Writers on the Market: Consuming Literature in Early Seventeenth-Century Spain

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9781611482119: Writers on the Market: Consuming Literature in Early Seventeenth-Century Spain
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The beginning of the seventeenth century in Spain marks a rapid rise in the commercial market for cultural production. This book examines the evolution of this commercial market as reflected in the maturation of two genres: the public theater and the novel. Through a comparative analysis of the playwright Lope de Vega and the novelists Mateo Alemán and Miguel de Cervantes, the author explores the new poetic principles, both implicitly and explicitly, that accompany the rise of this commercialized literature. The book argues that the logic of classical economic theory becomes internalized within the poetic structure of these two genres. Within this logic, the idea of 'taste' comes to play a new and unprecedented role as the arbiter of 'literary' value. Exposed increasingly to the pressures of popular 'taste,' these writers are forced to rework or abandon many of the traditional poetic ideas of the Renaissance in a process that tends to undermine the writer's control over his own work.

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About the Author:

Donald Gilbert-Santamaría teaches in the Division of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Review:

Donald Gilbert-Santamaría's first book is a worthy addition to the body of scholarship that examines the production and consumption of literature in the period described by Marxism as the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Gilbert-Santamaría prefers a non-Marxist thesis that the consumerist culture in which we live functions according to a mechanism first found in Golden Age Spain as purchasers of a commodity, had become the arbiters of meaning and artistic quality [...] This is a book worth reading, gracefully written and subtly argued, full of useful insights as well as corroboration, from a new perspective, of some received truths. One may disagree with some of Gilbert-Santamaría's hypotheses and conclusions, but almost everythingin his book is stimulating and thought-provoking. We scholars cannot aspire to more. (Carroll B. Johnson University Of California, Los Angeles, Modern Language Quarterly, September 2007)

[Santamaría's] 'new historical perspective' is an insightful and unique contribution to the study of Golden Age literature, and the impact that the emerging consumerist culture had upon its authors. (Renaissance Quarterly Vol. 59, Spring 2006)

[Santamaría's] " 'new historical perspective' is an insightful and unique contribution to the study of Golden Age literature, and the impact that the emerging consumerist culture had upon its authors." (Renaissance Quarterly Vol. 59, Spring 2006)

"Donald Gilbert-Santamaría's first book is a worthy addition to the body of scholarship that examines the production and consumption of literature in the period described by Marxism as the transition from feudalism to capitalism. Gilbert-Santamaría prefers a non-Marxist thesis that the consumerist culture in which we live functions according to a mechanism first found in Golden Age Spain as purchasers of a commodity, had become the arbiters of meaning and artistic quality [...] This is a book worth reading, gracefully written and subtly argued, full of useful insights as well as corroboration, from a new perspective, of some received truths. One may disagree with some of Gilbert-Santamaría's hypotheses and conclusions, but almost everything in his book is stimulating and thought-provoking. We scholars cannot aspire to more." (Carroll B. Johnson University Of California, Los Angeles, Modern Language Quarterly, September 2007)

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