The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain

By Christina H. Lee

The anxiety of sameness in early modern Spain


  • Hardcover
  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: eBook
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9635-2
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Published Date: November 2015
  • BIC Category: Portugal, History & Archaeology, European history, c 1500 onwards to present day, HISTORY / Europe / Spain & Portugal, Spain, Humanities / Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700, HISTORY / Modern / 17th Century, History
  • Series: Studies in Early Modern European History


This book explores the Spanish elite's fixation on social and racial 'passing' and 'passers', as represented in a wide range of texts. It examines literary and non-literary works produced in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries that express the dominant Spaniards' anxiety that socially mobile lowborns, Conversos (converted Jews), and Moriscos (converted Muslims) could impersonate and pass for 'pure' Christians like themselves. Ultimately, this book argues that while conspicuous sociocultural and ethnic difference was certainly perturbing and unsettling, in some ways it was not as threatening to the dominant Spanish identity as the potential discovery of the arbitrariness that separated them from the undesirables of society - and therefore the recognition of fundamental sameness.

This fascinating and accessible work will appeal to students of Hispanic studies, European history, cultural studies, Spanish literature and Spanish history.


'This fascinating work, the fruit of many years of research, will be of enormous interest to researchers and students.Lee's book is a welcome addition to the field of early modern studies in general and early modern Spanish history in particular.'
François Soyer, University of Southampton, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Volume 47, Number 4, Spring 2017

'Non specialists will find this study a helpful introduction to these major areas of research in early-modern Hispanic studies and may bring away theoretical insights applicable to other areas of investigation such as Trans-Atlantic Studies or Colonial Studies. Specialists will find The Anxiety of Sameness a rich contribution to a well-established field due to the variety of texts discussed, many of which do not regularly enter into historical and cultural analysis in the early modern period, as well as Lee's fresh approach to these texts. Further, many monographs tend to focus either on the Conversos or the Moriscos, but Lee has provided a unique monograph by bringing the two problems together in a thoughtful and engaging way.'
Jason D. Busic, Denison University, Journal of Social History


Part 1: The usurpation of nobility and lowborn passers
1. Theorising and practicing nobility
2. The forgery of nobility in literary texts
Part II: Conversos and the threat of sameness
3. Spotting Converso blood in official and unofficial discourses
4. The unmasking of Conversos in popular and literary texts
Part III: Moriscos and the reassurance of difference
5. Imagining the Morisco problem
6. Desirable Moors and Moriscos in literary texts

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