The study of the creation of canine breeds in early modern Europe, especially Spain, illustrates the different constructs against which notions of human identity were forged. This book is the first comprehensive history of early modern Spanish dogs and it evaluates how two of Spain’s most celebrated and canonical cultural figures of this period, the artist Diego VelÃ¡zquez and the author Miguel de Cervantes, radically question humankind’s sixteenth-century anthropocentric self-fashioning. In general, this study illuminates how Animal Studies can offer new perspectives to understanding Hispanism, giving readers a fresh approach to the historical, literary and artistic complexity of early modern Spain.
John Beusterien is Associate Professor of Spanish and Director Comparative Literature Program in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures at Texas Tech University, USA.
Classified as 'Research Essential' by Baker & Taylor YBP Library Services ’John Beusterien's Canines in Cervantes and VelÃ¡zquez views the history of early modern Spain through the lens of species difference, providing a dog's-eye view of the period's rich literary, visual, and dramatic achievements. A learned and intriguing study.’ Bruce Boehrer, Florida State University, USA ’John Beusterien’s book demonstrates that the compassion and empathy of Cervantes and VelÃ¡zquez was not limited to members of their own species. In a world filled with cruelty toward human and nonhuman animals alike, Cervantes and Mateo AlemÃ¡n could disapprove of Rabelaisian humor in which a madman smashes rocks on a dog’s head. Early modern Spain was not just one prolonged bullfight, and, by applying an animal studies approach, Canines in Cervantes and VelÃ¡zquez shows us just how human hierarchy and abusive use of other animals might be challenged through humane reflections on dogs. Montaigne was not alone in the early modern world.’ Abel Alves, Ball State University, USA and author of The Animals of Spain 'Canines in Cervantes and VelÃ¡zquez successfully plots a new line of cultural analysis for early modern Iberian Studies ... this book makes an important contribution to the field and fully merits the reader's attention.' Bulletin of Hispanic Studies