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Provost's Imagine Fund for Arts and Humanities

Criminals, Monsters, & Renegades: the Representation of Women in the Spanish Pliegos Suéltos Poéticos

Seventeenth-century and sixteenth-century collections of broadsides, or what are called pliegos sueltos or relaciones in Spanish, can be found in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid, Spain, and in the British Library in London, England. This literary form, vacillating somewhere between an oral text and a written document (Joaquín Marco 336) and demonstrating an inherently tabloid nature, became popular after the advent of the printing press to put literary artifacts into the hands of those who had no access to libraries (Antonio Rodríguez-Moñino 12). Henry Ettinghausen, author of “The Illustrated Spanish News,” commends them because

… they were truly news stories, which, besides providing information, helped structure reality into meaningful fables, performing such other important social functions long associated with literature as entertainment, ideological promotion and moralising. (118)

I would like to expand on earlier research by accessing additional Spanish broadsides housed at the British Library. After studying published catalogues of materials housed in the Spanish collections, available through interlibrary loan, I will travel to the British Library to study additional unstudied and often unknown broadsides in a more systematic way.
Because I already have three peer-reviewed publications in the area of the pliegos sueltos poéticos and have three more in progress on the topics of incest, monsters and female criminality, I would like to consider publishing a monograph on the topic. This study will bring critical attention to a little-known genre. I will be on sabbatical next year and will have ample time and inclination to conduct this research.

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