Spanish and Portuguese | Topics in Spanish Medieval Literature
S618 | 27232 | O. Impey


Professor Olga Impey
email:  impey


S618	Topics in Spanish Medieval Literature

TR 4:00p – 5:15p/section# 27232/3 cr./BH 231

Topic: “The Triumph of the Ladies”: On the Defense of Women in
Fifteenth-Century Castile


This course will examine the defense of women in fifteenth-century
Spanish literature. The introductory part will deal with the impact
that Queens (María of Castile, María of Aragon, Isabel of Portugual
and Isabel of Castile, the Catholic queen), women writers (Leonor de
Córdoba, Teresa de Cartagena, Isabel Villena, etc.), and fictional
literary characters had in offsetting the misogynist tradition in
Spain. The close reading of two works representing this tradition,
A. Martínez de Toledo’s Arcipreste de Talavera (1438) and pere
Torrellas’ “Coplas de maldezir de mugeres,” will be followed by an
in-depth analysis of the first Castilian treatise in praise of
women, Juan Rodríguez de Padrón’s Triunfo de las donas (cc. 1440).
After placing it within the historical context that produced it
(Juan II’s and Queen María’s Castilian court), we will compare the
arguments in defense of women brought forth by Rodríguez del Padrón
with those advanced by Boccaccio in Famous Women (De mulieribus
claris) and by Christine de Pizan in The City of Ladies. We will
demonstrate afterwards that the difference in the evaluation of the
worth of women was motivated both by the gender of the writers and
by the dissimilar cultural milieu in which they wrote their works.
The following section of the course will cover subsequent treatises
(those of Álvaro de Luna de of Diego de Valera), and two fictional
narratives, Diego de San Pedro’s Cárcel de amor and Juan de Flores’
Grisel y Mirabella, that refute the defamation of women. Finally, we
will underline the correlation between the arguments presented in
Diego de San Pedro’s and Juan de Flores’ defensas de mujeres and the
new ideology of “resisting female,” redear and ruler, that emerged
in the last decades of fifteenth-century Castile.

The theoretical and critical framework of class discussions will be
based on studies by Iris Zavala, M.E. Lacarra, B. Wissberger, L.
Irigaray, J. Butler, G. Duby and Michelle Perrot.

The course will be conducted in Spanish. Students will be evaluated
on the basis of their active participation in class discussions
920%) of the grade), a written and oral presentation of an article
of literary criticism (15%), a short paper comparing two defensas de
mujeres (10%), an annoted bibliography for the research paper (15%),
and a research paper on a theme akin to the topic of the course
(40%).