Legitimizing the Queen deals with a genre particular to the Middle
Ages: the specula principum (mirror of prince). Its importance as
an object of study may be understood in light of the political
instability that wracked the Castilian fifteenth century. The many
works written for and dedicated to Isabel I of Castile depict her
kingdom as a shipwrecked boat, a wayward realm, and a land of
bankrupt people. These works suggest the kingdom's need for
redemption through the strong leadership of theCatholic monarchs.
These largely propagandistic works were designed to garner power,
and once maintained, further Isabel's agenda. This book frames the
concept of sovereignty from the theoretical perspective of the
speculum principum dedicated to her. It offers a Bourdieuian
approach to the more literary specula texts used to legitimize and
uphold Isabel's power. This book reveals propagandistic qualities
promoting the ideology necessary to legitimize and support Isabel's
claims to the throne. Written primarily between 1468 and 1493,
these works are literary artifacts that mark the rise to power of a
female sovereign. The study discusses the various strategies of
legitimation employed by these propagandists whose works circulated
within noble androyal courts, and presumably extended into Castile
as justification for her sovereign claim to the throne. By
analyzing fifteenth century texts from within a modern critical
framework, this book reexamines Isabel's position as queen and
contributes to the understanding of her shared sovereignty in a
period political and social evolution.
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