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From Madrid to Purgatory

From Madrid to Purgatory
The Art and Craft of Dying in Sixteenth-Century Spain

$71.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History

  • Date Published: July 2002
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521529426

$ 71.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • This book reveals the workings of a culture that cherished death, and invested its resources in the pursuit of heaven. This is the first full-length study of Spanish attitudes toward death and the afterlife in the peak years of the Counter-Reformation. It contains an analysis of the death rituals requested in hundreds of sixteenth-century Madrid testaments, as well as a detailed account of the ways in which the "good" deaths of King Philip II and Saint Teresa of Avila were interpreted by contemporaries.

    •  The first full-length study of Spanish attitudes toward death during the critical century spanning the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation
    • Impressive archival work - author analyses the death rituals requested in hundreds of 16th-century wills, draws out interesting detail
    • An original and exciting contribution to the history of mentalités
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Now there is at last a big, reliable study of the Spanish attitudes toward death and dying in the time of the Counter-Reformation....a thorough and gripping piece of scholarship....Ranging freely over various classes and cultural facts of the Sixteenth Century, it has a broad scope and a lot of interesting detail." Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance

    " extraordinarily ambitious undertaking, comprising no less than three books in important, provocative, readable, and thoroughly enjoyable book." Richard L. Kagan, Johns Hopkins University, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "...Eire has produced an impressive and important book....its examination of a vast array of primary sources, it integration of insights from literature, cultural anthropology, theology, and other disciplines, and its well-written, witty prose succeeds wonderfully in demonstrating how the discource of the `good death' articulated and affirmed Catholic doctrine and practice in a highly polemical age." American Historical Review

    "...this is a perceptive and evocative study....[it] presents a vivid, dramatic picture of the centrality of death in the religion and culture of early modern Spain....the book makes an original and imaginative contribution to the religious and social history of early modern Spain." Canadian Journal of History

    "Eire's extensive research, his feel for the telling anecdote, and his congenial prose persona make this book informative and entertaining." Carlos Slade, The Journal of Religion

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2002
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521529426
    • length: 588 pages
    • dimensions: 239 x 154 x 40 mm
    • weight: 0.927kg
    • contains: 24 b/w illus. 3 maps 22 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Prologue: death and the sun
    Part I. Eager for Heaven: Death and Testamentary Discourse in Madrid, 1520–1599:
    1. Wills and the history of death in Madrid
    2. Approaching the divine tribunal
    3. Relinquishing one's body
    4. Impressing God and neighbor
    5. Planning for the soul's journey
    6. Aiding the needy, aiding oneself
    7. Conclusion
    Part II. The King's Dissolving Body: Philip II and the Royal Paradigm of Death:
    1. King Philip and his palace of death
    2. The king's many requiems
    3. Drawing lessons from the king's death
    4. Defending the faith through ritual
    5. Death, the Spanish monarchy, and the myth of sacredness
    6. Conclusion
    Part III. The Saint's Heavenly Corpse: Teresa of Avila and the Ultimate Paradigm of Death:
    1. From Alba to Heaven
    2. Come sweet death, come swift dying
    3. Imperishable flesh, incomparable wonder
    4. Earthbound no longer
    5. Saint Teresa's apparitions
    6. Conclusion
    Epilogue: in death as in life: from the daily rounds of Hell to the vestibule of Heaven.

  • Author

    Carlos M. N. Eire, University of Virginia

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