From Madrid to Purgatory
This book reveals the workings of a culture that cherished death, and invested its resources in the pursuit of heaven. In sixteenth-century Spain, the social and economic debts of the living were extended to the dead, and society's central paradigms sought to invert perceptions, making death seem better than life itself. This is the first full-length study of this phenomenon. It differs from previous histories of death in two significant ways: in its methodology, which seeks to interweave social history and intellectual/cultural history; and in its geographical and cultural setting (previous studies have focused on France, Italy, and England). As a history of mentalités focused on a subject of universal significance, From Madrid to Purgatory transcends its 'Spanishness' and its time period while being wholly attentive to them.