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Vision, the Gaze and Function of Senses in Celestina
     

Vision, the Gaze and Function of Senses in Celestina

by James F. Burke
 

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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

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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“A daring new reading of Celestina. This book marks a significant watershed in both Celestina and early modern studies and will prove to be a fundamental touchstone for scholars and lay readers alike.”

—E. Michael Gerli, Georgetown University

“Making a significantly innovative contribution to Celestina studies is by no means an easy task, yet in this monograph James F. Burke does just that, offering a far-reaching reinterpretation of the text in relation to the medieval philosophy of the senses. . . . [This is] an extremely useful guide for readers of Celestina.”

—Andrew M. Beresford, MLR

“Pre-modern people quite literally saw the world differently from the way we do. James Burke does not just tell us about it, he shows it, and our eyes are different when they look again at Celestina.”

—Catherine Brown, Medieval Academy

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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780271020389
Publisher:
Penn State University Press
Publication date:
12/02/2000
Series:
Studies in Romance Literatures
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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