Anticlericalism in Spanish literature, particularly in the twentieth century
Devlin, John Joseph
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Anticlericalism in Spanish Literature can be discussed under two headings: 1. A broad, general criticism of the clergy stimulated by all manner of inadequacies. 2. A more specific criticism focused against direct clerical pressure in the realm of the political and social order. It is the latter manifestation that corresponds to the scholarly use of the term. It is in this latter sense that this study is extended, although it is impossible to prescind from general criticism when the two phenomena are tightly interwoven, as frequently happens. Both phenomena have deep roots in Spain. Strong evidences of the first or general variety can be found in the very early literature; this criticism -- emerging in various genres associated with different strata of society -- differs in no essential sense from that found throughout Europe in the late medieval Catholic community. In the sixteenth century, however, tensions were established between the literal interpreters of the old order and the new liberal humanists. Specifically, criticism of the clergy became focused and sharpened to a considerable extent in an atmosphere created by the Inquisition. Reaction on the part of men of letters followed the restrictive religio-political policies. A great cluster of controversies involving the erasmistas demonstrates this point and suggests the nucleus of the modern and scholarly definition. In the seventeenth century, despite growing national decadence, literature was too intimately associated with an officially Catholic regime to admit strong manifestations of this critical spirit; the most important exception to be noted is the picaresque novel. In the eighteenth century the psychology established during the Inquisition re-emerged in further conflicts between men of letters and churchmen. The Inquisition, the inquisitional mentality, and anticlerical reaction -- the inevitable aftermath -- flourished again under the shadow of the importations of the French "Enlightenment." In the nineteenth century, further struggle toward modern points of view were complicated by reaction centered principally in the intolerant mentality of the court of Fernando VII and, later, in the carlista movement. The gradual disappearance of an actual Carlist political faction was not paralleled by the elimination of the psychology which sought solutions for contemporary problems in outmoded formulas. The position of the clergy with regard to political and social mores became increasingly entangled amid the elements of the struggle between the old and the new; the anticlericals became largely identified with modernity, liberalism, governmental change, and social progress. Anticlerical newspapers sprang up and anticlericalism in men of letters became commonplace. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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