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The Anxiety of Sameness In Early Modern Spain$
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Christina H. Lee

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781784991203

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781784991203.001.0001

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The unmasking of Conversos in popular and literary texts

The unmasking of Conversos in popular and literary texts

(p.124) 4 The unmasking of Conversos in popular and literary texts
The Anxiety of Sameness In Early Modern Spain

Christina H. Lee

Manchester University Press

In “Chapter Four,” Lee analyzes popular songs, anecdotes, aphorisms, and jokes that were invested in perpetuating the image of Conversos as essentially greedy, non-pork-eating Jews. She examines the construction of the Converso body as a grotesque, sub-human entity in the anonymous Diálogo entre Laín Calvo y Nuño Rasura and in Quevedo’s satirical poetry. She discusses Lope de Vega’s little known play, El galán escarmentado, which specifically addresses the Old Christian anxiety of being unknowingly stained by the passing Conversos through marriage. She concludes her discussion of the fear of passing Conversos with an analysis of Cervantes’ El retablo de las maravillas, a play representing the madness and disorder that ensues when limpieza-obsessed Old Christians find themselves incapable of tagging the impure subjects who, they believe, live amongst them.

Keywords:   Miguel de Cervantes, Retablo de las maravillas, Lope de Vega, El galán escarmentado, Conversos, Limpieza, Francisco de Quevedo, Anti-semitism, Libro de Chistes, Popular literature

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