Love Magic and Control in Premodern Iberian Literature  book cover
1st Edition

Love Magic and Control in Premodern Iberian Literature

ISBN 9780367697204
Published July 30, 2021 by Routledge
168 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores the complexity of Iberian identity and multicultural/multi-religious interactions in the Peninsula through the lens of spells, talismans, and imaginative fiction in medieval and early modern Iberia. Focusing particularly on love magic—which manipulates objects, celestial spheres, and demonic conjurings to facilitate sexual encounters—Menaldi examines how practitioners and victims of such magic as represented in major works produced in Castile. Magic, and love magic in particular, is an exchange of knowledge, a claim to power and a deviation from or subversion of the licit practices permitted by authoritative decrees. As such, magic serves as a metaphorical tool for understanding the complex relationships of the Christian with the non-Christian. In seeking to understand and incorporate hidden secrets that presumably reveal how one can manipulate their environment, occult knowledge became one of the funnels through which cultures and practices mixed and adapted throughout the centuries.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Love Magic as a Metaphor for Control and Admiration

Convivencia, Courtly Love, and Categorizing Magic

1. Thirteenth-Century Alfonso X’s Interest in Andalusi and Islamic Magic

Eucharists as Magical Chastity Belts in Cantiga 104

Demons as Tools for Magical Seduction in Cantiga 125

2. Enchanted Spaces as Sites of Melding Thirteenth/Fourteenth-Century Knowledge

Marriage and Temptation in the Sulfuric Lake in the Libro del Caballero Zifar

The Devil’s Seduction of Roboán and His Loss of the Fortunate Isles in the Zifar

3. Transgressive Clerical Employment of Fourteenth-Century Go-Betweens

Amorous Linguistic Enchantments in Libro de buen amor

4. Sephardi and Andalusi Influences in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Mediators

Match-Maker Celestina’s Pantry of Herbs and Medicinal Supplies

The Cord that Broke Courtly Love in Celestina

5. Lingering Morisco Practices in Seventeenth-Century Imaginary

Medieval Inspirations for Feminine Empowerment and Meddling Neighbors and Mediated Trickery of the Innocent

Nocturnal Trace-Induced Intimacy by Moorish Necromancer in "La inocencia castigada"


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Veronica Menaldi is an assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages at the University of Mississippi. She received her PhD from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota in 2018. Her research focuses on premodern (medieval and early modern) Iberian literatures and cultures with an emphasis on magic, food, and cultural contact. She has articles and chapters published on Castilian and Aljamiado spells and fictions in conjunction with Andalusi, Latin, and Sephardi grimoires; and in-progress articles on the use of foodstuff in similar Iberian texts.