The project investigates the late Renaissance backdrop of the modern historical paradigm with special emphasis on historical drama, the contribution of which to transformations in the ways history was perceived and written has gone largely unrecognized. It hypothesizes that the epistemologically complex aesthetic-historical culture that flourished all over Europe between 1550 and 1650 and eminently in Spain — a major political, intellectual and cultural player on the contemporaneous international scene – was key in the development of modern ideas about history. And that historical drama was at the centre of this culture.
The project is spurred on by current anti-historist tendencies - alternative facts, fake news - which it aims to put into historical perspective. Returning to the roots of our modern ideas about history and revisiting the cradle of the modern historical paradigm, the project suggests that one answer to the present epistemological crisis could be a reflective, problem-oriented approach to historical knowledge and historical truth like the one found in the examined historical materials – an approach which represented a fruitful merger of aesthetics and historiography, as opposed to the current blurring of the line between fiction and fact.
I will write a monograph on the rise of historical drama and modern historical consciousness in Golden Age Spain. Whereas many scholars have discussed the alliance between aesthetics and historiography during this period of artistic glorification of monarchs and dynasties, assessment of the role played by aesthetics in the formation of modern ideas about history in Golden Age Spain is lacking. The monograph will provide such an assessment.