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The Life and Times of Mother Andrea

The Life and Times of Mother Andrea: La vida y costumbres de la Madre Andrea

Edited by Enriqueta Zafra
Translated by Anne J. Cruz
Series: Textos B
Volume: 54
Copyright Date: 2011
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    The Life and Times of Mother Andrea
    Book Description:

    The anonymous novella ‘Vida y costumbres de la Madre Andrea’ [ca 1650, ‘The Life and Times of Mother Andrea’] is a fascinating account of the life of the owner/administrator of a Madrid brothel. Probably written by a Sephardic resident of Amsterdam, and following the picaresque mode of first person narrative, it details the amusing experiences of Mother Andrea, the prostitutes under her charge, and the varied social types who make up the brothel's clients. Emphasizing the corrupt practices of prostitution and the controversy over the licensing of brothels in early modern Spain, the novella proposes a highly entertaining view of the very life experiences it purports to condemn. This bilingual edition, based on the novella's only extant text, an eighteenth-century copy discovered in a Utrecht bookstore in 1950 by the late Hispanist J. A. Van Praag, offers a thorough introduction that contextualizes the novella both historically and linguistically. Its modernized and annotated edition in the original Spanish with an admirably readable English translation on facing pages will have significant impact on the study of Spanish Peninsular and Sephardic literatures and cultures, and on early modern gender studies, linguistics, and comparative literature. ENRIQUETA ZAFRA is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Trent University. ANNE J. CRUZ is Professor of Spanish and Cooper Fellow at the University of Miami.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-940-4
    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-vii)
    Anne J. Cruz and Enriqueta Zafra
    (pp. viii-viii)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-24)
    Enriqueta Zafra

    The anonymous picaresque novella Vida y costumbres de la madre Andrea (ca. 1650) has to my knowledge only one extant edition, which was published by the late distinguished Hispanist Jonas A. Van Praag (1895–1969) in the literary journal Revista de Literatura in 1958. Van Praag discovered the manuscript in 1950 in a store of antique books in the city of Utrecht, Netherlands.¹ The text consisted of 146 unnumbered pages, which later were bound in parchment and catalogued in French.²

    In his introduction to the published manuscript, Van Praag summarizes the anonymous novella, dating it to approximately 1650 on the...

  6. A Note on the Translation
    (pp. 25-33)
    Anne J. Cruz

    Language, linguists tell us, is inextricably linked to human behavior. Words anticipate, denote, connote, reveal, and conceal the actions of their speakers, and, as speech act theorists such as James L. Austin and John Searle confirm, words often are those same speakers’ acts. Both Austin’s notion of performative utterances (6) and that of Searle’s illocutionary points (Searle and Vanderveken 14) have shown that, when fulfilling certain conditions, speech devolves into action. It is no surprise, therefore, that although the anonymous poem on the false cover of the equally anonymous Life and Times of Mother Andrea seemingly censors the fictive abbess’s...

  7. Vida y costumbres de la madre Andrea
    (pp. 34-34)

    Desnuda nací y para prueba de que no engañada ni perdida¹ me veo, y dejo ver de muchos del mismo modo, desnuda me veo, que es lo mismo que pobre pero con tanta honra, que han tenido muchos que quitarme, pero sin violentarme. Porque yo espontánea y liberalmente la repartía, quedándome sin ella; mas no fui tan necia que no pidiese en recompensa el metal que la fortuna a tantos niega, que esa fue la lección primera con que me educó mi madre, que Dios tiene Él sabe adonde; la cual abracé con grande ánimo, por ser tan provechosa para...

  8. The Life and Times of Mother Andrea
    (pp. 35-150)

    I was born naked,¹ and to prove that I’ve not fallen for anything nor have myself fallen, but expose the many that have, you see me here naked, which is to say poor, yet so full of virtue that others have taken it from me effortlessly. And though I’ve shared my virtue freely and impulsively, ending up without it, I wasn’t so mindless as not to demand in exchange the silver that fortune’s denied to many. This was the first lesson taught me by my mother, who’s gone to where heaven only knows. It’s a lesson I’ve embraced enthusiastically, since...

    (pp. 151-158)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 159-164)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-165)