Transcending Textuality

Quevedo and Political Authority in the Age of Print

By (author) Ariadna García-Bryce

Paperback - £28.95

Publication date:

15 June 2011

Length of book:

176 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271037769

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.

Transcending Textuality is a fascinating study of the culture of display in early modern Spain. Focusing on the works of Quevedo, Ariadna García-Bryce brings together a multiplicity of approaches in order to provide new insights on his political views and his place in the culture of the Spanish Baroque. She clearly shows how Quevedo diverges from writers such as Saavedra Fajardo and Gracián, undermining the impetus of the emergent state and its uses of rhetorical artifice. Quevedo, in his writings, seeks to exalt art, evincing its prominent social and sacred role. And yet, in so doing, he rejects new mediated forms and the use of rhetorical artifice as exhibition. García-Bryce is able to show not only Quevedo’s conflictive stance toward modernity but also his reaction to the many changes that were taking place in the Spain of the Habsburgs. This is a thoughtful and complex study that will be of great interest to those who study the literature, culture, and history of the Baroque.”

—Frederick A. de Armas, University of Chicago