By Elvira Vilches
The discovery of the recent international used to be at first a reason for occasion. however the large quantities of gold that Columbus and different explorers claimed from those lands altered Spanish society. The inflow of such wealth contributed to the growth of the Spanish empire, but additionally it raised doubts and insecurities concerning the which means and serve as of cash, the beliefs of courtroom and civility, and the constitution of trade and credits. New global Gold exhibits that, faraway from being a stabilizing strength, the move of gold from the Americas created anxieties between Spaniards and formed a bunch of targeted behaviors, cultural practices, and highbrow objectives on either side of the Atlantic.
Elvira Vilches examines fiscal treatises, tales of trip and conquest, moralist writings, fiction, poetry, and drama to bare that New international gold finally grew to become a not easy resource of energy that destabilized Spain’s experience of belief, fact, and price. those cultural anxieties, she argues, rendered the invention of gold mockingly disastrous for Spanish society. Combining fiscal suggestion, social background, and literary thought in trans-Atlantic contexts, New international Gold unveils the darkish part of Spain’s Golden Age.
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Extra resources for New World Gold: Cultural Anxiety and Monetary Disorder in Early Modern Spain
During the Middle Ages, the adoption of Aristotelian doctrine had established that it was unnatural for money to engender money; interest was therefore condemned as theft. Under this ideological framework, use and spending were identical. At the opposite pole from this mentality lay the credit economy. 27 These instruments of financial credit detached money from its material value. Fiduciary money was backed by the reputation of firms and brokers, rather than by the authority of the prince. The general public had doubts about credit money, because they perceived that the value of ink money was reproduced mysteriously in the hands of the bankers and money exchangers.
21. Fuchs, “Empire Unmanned: Gender Trouble and Genoese Gold in Cervantes’s ‘The Two Damsels’”; Galindo Martín, Cervantes y la Economía; Johnson, Cervantes and the Material World. 22. Redondo, L’humanisme dans les lettres espagnoles; Romero-Díaz, Nueva nobleza, nueva novela: reescribiendo la cultura urbana del barroco. 23. ” 24. Hutchinson, Economía ética en Cervantes. 25. Garcés, Cervantes in Algiers: A Captive’s Tale. 26. For a discussion of the practice of traditional forms of credit in Castile, see chapter 7 in Vassberg’s Land and Society in Golden Age Castile and Phillips’s Ciudad Real, 1500–1700, 56–64.
By focusing on historical economic development and its cultural epistemic dimensions, I argue for a dialogue between the economic, the cultural, and the literary that attends to the vagueness of value that American gold caused and to the continuum of writing that sought to explain the difficulty in capturing truth in value. The second part of my argument looks at how early sixteenth-century Spain began to wrestle with the credit economy, the ruin of the national economy, and a paradoxical perception that the wealth of the Indies was both the source of the empire’s power and the major threat to its strength.