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Medieval Society Talk: Ryan Prendergast

Thursday, April 19, 2012

This presentation will explore how the anonymously published The Life of Lazarillo de Tormes and of His Fortunes and Adversities (1554), considered by many to be the first picaresque novel in Spain, represents confession and how it responds to and critiques the use of confession. These confessions were often given under torture which was deployed by the Spanish Inquisition to reveal the truth of a given person’s words or actions. Through a comparison with some historical examples of confessions given to officers of the Inquisition, it will become clear that both the literary and the historical representations demonstrate how the accused manipulated confessional discourse in order to evade or lessen their punishment.