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Incomparable Realms: Spain during the Golden Age, 1500–1700
by Jeremy Robbins
Reaktion Books, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-78914-538-0 | Cloth: 978-1-78914-537-3

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ABOUT THIS BOOK
A sumptuous history of Golden Age Spain that explores the irresistible tension between heavenly and earthly realms.
 
Incomparable Realms offers a vision of Spanish culture and society during the so-called Golden Age, the period from 1500 to 1700 when Spain unexpectedly rose to become the dominant European power. But in what ways was this a Golden Age, and for whom? The relationship between the Habsburg monarchy and the Roman Catholic Church shaped the period, with both constructing narratives to bind Spanish society together. Incomparable Realms unpicks the impact of these two historical forces on thought and culture and examines the people and perspectives such powerful projections sought to eradicate.
 
The book shows that the tension between the heavenly and earthly realms, and in particular the struggle between the spiritual and the corporeal, defines Golden Age culture. In art and literature, mystical theology and moral polemic, ideology, doctrine, and everyday life, the problematic pull of the body and the material world is the unacknowledged force behind early modern Spain. Life is a dream, as the title of Calderón’s famous play of the period proclaimed, but there is always a body dreaming it.

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