FAT BOOK LECTURE SERIES: SLIM VOLUMES BECOME WIDE
Slim Volumes Become Wide; Or, How A Little Spanish Romance Became a Massive French Work (and then A Little English Book, and then A Tiny Flemish Textbook); Or, By The Size of Their Books You Shall Know Them with Emily Francomano Associate Professor Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Circa 1489, Diego de San Pedro subjected his literary works to moral inquisition, painting his most successful romance, Cárcel de amor [The Prison of Love], as a sinners sauce that could not be read with composure and a mortal enemy of the soul. San Pedro might have worried about the books ill effects, but its many translators, printers, and publishers did not, and they adapted the romance for audiences at multiple social levels and with varied goals for reading. By the first decades of the sixteenth century just about everyone who was anyone was reading or otherwise enjoying The Prison of Love. It traversed the linguistic, diplomatic, and intellectual circles revolving around the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, Henry VIII of England, Francis I of France, Emperor Charles V, and multiple Italian princely courts. By the middle of the sixteenth century, anyone with the means could buy an edition of the romance as well. The Prison of Love was read in large elegant print editions dedicated to noble personages, in bilingual editions advertised as language primers, and in small, cheap formats, devoid of decoration, dedicated to no one in particular. In all, it appeared in over seventy printed editions in Spanish and in translation to Italian, French, and English before 1600. In addition to this impressive presence in sixteenth-century print culture, richly illuminated manuscripts and three sumptuous tapestry chambers produced in the 1520s attest to the remarkable cultural and material penetrance of The Prison of Love.
My presentation for Fat Books is part of a larger project in progress that studies.
Event Type: Presentation
Date and Time: Friday, November 30, 2012 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Location: Edward B. Bunn, S.J. Intercultural Center, 462, 37th and O St., N.W., Washington