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Vision, the Gaze and Function of Senses in Celestina

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The plot of the late-medieval Spanish work Celestina (1499) centers on the ill-fated love of Calisto and Melibea and the fascinating character of their intermediary, Celestina. In this ground-breaking rereading of the play, James F. Burke offers a new interpretation of the characters' actions by analyzing medieval theories of perception that would have influenced the composition of Celestina.

Drawing upon a variety of texts and thinkers—including the medieval theories of Thomas ...

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2000 Hardcover 8vo, hardcover. New, in dust jacket. Bright, crisp & clean, unread. 139 p.

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Overview

The plot of the late-medieval Spanish work Celestina (1499) centers on the ill-fated love of Calisto and Melibea and the fascinating character of their intermediary, Celestina. In this ground-breaking rereading of the play, James F. Burke offers a new interpretation of the characters' actions by analyzing medieval theories of perception that would have influenced the composition of Celestina.

Drawing upon a variety of texts and thinkers—including the medieval theories of Thomas Aquinas, the Renaissance treatises of Marsilio Ficino, the classical philosophy of Aristotle, and the modern psychology of Jacques Lacan—Burke relates ancient and medieval theories of sensory functions to modern understandings. He demonstrates that modern concepts of "the gaze" have their premodern analogy in the idea of an all-encompassing sensory field, both visual and auditory, that surrounded and enveloped each individual. Touching on medieval theories of the "evil eye," the sonic sphere, and "the banquet of the senses," Burke offers a new perspective on the use and manipulation of sensory input by the characters of Celestina.

This book will be welcomed not only by students of Spanish literature but also by those interested in new ways of approaching medieval and Renaissance texts.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In this new reading of the late-medieval Spanish play (attributed primarily to Fernando de Rojas, 1499) about the ill-fated love of Calisto and Melibea and their go-between Celestina, Burke (Spanish and Portuguese, U. of Toronto) interprets the characters' actions based on an analysis of medieval theories of sensory and higher spiritual perception (e.g., that of Thomas Aquinas, the evil eye) that influenced its composition. The author also looks through classical, Renaissance, and modern psychology (Lacanian) lenses. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271020389
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 12/2/2000
  • Series: Studies in Romance Literatures
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 152
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

James F. Burke is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto. His previously published books are Structures from the Trivium in the Cantar de Mio Cid (1991) and Desire Against the Law: The Juxtaposition of Contraries in Early Medieval Spanish Literature (1998).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1 The Sensory Fields, Ancient and Modern 9
2 Celestina: The Sublunary Intermediary 33
3 The Higher Spiritual Vision: Saint Mary Magdalene 49
4 Arrows of Desire, Arrows of Envy 63
5 "Todas cosas que son hacen": The Sonic Sphere 79
6 The Banquet of Sense and the Garden of Delights 103
Works Cited 121
Index 133
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