Canines in Cervantes and Velázquez: An Animal Studies Reading of Early Modern Spain, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Canines in Cervantes and Velázquez

An Animal Studies Reading of Early Modern Spain, 1st Edition

By John Beusterien


162 pages

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The study of the creation of canine breeds in early modern Europe, especially Spain, illustrates the different constructs against which notions of human identity were forged. This book is the first comprehensive history of early modern Spanish dogs and it evaluates how two of Spain’s most celebrated and canonical cultural figures of this period, the artist Diego Velázquez and the author Miguel de Cervantes, radically question humankind’s sixteenth-century anthropocentric self-fashioning. In general, this study illuminates how Animal Studies can offer new perspectives to understanding Hispanism, giving readers a fresh approach to the historical, literary and artistic complexity of early modern Spain.


Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services ’John Beusterien's Canines in Cervantes and Velázquez views the history of early modern Spain through the lens of species difference, providing a dog's-eye view of the period's rich literary, visual, and dramatic achievements. A learned and intriguing study.’ Bruce Boehrer, Florida State University, USA ’John Beusterien’s book demonstrates that the compassion and empathy of Cervantes and Velázquez was not limited to members of their own species. In a world filled with cruelty toward human and nonhuman animals alike, Cervantes and Mateo Alemán could disapprove of Rabelaisian humor in which a madman smashes rocks on a dog’s head. Early modern Spain was not just one prolonged bullfight, and, by applying an animal studies approach, Canines in Cervantes and Velázquez shows us just how human hierarchy and abusive use of other animals might be challenged through humane reflections on dogs. Montaigne was not alone in the early modern world.’ Abel Alves, Ball State University, USA and author of The Animals of Spain 'Canines in Cervantes and Velázquez successfully plots a new line of cultural analysis for early modern Iberian Studies … this book makes an important contribution to the field and fully merits the reader's attention.' Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

About the Author

John Beusterien is Associate Professor of Spanish and Director Comparative Literature Program in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures at Texas Tech University, USA.

About the Series

New Hispanisms: Cultural and Literary Studies

New Hispanisms: Cultural and Literary Studies

New Hispanisms: Cultural and Literary Studies presents innovative studies that seek to understand how the cultural production of the Hispanic world is generated, disseminated, and consumed. Ranging from the Spanish Middle Ages to modern Spain and Latin America, this series offers a forum for various critical and disciplinary approaches to cultural texts, including literature and other artifacts of Hispanic culture. Queries and proposals for single author volumes and collections of original essays are welcome.

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