In 1803 in the colonial South American city of La Plata, Doñ, a Martina Vilvado y Balverde presented herself to church and crown officials to denounce her husband of more than four years, Don Antonio Yta, as a “woman in disguise.” Forced to submit to a medical inspection that revealed a woman’s body, Don Antonio confessed to having been María Yta, but continued to assert his maleness and claimed to have a functional “member” that appeared, he said, when necessary.
Passing to América is at once a historical biography and an in-depth examination of the sex/gender complex in an era before “gender” had been divorced from “sex.” The book presents readers with the original court docket, including Don Antonio’s extended confession, in which he tells his life story, and the equally extraordinary biographical sketch offered by Felipa Ybañez of her “son María,” both in English translation and the original Spanish. Thomas A. Abercrombie’s analysis not only grapples with how to understand the sex/gender system within the Spanish Atlantic empire at the turn of the nineteenth century but also explores what Antonio/María and contemporaries can teach us about the complexities of the relationship between sex and gender today.
Passing to América brings to light a previously obscure case of gender transgression and puts Don Antonio’s life into its social and historical context in order to explore the meaning of “trans” identity in Spain and its American colonies. This accessible and intriguing study provides new insight into historical and contemporary gender construction that will interest students and scholars of gender studies and colonial Spanish literature and history.Book Details
Orchestrating text and color photography through the lens of vulnerability, Viscous Expectations explores embodied democracy as the intersection of technology, aesthetics, eroticism, and ethnicity. Cara Judea Alhadeff integrates the personal and theoretical with the visual and textual, she mobilizes a comprehensive exploration of our bodies as contingent modes of relation. She cites philosophers and artists from Spinoza to Audre Lorde, Louise Bourgeois, and Édouard Glissant, who have explored collaborative and uncanny conditions of becoming vulnerable. In the context of multiple constituencies, creativity becomes a political imperative in which cognitive and somatic risk-taking gives voice to social justice.Book Details
In Transcending Textuality, Ariadna García-Bryce provides a fresh look at post-Trent political culture and Francisco de Quevedo’s place within it by examining his works in relation to two potentially rival means of transmitting authority: spectacle and print. Quevedo’s highly theatrical conceptions of power are identified with court ceremony, devotional ritual, monarchical and spiritual imagery, and religious and classical oratory. At the same time, his investment in physical and emotional display is shown to be fraught with concern about the decline of body-centered modes of propagating authority in the increasingly impersonalized world of print. Transcending Textuality shows that Quevedo’s poetics are, in great measure, defined by the attempt to retain in writing the qualities of live physical display.Book Details
The Occitan literary tradition of the later Middle Ages is a marginal and hybrid phenomenon, caught between the preeminence of French courtly romance and the emergence of Catalan literary prose. In this book, Catherine Léglu brings together, for the first time in English, prose and verse texts that are composed in Occitan, French, and Catalan-sometimes in a mixture of two of these languages. This book challenges the centrality of "canonical" texts and draws attention to the marginal, the complex, and the hybrid. It explores the varied ways in which literary works in the vernacular composed between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries narrate multilingualism and its apparent opponent, the mother tongue. Léglu argues that the mother tongue remains a fantasy, condemned to alienation from linguistic practices that were, by definition, multilingual. As most of the texts studied in this book are works of courtly literature, these linguistic encounters are often narrated indirectly, through literary motifs of love, rape, incest, disguise, and travel.Book Details
Enide’s tattered dress and Erec’s fabulous coronation robe; Yvain’s nudity in the forest, which prevents maidens who know him well clothed from identifying him; Lanval’s fairy-lady parading about in the Arthurian court, scantily dressed, for all to observe: just why is clothing so important in twelfth-century French romance? This interdisciplinary book explores how writers of this era used clothing as a signifier with multiple meanings for many narrative purposes. Clothing figured prominently in twelfth-century France, where exotic fabrics and furs came to define a social elite. Monica Wright shows that representations of clothing are not mere embellishments to the text; they help form the textual weave of the romances in which they appear. This book is about how these descriptions are constructed, what they mean, and how clothing becomes an active part of romance composition—the ways in which writers use it to develop and elaborate character, to advance or stall the plot, and to structure the narrative generally.Book Details
Philippe de Remi (1200/1210–65) holds a remarkable position in the legacy of the thirteenth-century literary world. A layman, landholder, and professional administrator, rather than a court poet or member of the clergy, Philippe de Remi wrote poems, songs, and long verse narratives that were grounded in his familiarity with the literary genres of his day. While Philippe paid homage to Chrétien de Troyes and other important secular writers of the period, his station in society and an intended audience of family and friends, not patrons, allowed him the freedom to treat courtly conventions with some independence and to explore human motivations across the social spectrum. Barbara Sargent-Baur brings to the modern English-speaking reader a translation of three of Philippe’s most important compositions: his two verse romances, Manekine and John and Blonde, as well as his single short verse tale, “Foolish Generosity.” This volume gathers the first English stand-alone prose translations of these romances, which have been previously published only as line-by-line versions facing the Old French originals. Sargent-Baur’s English translation of “Foolish Generosity” is the first rendering from Old French in any language. These important translations allow increased access to Philippe de Remi’s attractive narrative works, expanding their audience beyond an Old French readership to the wider academic community.Book Details
What is love? Popular culture bombards us with notions of the intoxicating capacities of love or of beguiling women who can bewitch or heal—to the point that it is easy to believe that such images are timeless and universal. Not so, argues Laine Doggett in Love Cures. Aspects of love that are expressed in popular music—such as “love is a drug,” “sexual healing,” and “love potion number nine”—trace deep roots to Old French romance of the high Middle Ages. A young woman heals a poisoned knight. A mother prepares a love potion for a daughter who will marry a stranger in a faraway land. How can readers interpret such events? In contrast to scholars who have dismissed these women as fantasy figures or labeled them “witches,” Doggett looks at them in the light of medical and magical practices of the high Middle Ages. Love Cures argues that these practitioners, as represented in romance, have shaped modern notions of love. Love Cures seeks to engage scholars of love, marriage, and magic in disciplines as diverse as literature, history, anthropology, and philosophy.
Present scholarly conversations about early European and global modernity have yet to acknowledge fully the significance of Spain and Spanish cultural production. Poetry and ideology in early modern Spain form the backdrop for Imperial Lyric, which seeks to address this shortcoming. Based on readings of representative poems by eight Peninsular writers, Imperial Lyric demonstrates that the lyric was a crucial site for the negotiation of masculine identity as Spain’s noblemen were alternately cajoled and coerced into abandoning their identifications with images of the medieval hero and assuming instead the posture of subjects. The book thus demonstrates the importance of Peninsular letters to our understanding of shifting ideologies of the self, language, and the state that mark watersheds for European and American modernity. At the same time, this book aims to complicate the historicizing turn we have taken in the field of early modern studies by considering a threshold of modernity that was specific to poetry, one that was inscribed in Spanish culture when the genre of lyric poetry attained a certain kind of prestige at the expense of epic. Imperial Lyric breaks striking new ground in the field of early modern studies.Book Details
In Rewriting Womanhood, Nancy LaGreca explores the subversive refigurings of womanhood in three novels by women writers: La hija del bandido (1887) by Refugio Barragán de Toscano (Mexico; 1846–1916), Blanca Sol (1888) by Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera (Peru; 1845–1909), and Luz y sombra (1903) by Ana Roqué (Puerto Rico; 1853–1933). While these women were both acclaimed and critiqued in their day, they have been largely overlooked by contemporary mainstream criticism. Detailed enough for experts yet accessible to undergraduates, graduate students, and the general reader, Rewriting Womanhood provides ample historical context for understanding the key women’s issues of nineteenth-century Mexico, Peru, and Puerto Rico; clear definitions of the psychoanalytic theories used to unearth the rewriting of the female self; and in-depth literary analyses of the feminine agency that Barragán, Cabello, and Roqué highlight in their fiction.
Rewriting Womanhood reaffirms the value of three women novelists who wished to broaden the ruling-class definition of woman as mother and wife to include woman as individual for a modern era. As such, it is an important contribution to women’s studies, nineteenth-century Hispanic studies, and sexuality and gender studies.
Ellen Sapega’s study documents artistic responses to images of the Portuguese nation promoted by Portugal’s Office of State Propaganda under António de Oliveira Salazar. Combining archival research with current theories informing the areas of memory studies, visual culture, women’s autobiography, and postcolonial studies, the author follows the trajectory of three well-known cultural figures working in Portugal and its colonies during the 1930s and 1940s.
The book begins with an analysis of official Salazarist culture as manifested in two state-sponsored commemorative events: the 1938 contest to discover the “Most Portuguese Village in Portugal” and the 1940 Exposition of the Portuguese-Speaking World. While these events fulfilled their role as state propaganda, presenting a patriotic and unambiguous view of Portugal’s past and present, other cultural projects of the day pointed to contradictions inherent in the nation’s social fabric. In their responses to the challenging conditions faced by writers and artists during this period and the government’s relentless promotion of an increasingly conservative and traditionalist image of Portugal, José de Almada Negreiros, Irene Lisboa, and Baltasar Lopes subtly proposed revisions and alternatives to official views of Portuguese experience.
These authors questioned and rewrote the metaphors of collective Portuguese and Lusophone identity employed by the ideologues of Salazar’s Estado Novo regime to ensure and administer the consent of the national populace. It is evident, today, that their efforts resulted in the creation of vital, enduring texts and cultural artifacts.