ABOUT THIS BOOK
Insults, scorn, and verbal abuse—frequently deployed to affirm the social identity of the insulter—are destined to fail when that language is appropriated and embraced by the maligned group. In such circumstances, slander may instead empower and reinforce the collective identity of those perceived to be a threat to an idealized society. In this innovative study, Irigoyen-Garcia examines how the discourse and practices of insult and infamy shaped the cultural imagination, anxieties, and fantasies of early modern Spain. Drawing on sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literary works, archival research, religious and political literature, and iconographic documents, Dystopias of Infamy traces how the production of insults haunts the imaginary of power, provoking latent anxieties about individual and collective resistance to subjectification. Of particular note is Cervantes’s tendency to parody regulatory fantasies about infamy throughout his work, lampooning repressive law for its paradoxical potential to instigate the very defiance it fears.