Synopses & Reviews
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.
TEOFILO F. RUIZ is Professor of History in the University of California at Los Angeles.
"a valuable contribution to the social history of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spain" History
The first social history of its kind in any language, this is a fascinating account of Spain¿s passage from the Middle Ages to modernity.
From the ¿street theatre¿ of village carnivals to the violence of the Spanish Inquisition, and revealing everyday life from the court to the brothel, Spanish Society 1400 - 1600 explores the changing relationships between society¿s haves and have-nots.
With pen portraits of major historical figures such as St Teresa and Torquemada, and including sections on diet and health, honour and sexuality, Ruiz paints a vivid picture of a passionate history.
Table of Contents
General Editor's Preface.
Introduction: From Medieval to Early Modern.
I. THE GEOGRAPHY AND POLITICAL SETTING. 1. Spain in the Making.
II. A SOCIETY OF ORDERS. 2. Those Who Have Not: Peasants and Town Dwellers.
3. Those Who Have: Nobility and Clergy.
4. On the Margins of Society.
III. THE STRUCTURES OF EVERYDAY LIFE. 5. Festivals and Power: Sites of Inclusion and Exclusion.
6. From Carnival to Corpus Christi: Festivals of Affirmation.
7. The Burdens of Violence: Sites of Conflict.
8. Resisting Violence: The Wrath of the Poor.
9. Eating and Dressing: The Patterns of Everyday Life.
10. Religion, Honor, Sexuality and Popular Culture: The Mentalities of Everyday Life.
Discourses of Difference.
The Making of a Community.
Appendix I: Chronology of Events, 1390-1600.
Appendix II: Glossary of Terms.