Ofensiva a los oídos piadosos: Poéticas y políticas de la obscenidad y la censura en la España trasatlántica
In this dissertation, I analyze literary texts deemed as obscene and the inquisitorial documentation against them in transatlantic Spain during the early modern period, in order to argue that obscenity and censorship are two sides of the same coin. Contrary to popular belief, obscenity does not always challenge hegemony. Rather, it often reinforces repression and intolerance. Conversely, censorship reproduces the same obscenity that it condemns by publicizing it and mirroring the sexual excitement of obscene discourse. By examining works written by Luis de Góngora, Francisco de Quevedo, Nicolás Fernández de Moratín, Félix María de Samaniego, Leandro Fernández de Moratín, Tomás de Iriarte, Juan Meléndez Valdés, as well as anonymous texts and folksongs such as “Chuchumbé” and “Jarabe gatuno,” I identify how femaleness, sexual deviance, blackness, and social class have played a major role in the qualification of the obscene. Drawing from Jacques Rancière’s approach to the collusion between aesthetics and politics, I juxtapose the poetics and politics of “obscene” texts with the poetics and politics of censorial documents with the aim of showing how these two seemingly opposite discourses both intersect and work against each other. In doing so, this project contributes to studies on transatlantic Spain by addressing the ambivalent and complementary relationship between discipline and deviance, and, on a wider scale, to current feminist debates on the censorship of obscenity and on freedom of speech.