By Jose Antonio Maravall
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Extra resources for Culture of the Baroque: Analysis of a Historical Structure
The term general here is significantly restricted, however, because in no instance, neither then nor now, does my interpretive construction exceed the limits of the social history of mentalities. I have been moving in this direction for some time, precisely since I initiated the studies that were sketched in that lecture for the first time. I continued to develop these studies during lectures at Spanish universities, at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes, at the University of Paris at the Sorbonne. At the Sorbonne, I was able to develop the ideas during an entire seminar in 1970-71.
It does not seem to me that baroque could be an agent or mover of history; it would be valid for architectonic constructions, built somehow in a series; but what was truly active in collective life and thought was the State that contained the propelling forces of each particular history during their existence (in the seventeenth century the differences cannot be bridged between England, France, Spain, Italy and Germany; they lack a common denominator endowed with a dimension capable of being written into history).
Although religious life and the Church played a decisive role in the formation and development of the baroque — religion occupied a central position for Catholics and Protestants in the seventeenth century and was incorporated by political interests — the manifestations of that culture did not always or everywhere correspond with those of religious life, nor did the problems it poses for our knowledge of it derive from a religious spirit. In the entire Spanish baroque, the greatest weight must perhaps be attributed to the monarchy and the composite of monarchical-seignorial interests that it enveloped.