This abridged edition of Boyer's award-winning examination of bigamy in colonial Mexico reveals the lives, routines, and networks of ordinary people caught in extraordinary historical circumstances. From the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, the Inquisition held the power to investigate breaches of the law on monogamy and to recommend punishment for violators. The pursuit of bigamists provides a fascinating picture of both Catholicism and the colonial state.
The author, drawing from his close reading of Inquisition files, includes extensive testimony of defendants, plaintiffs, and witnesses in Holy Office tribunals, and situates his subjects in the web of daily life--in families as they grow up and in communities as they learn the ways of society. With vivid glimpses of courtship, loss of virginity, marriage, adultery, domestic abuse, and failed marriage, he also follows them in their private lives.
The many stories recounted here convey emotions and relations rarely preserved from past centuries. From a young child enduring abuse and rape by relatives to the wily suitor who plots elopement by tricking a father with a tale of lost loot stored in a robber's cave, we hear the voices of hitherto invisible people.
"A distinguished book."--Professor William B. Taylor, SMU
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