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Modelling the Individual

Biography and Portrait in the Renaissance

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Edited by Karl A.E. Enenkel, Betsy de Jong-Crane and Peter Liebregts

One of the most noticeable features of the Renaissance is what Jacob Burckhardt called the rise of the individual - in politics and religion, in its social life and in the arts, and in the mentality of Renaissance man, with his inclination to explore, to invent and to make new discoveries. Yet this characteristic is also very puzzling to modern people, who see that although the categories of art which depict particular people increased to a spectacular degree in a period when biography and portrait painting were among the most popular genres, and autobiography began to emerge as a genre in itself and painters began to produce self-portraits, an interest individuals is not necessarily the same thing as the more recent interest in the purely personal aspects of individuals. Literary and artistic traditions, social and ideological backgrounds, and the motives for the production of literature have changed profoundly: Renaissance biography and autobiography, portraiture and self-portraiture have little to do with their modern counterparts. Therefore this book stresses that the Renaissance is not predominantly a mirror of modernity, but rather a period of stimulating difference or alterity. The contributors to this collection of essays aim to create a better understanding of Renaissance biographies and portraits through the analysis and reconstruction of the traditions, contexts, backgrounds and circumstances of their production.

Framing Iberia

Maqāmāt and Frametale Narratives in Medieval Spain

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David Wacks

Framing Iberia is a study of medieval Iberian culture observed through the lens of the frametale, a type of story collection cultivated by medieval Iberian authors in several languages. Its best known examples outside of Iberia are Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Boccaccio’s Decameron, and the Thousand and One Nights. In Framing Iberia the author relocates the Castilian classics El Conde Lucanor and El Libro de buen amor within a literary tradition that includes works in Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, and Romance. In doing so, he draws on current critical theory and cultural studies in reevaluating how the multicultural society of medieval Iberia is reflected in its narrative literature. Winner of the 2009 La corónica International Book Award for scholarship in Medieval Hispanic Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

Also available in paperback ISBN 978 9004 20589 5