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Barbara Simerka - Author

About the Author

Books by Barbara Simerka

Knowing Subjects Cognitive Cultural Studies and Early Modern Spanish Literature

Knowing Subjects Cognitive Cultural Studies and Early Modern Spanish Literature

Author: Barbara Simerka Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 15/10/2012

In Knowing Subjects, Barbara Simerka uses an emergent field of literary study, cognitive cultural studies, to delineate new ways of looking at early modern Spanish literature and to analyze cognition and social identity in Spain from the late fifteenth to late eighteenth centuries. Simerka analyzes works by Cervantes and Gracian, as well as picaresque novels and comedias. Employing an interdisciplinary approach, she brings together several strands of cognitive theory and details the synergies among neurological, anthropological, and psychological discoveries that provide new insights into human cognition. Her analysis draws on theory of mind, the study of the cognitive activity that enables humans to predict what others will do, feel, think, and believe. Theory of mind explores how primates, including humans, conceptualize the thoughts and rationales behind other people's actions and use those insights to negotiate social relationships. This capacity is a necessary precursor to a wide variety of human interactions, both positive and negative, from projecting and empathizing to lying and cheating. Simerka applies this theory to texts involving courtship or social advancement, activities in which deception is most prevalent, and productive. In the process, she uncovers new insights into the comedia (especially the courtship drama) and several other genres of literature (including the honor narrative, the picaresque novel, and the courtesy manual). She studies the construction of gendered identity and patriarchal norms of cognition, contrasting the perspectives of canonical male writers with those of recently recovered female authors such as Maria de Zayas and Ana Caro. She examines the construction of social class, intellect, and honesty, and in a chapter on Don Quixote, cultural norms for leisure reading at the time. Through her wide-ranging and stimulating study, Simerka shows how early modern Spanish literary forms reveal the relationship between an urbanizing culture, unstable subject positions and hierarchies, and social anxieties about cognition and cultural transformation.

Discourses of Empire Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain

Discourses of Empire Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain

Author: Barbara Simerka Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/06/2008

The counter-epic is a literary style that developed in reaction to imperialist epic conventions as a means of scrutinizing the consequences of foreign conquest of dominated peoples. It also functioned as a transitional literary form, a bridge between epic narratives of military heroics and novelistic narratives of commercial success. In Discourses of Empire, Barbara Simerka examines the representation of militant Christian imperialism in early modern Spanish literature by focusing on this counter-epic discourse. Simerka is drawn to literary texts that questioned or challenged the imperial project of the Hapsburg monarchy in northern Europe and the New World. She notes the variety of critical ideas across the spectrum of diplomatic, juridical, economic, theological, philosophical, and literary writings, and she argues that the presence of such competing discourses challenges the frequent assumption of a univocal, hegemonic culture in Spain during the imperial period. Simerka is especially alert to the ways in which different discourses--hegemonic, residual, emergent--coexist and compete simultaneously in the mediation of power. Discourses of Empire offers fresh insight into the political and intellectual conditions of Hapsburg imperialism, illuminating some rarely examined literary genres, such as burlesque epics, history plays, and indiano drama. Indeed, a special feature of the book is a chapter devoted specifically to indiano literature. Simerka's thorough working knowledge of contemporary literary theory and her inclusion of American, English, and French texts as points of comparison contribute much to current studies of Spanish Golden Age literature.

Critical Reflections Essays on Golden Age Spanish Literature in Honor of James A. Parr

Critical Reflections Essays on Golden Age Spanish Literature in Honor of James A. Parr

Author: Barbara Simerka Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/10/2006

This volume seeks to explore developments in the study of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish literature over the past decade through the prism of a homage volume that recognizes the contributions of James A. Parr. In his ground-breaking 1974 essay in Hispania, he challenged Hispanists to take note of developments in the fields of English and Comparative Studies, not to jump on the bandwagon, but to explore the emerging approaches to textual study in order to identify and adapt those aspects that could help to illuminate the field. In his own work, Parr followed that advice, with studies that incorporated new approaches to genre theory, narratology, and canonicity in order to explore dramatic and prose texts, and Don Quixote . The studies in this anthology make use of many of Parr's innovations, indicating that his work has had a long-lasting impact on the field of Golden Age Hispanism. Amy Williamsen is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Arizona, Tucson. Barbara A. Simerka is Associate Professor of Spanish at Queens College/City University of New York.

Discourses of Empire Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain

Discourses of Empire Counter-Epic Literature in Early Modern Spain

Author: Barbara Simerka Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/07/2003

The counter-epic is a literary style that developed in reaction to imperialist epic conventions as a means of scrutinizing the consequences of foreign conquest of dominated peoples. It also functioned as a transitional literary form, a bridge between epic narratives of military heroics and novelistic narratives of commercial success. In Discourses of Empire, Barbara Simerka examines the representation of militant Christian imperialism in early modern Spanish literature by focusing on this counter-epic discourse. Simerka is drawn to literary texts that questioned or challenged the imperial project of the Hapsburg monarchy in northern Europe and the New World. She notes the variety of critical ideas across the spectrum of diplomatic, juridical, economic, theological, philosophical, and literary writings, and she argues that the presence of such competing discourses challenges the frequent assumption of a univocal, hegemonic culture in Spain during the imperial period. Simerka is especially alert to the ways in which different discourses--hegemonic, residual, emergent--coexist and compete simultaneously in the mediation of power. Discourses of Empire offers fresh insight into the political and intellectual conditions of Hapsburg imperialism, illuminating some rarely examined literary genres, such as burlesque epics, history plays, and indiano drama. Indeed, a special feature of the book is a chapter devoted specifically to indiano literature. Simerka's thorough working knowledge of contemporary literary theory and her inclusion of American, English, and French texts as points of comparison contribute much to current studies of Spanish Golden Age literature.

El Arte Nuevo De Estudiar Comedias Literary Theory and Spanish Golden Age Drama

El Arte Nuevo De Estudiar Comedias Literary Theory and Spanish Golden Age Drama

Author: Barbara Simerka Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/08/1996

This anthology of ``new'' approaches to literary study takes its name from Lope de Vega's Arte nuevo de hacer comedias. Here is the not quite new art of ``estudiar'' rather than ``hacer'' drama that is the central concern. This volume is directed to students of literature and to scholars who wish to expand their knowledge of the many different areas of theoretical inquiry that comediantes are currently exploring.