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

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

by Ryan D. Giles
     
 

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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…  See more details below

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:
9781442697096
Publisher:
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date:
10/31/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
'A notable, original work of scholarship, The Laughter of the Saints explores the relationship between humor and sanctity. Ryan D. Giles' broad ranging and interdisciplinary work convincingly demonstrates how the sacred and the profane could coexist in secular literary works without provoking scandal, offense, or repudiation. For medieval and early modern readers, the lives of the saints provided crucial points of reference, serving as both critical lens and fun house mirror, through which they could meditate upon and laugh at the intrinsic kinship between sin and virtue. I have no doubt but that this book will mark a milestone in Hispanic Medieval and Early Modern Studies.'
Michael Gerli
'A notable, original work of scholarship, The Laughter of the Saints explores the relationship between humor and sanctity. Ryan D. Giles' broad ranging and interdisciplinary work convincingly demonstrates how the sacred and the profane could coexist in secular literary works without provoking scandal, offense, or repudiation. For medieval and early modern readers, the lives of the saints provided crucial points of reference, serving as both critical lens and fun house mirror, through which they could meditate upon and laugh at the intrinsic kinship between sin and virtue. I have no doubt but that this book will mark a milestone in Hispanic Medieval and Early Modern Studies.'

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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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