Department or Program



Systems of belief and topics such as the supernatural in early modern Spain have long been a focal point of academic research. This thesis expands upon this body of research by examining a 16th-century court case from Spain regarding a house that was allegedly inhabited by a duende. Through an analysis of this legal case from the perspective of ‘lived religion’, this thesis will attempt to provide a multi-faceted answer to how early modern Spaniards understood duendes. Previous scholarship on duendes has focused on the writings of an educated elite. This thesis, however, intends to explain the ‘lived’ understandings of Spaniards regarding duendes. To better understand duendes, this thesis will examine Spaniards’ systems of belief, how Spaniards identified the presence of a duende and believed it to interact within their world, and questions of gender, economic status, as well as duendes as a metaphor. In discussing these topics and concepts, I argue that duendes were active inhabitants of the world of early modern Spaniards. Furthermore, duendes were one rational expression for Spaniards of their lived realities, serving as embodiments of the ideologies and structures that dominated domestic spaces.

Level of Access

Open Access

First Advisor

Melvin, Karen

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Number of Pages


Open Access

Available to all.