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The Black Legend and the Spanish Identity in Golden Age Spanish Theater (1580-1665)
The Black Legend is the perception/theory that Spaniards are especially tyrannical, cruel, intolerant, lustful, and greedy people. These powerful stereotypes prevent an accurate understanding of Early-Modern, and even contemporary Spain. This project will study the Black Legend as an Early-Modern cultural dialogue, one in which Spanish intellectuals saw foreign prejudices as challenges that they needed to answer. I shall approach the Black Legend from an interdisciplinary angle by combining literary studies with theory on nation building, propaganda, and identity forming. In particular, we examine how the Black Legend influenced the Spanish self-conception during the Golden Age: how Golden Age Spanish writers received those ideas and how they used theater to respond to them, how commercial and court plays contributed to a nation-building process, and how even a nation already previously constructed, such as Spain, adopted foreign perceptions to reshape its own self-image.
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