Abstract: The gambling house is one of the most visited places in early modern Spanish fiction, yet it still remains grossly overlooked in contemporary criticism. The first part of this essay provides an interdisciplinary reassessment of the topic by analyzing the economic, moral, and religious parameters that transformed the game of cards into a complex and multivalent issue, fascinating and polemical at once. Secondly, the essay examines the strategies employed by a selection of reformist writers to request institutional action against these gambling houses, in order to show how this “domestication of chance” was ultimately designed not only to safeguard the economic privileges of the nobility, but also to foster processes of class cohesion and identity formation.
Hispanic Review – University of Pennsylvania Press
Published: Feb 26, 2008