Storytelling, legal procedure, and narrative construction in Spanish Inquisitorial records

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Abstract

This article will look at two specific cases from the Spanish National Historical Archives and examine how narratives are constructed within the framework of the Inquisition’s religious and legal interrogation techniques. The first example deals with witness accounts of a dentist charged with blasphemy and how these build a story around the exact event of the crime in question. In the overall narrative, control is transferred from the accused to the institution by a movement away from personal and professional discourse into the religious and legal discourses dominated by the Inquisition. The second focuses on testimony from an investigation provoked by the use of opium by an Inquisitorial prisoner, in an effort to resist pain under torture. As an event, the opium use spawns narratives that exceed the bounds of ordinary questioning in terms of religious and legal subject matter. In the exchanges examined for this second case, one form of discourse (medical) displaces the others (religious and legal), and spawn narrative digressions that create forays into others discourses, whether military or centred on geopolitics.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvents and Narratives in Language
EditorsJanusz Badio
PublisherPeter Lang
Pages11-26
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9783653067927
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Publication series

NameŁódź Studies in Language
PublisherPeter Lang

Keywords

  • Story
  • Event
  • Narrative
  • Inquisition
  • Medicine
  • opium
  • Dentist
  • Spain

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