Romance Studies

Aesthetics of Equilibrium is the first book-length comparative analysis of the theoretical prose by two major Latin American vanguardist contemporaries, Mario de Andrade (Brazil, 1893-1945) and Vicente Huidobro (Chile, 1893-1948). Willis offers a comparative study of two allegorical texts, Huidobro's "Non serviam" and Mario's "Parabola d’A escrava que nao e Isaura."
First-person narrative does not always fall under the genre of autobiography. In the centuries before the genre was defined, authors often patterned their personal narratives after prestigious discourses, such as hagiography, historiography, and the literary miscellany.Caballero noble desbaratado: Autobiografía e invención en el siglo XVI: "Noble Knight Disrupted: Autobiography and Invention in the Sixteenth Century analyzes several first-person narratives from Spain and the conditions of their writing and reception. It focuses on the sixteenth-century Libro de la vida y costumbres (Book of Life and Customs) by Alonso Enríquez de Guzmán (1499-1547), the knight of the title. One chapter looks at antecedents to the central work: the late fourteenth-century by Leonor López de Córdoba, who narrates difficult passages of her life; the Brief Summary of the Life and Deeds by Diego García de Paredes, who speaks of duels and battles as an object lesson in honor and courage for his son; and Cautiverio y trabajos Captivity and Travails by Diego Galán, a tale of captivity and flight in Muslim lands that constitutes an early example of fictionalized autobiography. The study also examines the influence of writers like Bartolomé de Torres Naharro, Antonio de Guevara, and Pedro Mexía and the vitality of lyric poetry on both sides of the Atlantic. Although the Biblioteca de Autores Españoles has devoted a volume to Enríquez de Guzmán, there has never been a book-length study dedicated to this author. This book fills that gap and constitutes a valuable contribution to the study of autobiography in Spanish.
The years 1992 and 2000 marked the 500-year anniversary of the arrival of the Spanish and the Portuguese in America and prompted an explosion of rewritings and cinematic renditions of texts and figures from colonial Latin America. Cannibalizing the Colony analyzes a crucial way that Latin American historical films have grappled with the legacy of colonialism. It studies how and why filmmakers in Brazil and Mexico—the countries that have produced most films about the colonial period in Latin America—appropriate and transform colonial narratives of European and indigenous contact into commentaries on national identity. The book looks at how filmmakers attempt to reconfigure history and culture and incorporate it into present-day understandings of the nation. The book additionally considers the motivations and implications for these filmic dialogues with the past and how the directors attempt to control the way that spectators understand the complex and contentious roots of identity in Mexico and Brazil.
Long before Rabelaisian tales of gargantuan gluttony regaled early modern audiences, and centuries before pie-in-the-face gags enlivened vaudeville slapstick, medieval French poets employed food as a powerful device of humor and criticism.Food and laughter, essential elements in human existence, can be used to question the meaning of cultural conventions concerning the body and sexuality, religion, class hierarchies, and gender relations. This book unites the cultural and literary study of representations of food and consumption with theoretical approaches to comedy, humor, and parody in late twelfth- through early-fourteenth-century French fictional verse narratives of epic chanson de geste, theater, Arthurian verse romance, fabliau, and the beast epic of the Roman de Renart. From socially inept epic heroes to hungry knights-errant and mischievous fabliau housewives, out of the ordinary food usage embodies humor. Some knights prefer fighting with roast chicken or bread loaves rather than their swords. Specific foods such as sausages, lard, pears, nuts, or chickens provoked laughter by their mere presence in a scene. Culinary comedy serves as both social satire and literary parody, playing with institutional social conduct and alimentary codes. Its power lies in its ability to disrupt and to reinforce the same conventions it ridicules.
Falsehood Disguised analyzes La Rochefoucauld's ideas on truth and falsehood in the context of his views on self-love, on the passions, and on vice and virtue. It also explores his views on the subject in relation to what he sees as the extremely fragile foundations of the social contract.
The Mexican government's brutal repression of the Student Movement of 1968 in the infamous Massacre of Tlatelolco exposed and exacerbated a serious crisis of political legitimacy. This study examines the cultural impact of this watershed event through historically contextualized readings of five paradigmatic novels: Carlos Fuentes's La region mas transparente (1958), Fernando del Paso's Jose Trigo (1966), Maria Luisa Mendoza's Con el, conmigo, con nosotros tres (1971), Jorge Aguilar Mora's Si muero lejos de ti (1979), and Hector Aguilar Camin's Morir en el golfo (1986).
What does literature reveal about a country’s changing cultural identity? In History, Violence, and the Hyperreal by Kathryn Everly, this question is applied to the contemporary novel in Spain. In the process, similarities emerge among novels that embrace apparent differences in style, structure, and language. Contemporary Spanish authors are rethinking the way the novel with its narrative powers can define a specific cultural identity. Recent Spanish novels by Carme Riera, Dulce Chacon, Javier Cercas, Ray Loriga, Lucia Etxebarria, and Jose Angel Manas (published from 1995 to 2008) particularly highlight the tension that exists between historical memory and urban youth culture. The novels discussed in this study reconfigure the individual’s relationship to narrative, history, and reality through their varied interpretations of Spanish history with its common threads of national and personal violence. In these books, culture acts as mediator between the individual and the rapidly changing dynamic of contemporary society. The authors experiment with the novel form to challenge fundamental concepts of identity when the narrative acknowledges more than one way of reading and understanding history, violence, and reality. In Spain today, questions of historical accuracy in all foundational fictions—such as the Inquisition, the Spanish Civil War, or globalization—collide with the urgency to modernize. The result is a clash between regional and global identities. Seemingly disparate works of historical fiction and Generation X narrative prove similar in the way they deal with history, reality, and the delicate relationship between writer and reader.
Indios en escena engages both the Baroque and Colonial fields of Hispanism in order to reevaluate fourteen major plays of Spanish Golden Age literature from a social-historical perspective. Castillo argues that these plays portray Amerindians not in their “otherness” but as subjects of empire. It is the author’s contention that these dramas reveal the vast contradictions between the two leading ideological trends of the age as performed on the stage: the discourse of honor and the juridical-theological code, both of which attempt to assimilate the Amerindian phenomenon under the auspices of church and state. These works consistently raise the paradoxical question of how a person can be a savage and have honor at the same time. The Amerindian must become a new “subject” for the Spanish Crown (as stated by the discourse of honor in these plays), i.e., an honorable and distinguished Indian capable of lofty speech and courage in battle. Yet, Amerindians are also barbarians or wild “children” (F. de Vitoria, Las Casas) who need the redemptive intervention of the Church to mature (evolve) and to be capable of salvation. These plays reveal the effort to integrate and assimilate the new indigenous entities under the monarcho-seigneurial system while exposing the philosophical contradictions that Baroque ideology has to overcome in order to elicit obedience. Thus, Castillo claims that this theater propagates the concept of the “Amerindian” both as “Honorable Subject,” a theatrical archetype, and idolatrous barbarian “Other,” a model of representation that belongs to the mindset of religious crusades and evangelical enterprises.
In Knowing Subjects, Barbara Simerka uses an emergent field of literary study—cognitive cultural studies—to delineate new ways of looking at early modern Spanish literature and to analyze cognition and social identity in Spain at the time. Simerka analyzes works by Cervantes and Gracían, as well as picaresque novels and comedias. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, she brings together several strands of cognitive theory and details the synergies among neurological, anthropological, and psychological discoveries that provide new insights into human cognition.   Her analysis draws on Theory of Mind, the cognitive activity that enables humans to predict what others will do, feel, think, and believe. Theory of Mind looks at how primates, including humans, conceptualize the thoughts and rationales behind other people’s actions and use those insights to negotiate social relationships. This capacity is a necessary precursor to a wide variety of human interactions—both positive and negative—from projecting and empathizing to lying and cheating.   Simerka applies this theory to texts involving courtship or social advancement, activities in which deception is most prevalent—and productive. In the process, she uncovers new insights into the comedia (especially the courtship drama) and several other genres of literature (including the honor narrative, the picaresque novel, and the courtesy manual). She studies the construction of gendered identity and patriarchal norms of cognition—contrasting the perspectives of canonical male writers with those of recently recovered female authors such as María de Zayas and Ana Caro. She examines the construction of social class, intellect, and honesty, and in a chapter on Don Quixote, cultural norms for leisure reading at the time. She shows how early modern Spanish literary forms reveal the relationship between an urbanizing culture, unstable subject positions and hierarchies, and social anxieties about cognition and cultural transformation.  
Historically a source of emigrants to Northern Europe and the New World, Italy has rapidly become a preferred destination for immigrants from the global South. Life in the land of la dolce vita has not seemed so sweet recently, as Italy struggles with the cultural challenges caused by this surge in immigration. Marvelous Bodies by Vetri Nathan explores thirteen key full-length Italian films released between 1990 and 2010 that treat this remarkable moment of cultural role reversal through a plurality of styles. In it, Nathan argues that Italy sees itself as the quintessential internal Other of Western Europe, and that this subalternity directly influences its cinematic response to immigrants, Europe’s external Others. In framing his case to understand Italy’s cinematic response to immigrants, Nathan first explores some basic questions: Who exactly is the Other in Italy? Does Italy’s own past partial alterity affect its present response to its newest subalterns? Drawing on Homi Bhabha’s writings and Italian cinematic history, Nathan then posits the existence of marvelous bodies that are momentarily neither completely Italian nor completely immigrant. This ambivalence of forms extends to the films themselves, which tend to be generic hybrids. The persistent curious presence of marvelous bodies and a pervasive generic hybridity enact Italy’s own chronic ambivalence that results from its presence at the cultural crossroads of the Mediterranean.
Naciones Intelectuales explores the processes and works that laid the foundations of a new literary modernity in the wake of the Mexican Revolution. It focuses on the period from the signing of the Constitution in 1917, to the death of Alfonso Reyes in 1959, and analyzes the four elements of Mexican cultural practices: the notion of literature, the figure of the intellectual, the creation of academic institutions, and the definition of national identity that emerged through the various debates held by leading figures of the period. The book analyzes different key moments, controversies, and cultural interventions, which ultimately led the diverse aesthetic spectrum created by the revolution into becoming a highly institutional system of literature. This book offers a cartography of Mexican literary institutions unprecedented in scope, which will allow readers, students, and scholars to understand the construction of modern Mexican literature in a clear, rigorous, and systematic way.
Severo Sarduy never enjoyed the same level of notoriety as did other Latin American writers like García Márquez and Vargas-Llosa, and his compatriot, Cabrera-Infante. On the other hand, he never lacked for excellent critical interpretations of his work from critics like Roberto González Echevarría, René Prieto, Gustavo Guerrero, and other reputable scholars. Missing, however, from what is otherwise an impressive body of critical commentary, is a study of the importance of painting and architecture, firstly, to his theory, and secondly, to his creative work. In order to fill this lacuna in Sarduy studies, Rolando Pérez’s book undertakes a critical approach to Sarduy’s essays—Barroco, Escrito sobre un cuerpo, “Barroco y neobarroco,” and La simulación—from the stand point of art history. Often overlooked in Sarduy studies is the fact that the twenty-three-year-old Sarduy left Cuba for Paris in 1961 to study not literature but art history, earning the equivalent of a Master’s Degree from the École du Louvre with a thesis on Roman art. And yet it was the art of the Italian Renaissance (e.g., the paintings as well as the brilliant and numerous treatises on linear perspective produced from the 15th to the 16th century) and what Sarduy called the Italian, Spanish, and colonial Baroque or “neo-baroque” visually based aesthetic that interested him and to which he dedicated so many pages. In short, no book on Sarduy until now has traced the multifaceted art historical background that informed the work of this challenging and exciting writer. And though Severo Sarduy and the Neo-Baroque Image of Thought in the Visual Arts is far from being an introduction, it will be a book that many a critic of Sarduy and the Latin American “baroque” will consult in years to come.
The term anamorphosis, from the greek ana (again) and morphe (shape), designates a variety of perspective experiments that can be traced back to the artistic developments of the 1500's and 1600's. Anamorphic devices challenge viewers to experience different forms of perceptual oscillation and uncertainty. Images shift in front of the eyes of puzzled spectators as they move from the center of the representation to the margins, or from one side to the other. (A) Wry Views demonstrates that much of the literature of the Spanish Golden Age is susceptible, and indeed requires, oblique readings (as in anamorphosis).
After Machiavelli is an examination of the triangular relationship of "re-writing"-a dynamic process encompassing both creative newness and awareness of historical profundity"-the "hermeneutic attitude:' and Machiavelli's poiesis. Specifically, it addresses four questions: First, to what degree can we speak of intersection (interaction) among this triad? Second, what common ground do all three actually share? Third, in what particular manner do the act of "re-writing" and the "hermeneutic attitude" manifest themselves in the writings of Niccoli Machiavelli? And last, what bearing does this have on the reader, heir to Machiavelli's literary legacy?
This is an intelligent study of an important topic, one not treated in this manner and deserving of a new investigation. It brings to bear, in particular, various recent critical concepts such as 'text' and 'intertextuality' that provide a new understanding of Gide's use of myth." Catharine Savage Brosman "Genova's study ... is an important contribution to our knowledge of Gide the writer and the man."Pierre L. Horn, Wright State University
Rojas's Celestina (1499) is perhaps the second greatest work of Spanish literature, right after Don Quixote, and Delicado sought to surpass it with La Lozana andaluza (1530), an important precedent of the picaresque novel.Both works were written during the height of the Inquisition, when the only relatively safe way for New Christian writers of Jewish extraction like Rojas and Delicado to express what they felt about the discrimination they suffered and their doubts regarding the faith that had been forced upon their ancestors was in a covert, indirect manner. Some scholars have detected this subversive element in Rojas' and Delicado's corrosive view of the Christian societies in which they lived, but this book goes far beyond such impressionism, showing through abundant textual evidence that these two authors used superficial bawdiness and claims regarding the morality of their respective works as cover to encode attacks against the central dogmas of Christianity: the Annunciation, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, and the Holy Trinity.This book, which will generate controversy among Hispanists, many of whom have refused to examine these works for non-Catholic views, will be of interest not only to students and scholars of Spanish literature, but also to those involved in Jewish studies, Medieval European history, and cultural studies.
Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681) is generally acknowledged to be the master author of autos sacramentales, one-act pageant plays that usually dramatize the myths of the Fall and Redemption. Since the auto was supervised by both the church and the state, it is typically held to be an art form that serves theology and the dominant powers of the time. Basing her examination of Calderon's autos on modern theories of allegory, Viviana Diaz Balsera focuses on the seductive power of the dramatic, visible level of the allegorical auto and questions the widely held assumption that Calderon's autos harmonize the dramatic and religious discourses that constitute them. In her readings of Los encantos de la Culpa, Eljardin de Falerina, La nave del Mercador, La vida es sueflo, and Lo que va del Hombre a Dios, she instead finds a disjunction between the literal, poetic level and the religious, theological meaning. With its splendid scenes, poetic fables, and elaborate music, the auto ironically has the potential to reproduce the seductive function it frequently attributes to the Devil and/or the forces of evil. Rather than the dogmatic champion of the Catholic Church, the auto emerges as conflictive, ambivalent, and moving, participating in the very dangers of sensual pleasures it seeks to warn against.
Miguel de Cervantes's Novelas ejemplares, a collection of short stories in the tradition of Boccaccio, has a solid foundation in the history of Golden Age Spain. Joseph V Ricapito studies Cervantes's work from the point of view of "novelized history" or "history novelized." In line with current New Historical thought, he argues that literary production is largely from life and experience, and that Cervantes was acutely aware of the problems of his day.The novelas offer us a glimpse of Cervantes's Spain and include a cataloguing of the social, political, and historical problems of the time. Ricapitc shows how Cervantes fictionalizes the problems of unpopular minorities like Gypsies and conversos (Jewish converts to Catholicism); the difficulties of social mobility in a Christian setting; the presence in society of differing and even outlandish individuals; and the oppressive role of honor, which was popularized by Lope de Vega and later formed a leitmotiv of Spanish drama. In his analysis of Cervantes's creative response to history, Ricapito relates the novelas to the works of Lope de Vega and Mateo Aleman and shows how Cervantes brings to life many literary topoi and places them in a realistic, credible framework in which the historical presence is strongly felt. In Cervantes's treatment of Spain's waning prestige in Europe, we see his vision of human behavior. His view is stern, his critique is sharp, and he is sensitive to external stimuli.
While Victor Hugo's lasting appeal as a novelist can in large part be attributed to the unforgettable characters that he created, character has been paradoxically the most criticized and least understood element of his fiction. Character and Meaning in the Novels of Victor Hugo provides readers with a deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances that characterize both Hugo's novel writing and the nineteenth-century French novel, and will thus appeal to the specialist and non-specialist alike.
Modern poetry on ruins performs an awakening call to the lurking real, to the violence of history in the making. The attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, and in Madrid on March 11, 2004, provoked diverse political reactions, but the imminence of the ruins triggered a collective historical awakening. The awakening can take the shape of bombs in Kabul and Baghdad, or political change in government policies, but it is also palpable when poetry voices a critique of the technological warfare and its versions of progress.   Contemporary events and the modern ruins are reminiscent of the political impact that the Spanish Civil War and the two World Wars had on poetry. In Cities in Ruins: The Politics of Modern Poetics, Cecilia Enjuto Rangel argues that the portrayal in poetry of the modern city as a disintegrated, ruined space is part of a critique of the visions of progress and the historical process of modernization that developed during the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. Enjuto Rangel analyzes how Charles Baudelaire, Luis Cernuda, T. S. Eliot, Octavio Paz, and Pablo Neruda poeticized ruins as the cornerstones of cultural and political memory, and used the imagery of ruins to reinterpret their historical and literary traditions.
In this book the author gets to the very core of what makes a successful and dynamic enterprise. Building upon his earlier work, The Ascendant Organization, and slaying a number of business fads and sacred cows along the way, he shows how to energize the enterprise in key areas such as leadership, teamwork, and innovation. With the use of many examples and cases and building upon considerable experience he shows the way forward for companies to achieve a sense of purpose and to energize their organizations. If you are tired of the latest business fad, then this will be the book for you.
This book constitutes an attempt to theorize the process of the emergence, in eighteenth-century New Spain, of a position of intellectual subjectivity differentiated from that established by the regime of Spanish imperial authority. The principal concern has been to trace how certain groups of criollo intellectuals try to construct such discourses, paradoxically, out of the framework of available European systems of knowledge and representation. In this fashion, it was sought to discern the outline of an ideological program for criollo political and cultural hegemony in the eighteenth century
By analyzing a varied body of writing- hagiographies, histories, treatises, and correspondence- in the context of religious colonial culture and European mercantilism, Mario Cesareo shows how Portuguese and Spanish missionaries created a Christian understanding of the colonial process. The material excess of the colonial world, experienced as a capricious parade of signs, masks, objects, races, languages, and bodies subjected to European exploitation, presented a problem of the first magnitude for Christian missionaries. In order to render intelligible the incongruities of the colonial experience, the missionary turned the materiality of the Indian and the black body of the slave into God's privileged instruments for revelation. Materiality, in its remotest minutiae, became understood as an enigmatic system of signs, as a divine riddle to be discerned. The attempts to recognize, elaborate, and synthesize this new experience constitute the Christian herme-neutics that is the focus of the study. The book posits the existence of a repertoire of stances through which the missionary was able to represent, perform, and theorize the colonial experience. In this social sensibility, the body emerges as a privileged locus for the aesthetic, theoretic, and practical experimentation that allowed the missionary to carry on his utopian ideals within the imperialist workings of European mercantilism.
Earthly Treasures maps the presence, position and use in the narrative of a variety of material objects in Marguerite de Navarre's Heptameron. There is a wide selection of objects, ranging from tapestries with scripture passages woven into the borders, fine arts paintings, chalices incised with proverbs, emblems, table linens, copies of Bibles or manuscripts, clothing, masks, stage props, jewelry, furniture and foodstuffs. Although the presence of such material objects seems paradoxical, given the scriptural mandate to disregard things of this world, and to "store up treasure", rather, in heaven, Marguerite found license to use such objects both in the Bible and in the daily life-oriented and artifact-studded sermons and writings collected in the Table Talk of Martin Luther.
Between 1585 and 1631, the Spanish playwright Lope de Vega wrote more than forty-five plays dealing with the theme of conjugal honor. Drawing on recent feminist theories and touching on literary, social, and anthropological aspects, Professor Yarbro-Rejarano demonstrates that hierarchical relations of gender, race, and social status mutually inform one another as structuring principles of these plays. She takes into account plays that reveal their conventional, formulaic views of the Christian feminine ideal as well as those whose variety and flexibility present women subverting their expected roles. By identifying moments of resistance and subversion in the texts, the author argues against excessively monolithic interpretations of such discourses of containment.