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Spanish attitudes to poverty as reflected in a selection of representative literary texts: c.1500 - c.1635.

Jojima, Marie-Paule; (1997) Spanish attitudes to poverty as reflected in a selection of representative literary texts: c.1500 - c.1635. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Poverty is a relative, complex phenomenon whose most obvious manifestation is economic in character. In Castile the censuses of the poor indicate a dramatic increase m their numbers during the course of the 16th century. However, the fate of the poor is not only dependant on accidental, cyclical or structural factors, but is also subject to the mental attitudes of a given society. In the 16th century the image of the poor had been 'desacralised'; the sanctus pauper had become a stigmatised, pathogenic social element. This shift in perception is recorded in a semantic change: 'mercy' had become 'poor relief. The demotion of the poor was the result of a long historical process which crystallised m a body of European sixteenth-century legislation dealing with the implementation of welfare reforms. This was to culminate in the seventeenth-century 'Great Confinement. The dates of publication of the five works we have studied; La Celestina, La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes, Guzmán de Alfarache, Don Quijote de la Mancha, and El gran teatro del mundo, cover a time span of over a century, from approx. 1500 to 1630. Between Rojas's tragicomedy and Calderón's sacramental play, Spain's inadaptability to modernity became apparent. One of the manifestations of its ideological isolation was the idiosyncratic, relatively lenient response of the Spanish authorities to the reorganisation of poor relief We have tried to show that in parallel to the views of reformers and political pundits there was in Spam another current of opinion represented by the dissident voices of a group of writers of fiction. Over a century they gave an alternative version of contemporary attitudes to poverty. Their nonconformist views may have been instrumental in the forging of the Spanish reluctance to adopt the drastic measures favoured by social reformers.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Spanish attitudes to poverty as reflected in a selection of representative literary texts: c.1500 - c.1635.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10108447
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