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Item Number: 115889
Title: Book of Honors for Empress Maria of Austria - Composed by the College of the Society of Jesus of Madrid on the Occasion of Her Death (1603). A Translation with an Introductory Study and Facsimile of the Emblems
Author: Vistarini, Antonio Bernat ; John T. Cull ; Tamás Sajó
Price: Not Available
ISBN: 9780916101732
Description: Philadelphia: Saint Joseph's University Press, 2011. 25cm., hardcover, 288pp., 37 illus. Summary: The Book of Honors for Empress María of Austria is a chronicle of the remarkable celebrations organized by the Jesuit Colegio de San Pedro y San Pablo in Madrid to honor the piety and generosity of its major benefactor after her death in 1603. María bequeathed virtually the whole of her estate to the Jesuits in Madrid, including a parcel of land where the Jesuit Fathers built their new College, opened in 1608. The Jesuits of Madrid educated the likes of Lope de Vega, Calderón de la Barca, Francisco de Quevedo, and many other illustrious Spaniards from all walks of life. María de Austria's legacy, therefore, was to have an enormous impact on Spanish Golden Age literature and culture. Following the conventions of the highly specialized genre of royal funeral exequies, the Book of Honors includes an encomiastic dedication by the Rector of the College to the house of Austria and to María's daughter, Margaret of Austria, like her mother, a nun of the Discalced Order of St. Clara of Madrid. This is followed by a description of the catafalque and the decoration of the church. The book then reproduces a lengthy Latin prayer delivered by the Jesuit theologian Juan Luis de la Cerda. The funeral sermon follows, preached by the Jesuit Jerónimo de Florencia. While much of the rest of the book consists of an anthology of the poems crafted by the Jesuit Fathers and their pupils to honor the empress, the most unique and interesting aspect of the book is the description and reproduction of the 36 hieroglyphs or emblems that were mounted on the walls of the church as part of the decorative iconographical program. They were intended as visual reinforcements for the main points of the funeral sermon, resulting in a highly original interconnection between the spoken word and the visual appeal of the series of emblematic images. This English translation of the Libro de las honras makes available to a wide public this important and little-known manifestation of the genre of emblematic funeral honors. This book helps illuminate the Jesuit predilection for "preaching to the eyes" by mounting celebrations with public displays of poetry and emblematic illustrations, a particularly effective pedagogical technique exploited by the Society of Jesus in its schools almost from its very inception. What makes the Book of Honors especially important, however, is that it is the first book of its type in Spain to include illustrations of the royal exequies. The Book of Honors for Empress María of Austria will appeal to historians of seventeenth-century Spain, art historians, emblem scholars, students of Spanish Golden Age literature, those interested in sacred oratory, and scholars interested in the history of Catholicism and the Jesuit Order.

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Michael Shamansky, Bookseller Inc.
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Phone: 845-331-8519
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Email: michael@artbooks.com

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