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Mass Culture in the Age of Enlightenment

The Blindman's Ballads of Eighteenth-Century Spain


Madeline Sutherland

This study of the blindman's ballads (romances de ciego) of the eighteenth century introduces the reader to one of the most important, and most popular, mass culture genres produced in Spain. Madeline Sutherland explains how these ballads were produced and distributed, tracing the texts from author, to printer, to peddlar, to reader. She describes the blindman's ballad as a literary genre, showing its major defining characteristics. Finally, she discusses the influence of other genres - earlier printed ballads, as well as the novels, comedias, and autos sacramentales of the seventeenth century - on the development of the blindman's ballad, and shows the complex relationship that existed between high culture and mass culture in eighteenth-century Spain.
Contents: Description of blindman's ballad as a literary genre - Production and distribution of blindman's ballads - Censorship and regulation of printing - Relationship of blindman's ballads to other genres - Mass culture vs. high culture.