The ‘Practical Man’ of Spain and the Novatores of the Late Seventeenth Century.
This paper concerns the class of pre-Enlightenment intellectuals in Spain called the novatores. Writing in the final decades of the seventeenth century, they were not only addressing questions of Spanish decline but also engaging with the ideas and intellectuals of the Scientific Revolution enveloping Western Europe more broadly. As such, the novatores fit squarely into the historiographical concerns of whether there was a so-called “general crisis of the seventeenth century”—especially given their attempts at fashioning a new, “practical man,” one who valued the prescribed virtues of utility, moderation, and reason.
Rich Lizardo is a Ph.D. candidate in history at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on early-modern Spain. His research interests include intellectual history; religious history; poverty, charity, and poor laws; theories and practices of punishment; national, cultural, religious, and ethnic identities; and the Spanish Empire. Rich’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Worlds of Spanish Poverty: Theory and Practice from the Reformation to the Enlightenment,” will trace the developments in the ideas and institutions that arose to address the problem of widespread poverty in early-modern Spain.