The Laughter of the Saints: Parodies of Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Spain

Overview

Between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries in Spain, a large number of parodic works were produced that featured depictions of humourous, satirical, and comical saints. The Laughter of the Saints examines this rich carnivalesque tradition of parodied holy men and women and traces their influence to the anti-heroes and picaresque roots of early modern novels such as Don Quixote.

The first full-length treatment of the ways in which Spanish writers imitated religious ...

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The Laughter of the Saints: Parodies of Holiness in Late Medieval and Renaissance Spain

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Overview

Between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries in Spain, a large number of parodic works were produced that featured depictions of humourous, satirical, and comical saints. The Laughter of the Saints examines this rich carnivalesque tradition of parodied holy men and women and traces their influence to the anti-heroes and picaresque roots of early modern novels such as Don Quixote.

The first full-length treatment of the ways in which Spanish writers imitated religious depictions of saints' lives for comic purposes, Ryan D. Giles' erudite study explores the inversion of oaths, invocations, pious legends, and liturgical devotions. Analyzing a variety of texts from Libro de buen amor, to later works such as the Celestina, Carajicomedia, Lozana andaluza, and Lazarillo de Tormes, Giles not only sheds light on Golden Age Spanish literature, but also on the origins of the comic novel. A well-argued and convincing work, The Laughter of the Saints reveals the uproarious results of the collision of official and unofficial methods of storytelling.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
‘Giles’s study offers an imaginative and well-researched exploration of ‘the kind of humour that was being suppressed and exploited by authorities at the dawn of the modern age’, arguing convincingly that the parodic use of saints and religious imagery provided ‘a carnivalsque model for the lives of picaros and other modernizing anti-heroes.’

‘This volume taught me a lot and had me smiling while I was learning. What more could a reader ask for? ’

‘;A provocative study…Through interesting analyses, The Laughter of the Saints documents how humour and sanctity coincided in medieval and early modern texts without provoking scandal but rather causing audiences, well familiar with the cults of the saints, to reflect upon the link between the sacred and the profane, the saint and the sinner.’

The Laughter of the Saints offers a compelling examination of medieval and early- modern parodies of saints… Giles' book is valuable to folklorists in its cultural and textual contextualization of Spanish religious parodies, many of which draw upon rich folklore traditions.’

‘This is an invaluable work of scholarship which sheds significant new light on the literary uses of saints and their learned and festive connotations in medieval and Golden Age texts… It will allow scholars to appreciate and recreate a prism of reading that was once commonplace but has been eroded by the desuetude of hagiography and the eradication of popular sacred parody. ’

Andrea Weisl-Shaw
‘Giles’s study offers an imaginative and well-researched exploration of ‘the kind of humour that was being suppressed and exploited by authorities at the dawn of the modern age’, arguing convincingly that the parodic use of saints and religious imagery provided ‘a carnivalsque model for the lives of picaros and other modernizing anti-heroes.’
Jonathan Bradbury; The Modern language Review: vol 106:04:2011
‘This is an invaluable work of scholarship which sheds significant new light on the literary uses of saints and their learned and festive connotations in medieval and Golden Age texts… It will allow scholars to appreciate and recreate a prism of reading that was once commonplace but has been eroded by the desuetude of hagiography and the eradication of popular sacred parody. ’
Ronald E. Surtz
‘This volume taught me a lot and had me smiling while I was learning. What more could a reader ask for? ’
Jane E. Connolly; Bulletin of Spanish Studies; vol88:04:2011
‘;A provocative study…Through interesting analyses, The Laughter of the Saints documents how humour and sanctity coincided in medieval and early modern texts without provoking scandal but rather causing audiences, well familiar with the cults of the saints, to reflect upon the link between the sacred and the profane, the saint and the sinner.’
Steve Stanzak: Journal of Folklore Research; June 23
The Laughter of the Saints offers a compelling examination of medieval and early- modern parodies of saints… Giles' book is valuable to folklorists in its cultural and textual contextualization of Spanish religious parodies, many of which draw upon rich folklore traditions.’
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802099525
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 10/31/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Ryan D. Giles is an assistant professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago.
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