“Obedezco pero no cumplo”: Surviving Censorship in Early Modern Spain

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Rolena Adorno


Better known by the royal decrees that governed it than by its practice, book censorship in Early Modern Spain remains an elusive topic. How did it work in individual instances? Were there authors who defied it? I take up here two works, one an imprint published and expurgated; the other a manuscript, approved for printing but never published. Both reveal the marks of the censor’s pen (occasionally, knife) but also the literary personalities of the authors whose writings were scrutinized. Both works belong to the genre of “proto-anthropology” that studied civilizations ancient and modern, from the Old World and the New. Please meet Fray Jerónimo Román y Zamora and his Repúblicas del mundo [Republics of the World] and Fray Martín de Murúa, author of Historia General del Piru [General History of Peru]. Along the way we encounter their respective readers, “Dr. Odriozola” and Fray Alonso Remón, as well as the larger-than-life presence of Fray Bartolomé de las Casas.


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