Review by Choice Review
Accomplished historian Ruiz (UCLA) examines festivals in Spain from approximately 1200 to the mid-17th century. Starting from the premise that these events conveyed social, political, and ideological content, the author argues effectively that a close analysis over time of various festivals and related traditions--e.g., those associated with royal entries and visits to major municipalities; royal births, weddings, and funerals; Corpus Christi and Carnival--improves historians' understanding of changes in political processes and culture. He particularly emphasizes events in which Habsburg monarch Philip II participated as a prince and monarch. Employing extensive published primary sources and a wide range of secondary materials, Ruiz makes clear that almost compulsive planning went into every aspect of festivals, although the results did not always meet the organizers' expectations. Throughout the centuries examined, music, dancing, feasts, fictitious battles between Christians and Moors, tournaments, and running bulls were common in Spain's numerous and often lengthy festivals. The book provides information and insight that anthropologists, students of Spanish literature, and historians of Spain and colonial Spanish America will draw upon for many years. University libraries should purchase this volume. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above. M. A. Burkholder University of Missouri--St. Louis
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.