Spanish Society depicts a complex and fascinating country in transition from the late Middle Ages to modernity. It describes every part of society from the gluttonous nobility to their starving peasants. Through anecdotes, a lively style and portraits of figures such as St Teresa of Avila and Torquemada, the book reflects the character and humour with which the common Spaniard endured an often-wretched lot.
Beginning with a description of the geography, political life, and culture of Spain from 1400 to 1600, the unfolding narrative charts the country’s shifts from one age to the next. It unveils patterns of everyday life from the court to the brothel, from the ‘haves’ of the aristocracy and clergy to the ‘have nots’ of the peasantry and the urban poor.
Historical records illuminate details of Spanish society such as the transition from medieval festivities to the highly-scripted spectacles of the early modern period, the reasons for violence and popular resistance and the patterns of daily living: eating, dressing, religious beliefs and concepts of honour and sexuality.
This compelling account includes historical examples and literary extracts, which allow the reader direct access to the period. From the street theatre of village carnivals to the oppressive Spanish Inquisition, it gives an abiding sense of Spain in the making and renders vivid the colours of a passionate history.