Lives of the Bigamists: Marriage, Family, and Community in Colonial Mexico
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: Date:5/1995 - University of New Mexico Press
By: Richard Boyer
This fascinating examination of bigamy in colonial Mexico reveals for the first time the lives, routines, and networks of ordinary people. The author, drawing from his close reading of Inquisition files, situates these people 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, abusive treatment, and failed marriage, he also follows them in their private lives. In the campaign to root out bigamy, the Inquisition relied on people to denounce one another. How they went about this reveals that gossip and curiosity sustained a surer and swifter system of communications than we might have imagined. The many pieces of stories recounted here convey emotions and reactions rarely preserved from past centuries. From a young child enduring abuse and rape by relatives to the wily suitor who tricks his future father-in-law with a tale of lost loot stored in a robber's cave, throughout this volume we hear the voices of hitherto invisible people.