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This book explores the Spanish elite’s fixation on social and racial “passing” and “passers” as represented in a wide range of texts produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. It examines literary and non-literary works that express the dominant Spaniards’ anxiety that socially mobile New Christians could impersonate and pass as versions of themselves. Current scholarship has implicitly postulated that the social energy that led to the massive marginalization of New Christians and/or lowborns from central social spaces, and the marginals’ attempts to hide their true identity, had its roots in the elite’s rejection of sociocultural and genealogical heterogeneity, or “difference.” Christina Lee makes a key intervention in this discussion by proposing that there was a parallel phenomenon at play that might have been as resounding as an anxiety roused by the presence of those who were clearly different, a phenomenon she calls “the anxiety of sameness.” Lee argues that while conspicuous religious and socio-cultural difference was certainly perturbing and unsettling, in some ways, it was not as threatening to the dominant Spanish identity as the potential discovery of the arbitrariness that separated them from the undesirables of society. Students and seasoned scholars of Spanish history and literature will not only benefit from Lee’s arguments about the elite’s attempt to deny the fluidity of early modern identity, but also gain from her fresh readings of the works of Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Quevedo, as well as her analyses of lesser known works, such as joke books, treatises, genealogical catalogues, and documentary accounts.

Abstract only
Christina H. Lee

. Especially applicable to early modern Spanish discourses is Douglas’s observation that ‘[i]t is only by exaggerating the difference between within and without, above and below, male and female, with and against, that a semblance of order is created’.3 This exaggeration is, then, a means for preventing the subversion of the established social order, but it is also a way to maintain the veneer of neatness in cases in which the supposed polluter challenges their predetermined role. My study further pursues the implications of circumstances when dirt, in its personified form

in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain
Sherry Velasco

dolorida: la metamorfosis de la mujer en hombre’, Actas del Tercer Coloquio Internacional de la Asociación de Cervantistas (Barcelona: Anthropos, 1993), pp. 463–72. 37 Cited in Kenneth Brown, ‘Context i text del Vexamen d’academia de Francesc Fontanella’, Llengua i Literatura , 2 (1987), 173–252, 231. 38 Brown, ‘Context i text del Vexamen d’academia de Francesc Fontanella’, 231. See also Sherry Velasco, ‘María de Zayas and lesbian desire in early modern Spain’, in Librada Hernandez and Susana Chavez-Silverman (eds

in The last taboo
Christina H. Lee

6 Desirable Moors and Moriscos in literary texts The notion that the foreign Moor, a patently different individual in the context of Old Christian society, was less threatening than the Morisco, an ambiguous member of the Spanish body politic who embodied both Moorish and Old Christian cultural marks, is represented in a number of literary works of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. For the most part, early modern Spanish prose and poetry depicts the Moor as a depraved, unscrupulous, and fundamentally unredeemable figure. There are a number of notable

in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain
Christina H. Lee

nobility; for in the veins of the East all the bloodlines run blue. Because shepherds and kings he puts on the same footing, a mighty knight is Don Dinero.16 The East and West Indies are not only the mythical locus of concentrated riches, but also the place wherein low-borns sought to quickly accumulate wealth. Quevedo is also satirising false nobles who claimed to come from remote lands, because they could not substantiate that they had a noble ancestral home, a solar conocido.The Orient was associated in the early modern Spanish imagination with savagery and paganism

in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain
Christina H. Lee

of Conversos 125 precisely what kinds of conduct are likely to be mocked or despised’.4 In early modern Spain, gossip was often passed on through popular songs, anecdotes, aphorisms, and jokes. These forms are powerful and potentially devastating because it could be virtually impossible to suppress their circulation. A song, edited in the 1570s by Sebastián de Horosco, echoes the sentiment expressed in El libro de Aragón that good moral living entails endogamous relationships. ‘And it is considered good advice’, it says: that in order to live happily Christians

in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain
Christina H. Lee

the Expulsion of the Moriscos’, in Rhetoric and Reality in Early Modern Spain. (Ed. Richard J. Pym (London: Tamesis, 2006), 1–25). 43 ‘Este es el fin de la dispersion … Y que no teniendo pueblo circundante de los de su nación y professión, con quien quiera ser honrados por Moros (como aora hacen) pretendan parecer fieles, y leales a los Cristianos Viejos y ganar honra con ellos, y para esto dexen de hablar Arábigo, y aborrezcan y olviden las ceremonias y costumbres, que los hacen conocidos, y procuren encubrirse, y parecer Cristianos viejos’ (Valencia, Tratado

in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain
Christina H. Lee

In Chapter Three, Lee studies texts that convey the notion that if armed with knowledge about the distinguishing features of Conversos, Old Christians could become proficient at identifying even the most sophisticated veneer of sameness. Lee focuses on religious and medical treatises aimed at rendering the Converso body as subhuman and tainted. These prescriptive texts written by theologians Pedro Aznar Cardona, Vicente da Costa Matos, Francisco de Torrejoncillo, and the medical doctor Juan de Quiñones argued—making extensive references to biblical, classical, and scientific sources—that Jews and Conversos exhibited their sinfulness through physical signs, such as elongated rears, skin eruptions, and/or suffered from periodic anal bleedings. Lee also examines Libros verdes, anonymous genealogical catalogues aimed at exposing the hidden Converso taint in the ancestries of distinguished families.

in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain
in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain
Christina H. Lee

In Chapter One, she discusses the prevailing definition of hidalguía or nobility by birth. She focuses on treatises, accounts, and other documentary texts that show the established nobility’s resistance to socio-cultural similitude with plebeian trespassers. The examined texts assert the genealogical superiority of “natural” nobles—even if they themselves are not—and the indomitable desire of commoners to destroy their lineages.

in The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain