Manly Men and Demonic Women: Constructions of Masculinity in the Spanish Ballads

LaPlatney, Jeanne, Spanish - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Gerli, Edmondo Michael, Department for Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, University of Virginia

This dissertation examines masculinity in the Spanish ballad, specifically ballads that were published on or around 1600 in either broadsides or romanceros. Taking as a point of departure Colin Smith’s assertion that the ballads “have something to say” to later audiences (5), the aim of this study is to determine how early modern masculinity is represented in the ballads, which, although medieval in origin, were published and widely read in the early modern period. The project first examines masculinity as portrayed in the Bernardo del Carpio ballad cycle in terms of appearances, moderation, and self- control, lineage, and leadership. It demonstrates that the texts reflect a medieval discourse on leadership and masculinity that was of interest to an early modern audience due to political and social changes in Hapsburg Spain. The second chapter investigates how men’s honor is earned and lost through their responsibilities to each other as king, vassal, father, and son by examining the relationships among Bernardo, his father Sancho, and his uncle and king, Alfonso. It also draws conclusions about the ballad’s popularity in the early modern era and conceptions of honor in early modern Spain. In the last chapter, the dissertation explores questions of masculinity in terms of women who pose a threat to masculine identity in the “La serrana de la Vera” and “La infantina” ballads, especially regarding marriage and anxieties about partaking in marriage as an institution that surfaced in medieval Spain and persisted in early modern Spain.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Issued Date: