Social illness embodied: Picaros, converts and free women in the literature of the Golden Age
Phillips, Brian M.
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This project investigates the field of 16th and 17th century Spanish drama and picaresque literature as it relates to medical terminology. Specifically, it looks at Inquisitorial literature as a channel of socialization used to influence the social mores of readership and spectatorship. I focus on particular moments in the texts of significant literary authors, such as Lope de Vega, that highlight the use of medical and anatomical language aiming to cure a body politic in ideological and economic crisis. Authors position key marginalized elements of society (the religious convert, free women and the economically disenfranchised) as ailing members of the body politic. Once determined ill, literature aids in categorizing and marginalizing these diseased figures thereby curing the social body. The investigation centers on a contextualized reading of the Spanish comedia and picaresque novel in Counterreformation Europe. The ultimate goal of this project is to underscore the use of medical and anatomical terminology as both reactionary to ideological movements and as a language of power used to manipulate.