From Mad Love to Mad Lust: The Dangers of Female Desire in Twenty-First Century Representations of Juana I of Castile in Film and Television

  • Janice North
Part of the Queenship and Power book series (QAP)


This chapter explores the evolution of the myth of Juana I of Castile’s supposed madness in Spanish film and television, from its genesis in the nineteenth century to the twenty-first. It offers a close reading of the myth as it has been presented in the past two decades by director Vicente Aranda and RTVE/Diagonal TV, contextualized within the previous filmic tradition and in light of recent historiographic developments, such as Bethany Aram’s arguments against Juana’s insanity. While these twenty-first century portrayals of Juana either seek to redeem her character or to portray more accurately her circumstances and explain her failure to lay claim to the power she inherited, they ultimately continue to fuel the myth of her madness as the result of female passions.


Plays and Filmography

  1. Isabel. Television Series. RTVE/Diagonal TV. Seasons 1–3 (2012–2014). All episodes are available online at:
  2. Juana la Loca (Mad Love). Feature Film. Directed by Vicente Aranda. Sony Pictures Classics, 2001.Google Scholar
  3. La corona partida. Feature Film. Directed by Jordi Frades. A Contracorriente Films, 2016.Google Scholar
  4. Locura de amor. Feature Film. Directed by Juan de Orduña. CIFESA, 1948.Google Scholar
  5. Tamayo y Baus, Manuel. La locura de amor (1947; Alicante: Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes, 2000).–0/.

Published works

  1. Altayó, Isabel and Paloma Nogués, Juana I: La reina cautiva. Madrid: Silex, 1985.Google Scholar
  2. Ángel Zalama, Miguel. Vida cotidiana y arte en el palacio de la Reina Juana I en Tordesillas. Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid, 2000.Google Scholar
  3. Aram, Bethany. Juana the Mad: Sovereignty and Dynasty in Renaissance Europe. Baltimore, MD: The John Hopkins University Press, 2005.Google Scholar
  4. ———. “Queen Juana: Legend and History.” In Asunción Gómez et al. 2008, 33–46.Google Scholar
  5. Asunción Gómez, María. “Woman, Nation, and Desire in Orduña’s Locura de amor and Vicente Aranda’s Juana la Loca.” In Asunción Gómez et al. 2008, 228–229.Google Scholar
  6. Asunción Gómez, María, Santiago Juan-Navarro, and Phillis Zatlin, eds. Juana of Castile: History and Myth of the Mad Queen. Newark, NJ: Bucknell University Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  7. ———. “Introduction: Juana of Castile: From Romanticism to the Twenty-First Century.” In Asunción Gómez et al. 2008, 9–28.Google Scholar
  8. Beck, Emily S. “Religious Medievalisms in RTVE’s Isabel.” In Premodern Rulers and Postmodern Viewers: Gender, Sex, and Power in Popular Culture, edited by Janice North, Karl Alvestad, and Elena Woodacre, 159–178. Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.Google Scholar
  9. Bergenroth, Gustav A. “Jeanne la Folle.” Revue de Belgique 1 (1869): 81–112.Google Scholar
  10. Dénnis, Amarie. Seek the Darkness: The Story of Juana la Loca. Madrid: Sucesores de Rivadeneyra, 1969.Google Scholar
  11. Fernández Álvarez, Manuel. Juana “la Loca”, 1479–1555. Palencia: Diputación Provincial, 1994.Google Scholar
  12. ———. Juana la Loca: La cautiva de Tordesillas. Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 2000.Google Scholar
  13. George, David R. Jr. “Necrophilia, Madness, and Degeneration in Manuel Tamayo y Baus’s La locura de amor (1855).” In Asunción Gómez et al. 2008, 61–76.Google Scholar
  14. Juan-Navarro, Santiago. “Political Madness: Juan de Orduña’s Locura de amor as a National Allegory.” In Asunción Gómez et al., 2008, 210–227.Google Scholar
  15. Leon, Fray Luis de. La perfecta casada. Edited by Joaquín Antonio Peñalosa. Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1999.Google Scholar
  16. North, Janice. “Three Queens for the Same Throne: Politics, Sex, and Disorder in TVE’s Isabel.” Bulletin of Spanish Studies (forthcoming).Google Scholar
  17. Pfandl, Ludwig. Juana la loca: Su vida, su tiempo, su culpa. Translated by Felipe Villaverde. Madrid: Espasa Calpe, 1943.Google Scholar
  18. Rodríguez Villa, Antonio. La Reina doña Juana la loca: Estudio histórico. Madrid: Librería de M. Murillo, 1892.Google Scholar
  19. Soliño, María Elena. “Madness as Nationalistic Spectacle: Juana and the Myths of Nineteenth-Century History Painting.” In Asunción Gómez et al. 2008, 186–187.Google Scholar

News Stories/Internet Sources

  1. Fernández-Santos, Elsa. “Vicente Aranda recrea los engaños y los celos que enloquecieron a Juana de Castilla: El cineaste rueda en Portugal una nueva versión de la obra de teatro ‘Locura de amor.’” El país, November 22, 2000.
  2. Fuentes, Andrea. “Jordi Frades: ‘El argumento de la película es perfectamente entendible para quienes no hayan visto Isabel.”’ Ecartlera, February 19, 2016.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janice North
    • 1
  1. 1.Independent ScholarAltoonaUSA

Personalised recommendations