Lu Ann Homza hunts big game in this book, and she bags enough trophies to make her work fundamental reading for all those who deal with the sixteenth-century Hispanic monarchy in both its European and overseas domains. Heavily influenced by Spain’s nineteenth- and twentieth-century conflicts over how the country should be constituted, many prominent Spanish and foreign scholars have adopted metanarratives presenting the last half millennium of Spanish history as a grand struggle between those who wished to open their country to currents of broad political participation and toleration and reactionaries defending the old order through authoritarian institutions dedicated to ideological conformity. The religious disputes of Charles V’s era produced, by the reign of his son, a victory of “absolutism,” inquisitorial repression, general passivity, and a fearful flight from economic, political, and cultural creativity and innovation. These constituted the roots of a Spanish...

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