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Cultural Capital, Language and National Identity in Imperial Spain

Cultural Capital, Language and National Identity in Imperial Spain

Series: Monografías A
Volume: 311
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Cultural Capital, Language and National Identity in Imperial Spain
    Book Description:

    This innovative study examines the cultural mechanisms in early modern Spain that led to the translation, imitation and selective adoption of the values embodied by the Italian Renaissance. These mechanisms served to delineate a national tradition that addressed the needs of a changing society and gave a 'Spanish' physiognomy to the Italian experience, which ultimately led to the Golden Age. By examining such important texts as the sentimental fictions of Diego de San Pedro and Juan de Flores, the Spanish translation of 'Orlando Furioso', 'Don Quixote', and the 'Polifemo', Binotti first describes the conditions imposed on book production by both the expectations of an elite audience and the limitations of the printing market while outlining the process of the creation of an expressive poetic language and the quest for literary models. She then looks at Ambrosio de Morales' chronicles and Bernardo de Aldrete's 'Del Origen', showing how a cultural discourse founded on foreign scholarship paved the way for the establishment of innovative-and autochtonous-methods of historical and scientific analysis in the early seventeenth-century. LUCIA BINOTTI is an associate professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-092-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. List of illustrations
    (pp. viii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. 1-14)

    This book analyzes various ways in which sixteenth-century Spanish cultural elites constructed a pre-national collective identity – an autochthonous Renaissance – by reinventing those cultural principles which, in Italy, had originally created the concept of the Renaissance as a self-explanatory category.¹

    Those of us who study the Spanish early modern period – whether we look at its literary and artistic production or analyze and interpret its social, economical and political landscape – are familiar with the tensions embedded in the competitive relationship that the Spaniards, seeking to shape national models for their culture, instituted with the Italian Renaissance. This competition...

  6. Part I: Patronage, Audiences and Cultural Markets

    • 1 The Italian Appropriation of Sentimental Fiction
      (pp. 17-50)

      The great success of sentimental fiction during the first half of the sixteenth century indicates that, although these kinds of works may have originally been addressed to an exclusive readership pre-eminently preoccupied with the cultivation of courtly ideals and behaviors, they quickly attracted a much more heterogeneous public. This community was composed not only of noblemen intent on discovering the emblems of a longed-for world which was swiftly waning, but also of a bourgeois audience that found in these texts the elements of a behavioral code that could improve their status. From this perspective, the editorial fortune of the translations...

    • 2 Shaping Cultural Capital Away From Home: Literature and Canon Formation from Ariosto to Cervantes
      (pp. 51-94)

      The early sixteenth-century Italian appropriation of Spanish sentimental fiction developed through channels that followed the limited horizons of a new enterprise, the printing press. Though still in its infancy, at that moment its apparatus was extending its reach in symbiosis with the changing tastes and leisure patterns of an expanding social class. But by mid century, the printing press had blossomed into much more than a full-fledged industry, and that partnership with the expanding reading public had morphed into the immense power to influence and define the ideology of an entire era. The political and cultural programs that the incipient...

    • 3 Visual Eroticism, Poetic Voyeurism: Ekphrasis and the Complexities of Patronage in Góngora’s Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea
      (pp. 95-126)

      Luis de Góngora y Argote’s mythological poem Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea has received uninterrupted attention since it first circulated in manuscript at the court of Madrid in 1613. At the time, the object – along with Góngora’s other long poem, Soledades – of fiery and scandalized repulsion as much as of exultant praise, Polifemo today is considered a masterwork of Spanish Baroque poetry.

      Based on the Ovidian fable of the ill-fated love between the nymph Galatea and the young shepherd Acis, the poem departs from and expands upon Ovid’s version, focusing on the amorous encounter that will bring about...

  7. Part II: Philology, Ideology and Institutional Culture

    • 4 Creating Identity: Ambrosio de Morales and the Re-writing of Spanish History
      (pp. 129-148)

      The life of Ambrosio de Morales (b. Cordoba, 1513) occupied almost the entire sixteenth century, but the bulk of his work was circulated in manuscript and in print largely during its concluding quarter. The youngest of a lineage of cultivated scholars – his father a renowned medical doctor, his uncle, Fernán Pérez de Oliva, an exquisite Latin and vernacular humanist – Morales was appointed at a very young age to the cátedra of rhetoric at the then recently founded University of Alcalá. In 1563, Philip II also appointed him royal chronicler (cronista real). In this new role, Morales embarked on...

    • 5 Historicizing Language, Imagining People: Aldrete and Linguistic Politics
      (pp. 149-172)

      By extrapolating the humanist tenets that recognized human value only in the classical tradition, fifteenth-century Italian grammarians such as Guarino Veronese had granted the status of language only to those tongues that had a written tradition (Hebrew, Greek and Latin), thus excluding the Romance and Germanic vernaculars. On the eve of the sixteenth century, while the first explorers ventured to a new continent, a few philologists strove to grant their vernaculars a status that only the sacred languages had enjoyed until then.

      Antonio de Nebrija, the Castilian grammarian celebrated for having composed the first grammar of a vernacular language, truly...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 173-184)

    Throughout the sixteenth century, the majority of the Christian territories of Europe went through a political evolution towards authoritarian monarchies. At this time, the Iberian Peninsula became the nucleus of a political entity sui generis, characterized by the consolidation of numerous kingdoms and territories under the power of one prince. This, along with the development of strong royal power, transformed it into one of the pre-eminent models of authoritarian monarchy, or the “Modern State.”

    The Catholic Monarchs carried out the first great process of territorial aggregation, which constituted the nucleus of the Hispanic monarchy, with the Crown of Castile playing...

    (pp. 185-204)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 205-208)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 209-209)