Spanish Society depicts a complex and fascinating country in transition from the late Middle Ages to modernity. It describes every part of society from the gluttonous nobility to their starving peasants. Through anecdotes, a lively style and portraits of figures such as St Teresa of Avila and Torquemada, the book reflects the character and humour with which the common Spaniard endured an often-wretched lot. Beginning with a description of the geography, political life, and culture of Spain from 1400 to 1600, the unfolding narrative charts the country's shifts from one age to the next. It unveils patterns of everyday life from the court to the brothel, from the 'haves' of the aristocracy and clergy to the 'have nots' of the peasantry and the urban poor. Historical records illuminate details of Spanish society such as the transition from medieval festivities to the highly-scripted spectacles of the early modern period, the reasons for violence and popular resistance and the patterns of daily living: eating, dressing, religious beliefs and concepts of honour and sexuality. This compelling account includes historical examples and literary extracts, which allow the reader direct access to the period. From the street theatre of village carnivals to the oppressive Spanish Inquisition, it gives an abiding sense of Spain in the making and renders vivid the colours of a passionate history.
Beginning with the Black Death in 1348 and extending through to the demise of Habsburg rule in 1700, this second edition of Spanish Society, 1348–1700 has been expanded to provide a wide and compelling exploration of Spain’s transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. Each chapter builds on the first edition by offering new evidence of the changes in Spain’s social structure between the fourteenth and seventeenth century. Every part of society is examined, culminating in a final section that is entirely new to the second edition and presents the changing social practices of the period, particularly in response to the growing crises facing Spain as it moved into the seventeenth century. Also new to this edition is a consideration of the social meaning of culture, specifically the presence of Hermetic themes and of magical elements in Golden Age literature and Cervantes’ Don Quijote. Through the extensive use of case studies, historical examples and literary extracts, Spanish Society is an ideal way for students to gain direct access to this captivating period.
Bringing together distinguished scholars in honor of Professor Teofilo F. Ruiz, this volume presents original and innovative research on the critical and uneasy relationship between authority and spectacle in the period from the twelfth to the sixteenth centuries, focusing on Spain, the Mediterranean and Latin America. Cultural scholars such as Professor Ruiz and his colleagues have challenged the notion that authority is elided with high politics, an approach that tends to be monolithic and disregards the uneven application and experience of power by elite and non-elite groups in society by highlighting the significance of spectacle. Taking such forms as ceremonies, rituals, festivals, and customs, spectacle is a medium to project and render visible power, yet it is also an ambiguous and contested setting, where participants exercise the roles of both actor and audience. Chapters in this collection consider topics such as monarchy, wealth and poverty, medieval cuisine and diet and textual and visual sources. The individual contributions in this volume collectively represent a timely re-examination of authority that brings in the insights of cultural theory, ultimately highlighting the importance of representation and projection, negotiation and ambivalence.
An engrossing and revolutionary biography of Isabella of Castile, the controversial Queen of Spain who sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to the New World, established the Spanish Inquisition, and became one of the most influential female rulers in history Born at a time when Christianity was dying out and the Ottoman Empire was aggressively expanding, Isabella was inspired in her youth by tales of Joan of Arc, a devout young woman who unified her people and led them to victory against foreign invaders. In 1474, when most women were almost powerless, twenty-three-year-old Isabella defied a hostile brother and a mercurial husband to seize control of Castile and León. Her subsequent feats were legendary. She ended a twenty-four-generation struggle between Muslims and Christians, forcing North African invaders back over the Mediterranean Sea. She laid the foundation for a unified Spain. She sponsored Columbus's trip to the Indies and negotiated Spanish control over much of the New World with the help of Rodrigo Borgia, the infamous Pope Alexander VI. She also annihilated all who stood against her by establishing a bloody religious Inquisition that would darken Spain's reputation for centuries. Whether saintly or satanic, no female leader has done more to shape our modern world, in which millions of people in two hemispheres speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Yet history has all but forgotten Isabella's influence, due to hundreds of years of misreporting that often attributed her accomplishments to Ferdinand, the bold and philandering husband she adored. Using new scholarship, Downey's luminous biography tells the story of this brilliant, fervent, forgotten woman, the faith that propelled her through life, and the land of ancient conflicts and intrigue she brought under her command. From the Hardcover edition.
The Avila of Saint Teresa provides both a fascinating account of social and religious change in one important Castilian city and a historical analysis of the life and work of the religious mystic Saint Teresa of Jesus. Jodi Bilinkoff's rich socioeconomic history of sixteenth-century Avila illuminates the conditions that helped to shape the religious reforms for which the city's most famous citizen is celebrated. Bilinkoff takes as her subject the period during which Avila became a center of intense religious activity and the home of a number of influential mystics and religious reformers. During this time, she notes, urban expansion and increased economic opportunity fostered the social and political aspirations of a new "middle class" of merchants, professionals, and minor clerics. This group supported the creation of religious institutions that fostered such values as individual spiritual revitalization, religious poverty, and apostolic service to the urban community. According to Bilinkoff, these reform movements provided an alternative to the traditional, dynastic style of spirituality expressed by the ruling elite, and profoundly influenced Saint Teresa in her renewal of Carmelite monastic life. A focal point of the book is the controversy surrounding Teresa's foundation of a new convent in August 1562. Seeking to discover why people in Avila strenuously opposed this ostensibly innocent act and to reveal what distinguished Teresa's convent from the many others in the city, Bilinkoff offers a detailed examination of the social meaning of religious institutions in Avila. Historians of early modern Europe, especially those concerned with the history of religious culture, urban history, and women's history, specialists in religious studies, and other readers interested in the life of Saint Teresa or in the history of Catholicism will welcome The Avila of Saint Teresa. First published by Cornell University Press in 1989, this new edition of The Avila of Saint Teresa includes a new introduction by the author.