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By Jose Antonio Maravall

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During this time, I had the good fortune of counting on the inciting, suggestive resistance of a teacher with whom I have disagreed and whom I have admired above and beyond all our differences of opinion. I am referring to Américo Castro. Readers of the present book will understand from its first pages that my interpretation rests on the fact that the Spanish baroque was but a phenomenon inscribed in a series of diverse manifestations of the European baroque, every one of them different from the others; yet all can be subsumed under the single and general historical category of baroque culture.

It is not any less connected with the other monarchies and inevitably with nearby republics that were related to countries of monarchical absolutism, such as Venice or the Low Countries. When I speak of the baroque, I do so always in general terms; the national connotation that is present in this work serves only to introduce the nuances that vary the panoramic view when the vantage point shifts, although without losing sight of the whole. Saying Spanish baroque is equivalent to saying European baroque seen from Spain.

On the other hand, after the valid criticism of A. Castro and others, it is today impossible to take seriously the reference to similarities of style in Latin writers of peninsular origin, the attempt to find Hispanic characteristics "from their most remote origins" (as it was postulated by M. Pelayo), or the belief of finding echoes of Lucan or Seneca in Spanish writers when they are deemed of high quality. The thesis is no more tenable that aims to recognize Islamic components, in an attempt to show a Hispanic predisposition toward the baroque; the same arguments militate against this as against the former, although not all of the BAROQUE CULTURE AS A CONCEPT OF EPOCH11 many who have spoken about the subject — arbitrarily to a certain degree — are disposed to recognize it.

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