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Medieval Iberia

Medieval Iberia: Changing Societies and Cultures in Contact and Transition

Ivy A. Corfis
Ray Harris-Northall
Series: Monografías A
Volume: 247
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 210
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  • Book Info
    Medieval Iberia
    Book Description:

    Medieval Iberia was rich in sociolinguistic and cultural diversity. This volume explores the culture, history, literature and language of the Peninsula in an attempt to understand its cultural-political complexity and its legacy. Principal themes include the representation of minority groups in the community; the challenge of social contact that could bring mutual absorption of influence or conflict; the effects of linguistic interaction and development; and the dissemination of cultural and scientific knowledge within and beyond the borders of the Peninsula. Modern interpretations of Medieval Iberia are neither static nor definitive in this kaleidoscopic field of investigation. EDITORS: Ivy A. Corfis and Ray Harris-Northall are Professors of Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. OTHER CONTRIBUTORS: Pablo Ancos, William J. Courtney, Thomas D. Cravens, Frank Domínguez, Noel Fallows, Charles F. Fraker, E. Michael Gerli, Kristin Neumayer, Stanley G. Payne, Joel Rini, Joseph T. Snow, Michael Solomon.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-570-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xviii)

    The impetus for this volume of scholarly articles on Medieval Iberia came from the interdisciplinary symposium held at the University of Wisconsin–Madison on 18–19 November 2004, co-sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Medieval Studies Program. Thirteen Madison colleagues from the departments of History, Art History, Comparative Literature, Hebrew and Semitic Studies, and Spanish and Portuguese, with the participation of two scholars from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities and Miami University (Ohio), presented papers on a wide range of topics dealing with the culture, history and letters of the medieval Iberian Peninsula. The list...


    • The Converso Condition: New Approaches to an Old Question
      (pp. 3-15)

      Post-colonial theory focuses on the problem of cultural representation and the consequent manner in which human subjects become protagonists of consciousness. In particular, it takes into consideration cultural hybridities, especially those circumstances where individuals struggle to define themselves as subjects along the frontiers of cultures in contact, paying special heed to the need of human subjects continually to renegotiate their social position in terms of constantly changing synergies of power. The fields of cultural history, as well as the ethnography of communication (e.g., studies by Geertz and Darnton), offer numerous possibilities for refocusing, nuancing and problematizing our understanding of the...

    • Speaking through Many Voices: Polyphony in the Writings of Teresa de Cartagena
      (pp. 16-29)

      Ever since Deyermond first brought Teresa de Cartagena (c.1420 – c.1460) to our attention in 1976, and then again in 1983, this time in the context of other female authors of late medieval Spain, the scholarly bibliography on Teresa and others – e.g., Leonor López de Córdoba and Florencia Pinar – has expanded rapidly. The feminist scholarship is especially admirable but still has much more to tell us about her and her irruption into a world of writing dominated by men.¹ These and other new developments in Teresa scholarship have illuminated such crucial areas as her social context, family associations, her love of...

    • Chains of Iron, Gold and Devotion: Images of Earthly and Divine Justice in the Memorias of Doña Leonor López de Córdoba
      (pp. 30-44)

      Doña Leonor López de Córdoba (c.1362–1430) wrote one of Spain’s first autobiographical narratives.¹ Unknown for most of its existence, Memorias was rediscovered in the late eighteenth century. It did not attract much interest as a literary text, however, until Ayerbe-Chaux edited it in 1977.² Since then, it has been included in many anthologies of medieval texts and become one of the most frequently-read works of the Spanish Middle Ages.

      Many critics have studied it as an independent account of the death of Pedro I of Castile and of the execution of Leonor’s father, Martín López de Córdoba, maestre of...


    • Visigoths and Asturians Reinterpreted: The Spanish Grand Narrative Restored?
      (pp. 47-56)

      Spanish history, like a good many others, has often been made the subject of a Grand Narrative of national identity, historical purpose and religious mission. Aspects of this understanding have varied, most notably between liberal nationalists and Catholic traditionalists during the nineteenth century, but for long it constituted a sort of Spanish ideology of the past. The Grand Narrative first began to be questioned in the mood of pessimism that gripped a part of the thinking of late-nineteenth-century Spain, even before 1898. Thoroughly rehabilitated and restored by Franco, it began to be yet more decisively rejected in the era of...

    • Against the Arabs: Propaganda and Paradox in Medieval Castile
      (pp. 57-69)

      The aim of this essay is to inquire into the issue of Christian propaganda and anti-Arab sentiment during the period of the Reconquest in Spain. This issue will be examined within the general context of the chivalric codes of ethics that characterized much of the medieval Castilian masculine discourse. Such discourse informed, or perhaps even controlled, the actions of the knights whose task it was to bring the Reconquest to a successful conclusion. I shall focus primarily on the fifteenth century. It was during this century, when the end of the Reconquest was clearly in sight, that anti-Arab propaganda became...

    • Conquest and Conversion in the Hispanic Chivalric Romance: The Case of Reinaldos de Montalván
      (pp. 70-84)

      In one of the few articles dedicated to the topic of conversion in the Castilian chivalric romance, Whitenack surveys Hispanic chivalric texts published between the years 1490 and 1524.¹ She finds that enforcing baptism on the principal warriors and the army en masse is a pattern found in a wide range of medieval (pre-1490) works (15). She also states that fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Castilian translations of chivalric fiction, such as Historia de los nobles cavalleros Oliveros de Castilla y Artús de Algarbe, differ little from the medieval romances, where conversion is ‘narrated perfunctorily and with little attempt to justify or...


    • Hermes Trismegistus in General Estoria II
      (pp. 87-98)

      In Part II of Alfonso el Sabio’s General Estoria (henceforth GE) there is a notable sequence of chapters dedicated to the great ‘father of philosophers’, Hermes Trismegistus (1:34–9). The main significance of this narrative lies in the fact that elsewhere in this chronicle Alfonso and his collaborators display a strong interest in Hermetic philosophy; in the early portions of Part I in particular there are passages in which Hermetic ideas seem to provide a sort of theological background to the story at hand. One could say that the episode in Part II seems to say openly what is implied...

    • Pharmaceutical Fictions: Celestina’s Laboratory and the Sixteenth-Century Medical Imaginary
      (pp. 99-109)

      In a curious and lengthy dialogue in Fernando de Rojas’ Celestina, Pármeno offers his love-struck master an extensive list of herbs, minerals, animal parts and sundry concoctions that the go-between Celestina stores or manufactures in her dilapidated shack by the river (Rojas 34–9).¹ While Celestina knocks on Calisto’s door, a concerned Pármeno inventories more than one hundred substances and alludes to the fact that there are thousands more on Celestina’s shelves. Some of these are common and seemingly benign, such as perfumes, oils and ointments made from jasmine, lemons and rosemary; others are notably arcane, such as a viper’s...

    • Spanish and Portuguese Scholars at the University of Paris in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries: The Exchange of Ideas and Texts
      (pp. 110-119)

      Accounts of the intellectual and educational development of northern France in the central and late Middle Ages rarely give much attention to ties with or scholars from the Iberian Peninsula. The Carolingian renaissance of the late eighth and ninth centuries is usually described as fueled by scholars from Italy, such as Peter of Pisa or Paul the Deacon, or from England and Ireland, such as Alcuin or John Scotus Eriugena. Contributions from a number of émigrés from Spain are less discussed. Theodulf of Orléans, Agobard of Lyons or Claudius of Turin are identified by their episcopal appointments but little attention...

    • The Primary Audience and Contexts of Reception of Thirteenth-Century Castilian cuaderna vía Poetry
      (pp. 120-135)

      Thirteenth-century Castilian cuaderna vía poems share a common system of literary production and communication. While the act of writing and the individual reading of sources played an essential role in their creation, these works were intended originally to be read aloud to a stable, homogeneous audience.¹ This would explain why authors of the sources, authors of the Romance poems, scribes, vocal emitters and receptors are all inscribed in the extant texts as co-creators (Ancos García, ‘El Autor’ and ‘La forma primaria’ 396–419). For the most part, it seems clear that the authors of the vernacular poems and their scribes,...

    • Editorial Interference in Amadís de Gaula and Sergas de Esplandián
      (pp. 136-150)

      Around the turn of the sixteenth century, printers working throughout Castile found themselves in straits so dire that the years 1501–10 have been called ‘los años negros de la edición española’ (Berger 64). In spite of Crown and Church patronage, the death of several major printers working in Spain as well as the rise of monopolies abroad left Peninsular firms struggling to survive.¹ Desperate for income, Castilian printers began to devise ways to attract the business of local readers. One strategy was the printing of previous works, especially fifteenth-century narratives, written in Spanish.² Some firms undertook to reprint popular...


    • Perils of Speaking of Orígenes de la lengua
      (pp. 153-164)

      For some, one of the most fascinating aspects of Medieval Iberia is the use of language. Who spoke what, with whom, and where? What were the languages of Iberia really like at any given time? What was it that brought about what seems to have been – from our viewpoint many centuries later – a rather sudden explosion of writing for the first time in the vernacular? Were there precipitous linguistic developments at the time that might have triggered such a shift? Were the incipience and surge in vernacular writing rooted in social change?

      These and many other questions like them are...

    • Aspects of Official Language Usage in Castile and León: Latin and the Vernacular in the Early Thirteenth Century
      (pp. 165-174)

      In a number of ways the sociopolitical situation of the Iberian Peninsula during the medieval period was unique in Europe, and the thirteenth century was, within that period, a time of important changes. In Castile and León, either as separate states or, after 1230, definitively united as a single kingdom, many of these changes were directly or indirectly related to the military advances of the Christian armies in the Islamic south. Though the ongoing military campaigns were by this time limited geographically to the south of the Peninsula, their effects resounded throughout the kingdom in terms of demographic shift, economic...

    • Considering Paradigmatic Factors in the Reduction of Old Spanish sodes > sois
      (pp. 175-184)

      The loss of /-d-/ from the segment -odes of OSp. sodes has normally been included with that of the Old Spanish second person verbal suffixes -ades, -edes and -ides. On the one hand, the inclusion of -odes in any analysis of the reduction of -ades, -edes and -ides is not only logical, but also methodologically sound, whether this reduction is viewed as a case of straightforward sound change or as the result of a combination of phonological and morphological factors. The /-d-/ occurs in the same phonetic environment (i.e., intervocalically) and constitutes the first element of the second person plural...

  9. INDEX
    (pp. 185-192)
  10. Back Matter
    (pp. 193-193)