Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

(Re)producing Empire: Góngora's Soledades, Productive Space, and the Reversal of Spanish Decline

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2008), 85, (5), 639–658.

Abstract

In this essay, I engage recent scholarship of Góngora's Soledades (1613) to show that, far from a radical critique of imperialism, the poem advances a strategic vision of a restructured empire capable of reversing Spain's decline, already tangible by the beginning of the seventeenth century. By historicizing the Soledad primera in the context of the contemporary writings of Spanish arbitrista Martín González de Cellorigo, I suggest that Góngora's social milieu was steeped in economic and social theory actively critiquing and reimagining Spain's imperial project. In section one, I contextualize the Soledades within this transatlantic imaginary based on the increasing importance of production and circulation of commodities in contemporary economic theory. In section two, I suggest through a close reading of key passages from the Soledad primera that Góngora's use of space, informed by these social and economic projects and early modern European mercantilism, proposes a poetic but concrete solution for (re)producing the Spanish Empire, transforming it from an 'extractive' to a 'productive' colonial enterprise.

En este ensayo, demuestro que, lejos de una dura crítica del imperialismo, las Soledades de Góngoroa ofrecen una visión estratégica de un imperio reestructurado capaz de contrarrestar la declinación de España, ya tangible a principios del siglo XVII. Leyendo la Soledad primera en su contexto histórico representado por las obras contemporáneas del arbitrista Martín González de Cellorigo, sugiero que el milieu social de Góngora estaba inmerso en teoría económica y social que criticaba y reimaginaba activamente el proyecto imperial español. En la primera sección, contextualizo el poema dentro de este imaginario transatlántico que enfatizaba la producción y circulación de mercancías. En la segunda, sugiero que la manera en que Góngora representa el espacio, informada por estos proyectos socioeconómicos y el mercantilismo europeo, propone una solución poética pero concreta para (re) producir el Imperio Español, transformándolo del viejo modelo 'extractivo' a un nuevo modelo 'productivo' — pero no menos imperial.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Beverley, John, 1980. Aspects of Góngora's 'Soledades' (Amsterdam: John Benjamins). Aspects of Góngora's 'Soledades' Google Scholar

Beverley, John, 1988. 'Going Baroque?' boundary 2, 15.3: 27–39. Going Baroque? boundary 2 15 27 39 Google Scholar

Beverley, John, 1991. 'Introducción', in Luis de Góngora, Soledades (Madrid: Cátedra), pp. 12–68. Google Scholar

Covarrubias, Sebastián de, 1977 [1611]. Tesoro de la lengua castellana o española (Madrid: Ediciones Turner). Google Scholar

De Certeau, Michel, 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life, trans. Steven Rendall (Berkeley: U of California P). The Practice of Everyday Life Google Scholar

De Certeau, Michel, 1988. The Writing of History, trans. Tom Conley (New York: Columbia UP). The Writing of History Google Scholar

Elliott, J. H., 1970. The Old World and the New, 1492–1650 (Cambridge: CUP). The Old World and the New, 1492–1650 Google Scholar

Elliott, J. H., 1989. Spain and its World, 1500–1700 (New Haven: Yale UP). Spain and its World, 1500–1700 Google Scholar

Elliott, J. H., 2006. Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492–1830 (New Haven: Yale UP). Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492–1830 Google Scholar

Góngora, Luis de, 1991. 'Carta de don Luis de Góngora, en respuesta de la que le escribieron', in Góngora, Soledades (Madrid: Cátedra), pp. 170– 74. Google Scholar

Góngora, Luis de, 1991 [1613]. Soledades, ed. John Beverley (Madrid: Cátedra). Google Scholar

González de Cellorigo, Martín, 1991 [1600]. Memorial de la política necesaria y útil restauración a la República de España y estados de ella, y del desempeño universal de estos Reinos, ed. José Luis Pérez de Ayala (Madrid: Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana). Google Scholar

Goodman, Nan, 2005. 'Mercantilism and Cultural Difference in Cabeza de Vaca's Relación', Early American Literature, 40.2: 229–50. Mercantilism and Cultural Difference in Cabeza de Vaca's Relación Early American Literature 40 229 50 Google Scholar

Grice-Hutchinson, Marjorie, 1952. The School of Salamanca: Readings in Spanish Monetary Theory, 1544–1605 (Oxford: Clarendon). The School of Salamanca: Readings in Spanish Monetary Theory, 1544–1605 Google Scholar

Gutiérrez de los Ríos, Gaspar, 1600. Noticia general para la estimación de las artes, y de la manera en que se conocen las liberales de las que son Mecánicas y serviles, con una exortación a la honra de la virtud y el trabajo contra los ociocos, y otros particulares para las personas de todos estados (Madrid). Google Scholar

Keen, Benjamin, 1969. 'The Black Legend Revisited: Assumptions and Realities', Hispanic American Historical Review, 49.4: 703–19. The Black Legend Revisited: Assumptions and Realities Hispanic American Historical Review 49 703 19 Google Scholar

Magnusson, Lars, 1994. Mercantilism: The Shaping of an Economic Language (New York: Routledge). Mercantilism: The Shaping of an Economic Language Google Scholar

Martín Rodríguez, Manuel, 1999. 'Subdesarrollo y desarrollo económico en el mercantilismo español', in Economía y economistas españoles, ed. Enrique Fuentes Quintana (Barcelona: Galaxia Gutemberg), II, pp. 359–402. Subdesarrollo y desarrollo económico en el mercantilismo español Economía y economistas españoles , pp. 359 402 Google Scholar

McLuhan, Marshall, 1962. The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (Toronto: U of Toronto P). The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man Google Scholar

Mintz, Sidney, 1986. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York: Penguin). Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History Google Scholar

Padrón, Ricardo, 2004. The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain (Chicago: U of Chicago P). The Spacious Word: Cartography, Literature, and Empire in Early Modern Spain Google Scholar

Pagden, Anthony, 1990. Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination: Studies in European and Spanish-American Social and Political Theory, 1513–1830 (New Haven: Yale UP). Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination: Studies in European and Spanish-American Social and Political Theory, 1513–1830 Google Scholar

Pérez de Ayala, José Luis, 1991. 'Estudio preliminar', in Martín González de Cellorigo, Memorial […] (Madrid: Instituto de Cooperación Iberoamericana), pp. xiii–xlv. Google Scholar

Pratt, Mary Louise, 1997. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge). Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation Google Scholar

Real Academia Española. Diccionario de la lengua castellana, available at > http://www.rae.es Google Scholar

Sasaki, Betty, 1995. 'Góngora's Sea of Signs: The Manipulation of History in the Soledades', Calíope, 1.1–2: 150–68. Góngora's Sea of Signs: The Manipulation of History in the Soledades Calíope 1 150 68 Google Scholar

Schmidgen, Wolfram, 2001. 'Robinson Crusoe, Enumeration, and the Mercantile Fetish', Eighteenth-Century Studies, 35.1: 19–39. Robinson Crusoe, Enumeration, and the Mercantile Fetish Eighteenth-Century Studies 35 19 39 Google Scholar

Smith, Adam, 1937 [1776]. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. Edwin Cannan (New York: The Modern Library). Google Scholar

Virgil, 2005. Georgics, trans. Janet Lembke (New Haven: Yale UP). Georgics Google Scholar

Williams, Raymond, 1973. The Country and the City (New York: Oxford UP). The Country and the City Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Nemser, Daniel