Death and Money in the Afternoon

Death and Money in the Afternoon : A History of the Spanish Bullfight

3.13 (15 ratings by Goodreads)
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Bullfighting has long been perceived as an antiquated, barbarous legacy from Spain's medieval past. In fact, many of that country's best poets, philosophers, and intellectuals have accepted the corrida as the embodiment of Spain's rejection of the modern world. In his brilliant new interpretation of bullfighting, Adrian Shubert maintains that this view is both the product of myth and a complete misunderstanding of the real roots of the contemporary bullfight. While references to a form of bullfighting date back to the Poem of the Cid (1040), the modern bullfight did not emerge until the early 18th century. And when it did emerge, it was far from being an archaic remnant of the past-it was a precursor of the 20th-century mass leisure industry. Indeed, before today's multimillion-dollar athletes with wide-spread commercial appeal, there was Francisco Romero, born in 1700, whose unique form of bullfighting netted him unprecedented fame and wealth, and Manuel Rodriguez Manolete, hailed as Spain's greatest matador by the New York Times after a fatal goring in 1947.
The bullfight was replete with promoters, agents, journalists, and, of course, hugely-paid bullfighters who were exploited to promote wine, cigarettes, and other products. Shubert analyzes the business of the sport, and explores the bullfighters' world: their social and geographic origins, careers, and social status. Here also are surprising revelations about the sport, such as the presence of women bullfighters-and the larger gender issues that this provoked. From the political use of bullfighting in royal and imperial pageants to the nationalistic "great patriotic bullfights" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this is both a fascinating portrait of bullfighting and a vivid recreation of two centuries of Spanish history. Based on extensive research and engagingly written, Death and Money in the Afternoon vividly examines the evolution of Spanish culture and society through the prism of one of the West's first-and perhaps its most spectacular-spectator sports.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 284 pages
  • 131.6 x 204.2 x 21.6mm | 335.66g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 5 graphs, 8 halftone plates
  • 0195144120
  • 9780195144123
  • 1,409,665

Review quote

Shubert's study is a delight. This is clearly the best one-volume social history of the classic bullfight available in any language. * Stanley Payne, Professor of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison * Shubert's innovative approach studies not only the changing social, political, and cultural aspects of the Spanish bullfight but above all the economic and entrepreneurial side of it ... undoubtedly a well written and innovative book that will have a broad audience. * Business History * The great strength of Shubert's book is his demonstration of the bullfight's response to the changing economic, social and political circumstances ... Shubert has written a fascinating book. * English Historical Review * The first scholarly study to interpret bullfighting in terms of the modern leisure industry ... Written in a lively and extremely readable style, the book is packed with vivid detail, colourful quotes and revealing contemporary observations. It also benefits from an attractive format and a fine series of illustrations ... Adrian Shubert has not only produced by far the best study of the Spanish bullfight, but also made yet another outstanding contribution to the
social history of Spain. * South European Society & Politics * ... eminently readable ... provides new and interesting perspectives on a well-worn topic for quite a wide readership. * Bulletin of Spanish Studies * ... it is hard to imagine a better way to begin to find out about the historical development of bullfighting than to read Shubert's study. * Cultural and Social History * ... it would be difficult to imagine a more detailed account of the economics of bullfighting and the political manipulation of the corrida. The author's scholarship and knowledge of Spanish history is mightily impressive. His attention to detail is exemplary. * Cultural and Social History *
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About Adrian Shubert

Adrian Shubert is Professor and Chair of the Department of History at York University, Toronto, Canada. Named a Comendador de la Orden de Merito Civil by King Juan Carlos, Shubert is author of The Land and People of Spain, A Social History of Modern Spain, and Spain at War. He lives in Toronto.
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Rating details

15 ratings
3.13 out of 5 stars
5 7% (1)
4 33% (5)
3 33% (5)
2 20% (3)
1 7% (1)
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