Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
This dissertation focuses on one of the protagonists in the political, religious and intellectual life of sixteenth-century Toledo, the largely forgotten Diego López de Ayala (c. 1480-1560). He was a member of one of the era's most influential noble families and a stand-in and envoy of the Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, to the court of Ferdinand the Catholic in Spain and that of the future Emperor Charles V in Flanders. Afterwards, he played an influential role in the spread of Italian Renaissance aesthetics in Spain as superintendent of works at the Toledo Cathedral for nearly forty years. He also translated into Spanish the prose sections of two Italian works, the Questioni d'amore of Giovanni Boccaccio's Filocolo (Treze questiones) and the Arcadia of Jacopo Sannazaro. Past scholarship on López de Ayala has often considered minimal his political and literary roles. Others have recognized his importance as a contributor to Toledo's cultural life, but say little beyond noting that we know too little about him. My research reaffirms the prominent political and cultural presence of this highly significant figure and fills in many of the gaps left by previous scholarship. Diego López de Ayala figured prominently in the cultural and political life of Toledo after the death of Cardinal Cisneros. Additionally, the dissertation examines the significance of López de Ayala's published translations to the Spanish print culture and canon of courtly literature with special emphasis on the performance elements and socialized reading practices of the period. The dissertation begins to reconstruct the humanistic intellectual community, whose Erasmian leanings were destined to disappear with the coming of the Counter-Reformation.