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Title: Meaning in movement : Celestina and the human condition in early modern Spain and Italy
Author: Scott, Rachel Jennifer
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This study explores the reception and ideological significance of one of the most widely read ‘bestsellers’ of early modern Europe, the late medieval Spanish novel-in-dialogue Celestina by Fernando de Rojas (1499). Celestina’s reception has been traced through a variety of methods and sources; however, no single study has yet sought a broader ideological and comparative interpretation of its appeal. I argue that Celestina continued to be meaningful because it engaged with one of the central ideological preoccupations of the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, namely the human condition, conceptualised in debates about the misery and dignity of man. Taking my cues from reception theorists and scholars of cultural translation, I reconstruct the ‘horizons of expectation’ of Celestina’s reception in XVIc Spain and Italy by setting it in dialogue with analogous texts common to both Peninsulas that also deal with this issue. As well as foregrounding how meaning is created in the process of reception, this approach extends Celestina’s own methodology, which juxtaposed and re-constituted disparate elements to create something new. I argue that Celestina demonstrates how literary texts represent spaces where ideologies can be negotiated, qualified, and even critiqued. After a discussion of methodological and thematic issues, Chapter 2 juxtaposes Celestina and the Diálogo de la dignidad del hombre (1546) and examines the concepts of self-knowledge and solitude against conceptualisations of human misery and dignity, and emerging attitudes of disbelief. Chapter 3 uses Il Cortegiano (1528) for an investigation into the concept of self-fashioning as it relates to Renaissance debates about language and courtliness, and changes in XVIc society. Focusing on La vita delle puttane (1534) and its translation, the Coloquio de las damas (1547), chapter 4 addresses agency and self-hood from the perspective of the margins, exploring the tension between freedom and constraint through the figure of the prostitute. The final section considers the ideological association between the ‘mala muger’ and liber pestifer in the context of XVIc censorship.
Supervisor: Weiss, Julian Michael ; Archer, Robert Leonard Albert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available