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Five WordsCritical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes$
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Roland Greene

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226000633

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226000770.001.0001

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(p.107) Blood
Five Words

Roland Greene

University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores two works from the late sixteenth century, namely: the anonymous domestic tragedy, A Warning for Fair Women, and Miguel de Cervantes’s novella La fuerza de la sangre (The power of blood). During this period, these two works, and many others, create too many competing allegories in different degrees of revision for the word blood. This trend in literature during the period shows that there is a semantic shift under way. The chapter tracks this change in semantics and notes its relation to materialism. The change in the representations of blood from notions of nobility, divinity, and the cosmos towards more modern perceptions such as family, class, and race is noted by the author. The chapter is concerned with blood’s semantic history, and asks: How does the concept of blood get reinvented in the late sixteenth century to take fresh account of the material, the liquid itself?

Keywords:   blood, Miguel de Cervantes, semantics, materialism, semantic history, semantic shift, representations, family

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