The Writings of Dona Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza, Catholic Missionary to James I's London - Spanish Studies S. v. 20 (Hardback)

by Margaret A. Rees

Format: Hardback 224 pages

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In this book Margaret A. Rees quickly and vividly transports the raader to the London of James I and by the use of Dona Luisa's extant letters we are enabled to follow her adventurous and heroic life. To understand fully her deliberate decision to venture into England, a place at that time hostile to both her religion and her native land, we have to pay attention to what we can learn from her poetry. It is here that her deep commitment to the love of Christ and love of those who suffer in his name is revealed. Dona Luisa de Carvajal y Mendoza has rarely been accorded, either in England or in Spain, the recognition she deserves. In this book Margaret A. Rees quickly and vividly transports the reader to the London of James I and by the use of Dona Luisa's extant letters we are enabled to follow her adventurous and heroic life. To understand fully her deliberate decision to venture into England, a place at that time hostile to both her religion and her native land, we have to pay attention to what we can learn from her poetry. As Dr Rees shows, it is here that her deep commitment to the love of Christ and love of those who suffer in his name is revealed. Not only are we given an account of a life lived under the threat of persecution but this is accompanied by a study of the content and form of her mystical verse and its relationship to the Carmelite and Ignatian spirituality in which she was brought up from childhood. This treatment throws a fresh light on the background to seventeenth-century thought. It is said that John of the Cross began to write his poetry as a result of his sufferings while in prison. Dona Luisa seems to have progressed the other way: from her youthful poetic inspiration she was led to go and seek hardship in an alien land. Perhaps a case of following John's bidding in The Ascent of Mount Carmel: 'Procure siempre inclinarse no a lo mas facil sino a lo mas dificultoso' (Try always to take not the easiest path but the hardest). Luisa combines in her person characteristics which, taken in isolation, could easily be considered disadvantageous. She was a woman, a Catholic, a foreigner, an unwanted immigrant in England. Yet it is precisely the combination of these qualities that made her such an exceptional and formidable person and of interest to the contemporary reader.

Book details

Published
01/12/2002

Publisher
Edwin Mellen Press Ltd

ISBN
9780773470378


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