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A Poetics of Difference: Neoplatonism and the Discourse of Desire in the Early Modern Spanish Love Lyric

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFaces of the Infinite:
Subtitle of host publicationNeoplatonism and Poetics at the Confluence of Africa, Asia and Europe
EditorsStefan Sperl, Trevor Dadson, Yorgos Dedes
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBritish Academy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019

King's Authors

Research Groups

  • Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies


This essay examines lyric verse (particularly the sonnet) from the Hispanic Renaissance and the Baroque and shows how male and female poets exploited Neoplatonic discourse as a means of thinking about — and thinking beyond — the boundaries of gender identity. Among the poets discussed are Francisco de Aldana (1537-1578), Catalina Clara Ramírez de Guzmán (1611-c. 1680), and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (1651-1695). Baldassare Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier and Leone Ebreo’s Dialogues on Love provide a further frame for the analysis of gendered discourse of Neoplatonic love. The paper concludes with some general methodological remarks about the significance of Neoplatonism as a cross-cultural phenomenon. To understand how it travels across cultures is to acknowledge its ideological potential to stage boundary crossings and negotiate differences of many kinds.

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