophilus legend that are presented in the Cantiga 3. These are its poetic and pictorial forms, plus the variant reading in the marginal prosification in Castilian, which include the novel and original character ofTheophilus's wife as an active agent for the sinner's repentance. Another instance of a woman as a religious model, apart from those that appear in the Cantigas, is presented in Roxana Recio's "Mary Magdalene in Medieval Catalan Literature", which examines the depiction of an assertive Mar)' Magdalene through whose story the spiritual practice of the devotio moderna was introduced to Catalan readers. Models of feminine behavior are explained in Antonio Torres Alcalá's "The Maiden and the Sea: Old Galician Lyrics" in which the author classifies Galician cantigas de amigo according to their structure. Then he examines the female voice ofthe maiden in these poems which, he argues, explore a female psyche which relates better to nature and emotions than the male psyche. Another model of feminine behavior is underlined in "What Women Heard in Medieval Spanish Tales", where Nydia Rivera Gloeckner offers a commentary on El Conde Lucanor s pedagogical depiction of married women. Models of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1947-4261
Print ISSN
0193-3892
Pages
pp. 239-241
Launched on MUSE
2012-04-04
Open Access
No
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