By David Rojinsky
This quantity strains a family tree of the various conceptions and capabilities of alphabetic writing in Hispanic cultures of the pre-modern and early colonial classes. The old junctures chosen are these at which the written be aware (in grammatical, old and felony discourse) assumed elevated ideological significance for bolstering other kinds of 'imperial' energy. In impact, Companion to Empire posits a constellation of ancient situations, instead of a novel legendary starting place within which the alliance among writing and imperium should be discerned. The corpus of fundamental texts thought of within the quantity derives from works by means of foundational figures within the background of pre-modern language theories (Isidore of Seville, Alfonso X the clever, Antonio de Nebrija) and from these pointed out with the early transatlantic enlargement of alphabetic writing (Peter Martyr D'Anghiera, Bernardino de Sahagún, Nuño Beltrán de Guzmán). through analyzing those canonical texts opposed to the grain, the writer avoids the totalizing gesture of histories of the language, and as an alternative focuses upon the connection among status written languages, the construction of a 'literate mentality' and the necessity to consolidate imperium on each side of the Atlantic. Companion to Empire will therefore be of curiosity to these adopting a 'post-philological' method of Hispanic experiences, in addition to these drawn to medieval and transatlantic imperium stories.
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Extra resources for Companion to Empire: A Genealogy of the Written Word in Spain and New Spain, c.550 - 1550. (Foro Hispanico)
His genealogy, then, was intended to be a means for writing the history of how values like the notion of good and evil, for example, did not emerge from a single origin and then remain constants transhistorically. Nietzsche argued that such values had multiple origins simply because their meaning was constantly being re-interpreted as a result and manifestation of a collision of forces driven by the will to power at distinct historical junctures: “There is no more important proposition for all kinds of historical research than that which we only arrive at with great effort but which we really should reach – namely, that the origin of the emergence of a thing and its ultimate usefulness, its practical application and incorporation into a system of ends, are toto coelo separate; that anything in existence, having somehow come about, is continually interpreted anew, requisitioned anew, transformed and redirected to a new purpose by a power superior to it; that everything that occurs in the organic world consists of overpowering, dominating, and in their turn, overpowering and domination consist of re-interpretation, adjustment, in the process of which their former ‘meaning’ [Sinn] and ‘purpose’ must necessarily be obscured and obliterated”.
Such a definition thereby dismisses the possibility of naive realism and supports the conception of history as a literary practice: “Thus the past is the fiction of the present” (de Certeau 1975: 10). 6 Mary Carruthers’ (1992) continuation of Frances Yates’ (1966) early work on the arts of memory made a significant contribution to the argument against the notion that phonetic literacy necessarily determined the development of logico-empirical thought and the shift to visual and spatialized perception which had been posited by the likes of Goody (1963) and Ong (1982).
9 While Hebrew was considered to be the oldest spoken language, it was also the source of all alphabetic writing having first been written in the commandments received by Moses: “Hebraeorum litteras a lege coepisse per Moysen” [Hebrew letters began with the law set down by Moses] (1. 3. 5). Greek letters, meanwhile, are imitations of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics encountered by the goddess Isis, but were first invented and used by the Phoenicians: “Graecarum litterarum usum primi Phoenices invenerunt” [The Phoenicians were the first ones who invented the use of Greek letters] (1.