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Black Legend

The Black Legend is the perception/theory that Spaniards were especially tyrannical, cruel, intolerant, lustful and greedy. These powerful stereotypes prevent an accurate understanding of early modern and even contemporary Spain. This project seeks to study the Black Legend as an early modern cultural dialogue, one in which Spanish intellectuals saw foreign prejudices as challenges that they needed to answer. We will approach the Black Legend from an interdisciplinary perspective, combining literary studies with theories on nation building, propaganda, and identity formation in the period. In particular, we examine how the Black Legend influenced Spain's self-conception during the Golden Age: how did Golden Age Spanish writers receive these ideas and how did they use theatre in particular to respond to them, how did commercial and court plays contribute to the process of nation building, and how did a nation like Spain, adapt, adopt and appropriate foreign perceptions to reshape its own self-image?