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Aristotle for Lay Princes in Medieval Spain
In Alfonso de Cartagena’s 'Memoriale virtutum' (1422), María Morrás and Jeremy Lawrance offer a critical edition of an anthology of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, compiled and significantly altered by the major Castilian intellectual of the day, Bishop Alfonso de Cartagena, and addressed to the heir to the throne of Portugal, Crown Prince Duarte.
The work is a speculum principis, an education of a future king in the virtues suitable to a statesman. Cartagena’s choice of Aristotle was a harbinger of Renaissance ideas. The “memorial” sheds light on a society in transition, setting new ethical guidelines for the ruling class at the crossroads between medieval feudalism and Renaissance absolutism.
A Spanish Jesuit’s History of the English Reformation
In 1588, the Spanish Jesuit Pedro de Ribadeneyra published a history of the English Reformation, which he continued to revise until his death in 1611. Spencer J. Weinreich’s translation is the first English edition of the History, one fully alive to its metamorphoses over two decades. Weinreich’s introduction explores the text’s many dimensions—propaganda for the Spanish Armada, anti-Protestant polemic, Jesuit hagiography, consolation amid tribulation—and assesses Ribadeneyra as a historian. The extensive annotations anchor Ribadeneyra’s narrative in the historical record and reconstruct his sources, methods, and revisions. The History, long derided as mere propaganda, emerges as remarkable evidence of the centrality of historiography to the intellectual, theological, and political battles of early modern Europe.