Pellucid Paper: Poetry and Bureaucratic Media in Early Modern Spain

by Adam Wickberg

  • Technographies
  • Print ISBN: 978-1-78542-054-2
  • PDF ISBN: 978-1-78542-055-9


Pellucid Paper is an interdisciplinary study of the materiality of Early Modern poetry and its relation to political power, memory and subject constitution. The book explores the broad media history in which some of the most canonical Spanish Golden Age poetry was produced. It departs from the intersection of media theory, historiography and materiality of Early Modern culture in a radical rethinking of the nature of the relationship between the imaginary and the real using the concept of cultural techniques. Working with the operative sequences of the material and the symbolic of epistemological configurations of art, literature and power relations, it demonstrates how media and materiality were a crucial part of both the political and the aesthetic already in Early Modernity. It studies these operations in Early Modern Spain in the reign from Philip II to Philip IV. The development of a paper based bureaucracy as a means of sustaining large-scale power relations bridging distances in space and time forms the locus of the book. Pellucid Paper is informed by German Media theory and specifically the more recent developments of Cultural Techniques, which enables a fresh and imaginative take on Early Modern culture. The book offers a radical account of the dynamic relationship between the death oriented aesthetics of vanitas, techniques and media of storage and a form of mediated presence that permeates the inseparable spheres of the political and the aesthetic.

Author Bio

Adam Wickberg is a Postdoctoral fellow in cultural history at Stockholm University. His current project concerns the history of the Anthropocene, where he traces the material and discursive changes of long distance governing of nature brought about by early Spanish colonialism. For this project he will be working at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin and the Environmental Humanities Lab at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.