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Material Texts: Steve Dolph (Spanish & Portuguese, Penn): “Divergent Arcadias: Madrid, 1605"
Monday, November 7, 2016 - 5:15pm to 6:30pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion
Sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Please join us Monday, November 7th, for the next meeting of the Workshop in the History of Material Texts. We will convene at our usual time and place:5:15pmin the Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center on the 6th Floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. 

We will be welcoming Steve Dolph (Spanish & Portuguese, Penn) for a talk entitled “Divergent Arcadias: Madrid, 1605.”


Steve writes:

Otherworlds, utopias, el dorados. The idyll, in its many forms, was a persistent fascination among intellectuals and artists of early modern Europe. As political allegory, erotic fantasy, or spiritual conceit, arcadian landscapes structured the imagined futurities of individuals and communities along alternative economies of desire. Often, within these green enclosures, with time and toil deferred, subaltern speech claimed an unaccustomed authority, labor and gender roles found playful reversal, and the world of the human was jarred into poignant awareness of the surrounding nonhuman environment. Widely considered a hallmark of early modern thought, Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, first published in Madrid in 1605, employs arcadian thinking to critique misogynist, racist, and classist ideologies of its moment. The concept likewise informs Cervantes’s description of the relationship between author, text, and reader in the novel’s prologue—a self-effacing apologia-by-satire of the most popular literary text of the time, Lope de Vega’s Arcadia, a runaway bestseller by then in its seventh edition. This talk will explore the divergent arcadias presented in, and by, these now-canonical texts, both as representations of the world, and as material objects in it.

Steve Vásquez Dolph is a PhD candidate in the department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Pennsylvania, where his research looks at early modern Iberian and transatlantic literature and human ecology. He is the 2016-17 Brizdle-Shoenberg Fellow in the History of Material Texts and co-founder of the Early Modern Iberia (EMI) Study Group. His current project, Third Nature, examines representations of ecological crisis in Renaissance Spain, with a focus on landscape and ethics in the pastoral literature of the early 17th century.