Garcilaso de la Vega and the Material Culture of Renaissance Europe

Garcilaso de la Vega and the Material Culture of Renaissance Europe

Weight 0.00 lbs
By Mary E. Barnard
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2014
World Rights
248 Pages 33 Images
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442668508
Published Nov 2014
Full purchase $69.95

Garcilaso de la Vega and the Material Culture of Renaissance Europe examines the role of cultural objects in the lyric poetry of Garcilaso de la Vega, the premier poet of sixteenth-century Spain. As a pioneer of the “new poetry” of Renaissance Europe, aligned with the court, empire, and modernity, Garcilaso was fully attuned to the collection and circulation of luxury artefacts and other worldly goods. In his poems, a variety of objects, including tapestries, paintings, statues, urns, mirrors, and relics participate in lyric acts of discovery and self-revelation, reveal memory as contingent and unstable, expose knowledge of the self as deceptive, and show how history intersects with the ideology of empire.

Mary E. Barnard’s study argues persuasively that the material culture of early sixteenth-century Europe embedded within Garcilaso’s poems offers a key to understanding the interplay between objects and texts that make those works such vibrant inventions.

Mary E. Barnard is an associate professor in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at Penn State University.


Note on Editions and Translations

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Engaging the Material

Chapter 1: Weaving, Writing, and the Art of Gift-Giving 

Tapestry Culture
The Poem as Fabric: Weavers and Writers

Chapter 2:  Empire, Memory, and History 

An Archive in Cloth
Unearthing Carthage

Chapter 3: Objects of Dubious Persuasion

The Lyre and the Viol(a)
The Shell Boat
A Marble Statue

Chapter 4: The Mirror and the Urn

At the Fountain of Narcissus
The Urn’s Tale

Chapter 5: Eros at Material Sites

Weaver Nymphs in Crystal Palaces
Daphne’s Scenographic Body
Mapping the Humoral Interior
Tablet of the Soul

Chapter 6: Staging Objects in Pastoral

Falling in Love with a Statue
Mourning Becomes Material



Works Cited


“Mary E. Barnard’s book is a lively and original study of the presence and interplay of artifacts in Garcilaso de la Vega’s poetic texts. It is a welcome and timely contribution to our understanding of material culture in the Renaissance.”

Maria Cristina Quintero, Department of Spanish, Bryn Mawr College

“Garcilaso de la Vega was highly attuned to the material presence of things, and in his Neapolitan poems he wrote on a variety of items such as tapestries, paintings, urns, statues, musical instruments, and weapons as powerful carriers of culture. Barnard offers an original and sophisticated view of the nexus between object, text, and memory where even the body becomes a material site of inquiry, as a space for the investigation of melancholia as much as a celebration of earthly pleasures.  This is a magisterial take on Garcilaso’s exploration of the psychology of the self, on his engagement with cultural heritage, and on the interplay between orality and writing, and a timely intervention that connects his worldview with some of our most pressing concerns and fascinations with objects.”

Enrique Garcia Santo-Tomas, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan

‘Barnard’s studies of Garcilaso’s Naples period are excellent approaches to his politics and his representations of emotional states…. Barnard’s book is worthy of careful attention of anyone interested in Renaissance verse.’

Eric Clifford Graf, Renaissance Quarterly vol 69:01:2016

‘A vibrant, truly scholarly study that deserves pride of place in any collection (library or personal)… Essential.’

K.M Sibbald, Choice Magazine vol 52:12:2015

Outstanding Academic Title awarded by CHOICE (United States) - Winner in 2015 (United States) - Winner in 2016