Dr Jonathan Bradbury

Research interests

My doctoral and post-doctoral work on the multifarious genre of the Spanish vernacular prose miscellany in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries lead to a number of different research strands.

In my doctoral thesis and the forthcoming (late 2016) monograph resulting from it, I mapped and charted the evolution of the genre in Spain, from its beginnings in 1540 with Pedro Mexía’s Silva de varia lección, which looks back to the miscellanies of antiquity and those of the humanists of the previous century, to the effective extinction of the tradition, which can be emblematized by the publication, in 1673, of Antonio Sánchez Tórtoles’s El entretenido, a work in which the informative and erudite elements have been to a great extent marginalised by fictional materials, thus illustrating a growing tendency in the seventeenth century towards the inclusion in Spanish miscellanies of creative literature of different sorts.

Three significantly differing miscellanies by Cristóbal Suárez de Figueroa (1571?-1644?) – El Pasajero (Madrid, 1617), Varias noticias (Madrid, 1621), and Pusílipo (Naples, 1629) – have formed a core element of my research. Study of this judge-advocate-cum-author has so far led me to investigate three questions of broader relevance to the Spanish Golden Age and, indeed, to the early-modern period in a more general sense: 

- The inclusion of poetry and novelas cortas in Spanish miscellanies, and how these are integrated or not with more learned or informative materials: I began to develop my work on the role of the short story in seventeenth-century misceláneas under the auspices of a British Academy-funded inter-disciplinary research group, Seventeenth-Century Fiction: Text and Transmission (2012-13), and I currently form part of an international research group, Novela corta del siglo XVII: estudio y edicion (II) (2014-17), funded by the Spanish government.

- Borrowings and notions of plagiarism, especially as practised across national borders, with an emphasis on content transplanted from Italy and France into Spain: the Spanish miscellanists, whilst transgressing against even the flexible norms of intellectual ownership typical of the age, often perform a valuable service in importing learned materials into a peninsula which is still ‘playing catch-up’ with much of the rest of Europe.

- The role of writers in the Kingdom of Naples: as the seventeenth century progresses, problems in the political and economic spheres of this Spanish possession become more acute and less easily concealed, which leads to an efflorescence of literary works – of varying practicality and sincerity – seeking to advise the viceroys and suggest remedies.

Since drawing my work on the miscellanies to an effective close, I have paid greater attention to poetry, settling on the fascinating figure of Manuel de Faria e Sousa (1590-1649) as the core of my next major research undertaking. This author, a Portuguese auto-didact who made a name for himself in the literary and intellectual circles of Madrid in the 1620s, straddled national boundaries, writing his poetry and literary commentaries primarily in Spanish, mainly during the vexed period of the Iberian Union (1580-1640).

Research collaborations

Member of the research group, Novela corta del siglo XVII: estudio y edicion (II) (2014-17), funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad: http://www.prosabarroca.es

Member of the research group '∏ólemos', working on the project 'Édition digitale et étude de la polémique autour de Góngora' based at the Observatoire de la vie littéraire (OBVIL) at the Université Paris-Sorbonne: http://obvil.paris-sorbonne.fr/projets/edition-digitale-et-etude-de-la-polemique-autour-de-gongora?equipe