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From Madrid to Purgatory

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


Part of Cambridge Studies in Early Modern History

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

£ 55.99

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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. In sixteenth-century Spain, the social and economic debts of the living were extended to the dead, and society's central paradigms sought to invert perceptions, making death seem better than life itself. This is the first full-length study of this phenomenon. It differs from previous histories of death in two significant ways: in its methodology, which seeks to interweave social history and intellectual/cultural history; and in its geographical and cultural setting (previous studies have focused on France, Italy, and England). As a history of mentalités focused on a subject of universal significance, From Madrid to Purgatory transcends its 'Spanishness' and its time period while being wholly attentive to them.

    •  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

    'This is a finely researched, lucidly written and carefully nuanced study.' Henry Kamen, The Times Literary Supplement

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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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