Writers on the Market: Consuming Literature in Early Seventeenth-Century Spain by Donald Gilbert-Santamaria
The beginning of the seventeenth century in Spain marks a rapid rise in the commercial market for cultural production. This book examines the evolution of this commercial market as reflected in the maturation of two genres: the public theater and the novel. Through a comparative analysis of the playwright Lope de Vega and the novelists Mateo Alemán and Miguel de Cervantes, the author explores the new poetic principles, both implicitly and explicitly, that accompany the rise of this commercialized literature. The book argues that the logic of classical economic theory becomes internalized within the poetic structure of these two genres. Within this logic, the idea of 'taste' comes to play a new and unprecedented role as the arbiter of 'literary' value. Exposed increasingly to the pressures of popular 'taste,' these writers are forced to rework or abandon many of the traditional poetic ideas of the Renaissance in a process that tends to undermine the writer's control over his own work.