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Rhetoric and Reality in Early Modern Spain

Rhetoric and Reality in Early Modern Spain

Edited by Richard J. Pym
Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 190
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  • Book Info
    Rhetoric and Reality in Early Modern Spain
    Book Description:

    Early modern Spain's insistent rhetorics of nation and kingship, of a monolithic body of shared values and beliefs, especially in respect of racial and gender stereotypes, and of a centralized and ostensibly absolutist legislative apparatus did not map unproblematically onto the complex topography of everyday life. This volume explores the extent to which these rhetorics and the ideology they helped to construct or underpin reflected or failed to reflect the realities of social, economic, and cultural life. It sets against their typically exorbitant claims the lived, messy, and sometimes contradictory experience of Spaniards across a broad social spectrum, both at the centre and at the margins, not just of peninsular society, but of the Hispanic world overseas. Confronting ideology were questions of economic pragmatism, executive feasibility, jurisdictional competence, and, above all, the social and political complexity of the Spain of the period. RICHARD J. PYM is Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London. Contributors: TREVOR J. DADSON, MARGARET RICH GREER, BARRY IFE, ALISTAIR MALCOLM, MELVEENA MCKENDRICK, RICHARD J. PYM, HELEN RAWLINGS, ALEXANDER SAMSON, JULES WHICKER

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-503-1
    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)
    (pp. ix-x)
    Richard J. Pym
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Official Rhetoric versus Local Reality: Propaganda and the Expulsion of the Moriscos
    (pp. 1-24)

    Propaganda has become such a part of twentieth- and twenty-first-century life that we sometimes forget that it is not a modern invention at all, but can be traced back many centuries, even to a time when public opinion barely existed as a notion, when governments did not have to face daily on the television or the radio probing journalists, their critics and their political opponents. The very modern concept of ‘burying bad news’ is not so modern as we might like to think, and even spin doctors spinning the news in artfully favourable ways have their counterparts in early modern...

  7. Arbitrismo and the Early Seventeenth-Century Spanish Church: The Theory and Practice of Anti-Clericalist Philosophy
    (pp. 25-40)

    The opening decades of the seventeenth century, in particular the period 1615–25, witnessed the publication of an unprecedented volume of polemical literature in Spain that focused on the acute crisis – demographic and economic in its broad dimensions – engulfing its kingdoms. The authors were a heterogeneous group of commentators, collectively known as thearbitristas, who, via their treatises, put forward a range of expedients (arbitrios) for curing the ills afflicting the body politic. Foreign observers, political theorists and members of theCortes, among others, also presented their advice to the monarch and his ministers within what was a...

  8. Law and Disorder: Anti-Gypsy Legislation and its Failures in Seventeenth-Century Spain
    (pp. 41-56)

    Anyone reviewing the lengthy catalogue of laws passed against gypsies in pre-Bourbon Spain is likely quickly to conclude that their frequent reiteration or reformulation over two centuries, usually with increased restrictions and penalties, speaks eloquently enough of their failure.¹ In fact, had the Crown ever come close to achieving its objectives of enforced sedentarization or expulsion, by the middle of the seventeenth century there would hardly have remained in Spain a footloose gypsy against whom to legislate. But remain they did, and complaints about their criminality, irreligion and reputedly scandalous lives continued much as before well into the eighteenth century...

  9. Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and the Jewess of Venice: Tolerance, Interfaith Sexuality and Converso Culture
    (pp. 57-71)

    Four years before being made responsible for the opening sessions of the Council of Trent in 1545, the Imperial ambassador, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza had spent the summer frolicking with his Jewish lover on Murano, island retreat of the Venetian patriciate. While this may seem surprising, the letters he wrote back to the imperial secretariat, detailing his affair, are even more so, casting a fascinating light on the possibility of tolerant religious and sexual attitudes in the Spain of the early 1540s. A consideration of these letters calls into question the consecrated picture ofconversosas a largely endogamous group.¹...

  10. Representing their Sex: Actresses in Seventeenth-Century Spain
    (pp. 72-91)

    It was probably the Italian players of thecommedia dell’artewho, in the late 1580s, introduced into the Spanish theatre the idea of using professional actresses. While it is difficult to believe that actors’ or actor-managers’wives before then were never recruited to perform, even if actresses were not hired specially, it remains the case that in 1587 an Italian company calledLos Confidenteshad to seek permission from the Council of Castile for its women to act. The licence, when granted, stipulated not only that actresses had to be married and were not to dress as men (a ruling promptly...

  11. Public Morality and the Closure of the Theatres in the Mid-Seventeenth Century: Philip IV, the Council of Castile and the Arrival of Mariana of Austria
    (pp. 92-112)

    On 15 November 1649, Mariana of Austria made her formal entry into Madrid as the new Queen consort of Philip IV of Spain (r. 1621–65). The welcome awaiting her was especially euphoric because her engagement had been announced as long ago as January 1647, almost three years earlier. While moving female Habsburgs around Europe had always been a major logistical enterprise, on this occasion international circumstances had contributed to make the journey particularly hazardous. A Swedish invasion of Bohemia, the outbreak of revolts in southern Italy and the Ottoman siege of Crete had forced the governments in Madrid and...

  12. The Politics of Memory in El Tuzaní de la Alpujarra
    (pp. 113-130)

    The religious and cultural tolerance that the conquering Catholic monarchs promised their Islamic subjects ‘forever and ever’ in the 1491 Capitulations lasted but a decade, as Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros’s policy of forced conversions replaced the patient evangelization efforts of Granada’s first archbishop, Hernando de Talavera, at the turn of the century. The downward spiral into what Francisco Márquez Villanueva characterizes as religious persecution and cultural genocide stretching over more than a century is a tragedy of Spain’s history both too complex and too well known to merit repetition in one more essay.² My concern herein is with the...

  13. ‘Seguid la guerra y renovad los daños’: Implicit Pacifism in Cervantes’s La Numancia
    (pp. 131-144)

    Cervantes’s play,La destruición de Numanciaprobably dates from 1583 and draws on Ambrosio de Morales’s continuation of Florián de Ocampo’sCrónica general de España(1574–86) and Alonso de Guevara’sEpístolas familiares(1539) to depict the fall of the last indigenous stronghold in the Celtiberian Wars (154–133 BC).¹ The opening scene of the play centres on the character and tactics of the Roman Consul Scipio Aemilianus Africanus (185–129 BC), who has been sent by the Roman Senate to pacify the fortified hilltop town of Numantia, whose inhabitants have risen in revolt against Roman rule. Scipio’s decision to...

  14. Here and There, acá and allá: The Origins of Authority in Oviedo’s Historia natural y general de las Indias
    (pp. 145-158)
    B. W. IFE

    Any examination of the ‘official’ ideological landscape of early modern Spain, and of the language in which that ideology was couched, must embrace the principal linguistic challenge encountered by Spaniards on both sides of the Atlantic during the sixteenth century: that of reporting, interpreting and classifying the European encounter with the New World. Few events in history can have put such strain on pre-existing narrative strategies as were placed on the linguistic resources taken by theconquistadoresto America in and after 1492. Generations of eye-witnesses struggled to bridge the gaps between what they saw, what they understood and what...

    (pp. 159-172)
  16. INDEX
    (pp. 173-177)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 178-178)